Sylum Inspiration: Marcus Antonius

Sanguen Vitae: Co-Leader

 

A member of the Antonia clan, Antony was born on January 14, mostly likely in 83 BC. Plutarch gives Antony’s year of birth as either 86 or 83 BC. Antony was an infant at the time of Sulla’s landing at Brundisium in the spring of 83 BC and the subsequent proscriptions that had put the life of the teen-aged Julius Caesar at risk. He was the homonymous and thus presumably the eldest son of Marcus Antonius Creticus and grandson of the noted orator Marcus Antonius who had been murdered during the Marian Terror of the winter of 87–6 BC.

Antony’s father was incompetent and corrupt, and according to Cicero, he was only given power because he was incapable of using or abusing it effectively. In 74 BC he was given imperium infinitum to defeat the pirates of the Mediterranean, but he died in Crete in 71 BC without making any significant progress. Creticus had two other sons: Gaius and Lucius.

Antony’s mother, Julia, was a daughter of Lucius Caesar. Upon the death of her first husband, she married Publius Cornelius Lentulus, an eminent patrician. Lentulus, despite exploiting his political success for financial gain, was constantly in debt due to the extravagance of his lifestyle. He was a major figure in the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy and was extrajudicially killed on the orders of Cicero in 63 BC.

In 54 BC, Antony became a staff officer in Caesar’s armies in Gaul and Germany. He again proved to be a competent military leader in the Gallic Wars. Antony and Caesar were the best of friends, as well as being fairly close relatives. Antony made himself ever available to assist Caesar in carrying out his military campaigns. Raised by Caesar’s influence to the offices of quaestor, augur, and tribune of the plebeians (50 BC), he supported the cause of his patron with great energy. Caesar’s two proconsular commands, during a period of ten years, were expiring in 50 BC, and he wanted to return to Rome for the consular elections. But resistance from the conservative faction of the Roman Senate, led by Pompey, demanded that Caesar resign his proconsulship and the command of his armies before being allowed to seek re-election to the consulship.

This Caesar would not do, as such an act would at least temporarily render him a private citizen and thereby leave him open to prosecution for his acts while proconsul. It would also place him at the mercy of Pompey’s armies. To prevent this occurrence Caesar bribed the plebeian tribune Curio to use his veto to prevent a senatorial decree which would deprive Caesar of his armies and provincial command, and then made sure Antony was elected tribune for the next term of office.

Antony exercised his tribunician veto, with the aim of preventing a senatorial decree declaring martial law against the veto, and was violently expelled from the senate with another Caesar adherent, Cassius, who was also a tribune of the plebs. Caesar crossed the river Rubicon upon hearing of these affairs which began the Republican civil war. Antony left Rome and joined Caesar and his armies at Ariminium, where he was presented to Caesar’s soldiers still bloody and bruised as an example of the illegalities that his political opponents were perpetrating, and as a casus belli (incident of war).

When Caesar became dictator for a second time, Antony was made magister equitum, and in this capacity he remained in Italy as the peninsula’s administrator in 47 BC, while Caesar was fighting the last Pompeians, who had taken refuge in the province of Africa. But Antony’s skills as an administrator were a poor match for his generalship, and he seized the opportunity of indulging in the most extravagant excesses, depicted by Cicero in the Philippics. In 46 BC he seems to have taken offense because Caesar insisted on payment for the property of Pompey which Antony professedly had purchased, but had in fact simply appropriated.

Whatever conflicts existed between the two men, Antony remained faithful to Caesar but it is worth mentioning that according to Plutarch Trebonius, one of the conspirators, had “sounded him unobtrusively and cautiously… Antony had understood his drift… but had given him no encouragement: at the same time he had not reported the conversation to Caesar.” On February 15, 44 BC, during the Lupercalia festival, Antony publicly offered Caesar a diadem. This was an event fraught with meaning: a diadem was a symbol of a king, and in refusing it, Caesar demonstrated that he did not intend to assume the throne.

Casca, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus decided, in the night before the Assassination of Julius Caesar, that Mark Antony should stay alive. The following day, the Ides of March, he went down to warn the dictator but the Liberatores reached Caesar first and he was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC. In the turmoil that surrounded the event, Antony escaped Rome dressed as a slave; fearing that the dictator’s assassination would be the start of a bloodbath among his supporters. When this did not occur, he soon returned to Rome, discussing a truce with the assassins’ faction. For a while, Antony, as consul, seemed to pursue peace and an end to the political tension. Following a speech by Cicero in the Senate, an amnesty was agreed for the assassins.

Antony summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus in October 41 BC. There they formed an alliance and became lovers. Antony returned to Alexandria with her, where he spent the winter of 41 BC – 40 BC. In spring 40 BC he was forced to return to Rome following news of his wife Fulvia’s involvement in civil strife with Octavian on his behalf. Fulvia died while Antony was en route to Sicyon (where Fulvia was exiled). Antony made peace with Octavian in September 40 BC and married Octavian’s sister Octavia Minor.

Leaving Octavia pregnant with her second child Antonia in Rome, he sailed to Alexandria, where he expected funding from Cleopatra, the mother of his twins. The queen of Egypt lent him the money he needed for the army, and after capturing Jerusalem and surrounding areas in 37 BC, he installed Herod as puppet king of Judaea, replacing the Parthian appointee Antigonus.

Antony then invaded Parthian territory with an army of about 100,000 Roman and allied troops but the campaign proved a disaster. After defeats in battle, the desertion of his Armenian allies and his failure to capture Parthian strongholds convinced Antony to retreat, his army was further depleted by the hardships of its retreat through Armenia in the depths of winter, losing more than a quarter of its strength in the course of the campaign.

Meanwhile, in Rome, the triumvirate was no more. Octavian forced Lepidus to resign after the older triumvir attempted an ill-judged political move. Now in sole power, Octavian was occupied in wooing the traditional Republican aristocracy to his side. He married Livia and started to attack Antony in order to raise himself to power. He argued that Antony was a man of low morals to have left his faithful wife abandoned in Rome with the children to be with the promiscuous queen of Egypt. Antony was accused of everything, but most of all, of “going native”, an unforgivable crime to the proud Romans. Several times Antony was summoned to Rome, but remained in Alexandria with Cleopatra.

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Legend will continue to go on to tell you that Marcus committed suicide after his army was defeated because he thought Cleopatra had abandoned and betrayed him. While in Alexandria with Cleopatra he was introduced to the Medjai Clan. Cleo had informed him that if anyone was to have influence in Egypt, they needed to make sure the Medjai didn’t see them as a threat.

Marc was introduced to Netjerikhet. He was surprised by the lighter complexion of the Medjai Warrior, but the two soon became good friends. When Marc left Alexandria to face Octavian’s Armies, Rick went with him. When the battle turned against Marc, he knew he had to have been betrayed. Marc contemplated suicide, not wanting to be executed by his own men or worse dragged back to Rome. Rick saved him in time, telling him there were other ways. They soon got word that Cleopatra had committed suicide as word had reached her.

Marc was devastated, and Rick made sure he didn’t do anything stupid, and wasn’t surprised to see Neferitiri with Cleo weeks later as they traveled away from Egypt. Rick and Evy knew they couldn’t keep the famous couple in Egypt so took them to the Council. It was here that Marc discovered that Cleo wasn’t his Mate, but instead was dragged away from her and Claimed by none other than Alexander the Great.

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