Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Cleopatra died of drug overdose
Now Christoph Schaefer, German historian and professor at the University of Trier, is presenting evidence that aims to prove drugs and not the reptile were the cause of death.
"Queen Cleopatra was famous for her beauty and was unlikely to have subjected herself to a long and disfiguring death," he said.
He journeyed with other experts to Alexandria, Egypt, where they consulted ancient medical texts and snake experts.
"Cleopatra wanted to remain beautiful in her death to maintain her myth," he says on the Adventure Science show screened by the German television channel ZDF.
"She probably took a cocktail of opium, hemlock and aconitum. Back then this was a well-known mixture that led to a painless death within just a few hours whereas the snake death could have taken days and been agonising."
Cleopatra reigned from 51BC to 30BC and was the last person to rule Egypt as an Egyptian pharaoh. After she died, Egypt became a Roman province.