Marcus Antonius Was Not A Great Man

1115 words - 4 pages

Marcus Antonius, born c. 83 and died in 30 BCE , was one of the better known Roman leaders, likely because of his romance with Cleopatra and Shakespeare's retelling of his tale. As the son of General Marcus Antonius and Julia, he was the second cousin of Julius Caesar and thus became a powerful man. Antony participated in many military campaigns in his lifetime, and upon Caesar's death he became one of two main contesters of the throne. His life came to an end when his rival Octavian defeated him in battle at Actium and he committed suicide with his lover Cleopatra. Marc Antony was an important man, but his relationship with Caesar was what truly led to his coming into power, and his whole life was directed by events out of his control. Marc Antony was a product of his age and family, nothing more. One of the greater factors of Antony's coming into power was his blood relations, particularly that with Caesar. Marc Antony's mother Julia was the cousin of Julius Caesar, making him the second cousin. In a time when blood relations and family lineage were so important, this obviously meant Antony was destined from birth to be in a position of power. He did not rise up through the ranks and earn his complete status, but rather was granted most of it by Caesar, as Plutarch wrote in his book Antony: And the influence which he gained with the people…by the money which was supplied by Caesar, enabled him to make Antony, first, tribune of the people, and then, augur. And Antony's accession to office was at once of the greatest advantage to Caesar. --Antony by Plutarch In the above quote Plutarch mentions that Antony's accession was advantageous to Caesar, which makes one pose the question: If Caesar had not wished it so and granted Antony the required funds, would Antony have still been capable of rising to office? One cannot say for sure what would've happened, but in hindsight, it's quite clear that Antony was incapable of accomplishing such a task without the support of powerful men. The events in the life of another of Antony's blood relatives provides ample proof that Antony did not direct history, but rather took up with the winning team simply to make a name for himself. His grandfather was a famous orator who had supported Sulla , who was a ruthless leader with whom Pompey allied himself with. Pompey was Caesar's greatest nemesis, and Sulla had even intended to execute Caesar and would have done so had Caesar not left Rome in time. Although his grandfather had been supported Sulla, Antony saw Caesar's growing power and attached himself to the winning side. He was not a driving force of history, but rather traveled easily along in greater men's wake. Because of his aligning himself with the triumphant side and...

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