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
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
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,
of Rome ;" Drumann, "
Geschichte Roms;" Appian,