By Plutarch

(died 30 B.C.E.)

The grandfather of Antony was the famous pleader, whom Marius put to death for having taken part with Sylla. His father was Antony, surnamed of Crete, not very famous or distinguished in public life, but a worthy good man, and particularly remarkable for his liberality, as may appear from a single example. He was not very rich, and was for that reason checked in the exercise of his good nature by his wife. A friend that stood in need of money came to borrow of him. Money he had none, but he bade a servant bring him water in a silver basin, with which, when it was brought, he wetted his face, as if he meant to shave, and, sending away the servant upon another errand, gave his, friend the basin, desiring him to turn it to his purpose. And when there was, afterwards, a great inquiry for it in the house, and his wife was in a very ill-humour, and was going to put the servants one by one to the search, he acknowledged what he had done, and begged her pardon.

His wife was Julia, of the family of the Caesars, who, for her discretion and fair was not inferior to any of her time. Under her, Antony received his education, she being, after the death of his father, remarried to Cornelius Lentulus, who was put to death by Cicero for having been of Catiline's conspiracy. This, probably, was the first ground and occasion of that mortal grudge that Antony bore Cicero. He says, even, that the body of Lentulus was denied burial, till, by application made to Cicero's wife, it was granted to Julia. But this seems to be a manifest error, for none of those that suffered in the consulate of Cicero had the right of burial denied them. Antony grew up a very

beautiful youth, but by the worst of misfortunes, he fell into the

acquaintance and friendship of Curio, a man abandoned to his pleasures,

who, to make Antony's dependence upon him a matter of greater necessity,

plunged him into a life of drinking and dissipation, and led him through

a course of such extravagance that he ran, at that early age, into

debt to the amount of two hundred and fifty talents. For this sum

Curio became his surety; on hearing which, the elder Curio, his father,

drove Antony out of his house. After this, for some short time he

took part with Clodius, the most insolent and outrageous demagogue

of the time, in his course of violence and disorder; but getting weary

before long, of his madness, and apprehensive of the powerful party

forming against him, he left Italy and travelled into Greece, where

he spent his time in military exercises and in the study of eloquence.

He took most to what was called the Asiatic taste in speaking, which

was then at its height, and was, in many ways, suitable to his ostentatious,

vaunting temper, full of empty flourishes and unsteady efforts for


After some stay in Greece, he was invited by Gabinius, who had been

consul, to make a campaign with him in Syria, which at first he refused,

not being willing to serve in a private character, but receiving a

commission to command the horse, he went along with him. His first-service

was against Aristobulus, who had prevailed with the Jews to rebel.

Here he was himself the first man to scale the largest of the works,

and beat Aristobulus out of all of them; after which he routed in

a pitched battle, an army many times over the number of his, killed

almost all of them and took Aristobulus and his son prisoners. This

war ended, Gabinius was solicited by Ptolemy to restore him to his

kingdom of Egypt, and a promise made of ten thousand talents reward.

Most of the officers were against this enterprise, and Gabinius himself

did not much like it, though sorely tempted by the ten thousand talents.

But Antony, desirous of brave actions and willing to please Ptolemy,

joined in persuading Gabinius to go. And whereas all were of opinion

that the most dangerous thing before them was the march to Pelusium,

in which they would have to pass over a deep sand, where no fresh

water was to be hoped for, along the Acregma and the Serbonian marsh

(which the Egyptians call Typhon's breathing-hole, and which is, in

probability, water left behind by, or making its way through from,

the Red Sea, which is here divided from the Mediterranean by a narrow

isthmus), Antony, being ordered thither with the horse, not only made

himself master of the passes, but won Pelusium itself, a great city,

took the garrison prisoners, and by this means rendered the march

secure to the army, and the way to victory not difficult for the general

to pursue. The enemy also reaped some benefit of his eagerness for

honour. For when Ptolemy, after he had entered Pelusium, in his rage

and spite against the Egyptians, designed to put them to the sword,

Antony withstood him, and hindered the execution. In all the great

and frequent skirmishes and battles he gave continual proofs of his

personal valour and military conduct; and once in particular, by wheeling

about and attacking the rear of the enemy, he gave the victory to

the assailants in the front, and received for this service signal

marks of distinction. Nor was his humanity towards the deceased Archelaus

less taken notice of. He had been formerly his guest and acquaintance,

and, as he was now compelled, he fought him bravely while alive, but

on his death, sought out his body and buried it with royal honours.

The consequence was that he left behind him a great name among the

Alexandrians, and all who were serving in the Roman army looked upon

him as a most gallant soldier.

He had also a very good and noble appearance; his beard was well grown,

his forehead large, and his nose aquiline, giving him altogether a

bold, masculine look that reminded people of the faces of Hercules

in paintings and sculptures. It was, moreover, an ancient tradition,

that the Antonys were descended from Hercules, by a son of his called

Anton; and this opinion he thought to give credit to by the similarity

of his person just mentioned, and also by the fashion of his dress.

For, whenever he had to appear before large numbers, he wore his tunic

girt low about the hips, a broadsword on his side, and over all a

large coarse mantle. What might seem to some very insupportable, his

vaunting, his raillery, his drinking in public, sitting down by the

men as they were taking their food, and eating, as he stood, off the

common soldiers' tables, made him the delight and pleasure of the

army. In love affairs, also, he was very agreeable: he gained many

friends by the assistance he gave them in theirs, and took other people's

raillery upon his own with good-humour. And his generous ways, his

open and lavish hand in gifts and favours to his friends and fellow-soldiers,

did a great deal for him in his first advance to power, and after

he had become great, long maintained his fortunes, when a thousand

follies were hastening their overthrow. One instance of his liberality

I must relate. He had ordered payment to one of his friends of twenty-five

myriads of money or decies, as the Romans call it, and his steward

wondering at the extravagance of the sum, laid all the silver in a

heap, as he should pass by. Antony, seeing the heap, asked what it

meant; his steward replied, "The money you have ordered to be given

to your friend." So, perceiving the man's malice, said he, "I thought

the decies had been much more; 'tis too little; let it be doubled."

This, however, was at a later time.

When the Roman state finally broke up into two hostile factions, the

aristocratical party joining Pompey, who was in the city, and the

popular side seeking help from Caesar, who was at the head of an army

in Gaul, Curio, the friend of Antony, having changed his party and

devoted himself to Caesar, brought over Antony also to his service.

And the influence which he gained with the people by his eloquence

and by the money which was supplied by Caesar, enabled him to make

Antony, first, tribune of the people, and then, augur. And Antony's

accession to office was at once of the greatest advantage to Caesar.

In the first place, he resisted the consul Marcellus, who was putting

under Pompey's orders the troops who were already collected, and was

giving him power to raise new levies; he, on the other hand, making

an order that they should be sent into Syria to reinforce Bibulus,

who was making war with the Parthians, and that no one should give

in his name to serve under Pompey. Next, when the senators would not

suffer Caesar's letters to be received or read in the senate, by virtue

of his office he read them publicly, and succeeded so well, that many

were brought to change their mind; Caesar's demands, as they appeared

in what he wrote, being but just and reasonable. At length, two questions

being put in the senate, the one, whether Pompey should dismiss his

army, the other, if Caesar his, some were for the former, for the

latter all, except some few, when Antony stood up and put the question,

if it would be agreeable to them that both Pompey and Caesar should

dismiss their armies. This proposal met with the greatest approval,

they gave him loud acclamations, and called for it to be put to the

vote. But when the consuls would not have it so, Caesar's friends

again made some few offers, very fair and equitable, but were strongly

opposed by Cato, and Antony himself was commanded to leave the senate

by the consul Lentulus. So, leaving them with execrations, and disguising

himself in a servant's dress, hiring a carriage with Quintus Cassius,

he went straight away to Caesar, declaring at once, when they reached

the camp, that affairs at Rome were conducted without any order or

justice, that the privilege of speaking in the senate was denied the

tribunes, and that he who spoke for common fair dealing was driven

out and in danger of his life.

