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Mark Antony

Mark Antony: A Biography

Eleanor Goltz Huzar
Copyright Date: 1978
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Mark Antony
    Book Description:

    Mark Antony: A Biography was first published in 1978. In a chronological/topical approach, Professor Huzar recounts the details of Mark Antony’s life and his role in the history of Rome and the Roman Empire. The book serves as an excellent introduction to the shifting alliances, the feuds, and the ambitions of the rival politician/generals who held the fate of the Roman Republic in their hands. As Caesar’s lieutenant, Octavian’s rival, Cicero’s murderer, and Cleopatra’s lover, Antony led an exciting life, and this biography, written in a lively, readable style, reflects the excitement. But more than just a good story, the work provides a reappraisal of Antony’s career. Octavian, who won the power struggle for control of the Roman Empire, also won the propaganda war which resulted in what the author regards as a distorted image of Antony as presented in the various histories. Professor Huzar reveals that Antony was an honorable Roman, an effective general, and an able diplomat as well as a lover of women and good times. The book is illustrated with maps and halftones, as well as a chart of the political sympathies of the primary Antony sources.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6308-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. I The Setting
    (pp. 3-11)

    Mark Antony’s life (83- or 82-30 B.C.) spanned the fatal last fifty years of the Roman Republic. Born into a Rome beset with stresses of expansion and change, Antony acted as lieutenant to the leaders, then captured briefly the absolute command of the disintegrating government. His domination was challenged: by those who accused him of destroying the state and by those who judged him moving too slowly against the state. When Antony lay dead, so too did the Roman Republic.

    Antony was only a final agent in the decline which had begun decades, even centuries, earlier. A state, like a...

  5. II Heir
    (pp. 12-26)

    For Antony, born into a family of ancient lineage and high distinction, a political and military life was a foregone conclusion. The Roman aristocrat honored his distinguished ancestors in prescribed religious and public rites, and voted with the political faction engineered by generations of political favors and calculated marriage ties. Aristocracy existed for political power. Though individuals could vary in commitment and distinction, every Roman noble received his most significant inheritance in widely known family and political ties. Mark Antony’s branch of the Antonii was of plebeian nobility. His plebeian ancestors had ennobled the family in perpetuity by winning high...

  6. III Lieutenant
    (pp. 27-41)

    Antony’s career, like those of his leading contemporaries, was always to include political and military aspects. Until 58 B.C. his life at Rome had led him to political involvements based more on loyalties to family and friends than on convictions and planned policies. Now at age twenty-five, rather later than most young men of his class, he began the military career that would bring out his best qualities of courage, responsibility, and comaraderie and that would give him preeminence as the best of lieutenants.

    Not that military life in Antony’s class could be separated from political involvements. Aulus Gabinius, the...

  7. IV Across the Rubicon
    (pp. 42-62)

    Caesar’s plans and Antony’s ambitions brought Antony to Rome in 50 B.C. as a candidate for two posts: the civil rank of tribune for 49 B.C. and the lifelong religious office of augur. The augural selection came first. The regular election of tribunes was held in late July; Antony was required to announce his candidacy at least seventeen days earlier.¹

    The vacancy in the augurate which Antony hoped to fill was due to the death of the augur and orator Quintus Hortensius. Once before, probably in March, 53 B.C., Antony had tried for this post, but Cicero, supported powerfully by...

  8. V Henchman to the Dictator
    (pp. 63-80)

    Pompey, his two sons, and many of the Pompeian leaders had fled Pharsalus. Their fleet still sailed unchallenged. Caesar’s task, therefore, remained pursuit and final conquest. The government of Italy, however, could no longer be neglected. As the two vast camps were broken up, Caesar sent Antony with the bulk of the Pompeian and many of the Caesarian legions back to Italy. In a troubled time, Antony was to settle the veterans on allotments of land and with bonuses and to secure, for twelve months, Caesar’s post as dictator and his own as magister equitum (Master of the Horse).¹


  9. VI Caesar’s Successor
    (pp. 81-92)

    Within hours after Caesar’s murder Antony grasped the control of power and thus determined the next stage of Rome’s history. On Pompey’s porch the initiative had lain with the assassins. With other Caesarian and neutral senators, Antony had fled, disguised in the dress of a commoner, and had barricaded himself in his home in the Carinae district. The troubled populace watched bewildered, shattered by the death of their established leader, uncertain whether to commit themselves to the Liberty which the conspirators now proclaimed.¹

    The assassins raised their bloody daggers and called on Cicero who, although not privy to the plot,...

  10. VII Challenged by Octavian
    (pp. 93-110)

    The challenge to Antony’s security and dominance appeared from an unanticipated source. Caesar’s grandnephew and heir, the eighteen-year-old Gaius Octavius, arrived in Rome in mid-May, 44 B.C., to claim his inheritance. Antony must have known him previously through Caesar, for the boy had been in Caesar’s entourage for several months and had been given a role in Caesar’s triumphal processions. Although Octavius was the grandson of Caesar’s sister, his father’s family was equestrian; so that Antony later taunted him that his grandfathers were a provincial baker and a money changer. More accurate, his father had won nobility of office, his...

