|Overjoyed to hear Cleopatra was alive, Antony had himself carried to her mausoleum. Cleopatra was afraid to open the door
because of the approach of Octavian's army, but she and her two serving women let down ropes from a window and pulled him
up. Distraught, Cleopatra laid Antony on her bed and beat her breasts, calling him her lord, husband and emperor. Antony told
her not to pity him, but to remember his past happiness. Then he died. And the Witchblade fell from her wrist.
When Octavian and his men reached her monument Cleopatra refused to let them in. She negotiated with them through the
barred door, demanding that her kingdon be given to her children.Octavian ordered one man to keep her talking while others
set up ladders and climbed through the window. When Cleopatra saw the men she pulled out a dagger and tried to stab herself,
but she was disarmed and taken prisoner. Her children were also taken prisoner but were treated well.
|Octavian allowed Cleopatra to arrange Antony's funeral. She buried him with royal splendor. After the funeral she took to her bed, sick with grief. She
wanted to kill herself, but Octavian kept her under close guard. One day he visited her and she flung herself at his feet, nearly naked, and told him she
wanted to live. Octavian was lulled into a false sense of security.
Cleopatra was determined to die - perhaps because she had lost Mark Antony, perhaps because she knew Octavian intended to humiliate her, as her sister
Arsinoe had been humiliated, by marching her through Rome in chains, and because the Witchblade was lost to her now, it had abandoned her. With
Octavian's permission she visited Antony's tomb. Then she returned to her mausoleum, took a bath, and ordered a feast. While the meal was being
prepared a man arrived at her monument with a basket of figs. The guards checked the basket and found nothing suspicious, so they allowed the man to
deliver it to Cleopatra.
After she had eaten, Cleopatra wrote a letter, sealed it, and sent it to Octavian. He opened it and found Cleopatra's plea that he would allow her to be
buried in Antony's tomb. Alarmed, Octavian sent messengers to alert her guards that Cleopatra planned to commit suicide. But it was too late. They found
the 39-year old queen dead on her golden bed, with her maid Iras dying at her feet. Her other maid, Charmion, was weakly adjusting Cleopatra's crown.
"Was this well done of your lady, Charmion?"one of the guards demanded. "Extremely well,"said Charmion, "as became the descendent of so many kings."
And she too fell over dead. Two pricks were found on Cleopatra's arm, and it was believed that she had allowed herself to be bitten by an asp (a kind of
poisonous snake) that was smuggled in with the figs. As she had wished, she was buried beside Antony.
Cleopatra was the last pharaoh; after her death Egypt became a Roman province. Because Caesarion was Julius Caesar's son and might pose a threat to
Octavian's power, Octavian had the boy strangled by his tutor. Cleopatra's other children were sent to Rome to be raised by Octavia. Cleopatra Selene
married King Juba II of Mauretania and had two children, Ptolemy and Drusilla. No one knows what happened to Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus
[but] they may have been murdered at the order of King Herod I of Judea.
(Most text from www.royalty.nu/Africa/Egypt/Cleopatra.html)
|Queen Boudicca and her daughters, statue by the Thames River,