by Pat Brown
Publication date: February 19, 2013 by Prometheus Books
"The story was simple, yet awe-inspiring. Octavian had been in the palace, and Cleopatra in her tomb with her two favorite handmaidens. Somehow, a cobra had been smuggled into the mausoleum hidden in a basket of figs. A soldier delivered a letter to Octavian in which Cleopatra explained that she was about to take her life with a request that her body be buried next to her beloved husband and Roman general, Mark Antony, who had already committed suicide a few days earlier, dying in the arms of his wife. Octavian immediately dispatched his men to the mausoleum to intervene and stop the queen from this rash course of action. However, by the time the soldiers arrived, Cleopatra was dead. Word was sent back to Octavian, “We were too late.”
"Hoping she was perhaps in a coma, the sleep that mimics death, Octavian desperately sent for the physician and for specialists in snake venom who might still find a way to save her. But the snake venom experts had no remedies and the doctor pronounced her dead. All of this was witnessed by the soldiers, and after they left, Octavian met with his advisors.
"The story of Cleopatra’s death did not take long to spread beyond the compound and soon the city was in mourning. Later that week, a wealthy friend of Cleopatra's came to Octavian and gave him a large sum of money to maintain statues of the queen. Wishing to prove he was a moral leader who respected the sentiments of his new subjects, Octavian agreed.
"This is the account of Cleopatra’s death, a tale that has been dutifully retold for two thousand years. But the real story of how Octavian got away with the most perfect crime in history, the murder of Cleopatra, has never been uncovered until now."
During the work on the documentary and throughout the next eight years, I spent time in Egypt, Rome, and England working with Egyptologists, poison experts, archeologists, and historians of the ancient world and I began to piece together another, more credible story behind the death of Cleopatra.
• I believed Cleopatra did not bargain with Octavian.
And now The Murder of Cleopatra brings this new view of history to you with my full analysis of the world's greatest cold case.