(Marcus Antony)

83–30 BC

Antony was a close associate of Caesar, and one of his favorite generals. On Caesar's death Antony immediately rose to prominence, and contended with Octavius for control of the empire. The story of how he lost control of the entire Roman Empire and eventually his life due to the entanglements of a torrid love affair with Cleopatra is one of the most famous romances in all of history.

Mark Antony
Antony had a reputation of riotous living from his youth, but he eventually distinguished himself as a soldier and commander of high merit. He served many years with Caesar, and was trusted to lead the left wing against Pompey at the battle of Pharsalia. He was given positions under Caesar's government, but he was not entirely trusted due to his sometimes excessive entertainments. His marriage to Fulvia appeared to effect a great change in him, and by 44 B.C., the year that Caesar was assassinated, he was entrusted as Caesar's personal assistant. Immediately after the assassination he began to consolidate power, and drive his enemies out of Rome, but when the young Octavius, nephew and heir of Julius Caesar, appeared on the scene, the situation became complicated. After several years of maneuvering, Octavius and Antony agreed to split the empire between them, Octavius leading the western half, and Antony in charge of the far richer eastern half. They sealed the arrangement by the marriage of Antony to Octavia, sister of Octavius. By the time of Antony's marriage, he had already become acquainted with Cleopatra, but he had left her in Egypt, and was, for the time being, attending to matters in Rome.

When Antony returned to visit Cleopatra in Egypt three years later, he had no intention of abandoning his imperial responsibilities, but as the months turned into years and Antony remained in Egypt, the problems of the empire, not to mention his domestic obligations were seriously neglected. Eventually the Roman people withdrew their support from him, and effectively declared war. Octavius and Antony met at the battle of Actium, but Antony did not even stay to finish the fight before sailing off to join Cleopatra in Egypt. In despair, they both committed suicide.

Key events during the life of Marc Antony:

56 BC
Campaigned in Gaul with Caesar.
53 BC
49 BC
Tribune. Fled to join Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon.
48 BC
In Battle of Pharsalia, Antony led the left wing against Pompey.
44 BC
Consul when Caesar was assassinated. Aroused the mob against the conspirators.
43 BC
After falling out with Octavius, the two are reconciled and form the second triumvirate with Lepidus.
42 BC
At Philippi, Antony and Octavius defeat Republican army under Brutus. Antony begins love affair with Cleopatra.
40 BC
First wife, Fulvia, dies, and Antony marries Octavia, sister of Octavius. She keeps peace between the two.
37 BC
Begins extended pleasure visit to Cleopatra in Egypt, neglecting concerns of the state.
36 BC
Invades Parthia, but then returns to Egypt, continuing to alienate Octavius and all of Rome.
32 BC
Senate deprives Antony of his position.
31 BC
Antony and Cleopatra sail off in the middle of the battle of Actium, retreat to Egypt and commit suicide.

Book Links
Cleopatra  by  Jacob Abbott

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Battle of Philippi  in  Cleopatra  by  Jacob Abbott
Antony and Augustus  in  Roman Life in the Days of Cicero  by  Alfred J. Church
Man Who Looked Like Hercules in  Tales of the Romans: The Children's Plutarch  by  F. J. Gould
Second Triumvirate  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Antony and Cleopatra  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Marc Antony  in  Back Matter  by  books/horne/soldiers/_back.html
Antony  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie Kaufman
Nobles Plot against Caesar  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Mark Antony Speaks to the Citizens  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Antony and Cleopatra  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Antony and Cleopatra  in  Historical Tales: Roman  by  Charles Morris

Image Links

Antony Crossing the Desert.
 in Cleopatra

The Raising of Antony to the Upper Window of the Tomb.
 in Cleopatra

Marcus Antonius
 in Roman Life in the Days of Cicero

Antony and Cleopatra
 in The Story of the Romans

Antony delivering the Funeral Oration
 in Famous Men of Rome

Antony Offering to Crown Caesar
 in Greatest Nations - Rome

Antony's Oration over Caesar's Body
 in Greatest Nations - Rome

The First Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra
 in Greatest Nations - Rome

The Sea-Fight of Actium
 in Greatest Nations - Rome

Mark Antony
 in Back Matter

Antony's Oration Over Caesar
 in Historical Tales: Roman

Marcus Antonius Delivering the Funeral Oration Over Caesar.
 in Old World Hero Stories

Short Biography
Julius Caesar Conquered Gaul, prevailed in civil war. Mastermind of Roman empire. Killed by senators.
Cleopatra Queen of Egypt. Lover of both Caesar and Mark Antony.
Augustus Caesar First emperor. Reigned for over fifty years. Established the Imperial system.
Marcus Brutus Leader of conspirators to assassinate Caesar. Committed suicide at Philippi.
Octavia Sister of Octavius and second wife of Marc Antony.
Fulvia Wealthy and scheming Roman matron. Married to Clodius, then to Mark Antony. Enemy of Cicero.
Lepidus One of Caesar's most eminent generals; third member of the Second Triumvirate.