A number of dramatic Victorian paintings depict “Mother of Kings, Queen of Kings, the Youngest Goddess” Cleopatra VII releasing herself from life with a deadly snake at her pale breast. Like many of the sparse, but vivid, stories about Cleopatra, it’s poetically stirring. It would have been a gruesomely painful death, though, and according to Plutarch when her body was discovered by Octavian, she was laying in peaceful repose with her handmaidens Iras and Charmion joining her in death. Chairman, was still awake, and is said to have spoken before she passed out, indicating that what killed the trio may have been a kind of narcotic elixir.