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Ian Daugherty

Professor Cian

Latin 1

16 October 2017

Marcus Antony

Marcus Antonius was born in 83 B.C. in Rome to a well-respected family. Marcus had a

grandfather who was one of Rome’s leading public speakers. Marcus Antonius Creticus, his

father, died while fighting pirates in a military expedition while Marcus was young. Antony

received a great education. The skills Antony learned would eventually lead to help him later in

life with politics, like things such as speaking in public or thinking about topics from different

angles and points of view. As a child, Marcus had many great qualities, like being a loyal friend;

he was brave, athletic, and attractive, but was also reckless, lazy, drank, and was involved with

different love affairs. (1 & 2)

Marcus Antony was politically affiliated with Caesar himself. Antony received his first

overseas experience in the eastern portion of the Roman Empire, when, during 57 to 55 B.C.E.,

he served with the Roman governor of Syria, which was a province (territory) of Rome. From

there he went to serve with Caesar in Gaul (which is now modern-day France, Germany,

Belgium, and Italy). Caesar conquered Gaul for Rome, and Antony assisted him in suppressing

local rebellion against the Romans. In 50 B.C.E., after returning to Rome, Antony was elected a

tribune, an office that represented the people's interests. Tribunes were expected to stand up for

the rights of individuals and for those who were not members of the highest classes of Roman

society. Antony came into the office at a critical time. Caesar's command in Gaul was coming to
an end, and a group in the Senate was set on bringing Caesar to trial for what they saw as his

misuse of his power. Caesar depended upon the tribunes to look after his interests in Rome, and

Antony did so when he vetoed a decree that required Caesar and the men he commanded to lay

down their arms. However, when the Senate gave its officers special powers to "preserve the

state," Antony felt that the measure would be used against him and he fled to Caesar. By doing

so, he gave Caesar the opportunity to assert his power, because he could claim he was defending

the people's representatives - the tribunes - against the power of the Senate. On March 15, 44

B.C.E., he was assassinated. Antony was spared on the grounds that the aim of the plot was to

remove an illegal ruler, and that killing the consul, who was the chief legitimate officer of the

Roman state, would reflect poorly on the cause. (2)

After Caesar's assassination, Cleopatra set her sights on the dashing Roman general Mark

Antony. The two began an affair, resulting in twins in 40 B.C. Antony wed Cleopatra in 36 B.C.,

and appointed his new wife ruler of Egypt, Cyprus, Crete, and Cyria. This abuse of power so

outraged the Roman Senate that they denounced him a traitor. After losing a major battle at sea,

Antony and Cleopatra were forced to flee to Egypt in 31 B.C. Cleopatra saw her alliance with

Antony as a wonderful opportunity to revive the past glories of the Ptolemies, the royal family

line from which she was descended. What Antony's ideas were is not clear. He was certainly

most dependent on Cleopatra for money, and he did give territory and grant titles to Cleopatra's

family. Cleopatra, in desperation after the Roman Senate denounced Antony a traitor, faked her

own suicide. With Marcus hearing this, he stabbed himself to death. When Cleopatra heard this,

she induced a poisonous snake to bite her. (2 & 3)

With Caesar's death, Antony was forced to fight a two-front war. One front was against

those who had plotted to kill Caesar. The other was with Caesar's supporters, who were
undecided on how to avenge Caesar and as to who would lead them. Antony might have ensured

his leadership without difficulty if the young Octavian, nephew of Caesar, had not appeared,

claiming to be Caesar's adopted son and heir and also demanding to be given Caesar's political

power. A few months later, Octavian realized he was being used by the Senate and made an

alliance with Marcus. The result was the formation of the Second Triumvirate of Antony,

Octavian, and Lepidus (c. 90–13 B.C.E.) , another of Caesar's former officers. As a triumvirate,

they assumed absolute authority for ruling the empire, although Anthony and Octavian soon

edged Lepidus out of power. Unlike an earlier triumvirate consisting of Caesar, Pompey, and the

politician Crassus (c. 115–53 B.C.E.), which was a mere political alliance, the Second

Triumvirate became a constitutionally established body for ruling the state. Octavian assumed

control in the west, Antony in the east, and Lepidus (for a time) in Africa. (2)

At the close of 33 B.C.E. the Second Triumvirate legally came to an end. At the same

time the crisis between Octavian and Antony was reaching a climax. Antony still had support in

Rome. Octavian turned public opinion against Antony, however, doing so by announcing

Antony's divorce of Octavia for Cleopatra, reading Antony's will (in which his strong ties to

Cleopatra were stressed), and starting rumors against Antony. This immensely impacts Marcus.

Octavian gathered support in Italy, while Antony's Roman friends had mixed emotions about

waging war on the side of the Egyptian queen. The two men and their armies met off at Actium,

Greece, on September 2, 31 B.C.E. In a confused battle Antony's fleet was defeated. He fled

back to Egypt with Cleopatra. Upon Octavian's arrival in Egypt, Antony committed suicide.

Octavian went on to become the first emperor of Rome, taking the name Augustus. (2)