Did Cleopatra VII Choose the Day of Her Suicide?
The Lychnapsia and the ‘Birth of Isis’
The most celebrated ‘suicide’ in history, and one which has fired the popular imagination for centuries, which has inspired Shakespeare, poets and authors and even Hollywood, is surely that of Queen Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemies. In consideration of the universal notoriety of this event, it is a irony of historical that the date and time of her famous and tragic death has not been recorded in any contemporary or near contemporary record –at least none that have survived.
In 1953 Professor Theodore C. Skeats (1907-2003) of the British Museum, realized that this curious paradox of history and decided to investigate the matter. Skeats wisely decided to work on one date that was known with certainty and which was related indirectly to the death of Cleopatra VII: the day of the fall of Alexandria to the armies of Octavian (later Augustus Caesar). Octavian is known to have reached the gates of Alexandria sometime towards the end of July 30 BCE and, from records kept at the Roman Senate it is known that he took Alexandria on the 1st August of the Roman Calendar. Skeats established that this date corresponded to the 8 of Mesore according to the Egyptian Calendar —Mesore being the last month of the Egyptian Calendar. He then used another known day also associated to this historic event: the 1st of Thoth, which was the coronation of Octavian as ‘pharaoh’ of Egypt.
Read the full article at: robertbauval.co.uk
Top Image: "The Death of Cleopatra" by Reginald Arthur, 1892
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