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Mark Antony

Багерман А.Я.

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Mark Antony (83-30 BC) - descended from an old aristocratic family of Rome, whose ancestor, according to legend, was Anton, the son of Hercules. This family had two branches – Patrician and Plebeian. From the Patrician branch came many statesmen of the Roman Republic-consuls, aediles, senators, etc., and one of the ancestors in this line even participated in the compilation of the famous laws of the 12 tables (a special set of laws that regulated almost all aspects of life in Ancient Rome). They were the first written laws of ancient Rome. They have come down to us fragmentary in the form of excerpts.

Marble bust of Mark Antony. Fine-grained yellowish marble. Rome, Vatican Museums, Chiaramonti Museum, New Wing, 89. Flavian Era, 69-96 AD

Antony's family and youth

Mark Antony and his parents were descended from a different branch of this family, not Patrician, but Plebeian, which was able to rise not so long ago – Mark Antony's grandfather was able to become consul only in 99 BC. e. Antony's parents were contemporaries of Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, being supporters of Sulla. Mark Antony's father was called Mark Antony of Crete (creticus). He got his nickname-cognomen-for fighting pirates while serving as praetor, although it is unclear whether it was successful or not. Antony's mother's name was Julia, and she was a distant relative of the ancient family of the Julii Gaius Julius Caesar and To Octavian Augustus, though unlike Caesar, her family supported not Gaius Marius, but Sulla in the civil war that unfolded between them. There is no exact data on Mark Antony's childhood, but it can be assumed that he received a good education with an emphasis on military training, as the scion of a wealthy family. He also had two younger brothers, Lucius and Gaius.

Gaius Antonius (81-42 BC) - brother of Mark Antony. The Praetor of 44 BC, like his brothers, supported Caesar. He was able to reach the rank of legate of the Legion. Supported Caesar in the Civil War with Pompey. After that, he was a pontiff and praetor. In the outbreak of war, after the assassination of Caesar, he was captured by Marcus Junius Brutus and executed by him in protest against the proscription executions organized by the triumvirs in Rome.

Lucius Antonius (80-40 BC), the younger brother of Mark Antony, was able to achieve the posts of consul (41 BC), Quaestor (50 BC) and tribune of the people (44 BC). Like his brother, he supported Julius Caesar, and after his death spoke at the Council of the Roman Empire. on my brother's side. After the enmity between Antony and Octavian began, he sided with his brother and provoked the so-called “Perusinian War” (autumn 41-spring 40 BC), but lost without receiving help from his brother, was pardoned by Octavian and sent to proconsul of Spain, where he soon died. After his death in 71 BC. Mark Antony of Crete found out that he left behind a lot of debts. Part of the property Julia sold, but this was not enough to cover the debts, and he decided to remarry with the consul of 71 BC Publius Cornelius Suru, but this did not particularly improve the financial situation of the family of Mark Antony the Younger because Suru was expelled from the Senate in 70 BC.

To improve his position as a politician and his family, Sura took part in the 63 BC Catiline conspiracy, but was exposed and soon executed. Apparently, because of his personal involvement in exposing this plot and executing its participants, Antony may have harbored a grudge against Cicero, which was one of the reasons for their future feud with each other and the murder of Cicero on Antony's orders during the second triumvirate. Antony personally added Cicero's name to the proscription lists. On the contrary, at the same time, Gaius Julius Caesar called not to execute the conspirators, but to deprive them of their freedom for life. Perhaps this is why Mark Antony will become Caesar's companion in the future.

In his youth, Antony, despite his family's debts, led a traditional patrician lifestyle. Plutarch on the young Mark Antony: "Gaius Curio, son of the consul of 76 BC, was the best friend of the young Mark Antony and it was because of him that Antony became addicted to booze, women and an unaffordable luxury lifestyle. Antony grew a beard and, in imitation of his mythical ancestor Hercules, "belted his tunic at the hips, strapped a long sword to his belt, and wrapped himself in a heavy military cloak." Plutarch. Comparative biographies. Antony. 2 and 4.

