Marcus Antonius otherwise known as Mark Antony was born in 83 B.C. He was the son of Antonius Creticus and Julia who were related to Julius Caesar. Antonius Creticus, Antony’s father was a rather unsuccessful admiral who died early in Antony’s life. His mother Julia, remarried to P. Cornelius Lentulus who raised him for most of his childhood. In 63B.C., Lentulus was strangled on the orders of Cicero for his involvement in the Catiline Affair. This would soon prove to be a time in Antony’s life that he would never forget and which Cicero would ultimately pay for his own life at Antony’s hands.
Later in Antony’s life, he became very involved with Julius Caesar. In 54 B.C., Antony became a calvary officer under Julius Caesar. In 48 B.C., Antony helped Caesar defeat a rebel army led by Pompey the Great at the Battle of Pharsalus.
In 44 B.C., Caesar was assassinated. When he was assassinated on the Idles of March, Antony immediately took possession of Caesar’s papers and residence including whatever assets he had held. Mark Antony gave his famous oration at Caesar’s funeral in the forum and was instrumental in turning people against the Senators led by the assassin Brutus. Many people believed Mark Antony’s action were not quite as good as the actions of Caesar.
In 43 B.C. Octavian, the true heir to Caesar’s throne, challenged Antony’s rule. When Octavian arrived in Rome, he was left in a difficult position. Antony was unwilling to give up his throne. Later that year, Antony agreed to become a co-ruler with Octavian and Lepidus to form the First Triumvirate. Together, they later murdered many opponents in the Senate, a group of powerful government advisors.
Mark Antony had great military skills. In 42 B.C., an army led by Antony and Octavian defeated the army of Brutus and Cassius Longinus in two battles at Philipi in Macedonia. These great victories were mostly due to Antony’s military skills. Antony then claimed Rome’s eastern provinces from Octavian.
In 41 B.C., Antony had become involved with Cleopatra, whom he had met several years earlier in Rome. Mark Antony wanted to gain complete control of Rome and hoped Cleopatra would give him financial aid. They soon fell in love. In 40 B.C., Cleopatra gave birth to twin sons.
Later in 40 B.C., Antony left Cleopatra. Soon after, he married Octavian’s sister, Octavia to strengthen his political position in Rome. Antony left Octavia in 37 B.C.
Later that year, Mark Antony reunited with Cleopatra. Antony soon married Cleopatra and had another child in 36 B.C. Antony gave many of the Roman eastern provinces to Cleopatra and their children.
Octavian later convinced many Romans that Antony had behaved badly along with impatriotically. In 32 B.C. Octavian declared war on Mark Antony. Octavian’s naval forces defeated Antony’s and Cleopatra’s combined fleets in the Battle of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra retreated to Egypt where they were soon pursed by Octavian. In 30 B.C., the couple committed suicide shortly after Octavian reached Egypt.
After writing this paper, I have come to realize that Mark Antony was an outstanding historical figure. Despite his troubled childhood, Antony pursued his life to the fullest.