It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND—Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology at Manchester Museum and Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley of The University of Manchester argue in a video that it is unlikely that Cleopatra and her maids were killed by a venomous snake. According to Tyldesley, ancient accounts record that the snake hid in a basket of figs brought from the countryside. “Not only are cobras too big, but there’s just a ten percent chance you would die from a snake bite: most bites are dry bites that don’t inject venom,” Gray said in a press release. He adds that cobras tend to conserve their venom to protect themselves and for hunting. “That’s not to say they aren’t dangerous: the venom causes necrosis and will certainly kill you, but quite slowly.” Tyldesley explains that Cleopatra, like other kings and queens of Egypt, was associated with snakes, which the Egyptians thought of as good mothers. She also thought of herself as the embodiment of the goddess Isis, who could take a snake’s form.
originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: Ghost147
Yeah, but I've read that snakes are sort of kept from going dry too. At least I've never heard of a snake that bit so much that it didn't have any venom.
Uraeus, the Cobra Symbol
Discover the history, mythology and beliefs surrounding the 'Uraeus' the rearing cobra symbol of Ancient Egypt. The Uraeus, the rearing cobra symbol was one of the most important Egyptian Symbols and frequently seen in images and pictures of ancient Egypt. The word Uraeus derives from the Egyptian word "iaret" meaning "risen one" from the image of a cobra rising up in protection. The Uraeus the cobra symbol was an emblem ancient Egyptian Gods and Pharaohs and strongly features in the paintings, images and Hieroglyphics of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, gods and goddesses. The Uraeus, cobra symbol was a potent emblem of sovereignty, royalty and divine authority in ancient Egypt.[
I can imagine Cleo using it as an ultimate f-uu to the Romans as she is off to the field of reeds to rule protected by the cobra.edit on 21-10-2015 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)
originally posted by: obscurepanda
IIRC, it has actually been a running theory among academics that Cleopatra was simply murdered (read assassinated) by the soldiers who "found" her body. Given that she was in seclusion when she supposedly met her fate at the bite of an asp (may have also been an Egyptian cobra, though really the exact species is largely unimportant) upon her breast, it is neither difficult nor a stretch to imagine that story was simply concocted to hide the fact that she died by sword or poisoning.
originally posted by: Byrd
That was Shakespeare's contribution. Older sources are pretty vague.
As Obscurepanda says, her committing suicide by knife or other means is logical (Octavian was going to take her to Rome and exhibit her - and possibly finish her off in the Coliseum.) It's also possible she was murdered.
originally posted by: eletheia
It was so long ago and I suppose we have to rely on assumptions and
conjecture ... but I suppose Shakespeare was allowed some poetic
Using a knife would have led to a heavy loss of blood? and would surely
have been messy? therefor surely it would have been noted ... she may
well have been poisoned, or taken poison herself, and the 'asp' thing has
evolved as historical licence.
However the 'asp' may not have come in by basket, it could have slithered in under cover of darkness?
I lived in India in my youth (in fairly wild areas) and many times snakes got in and hid in corners and I have a phobia of snakes LOL!!
originally posted by: Byrd
Heh. One reliable source says that Shakespeare used Strabo, but that the snake item was a fairly popular explanation in ancient literature: www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk...
Possibly... but it has no motive to bite her and in any case is not venomous enough to kill three people quickly. And a snake big enough to kill her is big and noticeable.