Aureus with portraits of Antony (left) and Octavian (right). 41 BC

Early political and military career

In the late 60s BC, Anthony once had a friendship with the famous Plebeian tribune, the leader of the radical masses in Rome, Clodius, but then because of an affair with his wife, their friendship came to an end. It was because of such “tricks”, despite the noble origin, that Antonia could not find a wife for a long time. As a result, his first wife was Fadia, the daughter of a rich freedman, a former slave, Quintus Fadius Balla. In Rome, such a marriage was considered unequal (misalliance), but what to do debts from his father and his own pressed on Antony. But the marriage didn't improve his financial situation much. According to one version, it was precisely because of debts, according to another, in order to improve his oratorical skills, Anthony left Rome for Greece in 58 BC. From there, in the same year, at the suggestion of the son of a friend of his grandfather, Aulus Gabinius, who became governor of Syria and received from him the post of prefect of cavalry, he went with him to Syria.

In 58-54 BC, Antony fights under the command of Gabinius, first in Judea, for the restoration of Roman power in it, and then in Egypt, violating the Roman ban, helping Pharaoh Ptolemy XII to get the throne again, after being deposed. Gabinius was convicted for his arbitrariness, but Antony managed to avoid prosecution and trial as an accomplice of Gabinius, accepting the offer of G. Caesar and going with him to the war in Gaul in late 55-early 54 BC. During the Gallic War, Mark took part in many battles, inspiring his soldiers with his speeches and example. Caesar began to trust Mark with independent management, trusting, during his absence, to manage a number of conquered territories in Gaul. The conquests of Gaul enriched Mark Antony, which is what he sought when he agreed to Caesar's proposals for participation in the Gallic War.

With Caesar's support, Mark Antony was able to obtain three consecutive state posts in Rome at once-Quaestor, tribune of the people, and augur, but at the same time he had to resist, while in Rome, the machinations of the Senate, which wanted to infringe on Caesar's rights and limit his power and influence in Gaul. In 50 BC, when Caesar's powers were about to expire in Gaul, the Senate demanded that he report to Rome, first obliging him to disband his troops and resign his powers, thus becoming a private person. But Caesar refused, and Mark Antony's attempt to protect him in Rome led to his beating and expulsion from the Senate building. Antony fled Rome to join Caesar in Gaul. Caesar showed the battered Antony to his troops and explained to them what the Senate required of him.

Denarius, minted in honor of the campaign in Armenia. Left — Cleopatra, right-Antony and the inscription "Antoni Armenia devicta"

Civil War and Caesar's Dictatorship

As a result, Caesar and his troops marched on Rome, crossing the Rubicon River in 49 BC, and this marked the beginning of a civil war between him and his supporters on the one hand and Pompey, his supporters and a large part of the Senate, on the other. In circumvention of the law that forbade the tribunes of the people to command troops, Caesar, needing experienced and loyal commanders, gave Antony the powers of propraetor and gave him the command of the troops.

During the civil war, Mark Antony combined the position of tribune of the people, periodically leaving the troops for meetings in Rome and commanding the troops. When Caesar went to Spain, he gave Antony control of Italy and all the troops in it, but the capital was to be ruled by the praetor Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.

Together with Lepidus, Antony organized the gathering of troops and fleets for a breakthrough, organized by Pompey, who had fled to Greece, and a naval blockade of Italy. Lepidus, being in the rank of propraetor, after the failure of him and Antony to organize the election of consuls in 48 BC, appointed Caesar dictator with the help of the remaining senators and the popular assembly. After that, Caesar, having collected part of the forces, crossed to Greece in January 48 BC. e., telling Antony to finish collecting troops and go after him. During this situation, Mark Antony became very rich.

In April 48 BC, Antony, having overcome the Pompeians ' attempt to prevent him from crossing, managed to cross the Ionian Sea and landed in Greece with the remaining troops. After landing, Antony quickly went to join up with Caesar and managed to cooperate with him before the battle of Dyrrachium. Antony commanded the left flank of Caesar's army at the Battle of Pharsalus in August 48 BC, and after winning it, he returned to Rome.

