Mark Antony 1.14.13 b Thought of the Day


Awwwww, poor Mark Antony got hacked. Well, his original Thought of the Day bioBLOG profile did. I kept getting very odd comments on the post involving casinos and listdecamps (sic) and naked women (which he probably would have enjoyed) and I know not what else.  I trashed the first blog and am re posting here. Sorry for the inconvenience and the fact that he is now out-of-order. But what else can I do?

Don’t mess with me hackers, and don’t mess with Mark Antony!

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“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.”
Marcus Antonius
[From Shakespeare’s
Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 2, 74–77]

 Mark Antony. Bust. Badly damaged. 1st century BC.  [www.laits.utexas.edu]
Mark Antony. Bust. Badly damaged. 1st century BC. [www.laits.utexas.edu]

Marcus Antonius was born on this day in Rome, Roman Republic (now Italy) in 83 BC. Today is the 2097th anniversary of his birth.

He was born into a prominent Roman family. Both his grandfather and father were distinguished citizens. His mother was related to Julius Caesar. When Antony was still a young child his father, died on a military campaign against pirates in the east. His mother, Julia Caesaris, remarried Publius Cornelius Lentulus, who was later executed by Cicero. (Antony and Cicero were lifelong enemies from that point on.)

Antony was given a proper education for a Roman boy. It focused on public speaking and logic. He was a rambunctious youth. He kept company with mobsters, gamblers and prostitutes.

At an early age he became known for the personality traits he showed later as an adult: he was brave, loyal to friends, athletic, and attractive, but he was also reckless, occasionally lazy, fond of drinking and carousing, and involved in love affairs. [Encyclopedia of World Biography: Notable Biographies]

He left Rome and went to Greece to study rhetoric and sharpen his oratory skills. There he joined the cavalry. He served with the Roman governor of Syria and fought in the east.

…He showed a fine aptitude for command, distinguishing himself with both courage and leadership. He eventually ended his tour in Alexandria Egypt, where he helped re-install the exiled King Ptolemy Auletes. [UNRV History]

Julius Caesar was fighting in Gaul at the time and he called Antony to join him. Antony became one of Caesar’s most trusted subordinates.

Caesar conquered Gaul for Rome, and Antony assisted him in suppressing local rebellion against the Romans. In 50 B.C.E. , after returning to Rome, Antony was elected a tribune, an office that represented the people’s interests. [Encyclopedia of World Biography: Notable Biographies]

Marlin Brando as Marc Antony in the 1953 version of Julius Caesar
Marlin Brando as Marc Antony in the 1953 version of Julius Caesar
With Caesar’s time in Gaul coming to an end the Senate in Rome was growing nervous. After such a victorious campaign the general should have been welcomed back with open arms, perhaps even given a tribute (parade) –however, the Senate worried that he would be unwilling to give up his power, and might even occupy the city. They called for him to lay down his arms — Antony vetoed the decree. Next the Senate…

gave its officers special powers to “preserve the state,” Antony felt that the measure would be used against him and he fled to Caesar. By doing so, he gave Caesar the opportunity to assert his power, because he could claim he was defending the people’s representatives—the tribunes—against the power of the Senate. [Ibid]

Basically the Senate forced Caesar’s hand. Civil war ensued. Anthony again proved a loyal ally to Caesar and an effective leader on the field. Caesar rewarded Antony with the position of Consul “a one-year position that was one of the most powerful in Roman government.” [Ibid]

On march 15, 44 BCE a group of Roman Senators assassinated Caesar… Antony used Caesar’s funeral oration as the catalyst that would once more plunge Rome into civil war. At this point, he used brute force and Caesar’s massive public popularity to position himself at the top of the Roman political ladder. …By late in 44 BC, Antony pushed through several laws, scattering the assassins throughout the provinces, and used his command of Caesar’s former legions to maintain control. Antony procured the Gallic provinces for himself…  Before Antony could begin his quest for ultimate power, however, there was a new man on the seen. Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Caesar’s heir, had begun to challenge the authority of both Antony and the assassins. [UNRV History]

Caesar's Death. Attention: Image is laterally ...

