Mark Antony

Why Mark Antony Was Famous in Ancient Rome (and Still Is Today)

Silver Tetradrachm of Marc Antony and Cleopatra VII
Antioch Silver Tetradrachm of Marc Antony and Cleopatra VII: BACILICCAKΛ'EOΠATΡA ΘEA NEΩTEΡA Diademed bust of Cleopatra r. Rev. ANTWNIOC AYTOKPATWRTΡITON TRIWN ANDRWN Bare head of Marcus Antonius. CC Flickr User Ancient Art


Mark Antony was a soldier and statesman at the end of the Roman Republic known for:

  1. His stirring eulogy at the funeral of his friend Julius Caesar. Shakespeare has Mark Antony begin the eulogy at Caesar's funeral with the words: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. (Julius Caesar
    ... and his pursuit of Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius.
  2. Sharing the Second Triumvirate with Caesar's heir and nephew, Octavian (later Augustus), and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.
  3. Being the final Roman lover of Cleopatra who gave her Roman territories as a gift.

Antony was a capable soldier, well-liked by the troops, but he alienated the people of Rome with his constant carousing, neglect of his virtuous wife Octavia (sister of Octavian/Augustus), and other behavior not in Rome's best interests.

After gaining sufficient power, Antony had Cicero, Antony's lifelong enemy who wrote against him (Philippics), beheaded. Antony himself committed suicide after losing the Battle of Actium; he might have won the battle but for an unwillingness, on the part of his soldiers, to fight fellow Romans. That, and Cleopatra's sudden departure.

Mark Antony was born in 83 B.C. and died on August 1, 30 B.C. His parents were Marcus Antonius Creticus and Julia Antonia (a distant cousin of Julius Caesar). Antony's father died when he was young, so his mother married Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, who was executed (under the administration of Cicero) for having a role in the Conspiracy of Catiline in 63 B.C. This is assumed to have been a major factor in the hostility between Antony and Cicero.

Also Known As: Marcus Antonius

Alternate Spellings: Marc Antony, Marc Anthony, Mark Anthony

Examples: Although Antony is renowned as a military man, he didn't become a soldier until he was 26. Adrian Goldsworthy says his first known appointment came at that age when as praefectus equitum, he was given charge of at least one regiment or ala in (Syrian proconsul for 57 B.C.) Aulus Gabinius' army in Judaea.

Source: Adrian Goldsworthy's Antony and Cleopatra (2010).

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Gill, N.S. "Mark Antony." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Gill, N.S. (2023, April 5). Mark Antony. Retrieved from Gill, N.S. "Mark Antony." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 6, 2023).