BBC - History - Cleopatra
After Caesar's assassination, Cleopatra set her sights on the dashing Roman general Mark Antony. The two began an affair, resulting in twins in 40 B.C. Antony. Discover facts about the Egyptian ruler, Cleopatra who is celebrated for her beauty and love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play was performed first circa The triumvirs meet in Rome, where Antony and Octavius put to rest, for now, their disagreements. Octavius' general, Agrippa, suggests that .
If Antony had succeeded in wining sole control of Rome with Cleopatra as his queen, he could have changed the course of the Roman Empire, making the world we live in today a different place. However, their relationship ended in mutual suicide in 30 BC, eleven years after it started, when Roman troops engulfed the Egyptian city of Alexandria and threatened their capture. Rome descended into anarchy and civil war.
By 41 BC Antony and Octavian who would later change his name to Augustus shared the leadership of Rome and had divided the state into two regions - the western portion including Spain and Gaul ruled by Octavian, the eastern region including Greece and the Middle East ruled by Antony.
Marc Antony The Parthian Empire located in modern-day Iraq posed a threat to Antony's eastern territory and he planned a military campaign to subdue them. But Antony needed money to put his plan into action and he looked to Cleopatra - ruler of Egypt and the richest woman in the world - to supply it.
Cleopatra was a seductive woman and she used her talents to maintain and expand her power. Her first conquest was Julius Caesar in 48 BC. He was 52, she was Their relationship produced a son and was ended only by Caesar's assassination.
Cleopatra (c.69 BC - 30 BC)
Her initial response to Antony's summons was to delay her journey - possibly to send the message to the Roman leader that as a queen in her own right, she was not at his beck and call. Additionally, the two legions they commanded defected to Pompey. Without their fleet, Caesar lacked the necessary transport ships to cross into Greece with his seven legions.
Instead, he sailed with only two and placed Antony in command of the remaining five at Brundisium with instructions to join him as soon as he was able.
Antony, however, managed to trick Libo into pursuing some decoy ships, causing Libo's squadron to be trapped and attacked. Most of Libo's fleet managed to escape, but several of his troops were trapped and captured. The Battle of Pharsalus: Antony commanded the left wing of Caesar's army.
During the Greek campaign, Plutarch records Antony was Caesar's top general and second to only him in reputation. With food sources running low, Caesar, in July, ordered a nocturnal assault on Pompey's camp, but Pompey's larger forces pushed back the assault. Though an indecisive result, the victory was a tactical win for Pompey. Pompey, however, did not order a counter-assault on Caesar's camp, allowing Caesar to retreat unhindered.
Caesar would later remark the civil war would have ended that day if Pompey had only attacked him. Assuming a defensive position at the plain of PharsalusCaesar's army prepared for pitched battle with Pompey's, which outnumbered his own two to one.
Though the civil war had not ended at Pharsulus, the battle marked the pinnacle of Caesar's power and effectively ended the Republic.
After Pompey's defeat, most of the Senate defected to Caesar, including many of the soldiers who had fought under Pompey. The young Cleopatra became Caesar's mistress and bore him a son, Caesarion. Caesar's actions further strengthened Roman control over the already Roman-dominated kingdom.
The chief cause of his political challenges concerned debt forgiveness. One of the Tribunes for 47 BC, Publius Cornelius Dolabellaa former general under Pompey, proposed a law which would have canceled all outstanding debts. Antony opposed the law for political and personal reasons: When Dolabella sought to enact the law by force and seized the Roman ForumAntony responded by unleashing his soldiers upon the assembled mass.
Antony's violent reaction had caused Rome to fall into a state of anarchy. Caesar sought to mend relations with the populist leader; he was elected to a third term as Consul for 46 BC, but proposed the Senate should transfer the consulship to Dolabella. When Antony protested, Caesar was forced to withdraw the motion out of shame. Later, Caesar sought to exercise his prerogatives as Dictator and directly proclaim Dolabella as Consul instead.
After returning victorious from North Africa, Caesar was appointed Dictator for ten years and brought Cleopatra and their son to Rome. Antony again remained in Rome while Caesar, in 45 BC, sailed to Spain to defeat the final opposition to his rule. When Caesar returned in late 45 BC, the civil war was over. During this time Antony married his third wife, Fulvia. Following the scandal with Dolabella, Antony had divorced his second wife and quickly married Fulvia.
Assassination of Julius Caesar Ides of March[ edit ] Whatever conflicts existed between himself and Caesar, Antony remained faithful to Caesar, ensuring their estrangement did not last long.
