The suicide of Cleopatra: Cleopatra lies on her bed clasping the tail of the asp that just bit her. Lithograph after Guido Reni.
- Reni, Guido, 1575-1642.
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About this work
Cleopatra VII (69 BC-30 BC), Egyptian Queen, lover of Julius Caesar and later the wife of Mark Antony. After the Roman armies of Octavian (the future Emperor Augustus) defeated their combined forces, Antony and Cleopatra killed themselves, and Egypt fell under Roman domination. Rather than be dragged through the city in which she had been borne as a queen, she killed herself, possibly by means of an asp, symbol of divine royalty.
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