Upon this, Caesar set his army in motion, and marched into Italy;

and for this reason it is that Cicero writes in his Philippics that

Antony was as much the cause of the civil war as Helen was of the

Trojan. But this is but a calumny. For Caesar was not of so slight

or weak a temper as to suffer himself to be carried away, by the indignation

of the moment, into a civil war with his country, upon the sight of

Antony and Cassius seeking refuge in his camp meanly dressed and in

a hired carriage, without ever having thought of it or taken any such

resolution long before. This was to him, who wanted a pretence of

declaring war, a fair and plausible occasion; but the true motive

that led him was the same that formerly led Alexander and Cyrus against

all mankind, the unquenchable thirst of empire, and the distracted

ambition of being the greatest man in the world, which was impracticable

for him, unless Pompey were put down. So soon, then, as he had advanced

and occupied Rome, and driven Pompey out of Italy, he proposed first

to go against the legions that Pompey had in Spain, and then cross

over and follow him with the fleet that should be prepared during

his absence, in the meantime leaving the government of Rome to Lepidus,

as praetor, and the command of the troops and of Italy to Antony,

as tribune of the people. Antony was not long in getting the hearts

of the soldiers, joining with them in their exercises, and for the

most part living amongst them and making them presents to the utmost

of his abilities; but with all others he was unpopular enough. He

was too lazy to pay attention to the complaints of persons who were

injured; he listened impatiently to petitions; and he had an ill name

for familiarity with other people's wives. In short, the government

of Caesar (which, so far as he was concerned himself, had the appearance

of anything rather than a tyranny) got a bad repute through his friends.

And of these friends, Antony, as he had the largest trust, and committed

the greatest errors, was thought the most deeply in fault.

Caesar, however, at his return from Spain, overlooked the charges

against him, and had no reason ever to complain, in the employments

he gave him in the war, of any want of courage, energy, or military

skill. He himself, going aboard at Brundusium, sailed over the Ionian

Sea with a few troops and sent back the vessels with orders to Antony

and Gabinius to embark the army, and come over with all speed to Macedonia.

Gabinius, having no mind to put to sea in the rough, dangerous weather

of the winter season, was for marching the army round by the long

land route; but Antony, being more afraid lest Caesar might suffer

from the number of his enemies, who pressed him hard, beat back Libo,

who was watching with a fleet at the mouth of the haven of Brundusium,

by attacking his galleys with a number of small boats, and gaining

thus an opportunity, put on board twenty thousand foot and eight hundred

horse, and so set out to sea. And, being espied by the enemy and pursued,

from this danger he was rescued by a strong south wind, which sprang

up and raised so high a sea that the enemy's galleys could make little

way. But his own ships were driving before it upon a lee shore of

cliffs and rocks running sheer to the water, where there was no hope

of escape, when all of a sudden the wind turned about to south-west,

and blew from land to the main sea, where Antony, now sailing in security,

saw the coast all covered with the wreck of the enemy's fleet. For

hither the galleys in pursuit had been carried by the gale, and not

a few of them dashed to pieces. Many men and much property fell into

Antony's hands; he took also the town of Lissus, and, by the seasonable

arrival of so large a reinforcement, gave Caesar great encouragement.

There was not one of the many engagements that now took place one

after another in which he did not signalize himself; twice he stopped

the army in its full flight, led them back to a charge, and gained

the victory. So that now without reason his reputation, next to Caesar's,

was greatest in the army. And what opinion Caesar himself had of him

well appeared when, for the final battle in Pharsalia, which was to

determine everything, he himself chose to lead the right wing, committing

the charge of the left to Antony, as to the best officer of all that

served under him. After the battle, Caesar, being created dictator,

went in pursuit of Pompey, and sent Antony to Rome, with the character

of Master of the Horse, who is in office and power next to the dictator,

when present, and in his absence the first, and pretty nearly indeed

the sole magistrate. For on the appointment of a dictator, with the

one exception of the tribunes, all other magistrates cease to exercise

any authority in Rome.

Dolabella, however, who was tribune, being a young man and eager for

change, was now for bringing in a general measure for cancelling debts,

and wanted Antony, who was his friend, and forward enough to promote

any popular project, to take part with him in this step. Asinius and

Trebellius were of the contrary opinion, and it so happened, at the

same time, Antony was crossed by a terrible suspicion that Dolabella

was too familiar with his wife; and in great trouble at this, he parted

with her (she being his cousin, and daughter to Caius Antonius, colleague

of Cicero), and, taking part with Asinius, came to open hostilities

with Dolabella, who had seized on the forum, intending to pass his

law by force. Antony, backed by a vote of the senate that Dolabella

should be put down by force of arms, went down and attacked him, killing

some of his, and losing some of his own men; and by this action lost

his favour with the commonalty, while with the better class and with

all well-conducted people his general course of life made him, as

Cicero says absolutely odious, utter disgust being excited by his

drinking bouts at all hours, his wild expenses, his gross amours,

the day spent in sleeping or walking off his debauches, and the night

in banquets and at theatres, and in celebrating the nuptials of some

comedian or buffoon. It is related that, drinking all night at the

wedding of Hippias, the comedian, on the morning, having to harangue

the people, he came forward, overcharged as he was, and vomited before

them all, one of his friends holding his gown for him. Sergius, the

player, was one of the friends who could do most with him; also Cytheris,

a woman of the same trade, whom he made much of, and who, when he

went his progress, accompanied him in a litter, and had her equipage

not in anything inferior to his mother's; while every one, moreover,

was scandalized at the sight of the golden cups that he took with

him, fitter for the ornaments of a procession than the uses of a journey,

at his having pavilions set up, and sumptuous morning repasts laid

out by river sides and in groves, at his having chariots drawn by

lions, and common women and singing girls quartered upon the houses

of serious fathers and mothers of families. And it seemed very unreasonable

that Caesar, out of Italy, should lodge in the open field, and with

great fatigue and danger, pursue the remainder of a hazardous war,

whilst others, by favour of his authority, should insult the citizens

with their impudent luxury.

All this appears to have aggravated party quarrels in Rome, and to

have encouraged the soldiers in acts of licence and rapacity. And,

accordingly, when Caesar came home, he acquitted Dolabella, and, being

created the third time consul, took not Antony, but Lepidus, for his

colleague. Pompey's house being offered for sale, Antony bought it,

and when the price was demanded of him, loudly complained. This, he

tells us himself and because he thought his former services had not

been recompensed as they deserved, made him not follow Caesar with

the army into Libya. However, Caesar, by dealing gently with his errors,

seems to have succeeded in curing him of a good deal of his folly

and extravagance. He gave up his former courses, and took a wife,

Fulvia, the widow of Clodius the demagogue, a woman not born for spinning

or housewifery, nor one that could be content with ruling a private

husband, but prepared to govern a first magistrate, or give orders

to a commander-in-chief. So that Cleopatra had great obligations to

her for having taught Antony to be so good a servant, he coming to

her hands tame and broken into entire obedience to the commands of

a mistress. He used to play all sorts of sportive, boyish tricks,

to keep Fulvia in good-humour. As, for example, when Caesar, after

his victory in Spain, was on his return, Antony, among the rest, went

out to meet him; and, a rumour being spread that Caesar was killed

and the enemy marching into Italy, he returned to Rome, and, disguising

himself, came to her by night muffled up as a servant that brought

letters from Antony. She, with great impatience, before received the

letter, asks if Antony were well, and instead of an answer he gives

her the letter; and, as she was opening it, took her about the neck

and kissed her. This little story, of many of the same nature, I give

as a specimen.

