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Almost everyone who has taken a history class has heard of Cleopatra, her story, and how she died. In history, we learn that Cleopatra was born in Alexandria, Egypt, fell in love with a great roman power, Mark Antony, and died by committing suicide with Mark Antony, after both of their armies were defeated by Octavian at the Battle of Actium. She supposedly allowed a severely venomous type of snake, called an Asp, to bite her and kill her with its venom. I mean, everyone believes that story; what is there not to believe about it? It seems simple and logical. However, details from her early life could say otherwise.

In Cleopatra’s early life, she had four siblings, Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV, Arsinoe IV, and Berenice IV. Cleopatra was forced to rule alongside with Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV, as well as marry Ptolemy XIV. Cleopatra, under no circumstance, wanted to share power with her siblings.

One day, Ptolemy XIII grew tired of his sisters growing status as Queen, and decided to challenge her. This only ended with him “drowning” while trying to escape a battle, in which he was trying to impress Julius Caesar. Cleopatra was obviously better at impressing Caesar, since she became his lover. Sadly, it also ended with Cleopatra being expelled from Alexandria, Egypt. A similar fate happened to Ptolemy XIV, but this time, instead of drowning, Ptolemy XIV was murdered. At the same time, Julius Caesar was murdered by his fellow senators in Rome. During this time, Cleopatra met Marc Antony when he called on her to help him at the Battle of Tarsus. According to OUPblog, Cleopatra even ordered Marc Antony to poison her sister Arsinoe IV, who was ruler at the time. At this point, the people of Egypt had already suspected that Cleopatra was behind the murders of Ptolemy XIV and Arsinoe IV. The people of Egypt both hated and liked Cleopatra.

Then, around 31 BCE, Marc Antony and Cleopatra lost the Battle of Actium to Octavian and retreated back to Alexandria, Egypt. Cleopatra decided to have an Asp snake bite her and slowly kill her. She had also written a suicide note to Octavian and given it to a messenger. The message would have only taken minutest to deliver, considering that Octavian was in Egypt at that time. This is the part where it doesn’t make sense, because the venom of an asp snake would have taken a lot longer than a couple of minutes to kill her, minutes in which someone could have come to save her. This is why it is conspired that Cleopatra was either murdered by someone or killed by a mixture of poisons rather than an Asp bite. In the end, the death of Cleopatra still remains a mystery of how it exactly happened, but I strongly believe that poison was definitely a part of the story.

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Link to where I got the information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra