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Scholars Debunk Cleopatra’s Death by Cobra

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posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 05:04 PM
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The title is from the article, and it is tad bit misleading, as their 'debunking' is highly speculative, and certainly not empirical evidence. Nevertheless, the concept leads a lot to think about, and I found it quite interesting.






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.

Source

Knowing snakes, the gentleman in the video is quite right. Most bites from a venomous snake are dry bites (with no actual venom used). The reason they do this is because venom takes quite a lot of energy to produce, and when a venomous snake loses their venom it means their hunting and self-safety would be extremely reduced (if not totally abolished) until the venom regenerates. If the snake was a hatchling, or just a very young snake, they have less control over the use of their venom, which is why you may have heard that young venomous snakes are quite a lot more dangerous as they have a tendency to just dump their load of venom with their initial strike.

So the death of Cleopatra could have very well been from a snake bite (either murder or suicide), but it would be highly unlikely for multiple deaths from a single snake.

Figured I'd share




posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 05:09 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Unless you have a baby snake. Baby snakes are unable to control the amount of venom they inject and are quite small. You never want to mess with a baby snake.

Also, a baby snake would have been able to hide in a basket of figs and could have bitten multiple people. Snake handlers will tell you that baby snakes, small snakes are the most dangerous because they are so small and squirmy and hard to handle.


edit on 21-10-2015 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 05:24 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko


Read the last few paragraphs of my post
I was thinking the same thing. But, again, it wouldn't likely have killed several people



posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 05:26 PM
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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.



posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 05:33 PM
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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.



Hmm, I haven't heard that. It doesn't seem impossible, considering that they actively attempt to hold on to their venom as much as possible, hence the dry bites in the first place. I'd have to do more research



posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 05:48 PM
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It's parables!!!



posted on Oct, 21 2015 @ 07:58 PM
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I think death by cobra would be an apt choice given their use in Kemetic royal paraphernalia

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.[
www.landofpyramids.org.../ex]

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)



posted on Oct, 22 2015 @ 10:08 AM
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a reply to: Ghost147


Surely the snake was an *Asp*?



posted on Oct, 22 2015 @ 07:01 PM
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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.



posted on Oct, 22 2015 @ 07:35 PM
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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.

True but I'd rather the have the theory that she went out on her own terms with a big f-u to Augustus.
Btw while she is well known and have a colorful history and played the game but lost her Queendom, In the words of Donald Trump she is a loser she lost , Get me Amanirenas that other Queen on the Nile further south in Kush that rode an elephant into battle and gave the Romans a black eye when they tried to invade her lands after taking Kmt from Cleopatra , she was truly a badass lost an eye in combat stopping the Roman juggernaut in it's track.

edit on 22-10-2015 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 22 2015 @ 07:44 PM
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It is not at all backward to think she took her own life in some manner. Suicide was an accepted thing in Roman times among the nobility especially.

So genuine suicide or a report of the same.

Disgraced soldiers were given the chance to fall on their sword.



posted on Oct, 23 2015 @ 05:37 PM
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originally posted by: eletheia
a reply to: Ghost147

Surely the snake was an *Asp*?


That was Shakespeare's contribution. Older sources are pretty vague.

The first scholar on the paper is a well-known herpetologist who's familiar with snakes and the seven venomous species in Egypt. Tyldesley's the Egyptologist and had been tracking down the oldest accounts of Cleopatra. The situation was that one snake bit three people in quick succession and all three died within a short timeframe (half an hour or so.)

So (as I understand it) this is medically impossible. I think that the Australian sea snake is that deadly - at least on the first bite - but Cleopatra wouldn't have been able to send someone all the way to Australia for a snake. Sea snakes are picky, and it would have been impossible to keep one alive for a year or more.

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.

But, as the two authors say, there's no snake tiny enough to be smuggled into Cleopatra's chambers in a basket of figs that's able to kill three people within a short time period, no matter how deeply or successfully it bit.



posted on Oct, 23 2015 @ 07:04 PM
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originally posted by: Byrd


That was Shakespeare's contribution. Older sources are pretty vague.




It was so long ago and I suppose we have to rely on assumptions and

conjecture ... but I suppose Shakespeare was allowed some poetic

licence?




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.



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!!



posted on Oct, 23 2015 @ 07:26 PM
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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

licence?


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...



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.


Remember that Octavian's the one telling the story. She could have hung herself or thrown herself out the window or any number of other things -- it's to his political advantage to have Suicide Via Snake so that no one finds him or his soldiers guilty of her death.


However the 'asp' may not have come in by basket, it could have slithered in under cover of darkness?

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.


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!!

(chuckle) I'm the opposite... I've owned snakes and I like them.

Mind you, I don't own venomous snakes. I'm not THAT silly!



posted on Oct, 23 2015 @ 08:16 PM
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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.



Surely not in the darkness? (pre electricity) And they may have come in,

in pairs? Mating season? sheltering to keep cool?

If they were accidently stood on in the dark they would have been

defensive and struck out ...and when the other two came to Cleo's

aid they too would have been bitten too?

Just saying ... A possibility?

In any case I seem to think 'poison' was the weapon of choice all that

time ago. I seem to recall rings with locket type openings, and tiny

phials?




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