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Mark Antony is one of the most famous people of Roman history. He was one of the most superior generals and a crucial statesman in his time. A comrade and patron of Julius Caesar, Antony was an ideal military tactician and leader of the people. He was a man who started out for the people but eventually became hungry for power and empire expansion. Mark Antony was a military and political leader in Caesar's time who rose to the highest of Roman power but eventually lost everything due to his greed.
Marcus Antonius was born in 83 BC, the son of a noble Roman family, related to the Roman leader Julius Caesar. His father died when he was young and soon after his mother remarried P.Lentulus. Lentulus found him self in trouble and was strangled by Cicero for his involvement in the Catiline Affair. This changed Antony’s early life severely and he promised one day he would meet up with Cicero and kill him.
Mark Antony’s military career started when he was young. His first travels were to Syria where he was soon promoted to a Calvary Commander, and sent off to Judea and Egypt. Antony was later sent to Gaul where he served under Caesar. He was so superior to his peers that at the age of 22 he became Tribune of the People. Soon Antony became a quaestor with a reputation of being a speaker on behalf of Caesar’s interests while he was no there.
It was during this period in Rome where Antony met Fulvia. Fulvia also had a hate for Cicero from her last marriage. They soon were married and Antony was making his way higher in the Roman world. In 49BC, he received the title of Augur (priest and soothsayer). It was during this same year that he vetoed the Senates attempt to take Caesar’s command. Antony left Rome and traveled to Gaul until things cooled down where he went back to watch over Caesar’s interests. Caesar soon became enemies against Pompey, Antony tried to defend Caesar and was kicked out of the senate. Antony soon fled with Caesar to get ready for battle.
Antony commanded a wing of Caesar’s Legions at the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC where Pompey was defeated. Following the battle in 44 BC, Antony became
co-consul with Caesar. When Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 BC, Antony immediately took all of Caesar’s possessions including papers, residences, and other assets.
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Octavian found himself in a difficult position and with Antony’s greed and refusal to release Caesar’s assets, Cicero sought to corrupt the Senate. Octavian was given the rank of senator and the senate backed Octavian against Antony. While Antony was successful in capturing Cisalpine Gaul, he was defeated at Forum Gallorum and Mutina against the young Octavian. Antony was forced to retreat and met up with Plancus, Asinius, and Lepidus.
Octavian found that his real enemy was the senate and that they were trying to start battles between powers, the same as between Pompey and Caesar. Octavian soon went to Antony to call a truce and combine forces. They decided they would let another person join with them, Lepidus. Lepidus was an important man who made his fame with Caesar in the civil war and owned the needed Spain.
In 43 BC, Antony joined with Octavian and Lepidus to establish a second triumvirate. They shared power by Antony ruling the eastern providences and Gaul, Octavian took Italy and Spain, and Lepidus took Africa. Their first objective was to start making a list of their enemies to be killed. The new triumvirate marched on the corrupt senate. In 42 BC, the two opposing armies met at Philippi where Antony led a great victory. The two assassins who were the leaders of the senate both committed suicide at the end. Cicero attempted to flee but was hunted down by the Antony’s soldiers, captured and executed. His head and hands were chopped off and sent back to Rome. His head was given to Fulvia as a gift for what she formerly suffered. Cicero’s hands were nailed to the Rostra in the Forum.
After the battle of Philippi, Octavian returned to Rome, while Antony stayed in Asia Minor where he planned to take Parthia. While there he asked Cleopatra for her help. The two of them then traveled to Alexandria, where they fell in love. He stayed with her for the winter of 41-40 BC.
Octavian and Antony’s friendship started to deplete again. Antony’s wife Fulvia and brother Lucius were back in Italy where they started conflict with Octavian, beginning the Perusine War. They were easily defeated and Fulvia fled to Athens. Antony did not know of the incident and when he found out, he went to Athens to confront his wife. Fulvia became ill and died shortly thereafter. Antony went back to Egypt to tell Cleopatra of the news and then to Brundisium to end the altercation between him and Octavian. At Brundisium, Octavian gave his sister Octavia to Antony in return for the Province of Cisalpine Gaul.
The triumvirate was renewed for an additional five years. Antony soon launched his Parthian campaign which was unsuccessful and was taken by Parthian Calvary. Lepidus was tired of taking care of Africa from Rome so he made a bad decision to take Sicily for himself. As a result he was deprived of his powers and administrative positions to be sent to exile, where he stayed to his death.
Antony wanted a great eastern empire and Cleopatra was willing to help. Once again tension between Antony and Octavian started to emerge. Antony told Octavian how he treated his sister Octavia. Octavian told the public Antony had been having children with Cleopatra and that Egypt was his country where he was getting his wealth.
The final break up between Antony and Octavian was when Antony got so mad that he publicly divorced Octavia. Antony also gave his lands that should have been Rome’s to Cleopatra. Octavian wanted him out of the picture completely so he read Antony’s Will which left many gifts to his illegitimate children by Cleopatra. The Senate stepped in and took his powers and started a civil war.
Octavian was given a fleet of ships and advanced toward Egypt. Antony met his ships at the gulf of Actium. Antony’s heavier ships were no match for Octavian’s quicker, smaller ships. Antony and Cleopatra sensing a defeat abandoned and went to Alexandria. Octavian soon reached Alexandria where Cleopatra tried to negotiate and when Antony heard of this he fell on his sword committing suicide. Directly after Cleopatra took her life as well with a poisonous snake. Octavian made sure that nothing like this would ever happen again and killed all Antony’s children except he ones he had with Octavia.
With Lepidus in exile, Antony and Cleopatra dead, their personal treasures and the wealth of Egypt captured, the Pompeian party dead, and the corruption of the Senate, Octavian became the ruler of the Greco-Roman-Egyptian World.