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Friday, September 22, 2023

The Interesting Life of Marcus Antonius

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Marcus Antonius 83 BC – 30 BC was an ancient Roman politician and commander, participant of the second triumvirate of 43-33 BC. Mark Antony came from a well-known family in Rome, which belonged to a narrow stratum of the ruling elite – the nobility. The Representatives of the genus Antoniev occupied high positions in the Roman Republic as far back as the 5th century BC and one of them participated in the drafting of the famous Laws of the Twelve Tables. These were mostly representatives of the patrician branch of the genus, and the plebeian branch, to which the ancestors of Mark belonged.

In his youth, he spent time in the circle of the capital’s “golden youth”, which significantly spoiled his reputation. He won the glory of a talented military leader, fighting under Gabinius in Judea and Egypt, and later under the command of Caesar in the Gallic and civil wars.

Mark became one of Caesar’s closest companions and quickly rose under his patronage. When after the assassination of Caesar his heir was announced Gaius Octavius (Octavian), Antony first attempted to seize power alone, and then merged with Octavianus and Lepidus, creating a second triumvirate under the pretext of fighting Republicans who were conspirators against Caesar. The Triumvirs staged cruel proscriptions, interrupting the rich and their personal enemies, and it is Antonius who is credited with initiating the execution of the famous speaker and philosopher Cicero. After the victory over Republicans Brutus and Cassius in the battle of Philippi, he began to rule the eastern provinces.

In the East, Antony met with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and fell in love with her, and subsequently, their relationship became the source of many romantic legends. Antony undertook a campaign against the strengthened Parthian state, but with great losses retreated. When the term of office of the triumvirate was over, Antony assembled his troops in Greece to repulse the attack of Octavian but was trapped in the Ambrakian Gulf. On September 2, 31 BC Antony and Cleopatra broke through the blockade of Octavian in the Battle of Actium and returned to Egypt, but lost most of the fleet and any hope of victory. Mark committed suicide in the besieged Alexandria, and a few days later Cleopatra followed suit.

Physical appearance

Antony had a beautiful and representative appearance: An excellent beard, a broad forehead, a nose with a hump, a manly appearance and some resemblance to Hercules, as represented by artists and sculptors.

Personal life

Antony’s first wife was Fadia, was the daughter of a rich man, and Marcus probably married hear for the money. Approximately after 55 BC, Antony entered into his second marriage. His wife was a cousin Antonia Hybrid, the daughter of Guy Antonia Hybrid. Between 54 and 49 years BC they had a daughter. In 47 BC Mark divorced her on charges of treason. In 44 BC he arranged with Lepidus the marriage of his daughter and his son when they grow up. However, in 34 BC Mark broke off the engagement with Lepidus, who fell into disgrace and gave his daughter for Pythodor a rich Greek. The descendants of his daughter ruled some eastern kingdoms for a while, and until the fourth century, they continuously ruled the Bosporus Kingdom.

In 47 BC soon after the divorce from Antonia, Mark married his longtime mistress Fulvia. Her previous husbands were friends of Mark – Clodius and Curio. The couple had two children – Mark Antony Antill and Yul Anthony. The latter received an unusual name for the Romans in honor of the murdered Julius Caesar.

In 40 BC Fulvia was deported from Italy after the Peruzin war and died in Sicyon in the Peloponnese. Octavian took advantage of this situation and secured a new contract with Antony and his marriage to his sister. Octavia bore Antony two daughters. Mark spent most of the time not with her (Octavia usually stayed in Rome, while Antony did not appear in the capital after 39 BC), but with Cleopatra. In the late 30-is BC, they tried to accuse Mark of violating marital vows, Octavia asked her brother not to make her a pawn in his political games.

All surviving children of Antony, after his suicide, were brought up by Octavia. Several of Antony’s daughters, using the proximity to the Roman emperor, managed to mary prominent supporters of Octavian and the rulers of the allied kingdoms. From the marriage of Drusus the Elder and Antony the Younger, Germanicus and Claudius were born , who became emperors in 41. Among the children of Germanicus were the emperor Caligula and Agrippina the Younger. The latter married Gnaeus Domitius Agenobarba, the son of Anthony the Elder. Soon Agrippina married Claudia and forced him to adopt his son from his first marriage. In 54, her son, known as Nero, became a Roman emperor.

Anthony and Cleopatra

The history of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra is full of romantic details, invented back in the ancient era, but it is based on real events. Cleopatra began to be perceived as a more important character than in reality, and Antony, on the contrary, rather went into the shadows, and he is usually remembered in conjunction with the more famous queen.

Cleopatra gave birth to three children – twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene. Subsequently, she had a third child Ptolemy Philadelph. After the divorce from Octavia in 32 BC Anthony legitimized his marriage to the Egyptian queen, although according to the Roman law it was not considered to be completely legal.

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