Caesar planned a new invasion of Parthia and desired to leave Antony in Italy to govern Rome in his name. The reconciliation came soon after Antony rejected an offer by Gaius Treboniusone of Caesar's generals, to join a conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. The festival was held in honor of Lupathe she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans Romulus and Remusthe founders of Rome. Caesar had enacted a number of constitutional reforms which centralized effectively all political powers within his own hands.
He was granted further honors, including a form of semi-official cultwith Antony as his high priest. Caesar's political rivals feared these reforms were his attempts at transforming the Republic into an open monarchy.
During the festival's activities, Antony publicly offered Caesar a diademwhich Caesar refused. The event presented a powerful message: By refusing it, Caesar demonstrated he had no intention of making himself King of Rome. Antony's motive for such actions is not clear and it is unknown if he acted with Caesar's prior approval or on his own.
A group of Senators resolved to kill Caesar to prevent him from seizing the throne. Although Cassius was "the moving spirit" in the plot, winning over the chief assassins to the cause of tyrannicideBrutus, with his family's history of deposing Rome's kings, became their leader.
Antony was supposed to attend with Caesar, but was waylaid at the door by one of the plotters and prevented from intervening. According to the Greek historian Plutarchas Caesar arrived at the Senate, Lucius Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother. Within moments, the entire group, including Brutus, was striking out at the dictator. Caesar attempted to get away, but, blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him as he lay defenseless on the lower steps of the portico.
According to Roman historian Eutropiusaround 60 or more men participated in the assassination. He even gives Jericho, a portion of Herod's kingdom, to Cleopatra.
This not only enrages Octavian, it infuriates most Romans and they back Octavian in the struggle between the two leaders. The Parthian campaign results in only minor conquests, notably Armenia. Cleopatra bears Antony another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. Mark Antony celebrates a victory triumph in Alexandria for his gains from the Parthians.
At the celebration he awards Armenia to his and Cleopatra's oldest son, Alexander Helios. The area west of Armenia is awarded to the second son, Ptolemy Philadelphus.
Mark Antony - Wikipedia
The daughter Selene is given Cyprus. Furthermore, at the celebration Caesarion is publically declared to be the son of Julius Caesar and thus the king of kings.
The celebration of a triumph in Alexandria was a serious offense to Romans. Such celebration were only supposed to take place in Rome, the capital of the empire.
Antony and Cleopatra - Wikipedia
He publicizes its contents. Mark Antony's will made provision for turning parts of the Roman Empire over to Cleopatra. The Roman citizens are outraged.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra live together in Greece. At the height of the battle Cleopatra fearing capture takes her ships out of the battle. Mark Antony's forces alone are not strong enough to match those of Octavian and Mark Antony's forces are defeated. His army surrenders to Octavian. Mark Antony escapes from the defeat and joins Cleopatra on her ship, but he is furious with her for having unnecessarily precipitated the defeat at Actium.
After several days he relents and he and Cleopatra stay together in Alexandria. Mark Antony has revealed himself as a loser and Cleopatra needs someone else who can protect her.
Octavian communicates to Cleopatra that if she kills Mark Antony that he might work out something with her. Cleopatra realizes that she is not powerful enough to expel Mark Antony from Egypt or to assassinate him. She conceives a fiendish plot. She has a message sent to Mark Antony saying that she had killed herself. Upon hearing that his loved one was dead he falls upon his sword. The injury does not kill him at once and he has himself taken to where Cleopatra's body is supposed to be.
He finds her alive and tells her to make her peace with Octavian. After Mark Antony's death Cleopatra realizes that Octavian can never treat her as anything but an enemy and that he will take her and her children to Rome to be paraded in a victory triumph. She sends Caesarion with trusted protectors to hide in the east of Egypt near the Red Sea.
Cleopatra first intends to commit suicide by setting fire to the mausoleum where she has collected her treasures. Roman soldiers find entry to the mausoleum and thwart her plans. She is taken captive. Cleopatra then arranges for a poisonous snake, an asp, to be smuggled to her in a basket of figs. She then commits suicide by allowing the asp to bite her on her chest.
She arranged for her and Mark Antony to be buried together. Octavian sent agents to hunt down Caesarion and kill him. Thus ended the sad life of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt at 39 years of age. She was the last of the Ptolemy dynasty.
Octavian was given the title of Caesar Augustus.
The name of the sixth month in the Roman calendar was changed from Sextilis to August just as the fifth month's name had been changed to July.
The fifth month had 31 days and the sixth 30 days. Octavian had the calendar changed so the month named after him had 31 days as well.