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Marcus Antonius

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Mark Antony (Antonius, Marcus) – (83-30 BC) – Roman statesman and general

One of the most famous names of Roman history, Mark Antony, was Caesar’s friend, and he was also Cleopatra’s lover. This boisterous, good-natured, handsome, devil-may-care Roman was a mixture of talents and defects. He was a good general, an excellent second-in-command, popular with his men; a fiery and bold politician who did not mind what he said. But he was in some ways unpredictable. Caesar more than once had to rebuke him for getting above himself, and yet no man adored Caesar more.

Antony attached himself to Caesar’s cause in about 54 BC, and the great man helped him to win several important magistracies.

When Julius was murdered, it was Antony who harangued the stunned populace in Rome and urged them to get their revenge on the conspirators. Then he joined forces with Caesar’s great-nephew and heir Octavian (later Augustus, p. 42) and Lepidus and formed the Second Triumvirate to divide the Roman world between them and govern it. Antony was allotted the eastern provinces.

One of these was Egypt and in about 40 he met Cleopatra again and this time fell to her charms, although he had only just married another woman. Soon he and Cleopatra were living together and ruling Egypt jointly. This made him neglect the other provinces, and when he did stir himself to go to war with the Parthians, he was defeated.

Octavian was concerned about the gradual crumbling of order in the east and he dismissed Antony. War followed, in which Antony was crushed at the great battle of Actium in 31. All was lost and he committed suicide.

Marcus Antonius

Marcus Antonius

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