Topic editor


Cleopatra was the Queen of Egypt who ruled through a combination of power and consorts, having been married to Roman leader Gaius Julius Caeser. Suicide of Cleopatra is said to committed suicide by the bite of an Egyptian Asp a member of the Cobra family of snakes (August 12 or 30, B.C. 30).

Toxicological Perspective

Cleopatra conducted numerous experiments with poisons. She tested many different poisons to see the effects, the lethality, and the correct dosage that would be needed to cause death, and the amount of suffering that accompanied the various toxins.

She tested all types of poisons, both mineral and natural. She collected numerous venomous animals and plants, collected the poisons from them or forced men to be bitten from them, and studied the effects. Often these scenes were conducted in front of husband Marc Antony and guests for amusement.

She was sadistic in her use. This is an excerpt from the #Baldwin Project:

"Antony was not entirely at ease, however, during the progress of these terrible experiments. His foolish and childish fondness for Cleopatra was mingled with jealousy, suspicion, and distrust; and he was so afraid that Cleopatra might secretly poison him, that he would never take any food or wine without requiring that she should taste it before him. At length, one day, Cleopatra caused the petals of some flowers to be poisoned, and then had the flowers woven into the chaplet which Antony was to wear at supper. In the midst of the feast, she pulled off the leaves of the flowers from her own chaplet and put them playfully into her wine, and then proposed that Antony should do the same with his chaplet, and that they should then drink the wine, tinctured, as it would be, with the color and the perfume of the flowers. Antony entered very readily into this proposal. and when he was about to drink the wine, she arrested his hand, and told him that it was poisoned. 'You see now," said she, 'how vain it is for you to watch against me. If it were possible for me to live without you, how easy it would be for me to devise ways and means to kill you.' Then, to prove that her words were true, she ordered one of the servants to drink Antony's wine. He did so, and died before their sight in dreadful agony."

She ended up taking her own life with the aid of a serpent that she forced to bite her own arm.


Cleopatra, who descends directly from one of Alexander the Great's generals, was a co-ruler of Egypt with her father, two of her brothers, and later after Caeser's assassination (with whom she had a relationship with), Marc Antony. She had three children, one by Caeser and two by Marc Antony. She ruled until Antony's rival, Octavion, brought the might of Rome against Egypt. It is said that she took her life on August 12, 30 BC.


The Baldwin Project on Cleopatra.

  • No labels