I was so irked at The History Channel today I had to send them a comment. We’re watching a show that’s supposed to investigate whether Cleopatra actually killed herself using a famous FBI Profiler and modern forensics. I think it’s a great idea. Except for the same glaring issue that plagues ALL of the History Channel shows: Christian-value based experts who assume ancient peoples had the same social mores and values that we do now.
Guess what Pat Brown: Suicide WAS NOT a last resort by a person in extreme pain in Cleopatra’s time. Suicide was a better option for Cleopatra than being paraded by Octavian as a war prize in front of the entire roman population, only to rot in prison forever or be killed in the games as Vercingetorix was. Christianity took such a dim view of suicide because it WAS seen as an honorable, viable alternative to being killed by the state, and suiciding would take away martyrdom, becuase by killing yourself you take your fate out of God’s hands.
Sometimes I really love the History Channel for bringing ancient knowledge to light for the average person. most of the time I hate it for being inaccurate and using experts who don’t bother to learn any of the history before they comment on something.
I fully accept that killing herself with a snake is unlikely and probably part of the mythology of Cleopatra, but having an expert say she wasn’t the type to kill herself at all is just damn idiotic. Of course she doesn’t fit the modern profile of a suicide: she wasn’t a modern woman. Idiots. Ignorant fools.