There was nobody of any rank in Rome that did not go some days' journey

to meet Caesar on his return from Spain; but Antony was the best received

of any, admitted to ride the whole journey with him in his carriage,

while behind came Brutus Albinus and Octavian, his niece's son, who

afterwards bore his name and reigned so long over the Romans. Caesar

being created, the fifth time, consul, without delay chose Antony

for his colleague, but designing himself to give up his own consulate

to Dolabella, he acquainted the senate with his resolution. But Antony

opposed it with all his might, saying much that was bad against Dolabella,

and receiving the like language in return, till Caesar could bear

with the indecency no longer, and deferred the matter to another time.

Afterwards, when he came before the people to proclaim Dolabella,

Antony cried out that the auspices were unfavourable, so that at last

Caesar, much to Dolabella's vexation, yielded and gave it up. And

it is credible that Caesar was about as much disgusted with the one

as the other. When some one was accusing them both to him, "It is

not," said he, "these well-fed, long-haired men that I fear, but the

pale and the hungry-looking;" meaning Brutus and Cassius, by whose

conspiracy he afterwards fell.

And the fairest pretext for that conspiracy was furnished, without

his meaning it, by Antony himself. The Romans were celebrating their

festival, called the Lupercalia, when Caesar, in his triumphal habit,

and seated above the rostra in the market-place, was a spectator of

the sports. The custom is, that many young noblemen and of the magistracy,

anointed with oil and having straps of hide in their hands, run about

and strike, in sport, at every one they meet. Antony was running with

the rest; but, omitting the old ceremony, twining a garland of bay

round a diadem, he ran up to the rostra, and, being lifted up by his

companions, would have put it upon the head of Caesar, as if by that

ceremony he was declared king. Caesar seemingly refused, and drew

aside to avoid it, and was applauded by the people with great shouts.

Again Antony pressed it, and again he declined its acceptance. And

so the dispute between them went on for some time, Antony's solicitations

receiving but little encouragement from the shouts of a few friends,

and Caesar's refusal being accompanied with the general applause of

the people; a curious thing enough, that they should submit with patience

to the fact, and yet at the same time dread the name as the destruction

of their liberty. Caesar, very much discomposed at what had passed

got up from his seat, and, laying bare his neck, said he was ready

to receive a stroke, if any one of them desired to give it. The crown

was at last put on one of his statues, but was taken down by some

of the tribunes, who were followed home by the people with shouts

of applause. Caesar, however, resented it, and deposed them.

These passages gave great encouragement to Brutus and Cassius, who

in making choice of trusty friends for such an enterprise, were thinking

to engage Antony. The rest approved, except Trebonius, who told them

that Antony and he had lodged and travelled together in the last journey

they took to meet Caesar, and that he had let fall several words,

in a cautious way, on purpose to sound him; that Antony very well

understood him, but did not encourage it; however, he had said nothing

of it to Caesar, but had kept the secret faithfully. The conspirators

then proposed that Antony should die with him, which Brutus would

not consent to, insisting that an action undertaken in defence of

right and the laws must be maintained unsullied, and pure of injustice.

It was settled that Antony, whose bodily strength and high office

made him formidable, should, at Caesar's entrance into the senate,

when the deed was to be done, be amused outside by some of the party

in a conversation about some pretended business.

So when all was proceeded with, according to their plan, and Caesar

had fallen in the senate-house, Antony, at the first moment, took

a servant's dress, and hid himself. But, understanding that the conspirators

had assembled in the Capitol, and had no further design upon any one,

he persuaded them to come down, giving them his son as a hostage.

That night Cassius supped at Antony's house, and Brutus with Lepidus.

Antony then convened the senate, and spoke in favour of an act of

oblivion, and the appointment of Brutus and Cassius to provinces.

These measures the senate passed; and resolved that all Caesar's acts

should remain in force. Thus Antony went out of the senate with the

highest possible reputation and esteem; for it was apparent that he

had prevented a civil war, and had composed, in the wisest and most

statesmanlike way, questions of the greatest difficulty and embarrassment.

But these temperate counsels were soon swept away by the tide of popular

applause, and the prospect, if Brutus were overthrown, of being without

doubt the ruler-in-chief. As Caesar's body was conveying to the tomb,

Antony, according to the custom, was making his funeral oration in

the market-place, and perceiving the people to be infinitely affected

with what he had said, he began to mingle with his praises language

of commiseration, and horror at what had happened, and, as he was

ending his speech, he took the under-clothes of the dead, and held

them up, showing them stains of blood and the holes of the many stabs,

calling those that had done this act villains and bloody murderers.

All which excited the people to such indignation, that they would

not defer the funeral, but, making a pile of tables and forms in the

very market-place, set fire to it; and every one, taking a brand,

ran to the conspirators' houses, to attack them.

Upon this, Brutus and his whole party left the city, and Caesar's

friends joined themselves to Antony. Calpurnia, Caesar's wife, lodged

with him the best part of the property to the value of four thousand

talents; he got also into his hands all Caesar's papers wherein were

contained journals of all he had done, and draughts of what he designed

to do, which Antony made good use of; for by this means he appointed

what magistrates he pleased, brought whom he would into the senate,

recalled some from exile, freed others out of prison, and all this

as ordered so by Caesar. The Romans, in mockery, gave those who were

thus benefited the name of Charonites, since, if put to prove their

patents, they must have recourse to the papers of the dead. In short,

Antony's behaviour in Rome was very absolute, he himself being consul

and his two brothers in great place; Caius, the one, being praetor,

and Lucius, the other, tribune of the people.

While matters went thus in Rome, the young Caesar, Caesar's niece's

son, and by testament left his heir, arrived at Rome from Apollonia,

where he was when his uncle was killed. The first thing he did was

to visit Antony, as his father's friend. He spoke to him concerning

the money that was in his hands, and reminded him of the legacy Caesar

had made of seventy-five drachmas of every Roman citizen. Antony,

at first, laughing at such discourse from so young a man, told him

he wished he were in his health, and that he wanted good counsel and

good friends to tell him the burden of being executor to Caesar would

sit very uneasy upon his young shoulders. This was no answer to him;

and, when he persisted in demanding the property, Antony went on treating

him injuriously both in word and deed, opposed him when he stood for

the tribune's office, and, when he was taking steps for the dedication

of his father's golden chair, as had been enacted, he threatened to

send him to prison if he did not give over soliciting the people.

This made the young Caesar apply himself to Cicero, and all those

that hated Antony; by them he was recommended to the senate, while

he himself courted the people, and drew together the soldiers from

their settlements, till Antony got alarmed, and gave him a meeting

in the Capitol, where, after some words, they came to an accommodation.

That night Antony had a very unlucky dream, fancying that his right

hand was thunderstruck. And, some few days after, he was informed

that Caesar was plotting to take his life. Caesar explained, but was

not believed, so that the breach was now made as wide as ever; each

of them hurried about all through Italy to engage, by great offers,

the old soldiers that lay scattered in their settlements, and to be

the first to secure the troops that still remained undischarged. Cicero

was at this time the man of greatest influence in Rome. He made use

of all his art to exasperate the people against Antony, and at length

persuaded the senate to declare him a public enemy, to send Caesar

the rods and axes and other marks of honour usually given to proctors,

and to issue orders to Hirtius and Pansa, who were the consuls, to

drive Antony out of Italy. The armies engaged near Modena, and Caesar

himself was present and took part in the battle. Antony was defeated,

but both the consuls were slain. Antony, in his flight, was overtaken

by distresses of every kind, and the worst of all of them was famine.

