Marcus Anthony

Summary

A member of the Antonia gens, Antony was born in winter 83-2 BC,probably in Sulla's army besieging Athens during the Mithridates War. His father was his namesake, Marcus Antonius Creticus, the son of the great rhetorician Marcus Antonius Orator who had been murdered and decapitated by order of Gaius Marius at the end of 87 BC. His mother Julia was a daughter of Lucius Caesar (consul 90, censor 89), another Marian victim slain with Antonius Orator. His father (praetor 74) died in 71 BC during his command against Mediterranean piracy, and Julia soon remarried to Publius Cornelius Lentulus (Sura) (consul 71), an eminent patrician politician and co-leader of the infamous Conspiracy of Catiline named after the latter. According to authorities like Plutarch, he spent his teenage years wandering the streets of Rome with his brothers and friends, most notably Gaius Curio (the later tribune 50 BC), with whom he is said to have had a long-term homosexual liaison. Plutarch writes that before Antony reached 20 years of age, he was already indebted to the sum of 250 talents. (About $5 million in today's money).

When Caesar became dictator for a second time, Antony was made Master of the Horse, the dictator's right hand man, 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. Conflict soon arose, and, as on other occasions, Antony resorted to violence. Hundreds of citizens were killed and Rome itself descended into a state of anarchy. Caesar was most displeased with the whole affair and removed Antony from all political responsibilities. The two men did not see each other for two years. The estrangement was not of long continuance, with Antony meeting the dictator at Narbo (45 BC) and rejecting the suggestion of Trebonius that he should join in the conspiracy that was already afoot. Reconciliation arrived in 44 BC, when Antony was chosen as partner for Caesar's fifth consulship.
Whatever conflicts existed between the two men, Antony remained faithful to Caesar but it is worth mentioning that according to Plutarch (paragraph 13) 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.

On March 14, 44 BC, Antony was alarmed when Cicero told him the gods would strike down Caesar. The following day, the Ides of March, he went down to warn the dictator but the Senate Liberators were already there. Anthony sacrificed himself so that his friend could escape.

Later, Caesar declared the Ides of March a national holiday and deified Antony as the god of friendship.

Family Ties

None Known, but it is speculated that he has a legend of batsard children.

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