At first Antony ignored both Caesar’s will and his heir. But as Octavian’s power grew, he persuaded two of Antony’s five legions to join him and garnered a lot of “friends” in the Senate. The Second Triumvirate was formed when Antony and Octavian joined forces with a third powerful Roman, Lepidus, in response to a threat against the capital from the armies of Brutus and Cassius (Caesar’s assassins).

the Second Triumvirate became a constitutionally established body for ruling the state. Octavian assumed control in the west, Antony in the east, and Lepidus (for a time) in Africa. [Encyclopedia of World Biography: Notable Biographies]

To firm up control of the eastern provinces Antony arranged to go to war with Parthia. To provision his army he turned to Egypt for supplies.

…he met with Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, in 41 B.C.E. An immediate romance followed. This was interrupted when the news arrived that Antony’s brother and wife were openly defying Octavian in Italy. Antony moved back west and peace was patched up in 40 B.C.E. with Antony’s wedding to Octavian’s sister, Octavia, after the death of Antony’s first wife…Antony soon went east again, beating back the Parthians. In 36 B.C.E. he again took up his affair with Cleopatra, becoming involved with her both romantically and politically. Cleopatra saw her alliance with Antony as a wonderful opportunity to revive the past glories of the Ptolemies, the royal family line from which she was descended. [Ibid]

Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse (1888)

Antony’s romance with a foreign queen — and abandonment of Roman lady Octavia did not sit well with Octavian or the Roman public.

Cleopatra was beginning to cast Antony as a sell-out against Roman culture, and Octavian would seize at the opportunity to publicly chastise him. While still married to Octavia, with whom Antony had 2 daughters; Cleopatra bore him another son in 36 BC. … the shaky peace was beginning to unravel. Antony had seemingly begun to take to eastern culture on a grand scale, adorning himself in Egyptian dress, practicing eastern customs while ignoring those of Rome, and doling out great gifts to Cleopatra. [UNRV History]
Cleopatra had one son by Caesar, Caesarion, as well as children by Antony. By recognizing Caesarion  as Caesar’s legitimate son he was voiding Octavian’s claim as Caesar’s heir.
This was seemingly the final straw against Octavian, and the propaganda campaign in Rome against Antony’s outrages began in earnest. Antony was portrayed as a pawn of Cleopatra, the foreign Queen who, it was said, sought to become Queen of Rome. [Ibid]

James Purefoy as Antony in the HBO mini series ROME [Image courtesy HBO]

The Second Triumvirate officially expired at the end of 33 BC. Rome was headed, once again to civil war. Octavian cracked down on the Senate and Antony friendly Senators, about 300 of them fled the city. Both sides built up massive armies. Antony moved his troops into Greece. A stalemate held fast over the summer with Octavian’s  Marcus Agrippa disrupting Antony’s supply lines.
Octavian wisely refused to give battle with the army, and Antony did likewise at sea. As the summer waned, both armies seemed to settle in for a battle of attrition. [Ibid]
Stalemate did not favor Antony. Disease, and defections dwindled his numbers.
On September 2, 31 BC Antony desperately attempted a breakout with his fleet to escape the blockade and regroup in Egypt. With his large ships, he sailed out of the gulf of Actium and engaged Agrippa’s prepared navy. Though Antony’s under matched forces fought valiantly, they were simply unable to counter Agrippa’s vast superiority. Under the watchful eye of both armies on land, and as the tide turned against Antony, Cleopatra seized an opportunity to flee the battle with her own ships that were held in reserve. As a gap opened in Agrippa’s blockade, she funneled through, and was soon closely followed by Antony’s command ships. The commanders of Antony’s land forces, which were supposed to follow him to Asia, promptly surrendered without a fight. [Ibid]

English: The Battle of Actium, 2 September 31 ...

Octavian was now the undisputed ruler of the Roman world. He took his time springing the final trap against Antony and Cleopatra. It was nearly a year before Octavian arrived in Alexandria.

Upon Octavian’s arrival in Egypt, Antony committed suicide. Octavian went on to become the first emperor of Rome, taking the name Augustus.[Encyclopedia of World Biography: Notable Biographies]

NYC - Bloomingdale's 2009 Holiday Window - Dyn...

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About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

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