  11. VIII Avenger of Caesar
    (pp. 111-128)

    Antony’s active strength when he reached Transalpine Gaul had been badly battered, yet his prompt success in building legions and negotiating strategic alliances meant that he remained a commanding power in the state. His original legions, reinforced with one legion composed of all possible recruits, even slaves, were joined, in a swift march, by the three legions under Ventidius, Caesar’s former quartermaster. Decimus Brutus had ordered Octavian to block Ventidius, but Octavian had not acted, perhaps was not strong enough to act. Antony now commanded eight legions.¹

    In Narbonese Gaul Caesar’s former Master of the Horse, Lepidus, commanded seven legions,...

  12. IX Relinquishing the West
    (pp. 129-147)

    A pattern ominous for the future emerged at once in the distribution of responsibilities and powers after the battle of Philippi. Ignoring Lepidus, Antony and Octavian divided forces and looked for ways of increasing their real strength vis-à-vis each other. Nothing was said of the eastern provinces; but probably they had been unquestioningly assigned to Antony, who foresaw their usefulness. A signed compact distributed the western provinces. Octavian received Spain, Numidia, Sardinia, and Sicily—though Sardinia and Sicily he would have to wrestle from Sextus Pompey. Antony took Africa and all Gaul, save that Cisalpine Gaul was changed from a...

  13. X Reorganizing Eastern Provinces and Allies
    (pp. 148-168)

    For Antony, the meetings with Octavian and struggles with Sextus and Lepidus had been troublesome interruptions to his prime responsibilities in the east. But, despite the time-consuming trips to Italy, Antony had been gradually settling the disordered affairs of a number of provinces and client kingdoms to the mutual benefit of the eastern states and of Rome.

    Octavian’s troubles and triumphs had derived from his responsibilities for settling the veterans on Italian land. Antony’s eastern responsibility was to stabilize Roman relations with eastern states and to extract the monies needed for veteran benefits (500 drachmas promised to each soldier). The...

  14. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  15. XI Parthia Invicta
    (pp. 169-184)

    Republican Rome’s military attitude seems epitomized by the demand that Antony eliminate the fear felt for the eastern boundary and by the assumption that an able Roman general could triumph over any oriental barbarians. The anticipation that he would be victorious had given charge of the east to Antony as the better general at Philippi, while Octavian was assigned the less military tasks of settling western provinces. Granted Antony’s many responsibilities in reorganizing provinces and distributing client kingdoms, in stabilizing shattered economies and societies. Ultimately, he could remain Caesar’s foremost successor only by military victory over the Parthians.

    The threat...

  16. XII Breaking with Octavian
    (pp. 185-208)

    Step by step, Antony had been drawn into the role of the ruler of the east, divorced from Rome and the west. He had never planned or wanted such a break. On the contrary, like every Roman statesman, he looked to Rome as the focus of imperial power; like every Roman general, he drew his legions from Italian manpower. Antony judged himself a Roman triumvir, sharing with Octavian the rule of the whole Roman Empire. Yet, insensibly, he was being relegated to only half the empire and being criticized for giving precedence to the east over the west.

    Several factors...

  17. XIII The Lion at Bay
    (pp. 209-232)

    The declaration of war against Cleopatra merely formalized a readying for battle which had been under way for over a year. The preparations had included the mobilizing of armies, the organizing of supplies, and the winning of supporters, both Roman and foreign. Whatever the pretense of war against Cleopatra, and Octavian’s claim that he was championing the west against the east, this was again a civil war of Romans, aided by foreign supporters.

    Octavian held no regular public office in 32 B.C. What he did orchestrate, however, was an unprecedented and even unconstitutional oath of allegiance, not to the state...

  18. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  19. XIV “My Fame is Shrewdly Gored”
    (pp. 233-252)

    Antony still remains an enigmatic, contradictory figure, defying a final appraisal. For centuries he has been condemned as the brutal murderer of Cicero or dismissed as the drinking, carousing captive of the queen of Egypt, losing an empire for his passions. Joseph Ernest Renan called him “a colossal child.” Yet the records also reveal a man who served Caesar so well in Gaul that Caesar trusted him as his spokesman and administrator in Italy while Caesar fought abroad; who, seizing control of the state after the Ides, defeated the forces of the republicans, apparently with the concurrence of most of...

  20. XV Marcus Antonius, Vir Vitalissimus
    (pp. 253-257)

    The most hostile judgments have never drained the life and power from this vital man. His physical appearance, as seen in sculpture and on coins, reflected his life and his personality. He was handsome in a rough, hearty, heavy way. His expression, not at all subtle, was normally direct and friendly.¹ His powerful physique withstood a lifetime of strenuous use as well as casual abuse and neglect. In his late forties he led the killing retreat through Parthian mountain snows, and to his last days he was heading his legions in the battle line after nights of revelry. His exceptional...

  21. Chronology
    (pp. 258-262)
  22. Abbreviations Used in Notes and Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 265-272)
  23. Notes
    (pp. 273-303)
  24. Selected Bibliography of Secondary Works
    (pp. 304-316)
  25. Glossary
    (pp. 319-324)
  26. Dramatis Personae
    (pp. 327-334)
  27. Index
    (pp. 337-347)