Herodotus Returns


Cleopatra killed by drug cocktail?
July 1, 2010, 4:36 pm
Filed under: Egypt | Tags: , ,

Cleopatra

Cleopatra, legendary last queen of Egypt, may have committed suicide by drinking a poisonous concoction, not by the bite of a poisonous asp, as has long been the legend.

According to Christoph Schäfer, a German historian and professor at the University of Trier, the legendary beauty queen was unlikely to have committed suicide by letting an asp — an Egyptian cobra — sink into her flesh.

“There was no cobra in Cleopatra’s death,” Schäfer told Discovery News.

The author of a best-selling book in Germany, “Cleopatra,” Schäfer searched historic writings for evidence to disprove the 2,000-year-old asp legend. His findings are to be featured on the German channel ZDF as part of a program on Cleopatra.

“The Roman historian Cassius Dio, writing about 200 years after Cleopatra’s demise, stated that she died a quiet and pain-free death, which is not compatible with a cobra bite. Indeed, the snake’s venom would have caused a painful and disfiguring death,” Schäfer said.

According to German toxicologist Dietrich Mebs, a poison specialist taking part in the study, the symptoms occurring after an asp bite are very unpleasant, and include vomiting, diarrhea and respiratory failure.

More on Cleopatra’s suicide.

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