But it was his character in calamities to be better than at any other

time. Antony, in misfortune, was most nearly a virtuous man. It is

common enough for people, when they fall into great disasters, to

discern what is right, and what they ought to do; but there are but

few who in such extremities have the strength to obey their judgment,

either in doing what it approves or avoiding what it condemns; and

a good many are so weak as to give way to their habits all the more,

and are incapable of using their using minds. Antony, on this occasion,

was a most wonderful example to his soldiers. He, who had just quitted

so much luxury and sumptuous living, made no difficulty now of drinking

foul water and feeding on wild fruits and roots. Nay, it is related

they ate the very bark of trees, and, in passing over the Alps, lived

upon creatures that no one before had ever been willing to touch.

The design was to join the army on the other side the Alps, commanded

by Lepidus, who he imagined would stand his friend, he having done

him many good offices with Caesar. On coming up and encamping near

at hand, finding he had no sort of encouragement offered him, he resolved

to push his fortune and venture all. His hair was long and disordered,

nor had he shaved his beard since his defeat; in this guise, and with

a dark coloured cloak flung over him, he came into the trenches of

Lepidus, and began to address the army. Some were moved at his habit,

others at his words, so that Lepidus, not liking it, ordered the trumpets

to sound, that he might be heard no longer. This raised in the soldiers

yet a greater pity, so that they resolved to confer secretly with

him, and dressed Laelius and Clodius in women's clothes, and sent

them to see him. They advised him without delay to attack Lepidus's

trenches, assuring him that a strong party would receive him, and,

if he wished it, would kill Lepidus. Antony, however, had no wish

for this, but next morning marched his army to pass over the river

that parted the two camps. He was himself the first man that stepped

in, and, as he went through towards the other bank, he saw Lepidus's

soldiers in great numbers reaching out their hands to help him, and

beating down the works to make him way. Being entered into the camp,

and finding himself absolute master, he nevertheless treated Lepidus

with the greatest civility, and gave him the title of Father, when

he spoke to him, and though he had everything at his own command,

he left him the honour of being called the general. This fair usage

brought over to him Munatius Plancus, who was not far off with a considerable

force. Thus in great strength he repassed the Alps, leading with him

into Italy seventeen legions and ten thousand horse, besides six legions

which he left in garrison under the command of Varius, one of his

familiar friends and boon companions, whom they used to call by the

nickname of Cotylon.

Caesar, perceiving that Cicero's wishes were for liberty, had ceased

to pay any further regard to him, and was now employing the mediation

of his friends to come to a good understanding with Antony. They both

met together with Lepidus in a small island, where the conference

lasted three days. The empire was soon determined of, it being divided

amongst them as if it had been their paternal inheritance. That which

gave them all the trouble was to agree who should be put to death,

each of them desiring to destroy his enemies and to save his friends.

But, in the end, animosity to those they hated carried the day against

respect for relations and affection for friends; and Caesar sacrificed

Cicero to Antony, Antony gave up his uncle Lucius Caesar, and Lepidus

received permission to murder his brother Paulus, or, as others say,

yielded his brother to them. I do not believe anything ever took place

more truly savage or barbarous than this composition, for, in this

exchange of blood for blood, they were guilty of the lives they surrendered

and of those they took; or, indeed, more guilty in the case of their

friends for whose deaths they had not even the justification of hatred.

To complete the reconciliation, the soldiery, coming about them, demanded

that confirmation should be given to it by some alliance of marriage;

Caesar should marry Clodia, the daughter of Fulvia, wife to Antony.

This also being agreed to, three hundred persons were put to death

by proscription. Antony gave orders to those that were to kill Cicero

to cut off his head and right hand, with which he had written his

invectives against him; and, when they were brought before him, he

regarded them joyfully, actually bursting out more than once into

laughter, and, when he had satiated himself with the sight of them,

ordered them to be hung up above the speaker's place in the forum,

thinking thus to insult the dead, while in fact he only exposed his

own wanton arrogance, and his unworthiness to hold the power that

fortune had given him. His uncle, Lucius Caesar, being closely pursued,

took refuge with his sister, who, when the murderers had broken into

her house and were pressing into her chamber, met them at the door,

and spreading out hands, cried out several times. "You shall not kill

Lucius Caesar till you first despatch me who gave your general his

birth;" and in this manner she succeeded in getting her brother out

of the way, and saving his life.

This triumvirate was very hateful to the Romans, and Antony most of

all bore the blame, because he was older than Caesar, and had greater

authority than Lepidus, and withal he was no sooner settled in his

affairs, but he turned to his luxurious and dissolute way of living.

Besides the ill reputation he gained by his general behaviour, it

was some considerable disadvantage to him his living in the house

of Pompey the Great, who had been as much admired for his temperance

and his sober, citizen-like habits of life, as ever he was for having

triumphed three times. They could not without anger see the doors

of that house shut against magistrates, officers, and envoys, who

were shamefully refused admittance, while it was filled inside with

players, jugglers, and drunken flatterers, upon whom were spent the

greatest part of the wealth which violence and cruelty procured. For

they did not limit themselves to the forfeiture of the estates of

such as were proscribed, defrauding the widows and families, nor were

they contented with laying on every possible kind of tax and imposition;

but hearing that several sums of money were, as well by strangers

as citizens of Rome, deposited in the hands of the vestal virgins,

they went and took the money away by force. When it was manifest that

nothing would ever be enough for Antony, Caesar at last called for

a division of property. The army was also divided between them, upon

their march into Macedonia to make war with Brutus and Cassius, Lepidus

being left with the command of the city.

However, after they had crossed the sea and engaged in operations

of war, encamping in front of the enemy, Antony opposite Cassius,

and Caesar opposite Brutus, Caesar did nothing worth relating, and

all the success and victory were Antony's. In the first battle, Caesar

was completely routed by Brutus, his camp taken, he himself very narrowly

escaping by flight. As he himself writes in his Memoirs, he retired

before the battle, on account of a dream which one of his friends

had. But Antony, on the other hand, defeated Cassius; though some

have written that he was not actually present in the engagement, and

only joined afterwards in the pursuit. Cassius was killed, at his

own entreaty and order, by one of his most trusted freedmen, Pindarus,

not being aware of Brutus's victory. After a few days' interval, they

fought another battle, in which Brutus lost the day, and slew himself;

and Caesar being sick, Antony had almost all the honour of the victory.

Standing over Brutus's dead body, he uttered a few words of reproach

upon him for the death of his brother Caius, who had been executed

by Brutus's order in Macedonia in revenge of Cicero; but, saying presently

that Hortensius was most to blame for it, he gave order for his being

slain upon his brother's tomb, and, throwing his own scarlet mantle,

which was of great value, upon the body of Brutus, he gave charge

to one of his own freedmen to take care of his funeral. This man,

as Antony came to understand, did not leave the mantle with the corpse,

but kept both it and a good part of the money that should have been

spent in the funeral for himself; for which he had him put to death.

But Caesar was conveyed to Rome, no one expecting that he would long

survive. Antony, purposing to go to the eastern provinces to lay them

under contribution, entered Greece with a large force. The promise

had been made that every common soldier should receive for his pay

five thousand drachmas; so it was likely there would be need of pretty

severe taxing and levying to raise money. However, to the Greeks he

showed at first reason and moderation enough; he gratified his love

of amusement by hearing the learned men dispute, by seeing the games,

and undergoing initiation; and in judicial matters he was equitable,

taking pleasure in being styled a lover of Greece, but, above all,

in being called a lover of Athens, to which city he made very considerable

presents. The people of Megara wished to let him know that they also

had something to show him, and invited him to come and see their senate-house.

