Latin Marcus Antonius
Mark Antony, detail of a marble bust; in the Vatican Museum.
83—died August, 30 BC
) Roman general. After military service (57–54), he joined the staff of his relative Julius Caesar
. He helped Caesar drive Pompey
from Italy in 49 and in 44 was made co-consul. After Caesar's assassination, Octavian (later Caesar Augustus
) initially opposed Antony but later formed the Second Triumvirate
with Antony and Lepidus. Antony helped defeat republican forces at Philippi
and took control of Rome's eastern provinces. On a mission to Egypt to question Cleopatra
about her loyalty, he became her lover (41–40). He returned to Italy in 40 to settle differences with Octavian, whereupon he received command of the eastern provinces. To strengthen his position, he agreed to marry Octavian's sister Octavia. When relations with Octavian again collapsed, he headed for Syria and sent for Cleopatra for aid. Octavian sent Octavia to him, and, when Antony ordered her back to Rome, a fatal breach opened. The Triumvirate ended in 32, leaving Antony little support in Rome. He divorced Octavia, and Octavian declared war on Cleopatra. Antony lost the Battle of Actium
, and he and Cleopatra fled to Egypt, pursued by Octavian. When resistance became futile, they committed suicide.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.