Back in Rome, Mark Antony managed to organize the election of magistrates, but managed to elect only the lower ones and extend Caesar's office as Caesar, while himself receiving the position of chief (prefect) of the cavalry. In fact, until Caesar's return from Egypt, Mark Antony remained the sole ruler of Italy. During this time in Italy, there was a commotion of soldiers in Campania who demanded their honorable retirement, many of them serving since the beginning of the Gallic War, in Rome, clashes broke out between two tribunes of the people on the issue of debts and the position of debtors, which led to clashes between armed detachments of these tribunes in the streets of Rome. Antony's attempts to calm the rebellious soldiers and stop the riots, although he himself secretly supported one of the parties at the beginning of the confrontation, were unsuccessful. When Caesar returned to Rome in October 47 BC from an obscure Egyptian campaign, he put all this in order. According to many historians, at this time, because of the actions of Mark in the absence of Caesar in Italy, a discord occurred between them. This explains, in particular, the non-participation of Mark Antony in the African and Spanish campaigns of Caesar. Mark Antony himself, at this time, made out his new marriage, with his long-time mistress Fulvia.

In 45 BC, when Caesar was returning from his Spanish campaign, Mark Antony was able to get used to him and was among those who met him in Narbonne. In 44 BC, Mark became consul. At this time, Caesar's associates began to compete for the right to be recognized by Caesar as their heir. Caesar himself had no children. Mark Antony had the greatest confidence in his success, as he believed that his distant relationship with Caesar could also help him.

Antony's companion as consul in 44 BC was Caesar himself. Antony, waiting for Caesar to be sent to the Parthian campaign in order to remain only the sole ruler of Rome, since without the second consul, the remaining one remained the sole ruler, in every possible way promoted new honors to Caesar in the Senate and the national assembly. In response, Caesar, while replenishing the patrician class with representatives of well-known Plebeian families, included the family of Antony, making him and his family senators.

In February 44 BC, either by himself or on behalf of Caesar, historians still dispute, Mark Antony put a royal diadem on Caesar's head during the Luprecalia festival, but he refused it. So Caesar, apparently, prepared the ground for declaring himself king, but thereby accelerating the formation of a conspiracy against himself.

Mark Antony's actions in the assassination of Caesar

Anthony was very ambitious and ambitious, so, as many historians believe, the conspirators decided to let him live, I think that he can speak on their side a little later because of his ambition. However, they took steps to detain him during that fateful session of the Senate on March 15, 44 BC, so that he could not help Caesar. There is a version that Antony may have known about the plot, but for some reason did not inform Caesar about it.

After the assassination of Caesar and before the arrival of Octavian in Rome, Mark Antony was able to become the leader of the Caesarians, despite the fact that in the beginning he also claimed this role. Marcus Lepidus (deputy dictator) is the head (prefect) of the cavalry, but through a series of laws passed by the Senate, Lepidus lost his power, and Antony, on the contrary, strengthened it.

At first, Antony wanted, like Lepidus, to execute the conspirators, giving the Senate an ultimatum - the senators had to decide whether they recognized the conspirators as tyrants, and Caesar, respectively, as a tyrant, or they condemned the murder and began the prosecution of the conspirators. But in the end, at a meeting of the Senate, with the active participation and speech of Cicero, a compromise decision was made by the Senate: not to execute the conspirators, but to approve all Caesar's appointments of magistrates and the distribution of posts in the provinces for the next year, and to adopt all the laws developed, but not implemented by him. Mark Antony himself, until the official will of Caesar was announced, according to which Octavian received everything, sincerely considered himself his heir and was very upset and angry when he found out about Caesar's will.

Immediately after Caesar's murder, Mark Antony returned to Caesar's house and, with the help of his widow, took possession of all of Caesar's papers, his private and secret correspondence, and 700 million sesterces of government money.

