What Happened After Cleopatra Died?

Cleopatra, Queen of Ancient Egypt, had such a dramatic life that she is still known by billions around the world, thousands of years after her reign and sudden death. According to History, Cleopatra was killed by snake bite after her forces were lost against Octavian, the man who would go on to be the first emperor of Rome. The tangling of Roman and Egyptian politics was a common theme throughout Cleopatra's life, and the queen was often at the center of political intrigue and scandal.

Cleopatra was a Macedonian princess with no Egyptian blood, appointed Queen after the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, and ruled alongside her brother Ptolemy XIII ... who also became her husband (via History). After civil wars in both Egypt and Rome, Julius Caesar arrived in the land of the Nile, and Cleopatra sought to win his favor. The two became lovers, and Caesar left Cleopatra with a son. She soon fell in with another powerful Roman, Marc Antony, who fought against Octavian and lost. Determined not to leave her fate to the Romans, Cleopatra killed herself with a snake bite.

Cleopatra planned her death carefully

Cleopatra's suicide was not a spur-of-the-moment action but rather meticulously planned and researched by the Egyptian Queen. According to Ancient Egypt Online, once Cleopatra decided that she did not want to be paraded through the streets of Rome before a grisly, public execution, she began studying the effects of different poisons while ordering the design and construction of her own mausoleum. She determined that fast poisons were too painful and slow poisons too dreadful, and settled for death from asp or cobra venom. 

The victorious Octavian set about looting her palace and executing Caesarion, the lovechild of Cleopatra and his enemy Julius Caesar. According to History, the funds used from his looting were enough to pay Octavian's army, which returned to Rome having quieted the rebellion of Marc Antony and his lover. Soon, he became Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, and led a successful reign that expanded the empire until his death at the age of 75. Europe and the world at large might look very different had Cleopatra succeeded.