The life of one of the towering figures of Roman history, Mark Antony, politician, soldier, ally to Julius Caesar, lover of Cleopatra. History has not been kind to Mark Antony, but then he was probably his own worst enemy, fatally flawed, too fond of wine and women, extravagant, impetuous, reckless, always in debt, and attached to all the wrong people. There is some truthThe life of one of the towering figures of Roman history, Mark Antony, politician, soldier, ally to Julius Caesar, lover of Cleopatra. History has not been kind to Mark Antony, but then he was probably his own worst enemy, fatally flawed, too fond of wine and women, extravagant, impetuous, reckless, always in debt, and attached to all the wrong people. There is some truth in this list of Antony's failings, but the propaganda machine of his enemy, Octavian, ensured that these facets of Antony's character were the only ones to survive. There is no mention of the fact that Caesar, who could not afford to promote incompetent assistants, found in Antony a very able lieutenant. Nor is it acknowledged that immediately after the assassination of Caesar in 44 BC, it was Antony and not Octavian who held the state together, when it could so easily have slipped into chaos. In modern eyes, influenced by Shakespeare, Antony is perhaps the ultimate tragic hero, who gave up everything for the love of a woman, Cleopatra VII, ruler of Egypt. Octavian presented Antony as a weakling, completely dominated by Cleopatra, and therefore a threat to Rome by dint of his association with the unbridled ambitions of the Egyptian Queen to rule the world. While Antony attended to the eastern half of the Roman world, shoring up Octavian whenever he needed troops, ships, and money, Octavian eventually planned to bring him down, embarking on a smear campaign to convince the Roman people that Antony should be eliminated. The result was civil war and the defeat of Antony in the naval battle of Actium. In Alexandria, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC. Octavian buried them side by side, and took total control of Rome and Egypt....
|Title||:||Mark Antony: A Life|
|Number of Pages||:||320 Pages|
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Mark Antony: A Life Reviews
Patricia Southern's, "Mark Antony: A Life" is a well-written historical account of Mark Antony whose legacy was negatively impacted by derogatory comments made by Octavian Caesar and Cicero. One of the reasons I read this book was to glean additional information about Mark Antony's true characterization as his reputation had been blackened by his rivals. It was frustrating to find a dearth of biographies about Mark Antony, but this book did not disappoint. Though, certainly, Mark Antony had his weaknesses, he also had a momentous triumph when he defeated Brutus and Cassius. After the civil war, he formed treaties and alliances with various rulers in the eastern Roman empire and Egypt who posed a challenge. One of his greatest achievements, thought it is not widely recognized, is that he commanded a vast area of very diverse people and customs, many of whose rulers varied in trustworthiness. His diplomacy and careful sifting of who was reliable, and who was not, stood the test of time after his death. His greatest failure was not to recognize Octavian's ruthless propaganda to dispose of him and return to Rome to promote himself. This biography is well-researched and is based on various historical sources. It was clearly written and has several pages of photographs which are of interest.
'Mark Antony-A Life' is another 2010 publication. The author, Patricia Southern, who the sleeve informs has written and researched on Roman history for over thirty years, has also written ten books on Roman topics, including six biographies, which include Augustus, Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great and Domitian. On the strength of this book, these other titles are worth looking out for.As a biographical topic, Mark Antony is no easy subject matter. Contemporary histories of the man have either been lost to posterity, or his name blackened. No less by Octavian, who was a master of smear, which has painted the image all the way to Shakespeare. Southern, like all great historians writing on the Classical period, has not just to study the ancient texts, but also to read between the lines.The biography spans mainly over thirty momentous years including the triumvirate of Caesar, the Ides of March, the second triumvirate with Octavian, the association with Cleopatra, Actium and ending at the mausoleum in Alexandria. (Which has never been discovered.)I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this. A very authoritative and lucid account of the times.
History is written by the victors. After Mark Antony's defeat and death, the Senate declared his birthday nefastus (unfit for public business) and decreed that all statues, busts and portraits should be destroyed. We have only inherited propaganda legends created by his enemy and competitor Octavian.Despite the paucity of reliable records, Patricia Southern makes a balanced assessment of Caesar's lieutenant who ruled the eastern half of the Roman world for eleven years. Only Antony's relationship with Cleopatra allowed Octavian to undermine him. Rome was weary of civil wars, forcing Octavian to renounce them. Instead, he cultivated the myth that Cleopatra had bewitched Mark Antony. A grain of truth converted into a big lie disguised Octavian's civil war against Mark Antony (his fellow Triumvirate) as a foreign war against Cleopatra and Egypt. Great biography.
Creo que es la mejor biografía de Antonio escrita hasta el momento. Lo hace tan humano y rechaza tanto la mala propaganda que se le da... Me he enamorado aún más de mi Antonio."Mark Antony can be viewed from several angles as the perpetual drunkard, the bluff solider, Caesar’s willing lieutenant, the merciless killer of Cicero, Cleopatra’s paramour, Octavian’s enemy. He can be seen as a heroic loser fighting for a lost cause, or a pathetic failure who threw everything away for the sake of a woman. His story is perfect for a tragedy, but this should not overshadow the humour and humanity in Antony’s life. These facets of his character are among those that set him apart from his contemporaries. He was determined to enjoy life and made no secret of it, and he did not conform, so he was seen as dissolute and irresponsible. He could definitely not be said to uphold the Roman virtues of dignitas and gravitas. There was probably much more fun to be had in his company than in the entourage of Cato or Brutus, and for the modern world, with its predilection for the anti-hero, that is perhaps Antony’s greatest asset.(...) Antony emerges as vibrantly human. He was not perfect and would have never claimed that he was. He had weaknesses and flaws, talents and abilities. Just like most people, in fact, and was probably infinitely better company than any of his contemporaries"
It was very interesting and took my time to read. Antony was influenced with Shakespeare and gave up everything that he did in his career for this woman named Cleopatra VII, which she was the ruler of Egypt. They planned a future together until their death which 30 BC.
This was a faster read than I expected it would be. Southern writes in a crisp style and gives a nice account of what is known and unknown along with what might have been.
Ever since watching the Rome series on HBO I've gained an interst on Roman history. I hope to get to this book soon.