On March 19 or 20, 44 BC, Caesar's funeral took place. After that, and until the end of spring, when Caesar's rightful heir, Octavian, arrived in Rome from Greece, Antony passed a series of laws and further concentrated power in his hands. Brutus fled because of the unrest in the capital, after Caesar's funeral, and Antony's brother Gaius took over the post of city magistrate. The consul Dolabella, who succeeded Caesar as consul, was “removed” by Antony, sending him ahead of schedule to manage the Syrian province allocated to him. He also passed a number of laws, including one that granted land to Caesar's veterans and soldiers.

When Octavian returned to Rome and began to demand a refund from Antony, Antony refused and set up a company for claims in the courts from Caesar's creditors to Octavius, plus, everywhere declaring that Caesar's biological son is not Octavian, but Caesarion (Caesar's son by Cleopatra). But Caesar's veterans insisted on a reconciliation between Octavian and Mark Antony. In parallel with these events, Senator Marcus Tullius Cicero took the side of Octavian.

At the end of 44 and until October 43 BC, a series of battles took place in Italy and the surrounding area, first Mark Antony's struggle with the conspirators entrenched in Cisalpine Gaul, and then Mark Antony's struggle against the Senate and Octavian Augustus. At this time, Cicero was speaking in the Senate with his speeches against Mark Antony, he called his speeches – Philippics.

The head of Mark Antony. Marble. Rome, Capitoline Museum, Montemartini Power Station. I. 59.

The Second Triumvirate

In the autumn of 43 BC, through the mediation of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Octavian and Mark Antony met near Bononia (now the city of Bologna, Italy) near the border of Cisalpine Gaul and Italy. At this meeting, the three agreed to form a second triumvirate.

Under this treaty, the triumvirate was created in order to take power over the Republic in their own hands and punish the murderers of Caesar. The triumvirs also distributed the main magistracies for the coming years among their supporters. So far, only the western provinces were divided, since the eastern ones were still in the hands of Caesar's assassins, Mark Antony received, in addition to Nabon Gaul, which was ceded to Lepidus, the remaining parts of Gaul and plus in Africa, which was ceded to Octavian, the commander of the army loyal to Antony acted.

The second triumvirate was legalized by the law of Titus on November 27, 43 BC, 3 days after the triumvirs entered Rome. According to it, the triumvirs received exclusive powers for 5 years, including the right to appoint higher magistrates. Then the terror began in Rome – the second, after Sulla, proscription lists. One of the victims of these proscriptions (executions) was Marcus Tullius Cicero, a long-time enemy of Mark Antony and personally entered by him in the proscription lists.

The proscriptions were also partly caused by the question of the triumvirs ' debt to their soldiers. Because of the proscriptions, many senators and horsemen included in them fled to Brutus and Cassius in the East and to Sextus Pompey in Sicily. According to some historians, when the head and hand (or both hands) of Cicero were delivered to Mark Antony while he was eating, they were placed on the dining table, and then Mark Antony's wife, Fulvia, went to the head and pricked Cicero's tongue with pins, because he was alive, as well, but only with a word stabbed her husband Antony.

After replenishing their own and the soldiers ' finances, leaving Lepidus in Italy, Antony and Octavian went to Greece to fight the Republicans who killed Caesar. By this time Brutus had subdued all the Roman possessions in the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor, and Cassius occupied Syria. They were able to raise a lot of money and recruit a strong army of up to 19 legions (approx. 100 thousand soldiers) and a strong navy.

The decisive two battles with a gap of about a month between the Caesarians and Republicans took place in October and November at Philippi (North Macedonia, Greece)in 42 BC. e. approximately 100 thousand people (19 legions) fought on both sides. In the first battle, there was a draw - Antony won on the left flank against Cassius and he died, and Brutus on the right flank against Octavian. In the second battle, due to Octavian's illness, Antony was in charge, and he was able to defeat Brutus, who was soon killed. Some of the Republican soldiers also died, some were captured, some surrendered or went to the service of Antony, and some were able to escape to Sicily to Sextus Pompey.

After defeating Caesar's assassins, it would seem that the goal of the triumvirate was achieved and it should have ended, but no-the triumvirs, only Octavian and Mark Antony (they did not take Lepidus into account) made a new division of the provinces and divided the spheres of influence and government, while retaining their extraordinary powers. Octavian received the West and Rome, and Mark Antony the East. Octavian and his troops sailed west to Rome, while Mark Antony remained in the East with 6 legions and a large detachment of cavalry.

