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The Death of Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt, occurred on either 10 or 12 August, 30 BC, in Alexandria, when she was 39 years old. According to popular belief, Cleopatra killed herself by allowing an asp (Egyptian cobra) to bite her, but for Greek and Roman historians, Cleopatra poisoned herself using either a toxic ointment or by introducing the poison with a sharp implement such as a hairpin. Primary source accounts are derived mainly from the works of the ancient Roman historians Strabo, Plutarch, and Cassius Dio. Modern scholars debate the validity of ancient reports involving snakebites as the cause of death and if she was murdered or not. Some academics hypothesize that her Roman political rival Octavian forced her to kill herself in a manner of her choosing. The loc

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  • The Death of Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt, occurred on either 10 or 12 August, 30 BC, in Alexandria, when she was 39 years old. According to popular belief, Cleopatra killed herself by allowing an asp (Egyptian cobra) to bite her, but for Greek and Roman historians, Cleopatra poisoned herself using either a toxic ointment or by introducing the poison with a sharp implement such as a hairpin. Primary source accounts are derived mainly from the works of the ancient Roman historians Strabo, Plutarch, and Cassius Dio. Modern scholars debate the validity of ancient reports involving snakebites as the cause of death and if she was murdered or not. Some academics hypothesize that her Roman political rival Octavian forced her to kill herself in a manner of her choosing. The location of Cleopatra's tomb is unknown. It was recorded that Octavian allowed for her and her husband, the Roman politician and general Mark Antony, who stabbed himself with a sword, to be buried together properly. Cleopatra's death effectively ended the final war of the Roman Republic between the remaining triumvirs Octavian and Antony, in which Cleopatra aligned herself with Antony, father to three of her children. Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt following their loss at the 31 BC Battle of Actium in Roman Greece, after which Octavian invaded Egypt and defeated their forces. Committing suicide allowed her to avoid the humiliation of being paraded as a prisoner in a Roman triumph celebrating the military victories of Octavian, who would become Rome's first emperor in 27 BC and be known as Augustus. Octavian had Cleopatra's son Caesarion (also known as Ptolemy XV), rival heir of Julius Caesar, killed in Egypt but spared her children with Antony and brought them to Rome. Cleopatra's death marked the end of the Hellenistic period and Ptolemaic rule of Egypt, as well as the beginning of Roman Egypt, which became a province of the Roman Empire. The death of Cleopatra has been depicted in various works of art throughout history. These include the visual, literary, and performance arts, ranging from sculptures and paintings to poetry and plays, as well as modern films. Cleopatra featured prominently in the prose and poetry of ancient Latin literature. While surviving ancient Roman depictions of her death in visual arts are rare, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern works are numerous. Ancient Greco-Roman sculptures such as the Esquiline Venus and Sleeping Ariadne served as inspirations for later artworks portraying her death, universally involving the snakebite of an asp. Cleopatra's death has evoked themes of eroticism and sexuality, in works that include paintings, plays, and films, especially from the Victorian era. Modern works depicting Cleopatra's death include Neoclassical sculpture, Orientalist painting, and cinema. (en)
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  • Ancient Roman fresco in the Pompeian Third Style possibly depicting Cleopatra, from the House of the Orchard at Pompeii, Italy, mid-1st century AD (en)
  • This mid-1st century BC Roman wall painting in Pompeii, Italy, showing Venus holding a cupid is most likely a depiction of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt as Venus Genetrix, with her son Caesarion as the cupid, similar in appearance to the now lost statue of Cleopatra erected by Julius Caesar in the Temple of Venus Genetrix . The owner of the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus at Pompeii walled off the room with this painting, probably an immediate reaction to the execution of Caesarion on orders of Octavian in 30 BC, when artistic depictions of Caesarion would have been considered a sensitive issue for the ruling regime. (en)
  • Left: the Berlin Cleopatra, a Roman bust of Cleopatra VII wearing a royal diadem, mid-1st century BC, Altes Museum, Antikensammlung Berlin Right: an engraving depicting Cleopatra VII by French artist Élisabeth Sophie Chéron , based on a medallion of Cleopatra dated to the Hellenistic period of antiquity (en)
  • Left: A Roman marble bust of the consul and triumvir Mark Antony, late 1st century AD, Vatican Museums Right: Most likely a posthumously painted portrait of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt with red hair and her distinct facial features, wearing a royal diadem and pearl-studded hairpins, from Roman Herculaneum, Italy, 1st century AD (en)
  • The Death of Cleopatra, by Michele Tosini, c. 1560 ; Cleopatra, by Guido Reni, 1638–39 ; The Death of Cleopatra, by Alessandro Turchi, c. 1640 . (en)
  • Left: a miniature illustration by the Boucicaut Master in the 1409 AD illuminated manuscript of Giovanni Boccaccio's Des cas de nobles hommes et femmes, depicting Mark Antony and Cleopatra in their tomb, with an asp slithering near her chest and a bloody sword impaling his Right: The Banquet of Cleopatra and Antony, a woodcut from a 1479 version of Giovanni Boccaccio's De Mulieribus Claris published in Ulm, Germany (en)
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  • Fresco of a woman in profile, possible portrait bust of Cleopatra VII of Egypt, from the House of the Orchard at Pompeii.jpg (en)
  • Retrato femenino .jpg (en)
  • Venus and Cupid from the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus at Pompeii, most likely a depiction of Cleopatra VII .jpg (en)
  • Fresco of a woman in profile, possibly Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt, from the House of the Orchard at Pompeii.jpg (en)
  • Alessandro Turchi - The death of Cleopatra.jpg (en)
  • Guido Reni - Cleopatra - WGA19301.jpg (en)
  • Michele di ridolfo , suicidio di cleopatra, 1560 ca. 02.JPG (en)
  • Cleopatra VII, dalla via appia tra ariccia e genzano, 40-30 ac ca. 01.JPG (en)
  • Cleopatra VII Philopator, engraving by Élisabeth Sophie Chéron after a Hellenistic medallion, published c. 1736.jpg (en)
  • Woodcut illustration of Cleopatra and Mark Antony - Penn Provenance Project.jpg (en)
  • Marcus Antonius marble bust in the Vatican Museums.jpg (en)
  • Tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, illuminated manuscript of Boccaccio, miniature by the Boucicaut master, 1409 AD .jpg (en)
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  • The Death of Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt, occurred on either 10 or 12 August, 30 BC, in Alexandria, when she was 39 years old. According to popular belief, Cleopatra killed herself by allowing an asp (Egyptian cobra) to bite her, but for Greek and Roman historians, Cleopatra poisoned herself using either a toxic ointment or by introducing the poison with a sharp implement such as a hairpin. Primary source accounts are derived mainly from the works of the ancient Roman historians Strabo, Plutarch, and Cassius Dio. Modern scholars debate the validity of ancient reports involving snakebites as the cause of death and if she was murdered or not. Some academics hypothesize that her Roman political rival Octavian forced her to kill herself in a manner of her choosing. The loc (en)
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  • Death of Cleopatra (en)
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