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(also Marcus Antonius). Born circa 83 B. C.; died circa 30 B. C. Roman political leader and general.
Mark Antony gained distinction as a cavalry leader during the war in Palestine and Egypt (57–55 B. C.). In 54 B. C. he attached himself to Julius Caesar and participated in the Gallic campaigns. During the Civil War (49–45 B. C.) he actively supported Caesar; after the Battle of Pharsala in 48 B. C. he was appointed cavalry commander (magister equitum). After Caesar’s assassination Antony at first took a conciliatory position toward the murderers and the Senate, but soon his relations with the Senate sharply worsened, particularly because of his insistence on ruling Gaul. (Antony was relying on the army, which included many of Caesar’s veterans.) The matter came to an open break, and the Senate sent troops against Antony. In 43 B. C. near the city of Mutina, Antony suffered a defeat, but then under pressure from the army a union occurred, including Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus (the Second Triumvirate). In 42 B. C. at Philippi in Macedonia, Antony and Octavian utterly defeated the armies of Brutus and Cassius. In the division of the provinces among the triumvirs which followed this action Antony was given the eastern regions of the Roman dominions to rule. During his stay in the east, Antony conducted several unsuccessful campaigns against the Parthians.
In the east Antony behaved like an autocrat; he began a love affair with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, giving enormous possessions to her and to her children. Such a policy led to a breakup of the triumvirs and aroused public opinion in Rome against Antony. The Senate declared war on Cleopatra. In 31 B. C. off the Cape of Actium the Egyptian fleet was crushed, and after the invasion of Egypt by Octavian’s army, Antony committed suicide.
REFERENCESMashkin, N. A. Printsipat Avgusta. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Lindsay, J. Marc Antony, His World and His Contemporaries. London, 1936.
S. L. UTCHENKO