In the winter of 42-41 BC, Mark Antony spent in Greece, having dismissed part of his forces, but kept the most efficient units with him in preparation for a military campaign in Parthia. Money was needed for the campaign, and the eastern provinces were able to provide little money, since before Antony they were robbed by Brutus and Cassius to fight the triumvirs. In the city of Tarsus (now the city of Tarsus in Turkey), the first meeting between Antony and Cleopatra took place.

While Antony in the East was preparing to march on Parthia and making love to Cleopatra, in the West, because of the demobilization of a large number of soldiers and providing them with land, a rebellion broke out against Octavian. This revolt, known as the "Perusian War" of 41-40 BC, was led by Antony's remaining brother Lucius and Antony's wife Fulvia, but because of Antony's delay, Octavian was able to suppress the rebellion, sparing the lives of Antony's brother and wife.

When he did set out for Italy, the Parthian army attacked the east, but Mark Antony did not immediately respond to them, but continued on to Italy, where he formed an alliance with Sextus Pompey, who had a large fleet and thus interfered with Italy's food supply.

Arriving in Italy in the autumn of 40 BC, under pressure from Caesar's veterans, the two triumvirs again reconciled, concluded a new treaty, according to which they finally divided the provinces and spheres of their influence – the entire East went to Antony, the entire West to Octavian, while Lepidus (who had already been officially suspended from participating in the triumvirate) and Sextus Pompey were ignored in this agreement.

Sextus, having learned of this agreement, resumed the naval blockade of Italy. Also due to the death of Mark Antony's wife Fulvia and to strengthen their union, Octavian decided to marry Antony to his recently widowed sister Octavia.

After that, in October 39 BC, Antony left for the east to repel the aggression of Parthia, but while he decided his affairs in the West, his general Publius Ventidius Bassus successfully coped with the Parthians, including their aggression in Syria. For this, after completing the repulse of the Parthian aggression and Antony's return to the East, Bassus departed for Rome, where he was granted a triumph. Antony moved to Alexandria. He began to prepare for a punitive campaign against Parthia and spent more and more time with Cleopatra, who in 40 BC gave birth to twins-a boy-Alexander Geklios and a girl - Cleopatra Selene.

Because of Octavian's problems with Sextus Pompeius and Mark Antony's preparations for a campaign in Parthia, a meeting to renew the triumvirate took place, not in the year of its expiration (December 38 BC), but the following year, in the spring of 37 BC. Tarente( city of Taranto, Italy), Antony and Octavian, agreed to extend the term of the triumvirate for another 5 years. They also promised each other military aid – exchanging troops – Octavian gave Mark Antony 4 legions for his war with Parthia, and Antony gave Octavian 120 warships for his war with Sextus Pompey. In addition, the lists of consuls were approved up to 31 BC. e. Some historians believe that the normalization of relations between Octavian and Mark Antony during this period was facilitated by Mark Antony's wife and at the same time Octavian's sister - Octavia.

In 36 BC, despite a violation on the part of Octavian, who never sent legions, unlike Antony, who sent ships, Mark Antony collected 16 legions (approx. 60 thousand people), 10 thousand cavalry and approx. 30 thousand auxiliary troops began his military campaign against Parthia, taking into account the sad experience of Crassus and to neutralize the main advantage of the Parthians - their horse archers, Mark Antony began his invasion of Parthia from the north through Armenia, agreeing on the free passage of his troops through Armenia with the king of Armenia Artavazd II, who also provided Antony with a large auxiliary detachment. Mark Antony also started the campaign taking advantage of the internal conflicts in Armenia, the new king Phraates IV came to power, as a result of the murder of his brothers and father, and began executing their supporters, which turned part of the Parthian nobility against him.

