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Mark Antony: The Ancient Hero

People who lived in the ancient days and made an impact in the world through either bravery or great leadership are referred to as ancient heroes. They are usually of Greek origin and are greatly respected and viewed as role models by many people around the world (Minister, 2008). During their era, there were many battles going on, those who fought courageously and for their rights were mostly recognized, and as time went by, they were given the term ancient heroes. Given the role of discussing an ancient hero that inspires you, you have chosen to talk about Mark Antony. I, on the other hand, do not believe that Mark Antony is the best role model you can talk about because I do not believe he was an ancient hero.

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Mark Antony was born in a respectable family where his grandfather had been admired by many and was referred to as the great Marcus Antonius Creticus and his father was well recognized too. In his early years as a youth, Mark Antony was reckless and wasted his time on the streets of Rome. By the time, he was twenty years of age he had gotten himself neck deep in debts, which he was unable to pay back. During this time, he engaged himself in homosexual activities, which was not acceptable in that era. He was later forced to abandon his home and move to Greece, to get away from those he owed money. He hoped to start afresh and create a meaning to his life.

He felt at home in Greece and as soon as he had settled, he spent his time attending meetings at Athens. He was selected to take part in campaigns in Egypt, where he was supposed to support King Ptolemy XII Auletes. He was able to put his talents to good use because he performed so well in the campaigns, demonstrating his skills as a leader and succeeding at it. His bravery and zeal to succeed got him recognized and he was given honorable positions in the military. Although he was able to prove himself at these campaigns, he was prone to many mistakes and they did more harm than good.

Leadership was one of Mark Antony’s strong traits as he excelled at it but his personality always got in the way of his success. Antony’s friendship with Caesar developed partly because they were relatives and partly because Antony was always there to assist Caesar with anything he needed and was an influential supporter of Caesar. Caesar made sure that Antony secured a position as Consul (Reynoldson, 1995). Antony failed miserably at this after trying to implement laws that the people of Greece did not agree with and he quickly lost his position. Caesar was forced to flee after receiving news about Antony’s failure and started the Republican Civil War, where he was later joined by Antony (Von Hahn, 2008). This shows that Antony did not consider the people while implementing these laws and it caused his downfall as proconsul.

Antony was able to get another leadership opportunity; Caesar who had another chance at dictatorship as well made this possible. He failed to excel as an administrator and instead used his time to enjoy other benefits of life (Muhlberger, 1998). This strained their relationship because Caesar demanded that Antony pays for all his purchases and he stripped him of his responsibilities. Antony’s anger got the best of him and he resorted to war causing the death of many innocent citizens.

After the death of Caesar, Antony was granted the position of Consul where he attempted a forceful transfer to Cisalpine Gaul. He failed at this since the administrator of this province was resistance and Antony’s attack failed which also caused him to loose his position.

Mark Antony got himself involved with Cleopatra who was a queen from Egypt so that they can form alliances, after a while they became lovers. This was disrespectable especially since Antony was already married to Fulvia. Antony became more involved with Cleopatra neglecting his duties as a husband to Fulvia; this turned the relationship Antony had with Octavian through the marriage alliance sour (Ciccone, 2010). Fulvia was Octavian’s sister but this did not seem to worry Antony because he went forward to marry Cleopatra. His marriage with Cleopatra was meant to strengthen him and his rule but by this time, Rome was doing pretty badly as they were being invaded by the Parthian. This just spurred another quarrel between Octavian and Antony, since there was a misunderstanding about the army promised to Antony.

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His relationship with Cleopatra caused him to lose many opportunities and his enemies used this to discredit him. Octavia, being an opportunist, took this chance to improve his political status by crowning Antony a betrayer for having married a native woman (Friedlander, 2005). This did not scare Antony as he still remained in Alexandria and refused to go back to Rome. According to McCullough (2007), he even arranged for a ceremony to be held where he publicly divided land and gave it to his children with Cleopatra. This totally ruined his relationship with Rome especially since Cleopatra’s son whom she had with Caesar was declared his main heir.

Antony divorced Octavia and this angered Octavian so much that he declared war on Cleopatra. This was a big disadvantage for Antony and Cleopatra as well because they had lost the support of Rome, which they once had and now had to face this war with the little support they had (Fielding, 1994). As expected Antony was unable to conquer the war of Actium and he lost miserably, this forced him to flee, and Cleopatra had to follow suit given the situation.

Octavian had created for himself a strong base politically so he was confident that he would be able to defeat Antony. Hence, he went ahead and attacked Egypt receiving help from his allies with the main aim of revenge for his sister. Antony was not able to fight back and he was forced to commit suicide because he did not have enough courage to fight back. He killed himself by falling on his sword because he had heard rumors that Cleopatra was dead while in fact she was hiding in a tomb. This lead to the death Cleopatra because she could not bear the news that Antony was dead and she knew that eventually the Romans would get to her and kill her.

In general, I do not think that Mark Antony would be the best choice for your class project. Although Antony managed to accomplish great things during his time, he also had many shortcomings that affected his life and eventually led to his death. Looking at his early childhood, he would not act as a good role model due to his drinking habits and homosexuality. Talking about this to your fifteen-year-old peers would have a negative influence on them instead of inspiring them positively. Mark Antony lost the drive he had for success when he fell in love with Cleopatra, it made him cheat on his wife and neglect his duties. I would advise you to consider other ancient heroes as well, who enjoyed success throughout their lifetime such as; Julius Caesar. Therefore, my advice to you would be to consider other ancient heroes that are more influential and lived a positive life.

Reference List

Ciccone, K. (2010). Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Web.

Fielding, S. (1994). The lives of Cleopatra and Octavia. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Press.

Friedlander, E. (2005). Enjoying Antony and Cleopatra. Web.

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McCullough, C. (2007). Antony and Cleopatra. New York: Avenue of The Americans.

Minister, C. (2008). Ancient Greek heroes. Web.

Muhlberger, S. (1998). The victory of Augustus. Web.

Reynoldson, F. (1995). The Roman empire. United Kingdom(UK): Heinemann.

Von Hahn, B. (2008). The characterization of Mark Antony. South Africa: University of South Africa.

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