So he went and examined it, and on their asking him how he liked it,

told them it was "not very large, but extremely ruinous." At the same

time, he had a survey made of the temple of the Pythian Apollo as

if he had designed to repair it, and indeed he had declared to the

senate his intention so to do.

However, leaving Lucius Censorinus in Greece, he crossed over into

Asia, and there laid his hands on the stores of accumulated wealth,

while kings waited at his door, and queens were rivalling one another,

who should make him the greatest presents or appear most charming

in his eyes. Thus, whilst Caesar in Rome was wearing out his strength

amidst seditions and wars, Antony, with nothing to do amidst the enjoyments

of peace, let his passions carry him easily back to the old course

of life that was familiar to him. A set of harpers and pipers, Anaxenor

and Xuthus, the dancing-man, Metrodorus, and a whole Bacchic rout

of the like Asiatic exhibitors, far outdoing in licence and buffoonery

the pests that had followed him out of Italy, came in and possessed

the court; the thing was past patience, wealth of all kinds being

wasted on objects like these. The whole of Asia was like the city

in Sophocles, loaded, at one time-

"---------with incense in the air,

Jubilant songs, and outcries of despair."

When he made his entry into Ephesus, the women met him dressed up

like Bacchantes, and the men and boys like satyrs and fauns, and throughout

the town nothing was to be seen but spears wreathed about with ivy,

harps, flutes, and psalteries, while Antony in their songs was Bacchus,

the Giver of joy, and the Gentle. And so indeed he was to some but

to far more the Devourer and the Savage; for he would deprive persons

of worth and quality of their fortunes to gratify villains and flatterers,

who would sometimes beg the estates of men yet living, pretending

they were dead, and, obtaining a grant, take possession. He gave his

cook the house of a Magnesian citizen, as a reward for a single highly

successful supper, and, at last, when he was proceeding to lay a second

whole tribute on Asia, Hybreas, speaking on behalf of the cities,

took courage, and told him broadly, but aptly enough for Antony's

taste "if you can take two yearly tributes, you can doubtless give

us a couple of summers and a double harvest time;" and put it to him

in the plainest and boldest way, that Asia had raised two hundred

thousand talents for his service: "If this has not been paid to you,

ask your collectors for it; if it has, and is all gone, we are ruined

men." These words touched Antony to the quick, who was simply ignorant

of most things that were done in his name; not that he was so indolent,

as he was prone to trust frankly in all about him. For there was much

simplicity in his character; he was slow to see his faults, but when

he did see them, was extremely repentant, and ready to ask pardon

of those he had injured prodigal in his acts of reparation, and severe

in his punishments, but his generosity was much more extravagant than

his severity; his raillery was sharp and insulting, but the edge of

it was taken off by his readiness to submit to any kind of repartee;

for he was as well contented to be rallied, as he was pleased to rally

others. And this freedom of speech was, indeed, the cause of many

of his disasters. He never imagined those who used so much liberty

in their mirth would flatter or deceive him in business of consequence,

not knowing how common it is with parasites to mix their flattery

with boldness, as confectioners do their sweetmeats with something

biting, to prevent the sense of satiety. Their freedoms and impertinences

at table were designed expressly to give to their obsequiousness in

council the air of being not complaisance, but conviction.

Such being his temper, the last and crowning mischief that could befall

him came in the love of Cleopatra, to awaken and kindle to fury passions

that as yet lay still and dormant in his nature, and to stifle and

finally corrupt any elements that yet made resistance in him of goodness

and a sound judgment. He fell into the snare thus. When making preparation

for the Parthian war, he sent to command her to make her personal

appearance in Cilicia, to answer an accusation that she had given

great assistance, in the late wars, to Cassius. Dellius, who was sent

on this message, had no sooner seen her face, and remarked her adroitness

and subtlety in speech, but he felt convinced that Antony would not

so much as think of giving any molestation to a woman like this; on

the contrary, she would be the first in favour with him. So he set

himself at once to pay his court to the Egyptian, and gave her his

advice, "to go," in the Homeric style, to Cilicia, "in her best attire,"

and bade her fear nothing from Antony, the gentlest and kindest of

soldiers. She had some faith in the words of Dellius, but more in

her own attractions; which, having formerly recommended her to Caesar

and the young Cnaeus Pompey, she did not doubt might prove yet more

successful with Antony. Their acquaintance was with her when a girl,

young and ignorant of the world, but she was to meet Antony in the

time of life when women's beauty is most splendid, and their intellects

are in full maturity. She made great preparation for her journey,

of money, gifts, and ornaments of value, such as so wealthy a kingdom

might afford, but she brought with her her surest hopes in her own

magic arts and charms.

She received several letters, both from Antony and from his friends,

to summon her, but she took no account of these orders; and at last,

as if in mockery of them, she came sailing up the river Cydnus, in

a barge with gilded stern and outspread sails of purple, while oars

of silver beat time to the music of flutes and fifes and harps. She

herself lay all along under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as

Venus in a picture, and beautiful young boys, like painted Cupids,

stood on each side to fan her. Her maids were dressed like sea nymphs

and graces, some steering at the rudder, some working at the ropes.

The perfumes diffused themselves from the vessel to the shore, which

was covered with multitudes, part following the galley up the river

on either bank, part running out of the city to see the sight. The

market-place was quite emptied, and Antony at last was left alone

sitting upon the tribunal; while the word went through all the multitude,

that Venus was come to feast with Bacchus, for the common good of

Asia. On her arrival, Antony sent to invite her to supper. She thought

it fitter he should come to her; so, willing to show his good-humour

and courtesy, he complied, and went. He found the preparations to

receive him magnificent beyond expression, but nothing so admirable

as the great number of lights; for on a sudden there was let down

altogether so great a number of branches with lights in them so ingeniously

disposed, some in squares, and some in circles, that the whole thing

was a spectacle that has seldom been equalled for beauty.

The next day, Antony invited her to supper, and was very desirous

to outdo her as well in magnificence as contrivance; but he found

he was altogether beaten in both, and was so well convinced of it

that he was himself the first to jest and mock at his poverty of wit

and his rustic awkwardness. She, perceiving that his raillery was

broad and gross, and savoured more of the soldier than the courtier,

rejoined in the same taste, and fell into it at once, without any

sort of reluctance or reserve. For her actual beauty, it is said,

was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compared with her,

or that no one could see her without being struck by it, but the contact

of her presence, if you lived with her, was irresistible; the attraction

of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation, and the

character that attended all she said or did, was something bewitching.

It was a pleasure merely to hear the sound of her voice, with which,

like an instrument of many strings, she could pass from one language

to another; so that there were few of the barbarian nations that she

answered by an interpreter; to most of them she spoke herself, as

to the Ethiopians, Troglodytes, Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes,

Parthians, and many others, whose language she had learnt; which was

all the more surprising because most of the kings, her predecessors,

scarcely gave themselves the trouble to acquire the Egyptian tongue,

and several of them quite abandoned the Macedonian.

Antony was so captivated by her that, while Fulvia his wife maintained

his quarrels in Rome against Caesar by actual force of arms, and the

Parthian troops, commanded by Labienus (the king's generals having

made him commander-in-chief), were assembled in Mesopotamia, and ready

to enter Syria, he could yet suffer himself to be carried away by

her to Alexandria, there to keep holiday, like a boy, in play and

diversion, squandering and fooling away in enjoyments that most costly,

as Antiphon says, of all valuables, time. They had a sort of company,

to which they gave a particular name, calling it that of the Inimitable

Livers. The members entertained one another daily in turn, with all

extravagance of expenditure beyond measure or belief. Philotas, a

physician of Amphissa, who was at that time a student of medicine

in Alexandria, used to tell my grandfather Lamprias that, having some

acquaintance with one of the royal cooks, he was invited by him, being

a young man, to come and see the sumptuous preparations for supper.