However, historians condemn Mark Antony for starting the company too late. Some historians see this as the reason that Antony was very slow because of Cleopatra, while others accuse him of haste. Mark Antony began a military campaign, close to winter and the enemy was able to gather forces and defeated the Roman wagon train with two legions that guarded it. Plus, Mark Antony lost almost all the siege equipment in this wagon train, and he needed it to complete the siege of the capital of the neighboring state of Armenia – Media-Anthropatene, the city of Phraata. Also, after the death of Anthony's baggage train, King Artavaz II of Armenia left with part of the cavalry. Parthians and retreating with battles returned first to Armenia, and from there to Egypt, losing from 25 to 42 thousand people.

In 35 BC, Alexander Pompey fled to the East, fleeing from the victorious Octavian. After learning about the unsuccessful Parthian campaign of Mark Antony, Sextus decided to create a fleet and arrange a "paradise" life with his sea plunder, but soon he was defeated and executed on Antony's orders.

In 34 BC, Antony decided to take revenge on the king of Armenia for his betrayal in the Parthian campaign and took advantage of the request for help from the king of Media-Anthropatene city also Artavaz, who, having quarreled with Parthia, decided to ask Mark Antony for help from Armenia. Antony began military operations against Armenia, which ended in his victory. He returned to Egypt, where he celebrated his triumph in Alexandria, not Rome.

Golden Aureus with the image of Mark Antony. 42 BC

The confrontation between Antony and Octavian

Gradually, Octavian and Antony began to prepare for war with each other, leading unofficially hostile companies against each other, but verbally advocating the preservation of the triumvirate.

Open hostility and mutual reproaches, insulting poems and rumors began after the official accession of Octavian Augustus to the post of consul in January 33 BC. e. Antony was increasingly accused of colluding with the queen of Egypt and defending her interests, to the detriment of the interests of Rome. He told the Romans that Antony was so dependent on Cleopatra that he would soon move his capital back to Egypt. Antony accordingly reminded him that he, not Octavian, had played the decisive role in the Battle of Philippi, that he, unlike the liar and deceiver Octavian, kept his word and promise, and that Octavian was Caesar's adopted son, and his real son Caesarion.

Antony in his struggle relied on provincials who were not endowed with the right of Roman citizenship and "barbarians", and Octavian presented himself as a supporter of traditions and traditional Roman values, and played on the nationalism of the Romans, contrasting them with" barbarians " betting on the nobility and ordinary Romans, their superstition.

Similarly, Mark Antony began to gradually deify himself. In Egypt, he was considered an earthly incarnation of the god Osiris. However, many of Antony's Roman and Italian supporters began to be intimidated and repelled by his adoption of the Eastern way of life and the growing influence of Cleopatra. In 34 BC, Antony proclaimed Caesarion co-ruler of his mother Cleopatra and divided the kingdoms that had not yet been conquered between the children of his marriage to Cleopatra.

In 33 BC, Antony prepared a new campaign against Parthia, gathering 16 legions in Armenia, but was forced to abandon it due to news from Rome. Here he met with Artavazd of Atropatene and handed over to him a part of Armenia with a small part of his forces. Antony asked Artavasdes for support in the war with Octavian, but he refused.

Despite the fact that Antony could hardly influence the affairs and situation in Rome, despite the success in Octavian's verbal campaign, he still retained the support of the people and the senate, because many of them believed that the lesser evils should be chosen from two evils, and in their opinion, Mark was the one Antony.

In December 33 BC, the term of office of the triumvirs expired and Octavian relinquished the triumvirate, and Antony promised to do so if the constitutional order that existed in Rome before the civil wars was restored. But in fact, Antony did not resign his triumvirate.

In 32 BC, Mark Antony's supporters Gnaeus Ahenobarbus and Gaius Sosius became consuls, and they demanded that the Senate approve all Mark Antony's orders in the east during this time. Sosius even openly opposed Octavian, but it ended with the use of military force on the part of Octavian and the flight of both consuls and 300-from the senators to Alexandria ("The Senate in exile") to Mark Antony. Octavian replaced the escaped consuls by making them suffect consuls as his friends.

