Front Matter The First Settlers Escape from the Burning City The Clever Trick The Boards Are Eaten The Wolf and the Twins Romulus Builds Rome The Maidens Carried Off Union of Sabines and Romans Death of Romulus Strange Signs of the Romans The Quarrel with Alba The Horatii and Curiatii Tarquin and the Eagle The Roman Youths The King Outwitted The Murder of Tarquin The Ungrateful Children The Mysterious Books Tarquin's Poppies The Oracle of Delphi The Death of Lucretia The Stern Father A Roman Triumph A Roman Triumph (Cont.) Defense of the Bridge The Burnt Hand The Twin Gods The Wrongs of the Poor Fable of the Stomach The Story of Coriolanus The Farmer Hero The New Laws Death of Virginia Plans of a Traitor A School-Teacher Punished Invasion of the Gauls The Sacred Geese Two Heroes of Rome Disaster at Caudine Forks Pyrrhus and His Elephants The Elephants Routed Ancient Ships Regulus and the Snake Hannibal Crosses the Alps The Romans Defeated The Inventor Archimedes The Roman Conquests Destruction of Carthage Roman Amusements The Jewels of Cornelia Death of Tiberius Gracchus Caius Gracchus Jugurtha, King of Numidia The Barbarians The Social War The Flight of Marius The Proscription Lists Sertorius and His Doe Revolt of the Slaves Pompey's Conquests Conspiracy of Catiline Caesar's Conquests Crossing of the Rubicon Battle of Pharsalia The Death of Caesar The Second Triumvirate The Vision of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra The Poisonous Snake The Augustan Age Death of Augustus Varus Avenged Death of Germanicus Tiberius Smothered The Wild Caligula Wicked Wives of Claudius Nero's First Crimes Christians Persecuted Nero's Cruelty Two Short Reigns The Siege of Jerusalem The Buried Cities The Terrible Banquet The Emperor's Tablets The Good Trajan Trajan's Column The Great Wall Hadrian's Death Antoninus Pius The Model Pagan Another Cruel Emperor An Unnatural Son The Senate of Women The Gigantic Emperor Invasion of the Goths Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra A Prophecy Fulfulled First Christian Emperor Roman Empire Divided An Emperor's Penance Sieges of Rome End of the Western Empire

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

The Poisonous Snake

Octavius followed Antony and Cleopatra to Egypt as soon as he had made his victory sure. Cleopatra tried many times to make peace with him, but he refused to listen to her unless she would give up Mark Antony. Then the fair Egyptian queen tried to soften the stern young conqueror's heart by the sight of her great beauty. But this plan failed also.

All was now at an end, and Cleopatra knew that Octavius would insist upon her going to Rome, where she would have to appear in his triumph. She could not bear this thought, and made up her mind to die rather than suffer such a disgrace.

In the mean while, Mark Antony had heard that she was already dead; so he called his slave Eros, and bade the man kill him. Eros took the sword, as he was told; but, instead of killing his master, he drove it into his own heart, and fell to the earth, dead. Then Mark Antony drew the sword from the slave's breast, and plunged it into his own. Such was his hesitation, however, that the wound did not prove at once fatal; and he lived to hear that the news he had received was false, and that Cleopatra still lived.

To see her once more, Antony had himself carried to the tower in which the Egyptian queen had taken refuge, with her servants and treasures. But the doors were so well barricaded that they could not be opened. He therefore had himself lifted through a window; but he died just as he was laid at Cleopatra's feet.

After obtaining permission to bury Antony, and assuring herself that there was no hope of escape, Cleopatra lay down upon her couch to die. Taking an asp—a very poisonous serpent—from a basket of fruit in which it was hidden, she allowed it to bite her till she died.

Octavius, warned of her danger, sent in haste to save her; but his officer found her already dead, with her favorite attendants dying at her feet. "Is this well?" he asked of one of these women.

"Yes, it is well!" she answered, and died smiling because her beautiful mistress would never be obliged to follow the conqueror's chariot in the streets of Rome.

By the death of his rival, Octavius now found himself sole ruler; and with Antony the old Roman Republic ends, and the story of the Roman Empire begins.