Mark Antony in Roman Biography

Antonius, (Marcus,) surnamed the Triumvir, called in English Mark Antony, [Fr. Marc-Antoine, miRk'- ON'twin',] a famous Roman general and politician, a son of M. Antonius Creticus, was born about 83 B.C. His mother was Julia, a daughter of L. Julius Caesar, who was consul in 90 B.C. He distinguished himself in his youth by his talents, extravagance, and audacious defiance of the laws. He commanded the cavalry under Gabinius in Syria and Egypt in 57-56 B.C., and was elected quaestor in 53 or 52. In the latter year he served in Gaul as lieutenant of Caesar, by whose influence he obtained the offices of augur ancf tribune in 50 B.C. Antony used his power as tribune to promote the interest of Caesar in his contest with the senate. In January, 49, he fled from the city to the camp of Caesar, and in the civil war which ensued he became the lieutenant of that chief, who, when he passed from Italy tc Spain, intrusted to Antony the chief command in the former country. He proved himself a brave and able general, and commanded the left wing at the battle of Pharsalia, 48 B.C. When Caesar became dictator, 47 B.C., Antony was appointed his master of the horse. He married Fulvia, the widow of P. Clodius, in th». year 46, and was the colleague of Caesar in the consulship in 44. Many of the conspirators who killed the dictator wished to involve Antony in the same fate; but this design was overruled by Brutus. Having obtained possession of the papers of Caesar he aspired to supreme power, but opened insidious negotiations with Brutus and Cassius, consented to an amnesty, and procured from the senate a decree to ratify the acts of the late dictator. By his artful and eloquent funeral oration over the body of Caesar, he aroused the fury of the populace against the conspirators, who were, in consequence, driven out of Rome. He found a power- ful rival in young Octavius, (the adopted son and heir of Caesar,) whom he at first treated with contempt. Antony's popularity was also damaged by the Philippics of Cicero. The consuls Hirtius and Pansa raised an army against Antony, who was defeated at Mu'tina (now Modena) in 43 B.C. Before the end of this year, Octavius deserted the cause of the senate, and united with Antony and Lepidus to form a triumvirate. It was on the demand of Antony that Cicero was included in the fatal proscription-list of the triumvirs. The conduct of the war against Brutus and Cassius devolved chiefly on Antony, to whose skill the victory at Philippi, 42 B.C., must be ascribed. In the division of the provinces, Asia and the East in general were allotted to Antony, who there indulged without restraint his love of luxury and dissolute vices. He was captivated by the charms of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, and became so infatuated as almost wholly to neglect his affairs. The intrigues of Fulvia caused a rupture between Antony and Octavius in 41, but after her death in 40 B.C. they were reconciled, and the former married Octavia, the sister of Octavius. Antony's army, under Ventidius, defeated the Parthians in the year 38. About the end of that year the triumvirate was renewed for a second period of five years. Antony soon renewed his connection with Cleopatra, and divorced Octavia. The rival triumvirs began to prepare for war in 32 B.C., or earlier, and fought in 31 a decisive naval battle at Actium, where Antony was defeated. (See Augustus.) He retreated to Alexandria, and was deserted by his rleet. Finding his case desperate, he killed himself, in 30 B.C. He had by Fulvia two sons, lulus and Antyllus, who survived him. Antony is a conspicuous character in two of Shakspeare's dramas,-"Julius Caesar" and "Antony and Cleopatra." See "Antony," in Plutarch's "Lives;" Dion Cassius, " History of Rome ;" Drumann, " Geschichte Roms;" Appian, " Bellum Civile."

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