Another blow to Octavian, finally untied his hands to fight Mark Antony, was inflicted by Antony himself, divorcing his sister Octavia in the summer of 32 BC. e., legally registering the fact that Octavia had long lived in Rome, and Antony had long lived with Cleopatra, after divorcing Octavia on which he officially married. and he married, alienating some of his supporters, who defected to Octavian. Two of Antony's former supporters told Octavian about Antony's controversial will.

Octavian immediately, in violation of legal and religious prohibitions, took Antony's will from the Vestals and published it. According to Antony's will, he was to be buried in Alexandria after his death, Caesarion was to be recognized as Caesar's rightful heir instead of Octavian, and most of Antony's property, contrary to the law, went to Cleopatra and her children from Antony. There is a version that the will of Mark Antony could have been forged or corrected in this rus by Octavian's supporters. However, this was enough for the Romans to support Octavian.

Octavian openly declared war on Egypt at the end of 32 BC. Antony's authority to negotiate with him for his consulship in 31 BC was revoked. Octavian, not having sufficient military experience and position, forced the inhabitants of all the western provinces to personally swear allegiance to him, as soldiers swore allegiance to a general.

Antony, having learned about this, began to transfer his troops, the troops of Cleopatra and the allied rulers to Greece. Antony was able to gather 100 thousand infantry against 80 thousand in Octavian, a large and strong fleet, his ships were larger and heavier than Octavian's ships, but they had a shortage of rowers, in cavalry the forces of the opponents were equal.

Cleopatra was close to Mark Antony and intervened in his affairs and the course of the campaign, as well as providing food for Antony's troops and his allies. Many of Antony's supporters, because of Cleopatra's influence on him and because the chances of victory in Italy were on their side, suggested that he send the queen back to Egypt.

Antony, seeing that Octavian had fortified the Italian coast to prevent Antony from landing there, changed his tactics and began to strengthen his own forces and the coast, waiting in Greece for Octavian to land there.

Antony fortified the north, waiting for Octavian to approach from there, who, knowing this, ordered his assistant Marcus Agrippa to launch a series of attacks on the west coast of Greece in order to distract Antony from the north and calmly cross and land his forces there. Antony divided his fleet to organize the blockade of Italy and defense, leaving most of the fleet and land army to winter in the Ambracian Gulf of the Ionian Sea, at Cape Actium, and the rest of the ships he dispersed to port cities along the western coast of Greece. So it all happened in the spring of 31 BC.

As a result, Octavian, with the support of Agrippa, was able to capture the northern hill from the wintering grounds of Mark Antony's fleet and army. When Mark Antony learned of this, he crossed to the northern end, where Octavian's camp was located on a hill, from the south, although setting up his camp in an unfavorable place, next to a swamp, which led to the appearance of diseases in his camp. While Octavian was distracting Antony, Agrippa and his fleet captured several supply bases in Antony's rear and cut off his food supply from Egypt. Also, his fleet was locked in a blockade in the bay near Cape Stock. As a result, the allies and Romans began to abandon Antony and move on to Octavian.

As a result, Antony decided to give a sea battle, while there were forces. The force was following the light and maneuverable 400 ships of Agrippa and Octavian against the 200-250 heavy ships of Antony and Cleopatra. The battle took place on September 02, 31 BC at Cape Aktion. The battle began in the northern part of the bay and Antony and Cleopatra being in the center were able to break through, but did not attack Octavian and Agrippa from the rear, who smashed the main forces of the fleet, which could not break through, as well as Cleopatra's flight to Egypt, discouraged Antony and he followed her, abandoning the fleet and the army sailed to Egypt.

Antony, during the mini-respite caused by Octavian's affairs in Italy, was given feasts with Cleopatra in Egypt, having lost almost all his forces on land and sea. But when in 30 BC. Octavian attacked Egypt from the east and west Mark Antony tried to organize a repulse, he even won 1 or 2 battles, but then the remnants of his fleet located in the Alexandrian harbor went over to Octavian's defense, and his land army played the decisive battle for Alexandria.

In the chaos that ensued, with no information about Cleopatra, Mark Antony began to hear rumors and reports that Cleopatra had committed suicide.

