Marc Anthony was born in 82 BC in Rome. He was a son of Marc Anthony of Crete and a grandson of Marc Anthony the Orator. His mother, Julia was Ceasar's relative. His father died young and his mother remarried to Cornelius Lentulus, the senator who was put to death by Cicero in 63 for having been of Catiline's conspiracy.
Marc Anthony wasted his early years, together with his brothers Lucius and Gaius and their friends he lived careless life, full of gambling, drinking and love scandals.
At the age of 20 he travelled to Greece, where he spent his time studying the art of eloquence. He joined legions going to Syria under command of Alulus Gabinius. During this campaign Marc Anthony showed his abilities as a cavalry leader and won recognition with his courage and bravery. He visited Egypt and Alexandria for the first time.
Marc Anthony – Ceasar's adherent
In 54 BC Marc Anthony became one of the commanders in Ceasar's army in Gaul. He proved his great abilities as a military leader again, although even Ceasar himself was confused and irritated by his personality and behaviour. Nevertheless Marc became a devoted supporter of the emperor.
In 51 BC Marc Anthony served as a bursar. As a tribune of the people in 50 BC he was dedicated to supporting Ceasar's matters. The political situation of those times was dominated by conflict between Ceasar and the conservative wing of the Senate led by Pompey. Marc Anthony said in the Senate that not only Ceasar, whose the second 5-year-period of consular power in Gaul was terminating, but also Pompey should devolve his power over the army. His proposal was rejected and the fierce speech against Ceasar's enemies resulted in Marc's removal from the Senate.
He went to the northern Italy to Ceasar who was staying there with his troops, furnishing him pretext to starting the war. After the famous crossing of Rubicon River the civil war became the fact. During this war Marc Anthony was the main Ceasar's collaborator. The proof for Ceasar's trust was the fact that during the decisive battle with Pompey at Pharsalius it was Marc Anthony who had been given the command of the left wing of his army.
When Ceasar took the dictator's chair, Marc Anthony was nominated as the cavalry leader. In 47 BC, during the absence of Ceasar, who was fighting in Africa against Pompey's followers, Marc Anthony reigned in Rome. It turned out that his administrative skills were much worse than the military ones. He brought about lots of conflicts in the city. Discontent Ceasar denied him any responsibility for two years. Just in 44 BC did they bring together and Marc Anthony was taken for Ceasar's colleague in his fifth consulate.
The Ides of March
On March 15, on the Ides of March, Ceasar had been assassinated by the group of conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius in the Senate house. Antony fled, afraid of massacre of Caesar's adherents. After some time he cooled off and started to get the situation under control. He took over the treasury and documents from Ceasar's office.
Initially he wanted to reach agreement with the conspirators. He accepted Cicero's proposal about amnesty for the assassins that was enacted in the Senate. During Ceasar's funeral on April 20 Anthony delivered eulogy over Ceasar's body and with his dramatic speech he caused ferment amongst the Romans. The riot against the conspirators forced them to leave the city.
The second triumvirate
Ceasar's death turned out to be the beginning of a new civil war and a fight for power. After a couple of months of havoc the empire was determined and the power was divided amongst Marc Anthony, Octavian Augustus - the main successor of Ceasar, and Lipidus. In 44 BC they were officially nominated as rulers for the next five years.
After victory in battles at Phillippi and suicides of Brutus and Cassius the power of three rulers wasn't limited in any way. Lepidus took over control of the western part, Octavian stayed in Italy and Marc Anthony was awarded the East. This is where his finances, love life and knowledge will change.
During the trip to the eastern provinces Anthony met in 41 BC the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, who became his lover. At the same time in Italy a revolt broke out, led by Fulvia, Anthony's wife and his brother Lucius. They were besieged in Perusia by Octavian's army and forced to surrender. Fulvia was banished and died soon.
It enabled Anthony and Octavian to reach agreement once again. The agreement was confirmed by treaty in Brundusium and Anthony's marriage to Octavia, Octavian's sister. It was her influence that led, after a couple of arguments between Antony and Octavian, to signing the next treaty, in Tarentum in 38 BC. That renewed the triumvirate for the next five years.
Anthony in the East
Anthony was sceptical, as far as Octavian's intentions were concerned, so he decided to go to Alexandria and leave his pregnant wife in Rome. Marc Anthony did not have a large enough personal finance so he borrowed necessary funds from Cleopatra and took his troops on expedition to Parthia. The campaign turned out to be unsuccessful and Anthony lost the most of his soldiers.
In the meantime Octavian managed to eliminate Lepidus as his competitor for power, won over Roman aristocracy, in which his marriage to Livia was very helpful, and carried on a propaganda campaign of accusations against Anthony.
Anthony organized the next campaign for Egyptian money. Invasion of Armenia was successful.
While celebrating his triumph in Alexandria Marc Anthony announced political rulings that put an end to the alliance with Octavian. Children he had with Cleopatra were awarded following kingdoms: Alexander Helios – Armenia and Parthia, Cleopatra Selene – Cyrene and Libya, Ptolemaeus Filadelfos – Syria and Cilicia.
The most important matter was the appointment of Ceasarion, son of Cleopatra and Ceasar to co-ruler of Egypt and legitimate son and inheritor of Ceasar. It was an action against Octavian who was an adopted son of Ceasar and his heir. This decision could not be accepted by Octavian and after the triumvirate expiration in 33 BC. a new civil war started. Both sides conducted a propaganda war in which Octavian was accused of power usurpation and counterfeiting Ceasar's will, and Antony - of unlawful rule in provinces, conducting wars without the Senate's approval and aiming at kingship. In 31 BC it came to the sea battle at Actium in which the Anthony and Cleopatra's navy was destroyed and after that they had to flee to Egypt. Next year Octavian invaded Egypt. Marc Antony committed suicide.