Monday, February 18, 2013

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: The Murder of Cleopatra



FROM THE MURDER OF CLEOPATRA by PAT BROWN
       Publication date: February 19, 2013 Prometheus Books

PROLOGUE:  THE MYTH OF CLEOPATRA’S DEATH


When the sun rose over the city of Alexandria on the morning of August 12, 30 BCE, it did not shine down on the great Alexandria of Egypt, but the new Alexandria of the Roman Empire. The air was heavy with resignation and solemn respect for the passing of the queen, and the transfer of Alexandria into the hands of the Roman general Octavian. Cleopatra had provided a dignified conclusion to the great dynasty with her brave, if surprising, exit from the world.

            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.”

Unwilling to believe Cleopatra was truly dead, Octavian hurried to the mausoleum. He was stunned and angered by the sight of the motionless queen. This determined woman who had refused to yield at any time in her life, this enchantress who lured married Roman men into unfaithfulness and turned them against their countries, this queen who had refused to recognize his superiority in life, preferred death over submission to his sovereignty. He would now be unable to bring her back to Rome in shackles and parade her though the streets in his grand triumph—his final coup de grace. Queen Cleopatra, the greatest prize in the entire world, had slipped out of his grasp.

            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.
 
In 2004, I hosted the Discovery Channel documentary, The Mysterious Death of Cleopatra, and debunked the “death by snake theory.”  I also stated that I believed Cleopatra was murdered but I wasn't able to go into my reasoning in the show that was just an hour long. I decided only a book would allow me to present my research and an in-depth analysis, to present a solid profile of history and to reconstruct the events of Cleopatra's life and death. 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 was tortured.
            I believed Cleopatra was strangled.
            I believed Anthony was murdered.
            I believed Cleopatra did not hide in her tomb with her treasure.
            I believed Cleopatra did not bargain with Octavian.
            I believed Cleopatra planned a brilliant military maneuver at Alexandria, her Actium Two, which this time would not have been an escape strategy from a failed naval battle, but a faux naval battle to permit a successful escape from a dire military position that offered little hope of survival.
            I believed Cleopatra never loved Antony.
            I believed Cleopatra never loved Julius Caesar.
            I believed Cleopatra did not have Caesar’s son.
            I believed Cleopatra may have been one of the most brilliant, cold-blooded, iron-willed rulers in history and the truth about what really happened was hidden behind a veil of propaganda and lies set in motion by her murderer, Octavian, and the agenda of the Roman Empire.
            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.           
           

The Murder of Cleopatra is in stores on February 19th and available for order now at Amazon (Amazon. Canada) and Barnes & Noble. Kindle  format is also available in the US and UK and Canada.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat

I'm hooked for sure! I will have to buy your new Book after such an interesting and difinitive synopsis.

Angelique

Anonymous said...

I have already ordered it from a Dutch on-line bookshop [where I buy regularly] and expect to receive it here in France within the next few days. Very much look forward to reading your unraveling of a hot case run very, very cold!
Châtelaine

Pat Brown said...

Hope both of you enjoy the book! I am so pleased that it is on the market after eight years of fighting to get it there. Long haul, but I feel very strongly about the history of Cleopatra and I really think she got a raw deal with the tale Plutarch spun about her.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, dear Mrs. Brown. You should clean the comments here ... ;-)

BTW I'm not on facebook, nor twitter, but can read there. Hence I saw your comments on the Pistorius case. I've been in limbo, until this morning I read that the prosecutor said, that his girlfriend at 3am was in the toilet with a locked door and had her cellphone with her. THAT gave me a rather nasty picture of possible facts :-(
Regards, Châtelaine

Anonymous said...

sorry if i have posted on wrong subject but i want to know if you have any idea how many bucket and spades where out side of mccann apartment in the police photographs i cannot make it out thank you

Anonymous said...


Pat.

I will be getting your book - I am interested in this subject very much.

It is even better I find if one goes back even further to the Sumerians...I personally believe this is where understanding many troubles in future civilisations begins.