Plutarch went on to describe the last moments of Mark Antony's life: "... when Antony ordered his slave Eros to stab his master, he killed himself instead. After that, Antony tried to stab himself with a sword, but the bleeding from the wound was not very strong, and Mark lived for several more hours. According to Plutarch, the wounded Antony soon learned that the queen was alive. They dragged him into the palace and lifted him up on ropes to Cleopatra's barricaded chambers. Here he died in the arms of the queen on the evening of August 1, 30 B.C.” Plutarch. Mark Antony. 74-77. A few days later, unwilling to become the main symbol of Octavian's victory in his war with Egypt and humiliating herself by participating in Octavian's triumphal procession in Rome, Cleopatra also committed suicide.


As a result, Octavian annexed Egypt to Rome and it became another province of Rome. Caesarion and Mark Antony's eldest son, Mark Antony Antillas, were executed by Octavian, and the rest of his children were left to be raised by his sister, Mark Antony's ex-wife, Octavia.

According to Dio Cassius, Antony and Cleopatra were embalmed according to Egyptian custom and buried in the same grave. Where this grave is located in Egypt is unknown.

Plutarch described Mark Antony's appearance as follows “ " ... had a beautiful and representative appearance. Antony's well-shaped beard, broad forehead, and hooked nose gave him a masculine appearance and a certain resemblance to Hercules, as depicted by artists and sculptors… Anthony could also win the favor of the soldiers he commanded..." Plutarch on Mark Antony.

Also, according to the minted coins of Mark Antony, to the description of the appearance given in Plutarch, you can also add a heavy chin and a large powerful neck.

Anthony was married 5 times in his life: Fadia (by whom he had several children); Antonia (from this marriage a daughter was born); Fulvia (from this marriage two sons were born); Octavia (sister of Octavian Augustus. From this brother were born two daughters); Cleopatra (Queen of Egypt. From this marriage, two sons and a daughter were born).

Through his daughters from his marriage to Octavia, Mark Antony would become an ancestor of the Roman emperors Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.

Through his daughter Cleopatra, he would become an ancestor of the royal family of Mauritania (a historical region in northwestern Africa, in what is now western Algeria and northern Morocco).

Memory of Mark Antony in culture and Art

Detail of the altar relief depicting members of the Julius-Claudian family, although there is a dispute among scholars whether Mark Antony or Mark Vipsanius Agrippa is depicted there. (42 BC National Museum of Ravenna).

Roman male sculptural bust of the so-called Mark Antony (96 Vatican Museums of Rome).

Bronze head from Cilicia (Louvre, Paris)

Several literary works are devoted to the life of Mark Antony, his relationship with Cleopatra and their death: Robert Garnier, the tragedy " Mark Antony "(1578); William Shakespeare, the play "Antony and Cleopatra "(1594); Shakespeare's play-tragedy "Julius Caesar".

Several paintings and sculptures are dedicated to the life of Mark Antony, his relationship with Cleopatra and their death: Jan de Bray, " The Feast of Antony and Cleopatra "(1669); Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, " The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra "(17547-1750); Arthur Strasser, sculpture "Mark Antony in a chariot drawn by lions". (1900).

The image of Mark Antony in the cinema: several films and television series have been made about Mark Antony himself and his relationship with Cleopatra in the United States and Italy.

Among them, they stand out both in the plot and in the performance of famous actors and actresses of their time:

The film” Cleopatra " 1963. the roles of Mark Antony and Cleopatra were played by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

TV movie “Cleopatra " 1999. in it the role of Mark Antony was played by Billy Zane Jr.

The TV series “Rome " 2005-2007, where in two seasons, the role of Mark Antony was played by James Purefoy.

Mark Antonia was also played by Marlon Brando in the 1953 film Julius Caesar.

Related topics

Roman Republic, The Second Triumvirate, Gaius Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Gnaeus Pompey the Great, Cicero


Ancient authors:

"Plutarch." Comparative biographies. Mark Antony;

"Appian." Civil wars;

"Dion Cassius." Roman history;


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