So he was taken into the kitchen, where he admired the prodigious

variety of all things; but particularly, seeing eight wild boars roasting

whole, says he, "Surely you have a great number of guests." The cook

laughed at his simplicity, and told him there were not above twelve

to sup, but that every dish was to be served up just roasted to a

turn, and if anything was but one minute ill-timed, it was spoiled;

"And," said he, "maybe Antony will sup just now, maybe not this hour,

maybe he will call for wine, or begin to talk, and will put it off.

So that," he continued, "it is not one, but many suppers must be had

in readiness, as it is impossible to guess at his hour." This was

Philotas's story; who related besides, that he afterwards came to

be one the medical attendants of Antony's eldest son by Fulvia, and

used to be invited pretty often, among other companions, to his table,

when he was not supping with his father. One day another physician

had talked loudly, and given great disturbance to the company, whose

mouth Philotas stopped with this sophistical syllogism: "In some states

of fever the patient should take cold water; every one who has a fever

is in some state of fever; therefore in a fever cold water should

always be taken." The man was quite struck dumb, and Antony's son,

very much pleased, laughed aloud, and said, "Philotas, I make you

a present of all you see there," pointing to a sideboard covered with

plate. Philotas thanked him much, but was far enough from ever imagining

that a boy of his age could dispose of things of that value. Soon

after, however, the plate was all brought to him, and he was desired

to get his mark upon it; and when he put it away from him, and was

afraid to accept the present. "What ails the man?" said he that brought

it; "do you know that he who gives you this is Antony's son, who is

free to give it, if it were all gold? but if you will be advised by

me, I would counsel you to accept of the value in money from us; for

there may be amongst the rest some antique or famous piece of workmanship,

which Antony would be sorry to part with." These anecdotes, my grandfather

told us, Philotas used frequently to relate.

To return to Cleopatra; Plato admits four sorts of flattery, but she

had a thousand. Were Antony serious or disposed to mirth, she had

at any moment some new delight or charm to meet his wishes; at every

turn she was upon him, and let him escape her neither by day nor by

night. She played at dice with him, drank with him, hunted with him;

and when he exercised in arms, she was there to see. At night she

would go rambling with him to disturb and torment people at their

doors and windows, dressed like a servant-woman, for Antony also went

in servant's disguise, and from these expeditions he often came home

very scurvily answered, and sometimes even beaten severely, though

most people guessed who it was. However, the Alexandrians in general

liked it all well enough, and joined good-humouredly and kindly in

his frolic and play, saying they were much obliged to Antony for acting

his tragic parts at Rome, and keeping comedy for them. It would be

trifling without end to be particular in his follies, but his fishing

must not be forgotten. He went out one day to angle with Cleopatra,

and, being so unfortunate as to catch nothing in the presence of his

mistress, he gave secret orders to the fishermen to dive under water,

and put fishes that had been already taken upon his hooks; and these

he drew so fast that the Egyptian perceived it. But, feigning great

admiration, she told everybody how dexterous Antony was, and invited

them next day to come and see him again. So, when a number of them

had come on board the fishing-boats, as soon as he had let down his

hook, one of her servants was beforehand with his divers and fixed

upon his hook a salted fish from Pontus. Antony, feeling his line

give, drew up the prey, and when, as may be imagined, great laughter

ensued, "Leave," said Cleopatra, "the fishing-rod, general, to us

poor sovereigns of Pharos and Canopus; your game is cities, provinces,

and kingdoms."

Whilst he was thus diverting himself and engaged in this boy's play,

two despatches arrived; one from Rome, that his brother Lucius and

his wife Fulvia, after many quarrels among themselves, had joined

in war against Caesar, and having lost all, had fled out of Italy;

the other bringing little better news, that Labienus, at the head

of the Parthians, was overrunning Asia, from Euphrates and Syria as

far as Lydia and Ionia. So, scarcely at last rousing himself from

sleep, and shaking off the fumes of wine, he set out to attack the

Parthians, and went as far as Phoenicia; but, upon the receipt of

lamentable letters from Fulvia, turned his course with two hundred

ships to Italy. And, in his way, receiving such of his friends as

fled from Italy, he was given to understand that Fulvia was the sole

cause of the war, a woman of a restless spirit and very bold, and

withal her hopes were that commotions in Italy would force Antony

from Cleopatra. But it happened that Fulvia as she was coming to meet

her husband, fell sick by the way, and died at Sicyon, so that an

accommodation was the more easily made. For when he reached Italy,

and Caesar showed no intention of laying anything to his charge, and

he on his part shifted the blame of everything on Fulvia, those that

were friends to them would not suffer that the time should be spent

in looking narrowly into the plea, but made a reconciliation first,

and then a partition of the empire between them, taking as their boundary

the Ionian Sea, the eastern provinces falling to Antony, to Caesar

the western, and Africa being left to Lepidus. And an agreement was

made that everyone in their turn, as they thought fit, should make

their friends consuls, when they did not choose to take the offices


These terms were well approved of, but yet it was thought some closer

tie would be desirable; and for this, fortune offered occasion. Caesar

had an elder sister, not of the whole blood, for Attia was his mother's

name, hers Ancharia. This sister, Octavia, he was extremely attached

to, as indeed she was, it is said, quite a wonder of a woman. Her

husband, Caius Marcellus, had died not long before, and Antony was

now a widower by the death of Fulvia; for, though he did not disavow

the passion he had for Cleopatra, yet he disowned anything of marriage,

reason as yet, upon this point, still maintaining the debate against

the charms of the Egyptian. Everybody concurred in promoting this

new alliance, fully expecting that with the beauty, honour, and prudence

of Octavia, when her company should, as it was certain it would, have

engaged his affections, all would be kept in the safe and happy course

of friendship. So, both parties being agreed, they went to Rome to

celebrate the nuptials, the senate dispensing with the law by which

a widow was not permitted to marry till ten months after the death

of her husband.

Sextus Pompeius was in possession of Sicily, and with his ships, under

the command of Menas, the pirate, and Menecrates, so infested the

Italian coast that no vessels durst venture into those seas. Sextus

had behaved with much humanity towards Antony, having received his

mother when she fled with Fulvia, and it was therefore judged fit

that he also should be received into the peace. They met near the

promontory of Misenum, by the mole of the port, Pompey having his

fleet at anchor close by, and Antony and Caesar their troops drawn

up all along the shore. There it was concluded that Sextus should

quietly enjoy the government of Sicily and Sardinia, he conditioning

to scour the seas of all pirates, and to send so much corn every year

to Rome.

This agreed on, they invited one another to supper, and by lot it

fell to Pompey's turn to give the first entertainment, and Antony,

asking where it was to be, "There," said he, pointing to the admiral-galley,

a ship of six banks of oars. "that is the only house that Pompey is

heir to of his father's." And this he said, reflecting upon Antony,

who was then in possession of his father's house. Having fixed the

ship on her anchors, and formed a bridgeway from the promontory to

conduct on board of her, he gave them a cordial welcome. And when

they began to grow warm, and jests were passing freely on Antony and

Cleopatra's loves, Menas, the pirate, whispered Pompey, in the ear,

"Shall I," said he, "cut the cables and make you master not of Sicily

only and Sardinia, but of the whole Roman empire?" Pompey, having

considered a little while, returned him answer, "Menas, this might

have been done without acquainting me; now we must rest content; I

do not break my word." And so, having been entertained by the other

two in their turns, he set sail for Sicily.