Incidentally I stumbled on this writing and found it matched my thoughts......you may find interesting.

http://cosmicconvergence.org/?p=287

feel free to remove post - I don't wish to offend anyone.

mojo

Anonymous said...

I'm deeply impressed by your blog, so many thoughts and insight, often controversial and for sure sometimes not well received from the majority. I enjoyed your insights in different cases, share your opinion on many, but as a scholar of ancient history I'm surprised about your approach to rewrite Cleopatras history... the end of the republic is for sure the most researched and discussed episode of the ancient world. Let's put all real, available evidence beside... im a bit sad to see you falling into one of the most superficial traps mostly young enthusiastic students fall, you relativise culture, ethics, moral. when we talk about characters from not only very different culture but also different times, we have to be careful, to not analyze their behavior on our cultural, ethical standards or ideology.
We know for a roman citizen, a good dead was equally important as a good life and suicide in many situation a honorable and absolutely accepted, even prized solution. This believe was anchored in the very specific development of the roman civilization, but influenced by the hellenisation that imprinted Roma as well as the upperclass of Egypt. Combining Hellenistic influence and the impact the religious culture of Egypt may have had on cleopatra, it isn't unrealistic at all to assume she chose suicide, even more if we assume that she felt, as a believer, trans-human through her position and fate as queen of Egypt.

Anonymous said...

I'm deeply impressed by your blog, so many thoughts and insight, often controversial and for sure sometimes not well received from the majority. I enjoyed your insights in different cases, share your opinion on many, but as a scholar of ancient history I'm surprised about your approach to rewrite Cleopatras history... the end of the republic is for sure the most researched and discussed episode of the ancient world. Let's put all real, available evidence beside... im a bit sad to see you falling into one of the most superficial traps mostly young enthusiastic students fall, you relativise culture, ethics, moral. when we talk about characters from not only very different culture but also different times, we have to be careful, to not analyze their behavior on our cultural, ethical standards or ideology.
We know for a roman citizen, a good dead was equally important as a good life and suicide in many situation a honorable and absolutely accepted, even prized solution. This believe was anchored in the very specific development of the roman civilization, but influenced by the hellenisation that imprinted Roma as well as the upperclass of Egypt. Combining Hellenistic influence and the impact the religious culture of Egypt may have had on cleopatra, it isn't unrealistic at all to assume she chose suicide, even more if we assume that she felt, as a believer, trans-human through her position and fate as queen of Egypt.

Pat Brown said...

Anon 3:19

I would be surprised if you actually read my book because IF you did, you would note I in no way "fell into a superficial trap of relativising culture." In fact, most historians have fallen into emotional lemmings of mythology, ignoring evidence to the contrary. I used evidence, both physical and behavioral, to form my theories and all of this is analyzed in detail with a mountain of footnotes and a long bio of all the material I read to base my final determinations on. Cleopatra may be a heavily retold story, but it has hardly had much actual research done to verify any of the accounts; if there had been, we wouldn't have heard the same ridiculous story repeated ad nauseum for the next two thousand years.

There is no evidence that Cleopatra committed suicide yet for centuries historians have failed to do any kind of analysis of the evidence; instead, they simply repeated this silly myth, over and over and over again. Since I have put forth evidence that no snake existed (The Mysterious Death of Cleopatra; Discovery Channel 2004 and The Murder of Cleopatra 2013), almost all historians have accepted my evidence and no longer claim Cleopatra was killed by an asp. If they actually read the evidence I presented, they might well also realize that the evidence supports that she was murderered, that Antony did not desert his men at Actium to chase after his lady love, and Cleopatra and her handmaidens did not refuse to unlock the door to the temple (not mausoleum) to let Antony in and tie him to a rope and haul the dying man four stories up the side of the building.

While historians seem to do better analyzing the evidence of more recent history, they have failed quite miserably in their assessment of ancient times, basing their regurgitation of history on old myth tellers aka ancient historians without stopping to think if what is being claimed even makes a shred of sense.

Please actually read my book and all the evidence contained within before you comment on its content.