We've all heard of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Well, now we find that Mark Antony was our 58th Great Grandfather through a line of Kings and Queens tied to Charlemagne. His wife, our 58th Great Grandmother was Octavia Minor. She was the sister of Caesar Augustus (He called the world to be taxed in the Christmas Story). So Caesar Augustus was a Great Uncle. Hold on to your socks on this, but through another line, Caesar Augustus was another Great Grandfather (another post for another day). History suddenly comes alive doesn't it?
Here is a brief outline of Mark Antony's life:
- 83 B.C.E.—born in Rome
- 54–50 B.C.E.—joins Caesar's staff in Gaul and fights in the Gallic wars
- 50 B.C.E.—Tribune of the Plebeians
- 48 B.C.E.—Serves as Caesar's Master of the Horse
- 47 B.C.E.—Ruinous administration of Italy: political exile
- 44 B.C.E.—Forms the Second Triumvirate with Octavian and Lepidus
- 42 B.C.E.—Defeats Cassius and Brutus in the Battle of Philippi; travels through the East
- 41 B.C.E.—Meets Cleopatra
- 40 B.C.E.—Returns to Rome, marries Octavia Minor; treaty of Brundisium
- 38 B.C.E.—Treaty of Tarentum: Triumvirate renewed until 33 B.C.E.
- 36 B.C.E.—Defeated by the Parthians
- 35 B.C.E.—Conquers Armenia
- 34 B.C.E.—The Donations of Alexandria
- 33 B.C.E.—End of the triumvirate
- 32 B.C.E.—Exchange of accusations between Octavian and Antony
- 31 B.C.E.—Defeated by Octavian in the naval Battle of Actium
- 30 B.C.E.—Antony commits suicide in the mistaken belief that Cleopatra had already done so
Marcus Antonius (Latin: M•ANTONIVS•M•F•M•N) (c. January 14, 83 B.C.E. – August 1, 30 B.C.E.), known in English as Mark Antony (also spelled Marc Anthony; Latin, Marcus Antonius), was a Roman politician and general. He was an important supporter of Gaius Julius Caesar as a military commander and administrator. After Caesar's assassination, Antony allied with Caesar’s adopted son Octavian and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus to form an official triumvirate which modern scholars have labeled the Second Triumvirate (43–30 B.C.E.). The triumvirate broke up in 33 B.C.E. Disagreement between Octavian and Antony turned to civil war in 31 B.C.E., after Antony formed a personal and political alliance with Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, and used her support to invade Parthia. Antony was defeated by Octavian at the naval Battle of Actium and then in a short land battle at Alexandria. He committed suicide, and Cleopatra killed herself soon afterwards.
Mark Antony was especially criticized in Rome for betraying his Roman citizenship by forming an alliance with a foreign queen. His plans for collaboration between the Roman Empire and Greece were put to rest by his defeat at the Battle of Actium, and the Roman Empire continued a policy of attempting to bring its neighbors under central control for the next three centuries. Shakespeare made Antony and Cleopatra the subject of his famous tragedy, “Antony and Cleopatra,” and gave him a role delivering the funeral oration for Julius Caesar in another tragedy, Julius Caesar.
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