After the treaty was completed, Antony despatched Ventidius into Asia,

to check the advance of the Parthians, while he, as a compliment to

Caesar, accepted the office of priest to the deceased Caesar. And

in any state affair and matter of consequence, they both behaved themselves

with much consideration and friendliness for each other. But it annoyed

Antony that in all their amusements, on any trial of skill or fortune,

Caesar should be constantly victorious. He had with him an Egyptian

diviner, one of those who calculate nativities, who, either to make

his court to Cleopatra, or that by the rules of his art he found it

to be so, openly declared to him that though the fortune that attended

him was bright and glorious, yet it was overshadowed by Caesar's;

and advised him to keep himself as far distant as he could from that

young man; "for your Genius," said he, "dreads his; when absent from

him yours is proud and brave, but in his presence unmanly and dejected;"

and incidents that occurred appeared to show that the Egyptian spoke

truth. For whenever they cast lots for any playful purpose, or threw

dice, Antony was still the loser; and when they fought game-cocks

or quails, Caesar's had the victory. This gave Antony a secret displeasure,

and made him put the more confidence in the skill of his Egyptian.

So, leaving the management of his home affairs to Caesar, he left

Italy, and took Octavia, who had lately borne him a daughter, along

with him into Greece.

Here, whilst he wintered in Athens, he received the first news of

Ventidius's successes over the Parthians, of his having defeated them

in a battle, having slain Labienus and Pharnapates, the best general

their king, Hyrodes, possessed. For the celebrating of which he made

public feast through Greece, and for the prizes which were contested

at Athens he himself acted as steward, and, leaving at home the ensigns

that are carried before the general, he made his public appearance

in a gown and white shoes, with the steward's wands marching before;

and he performed his duty in taking the combatants by the neck, to

part them, when they had fought enough.

When the time came for him to set out for the war, he took a garland

from the sacred olive, and, in obedience to some oracle, he filled

a vessel with the water of the Clepsydra to carry along with him.

In this interval, Pacorus, the Parthian king's son, who was marching

into Syria with a large army, was met by Ventidius, who gave him battle

in the country of Cyrrhestica, slew a large number of his men, and

Pacorus among the first. This victory was one of the most renowned

achievements of the Romans, and fully avenged their defeats under

Crassus, the Parthians being obliged, after the loss of three battles

successively, to keep themselves within the bounds of Media and Mesopotamia.

Ventidius was not willing to push his good fortune further, for fear

of raising some jealousy in Antony, but turning his aims against those

that had quitted the Roman interest, he reduced them to their former

obedience. Among the rest, he besieged Antiochus, King of Commagene,

in the city of Samosata, who made an offer of a thousand talents for

his pardon, and a promise of submission to Antony's commands. But

Ventidius told him that he must send to Antony, who was already on

his march, and had sent word to Ventidius to make no terms with Antiochus,

wishing that at any rate this one exploit might be ascribed to him,

and that people might not think that all his successes were won by

his lieutenants. The siege, however, was long protracted; for when

those within found their offers refused, they defended themselves

stoutly, till, at last, Antony, finding he was doing nothing, in shame

and regret for having refused the first offer, was glad to make an

accommodation with Antiochus for three hundred talents. And, having

given some orders for the affairs of Syria, he returned to Athens;

and, paying Ventidius the honours he well deserved, dismissed him

to receive his triumph. He is the only man that has ever yet triumphed

for victories obtained over the Parthians; he was of obscure birth,

but, by means of Antony's friendship, obtained an opportunity of showing

his capacity, and doing great things; and his making such glorious

use of it gave new credit to the current observation about Caesar

and Antony, that they were more fortunate in what they did by their

lieutenants than in their own persons. For Sossius, also, had great

success, and Canidius, whom he left in Armenia, defeated the people

there, and also the kings of the Albanians and Iberians, and marched

victorious as far as Caucasus, by which means the fame of Antony's

arms had become great among the barbarous nations.

He, however, once more, upon some unfavourable stories, taking offence

against Caesar, set sail with three hundred ships for Italy, and,

being refused admittance to the port of Brundusium, made for Tarentum.

There his wife Octavia, who came from Greece with him, obtained leave

to visit her brother, she being then great with child, having already

borne her husband a second daughter; and as she was on her way she

met Caesar, with his two friends Agrippa and Maecenas, and, taking

these two aside, with great entreaties and lamentations she told them,

that of the most fortunate woman upon earth, she was in danger of

becoming the most unhappy; for as yet every one's eyes were fixed

upon her as the wife and sister of the two great commanders, but,

if rash counsels should prevail, and war ensue, "I shall be miserable,"

said she, "without redress; for on what side soever victory falls,

I shall be sure to be a loser." Caesar was overcome by these entreaties,

and advanced in a peaceable temper to Tarentum, where those that were

present beheld a most stately spectacle; a vast army the up by the

shore, and as great a fleet in the harbour, all without the occurrence

of friends, and other expressions of joy and kindness, passing from

one armament to the other. Antony first entertained Caesar, this also

being a concession on Caesar's part to his sister; and when at length

an agreement was made between them, that Caesar should give Antony

two of his legions to serve him in the Parthian war, and that Antony

should in return leave with him a hundred armed galleys, Octavia further

obtained of her husband, besides this, twenty light ships for her

brother, and of her brother, a thousand foot for her husband. So,

having parted good friends, Caesar went immediately to make war with

Pompey to conquer Sicily. And Antony, leaving in Caesar's charge his

wife and children, and his children by his former wife Fulvia, set

sail for Asia.

But the mischief that thus long had lain still, the passion for Cleopatra,

which better thoughts had seemed to have lulled and charmed into oblivion,

upon his approach to Syria gathered strength again, and broke out

into a flame. And, in fine, like Plato's restive and rebellious horse

of the human soul, flinging off all good and wholesome counsel, and

breaking fairly loose, he sends Fonteius Capito to bring Cleopatra

into Syria. To whom at her arrival he made no small or trifling present,

Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, Cyprus, great part of Cilicia, that side of

Judaea which produces balm, that part of Arabia where the Nabathaeans

extend to the outer sea; profuse gifts which much displeased the Romans.

For although he had invested several private persons in great governments

and kingdoms, and bereaved many kings of theirs, as Antigonus of Judaea,

whose head he caused to be struck off (the first example of that punishment

being inflicted on a king), yet nothing stung the Romans like the

shame of these honours paid to Cleopatra. Their dissatisfaction was

augmented also by his acknowledging as his own the twin children he

had by her, giving them the name of Alexander and Cleopatra, and adding,

as their surnames, the titles of Sun and Moon. But he, who knew how

to put a good colour on the most dishonest action, would say that

the greatness of the Roman empire consisted more in giving than in

taking kingdoms, and that the way to carry noble blood through the

world was by begetting in every place a new line and series of kings;

his own ancestor had thus been born of Hercules; Hercules had not

limited his hopes of progeny to a single womb, nor feared any law

like Solon's or any audit of procreation, but had freely let nature

take her will in the foundation and first commencement of many families.

After Phraates had killed his father Hyrodes, and taken possession

of his kingdom, many of the Parthians left their country; among the

rest Monaeses, a man of great distinction and authority, sought refuge

with Antony, who, looking on his case as similar to that of Themistocles,

and likening his own opulence and magnanimity to those of the former

Persian kings, gave him three cities, Larissa, Arethusa, and Hierapolis,

which was formerly called Bambyce. But when the King of Parthia soon

recalled him, giving him his word and honour for his safety, Antony

was not unwilling to give him leave to return, hoping thereby to surprise

Phraates, who would believe that peace would continue; for he only

made the demand of him that he should send back the Roman ensigns

which were taken when Crassus was slain, and the prisoners that remained

yet alive. This done, he sent Cleopatra to Egypt, and marched through

Arabia and Armenia; and, when his forces came together, and were joined

by those of his confederate kings (of whom there were very many, and

the most considerable, Artavasdes, King of Armenia, who came at the

head of six thousand horse and seven thousand foot), he made a general

muster. There appeared sixty thousand Roman foot, ten thousand horse,

Spaniards and Gauls, who counted as Romans; and, of other nations,

horse and foot thirty thousand. And these great preparations, that

put the Indians beyond Bactria into alarm, and made all Asia shake,

were all we are told rendered useless to him because of Cleopatra.

