The long-held belief that Cleopatra died of snakebite has been proved a myth - the cause of death, a German scientist says, is a lethal drug cocktail that included opium and hemlock.
Christoph Schaefer, a historian and professor at the University of Trier, has presented evidence on a TV show that aims to prove drugs and not the reptile were the cause of the Egyptian beauty's death.
Advertisement"Queen Cleopatra was famous for her beauty and was unlikely to have subjected herself to a long and disfiguring death," The Scotsman quoted Schaefer as saying
He is also the author of a best-selling book in Germany titled 'Cleopatra'.
"It was this aspect, her beauty which she cherished so much, which made me journey with other experts to Alexandria, Egypt, where we consulted ancient medical texts and snake experts. Cleopatra wanted to remain beautiful in her death to maintain her myth," Schaefer said.
"We consulted zoologists and toxicologists; a snake bite would have been too uncertain and taken too long," he added.
The Adventure Science programme, titled 'Cleopatra's Death', displays ancient texts that record the potion as being a popular method of suicide - and assassination - at the time she lived.