For, in order to pass the winter with her, the war was pushed on before

its due time; and all he did was done without perfect consideration,

as by a man who had no power of control over his faculties, who, under

the effect of some drug or magic, was still looking back elsewhere,

and whose object was much more to hasten his return than to conquer

his enemies.

For, first of all, when he should have taken up his winter-quarters

in Armenia, to refresh his men, who were tired with long marches,

having come at least eight thousand furlongs, and then having taken

the advantage in the beginning of the spring to invade Media, before

the Parthians were out of winter-quarters, he had not patience to

expect his time, but marched into the province of Atropatene, leaving

Armenia on the left hand, and laid waste all that country. Secondly,

his haste was so great that he left behind the engines absolutely

required for any siege, which followed the camp in three hundred wagons,

and, among the rest, a ram eighty feet long; none of which was it

possible, if lost or damaged, to repair or to make the like, as the

provinces of the Upper Asia produce no trees long or hard enough for

such uses. Nevertheless, he left them all behind, as a mere impediment

to his speed, in the charge of a detachment under the command of Statianus,

the wagon officer. He himself laid siege to Phraata, a principal city

of the King of Media, wherein were that king's wife and children.

And when actual need proved the greatness of his error, in leaving

the siege-train behind him, he had nothing for it but to come up and

raise a mound against the walls, with infinite labour and great loss

of time. Meantime Phraates, coming down with a large army, and hearing

that the wagons were left behind with the battering engines, sent

a strong party of horse, by which Statianus was surprised, he himself

and ten thousand of his men slain, the engines all broken in pieces,

many taken prisoners, and among the rest King Polemon.

This great miscarriage in the opening of the campaign much discouraged

Antony's army, and Artavasdes, King of Armenia, deciding that the

Roman prospects were bad, withdrew with all his forces from the camp,

although he had been the chief promoter of the war. The Parthians,

encouraged by their success, came up to the Romans at the siege, and

gave them many affronts; upon which Antony, fearing that the despondency

and alarm of his soldiers would only grow worse if he let them lie

idle taking all the horse, ten legions, and three praetorian cohorts

of heavy infantry, resolved to go out and forage, designing by this

means to draw the enemy with more advantage to a battle. To effect

this, he marched a day's journey from his camp, and finding the Parthians

hovering about, in readiness to attack him while he was in motion,

he gave orders for the signal of battle to be hung out in the encampment,

but, at the same time, pulled down the tents, as if he meant not to

fight, but to lead his men home again; and so he proceeded to lead

them past the enemy, who were drawn up in a half-moon, his orders

being that the horse should charge as soon as the legions were come

up near enough to second them. The Parthians, standing still while

the Romans marched by them, were in great admiration of their army,

and of the exact discipline it observed, rank after rank passing on

at equal distances in perfect order and silence, their pikes all ready

in their hands. But when the signal was given, and the horse turned

short upon the Parthians, and with loud cries charged them, they bravely

received them, though they were at once too near for bowshot; but

the legions coming up with loud shouts and rattling of their arms

so frightened their horses and indeed the men themselves, that they

kept their ground no longer. Antony pressed them hard, in great hopes

that this victory should put an end to the war; the foot had them

in pursuit for fifty furlongs, and the horse for thrice that distance,

and yet, the advantage summed up, they had but thirty prisoners, and

there were but fourscore slain. So that they were all filled with

dejection and discouragement, to consider that when they were victorious,

their advantages were so small, and that when they were beaten, they

lost so great a number of men as they had done when the carriages

were taken.

The next day, having put the baggage in order, they marched back to

the camp before Phraata, in the way meeting with some scattering troops

of the enemy, and, as they marched further, with greater parties,

at length with the body of the enemy's army, fresh and in good order,

who defied them to battle, and charged them on every side, and it

was not without great difficulty that they reached the camp. There

Antony, finding that his men had in a panic deserted the defence of

the mound, upon a sally of the Medes, resolved to proceed against

them by decimation, as it is called, which is done by dividing the

soldiers into tens, and, out of every ten, putting one to death, as

it happens by lot. The rest he gave orders should have, instead of

wheat, their rations of corn in barley.

The war was now become grievous to both parties, and the prospect

of its continuance yet more fearful to Antony, in respect that he

was threatened with famine; for he could no longer forage without

wounds and slaughter. And Phraates, on the other side, was full of

apprehension that if the Romans were to persist in carrying on the

siege, the autumnal equinox being past and the air already closing

in for cold, he should be deserted by his soldiers, who would suffer

anything rather than wintering in open field. To prevent which, he

had recourse to the following deceit: he gave orders to those of his

men who had made most acquaintance among the Roman soldiers, not to

pursue too close when they met them foraging, but to suffer them to

carry off some provision; moreover, that they should praise their

valour, and declare that it was not without just reason that their

king looked upon the Romans as the bravest men in the world. This

done, upon further opportunity, they rode nearer in, and, drawing

up their horses by the men, began to revile for his obstinacy; that

whereas Phraates desired nothing more than peace, and an occasion

to show how ready he was to save the lives of so many brave soldiers,

he, on the contrary, gave no opening to any friendly offers, but sat

awaiting the arrival of the two fiercest and worst enemies, winter

and famine, from whom it would be hard for them to make their escape,

even with all the good-will of the Parthians to help them. Antony,

having these reports from many hands, began to indulge the hope; nevertheless,

he would not send any message to the Parthian till he had put the

question to these friendly talkers, whether what they said was said

by order of their king. Receiving answer that it was, together with

new encouragement to believe them, he sent some of his friends to

demand once more the standards and prisoners, lest if he should ask

nothing, he might be supposed to be too thankful to have leave to

retreat in quiet. The Parthian king made answer that, as for the standards

and prisoners, he need not trouble himself: but if he thought fit

to retreat, he might do it when he pleased, in peace and safety. Some

few days, therefore, being spent in collecting the baggage he set

out upon his march. On which occasion, though there was no man of

his time like him for addressing a multitude, or for carrying soldiers

with him by the force of words, out of shame and sadness he could

not find in his heart to speak himself but employed Domitius Aenobarbus.

And some of the soldiers resented it, as an undervaluing of them;

but the greater number saw the true cause, and pitied it, and thought

it rather a reason why they on their side should treat their general

with more respect and obedience than ordinary.

Antony had resolved to return by the same way he came, which was through

a level country clear of all trees; but a certain Mardian came to

him (one that was very conversant with the manners of the Parthians,

and whose fidelity to the Romans had been tried at the battle where

the machines were lost), and advised him to keep the mountains close

on his right hand, and not to expose his men, heavily armed, in a

broad, open, riding country, to the attacks of a numerous army of

light horse and archers; that Phraates with fair promises had persuaded

him from the siege on purpose that he might with more ease cut him

off in his retreat; but if so he pleased, he would conduct him by

a nearer route, on which moreover he should find the necessaries for

his army in greater abundance. Antony upon this began to consider

what was best to be done; he was unwilling to seem to have any mistrust

of the Parthians after their treaty; but, holding it to be really

best to march his army the shorter and more inhabited way, he demanded

of the Mardian some assurance of his faith, who offered himself to

be bound until the army came safe into Armenia. Two days he conducted

the army bound, and, on the third, when Antony had given up all thought

of the enemy, and was marching at his ease in no very good order,

the Mardian, perceiving the bank of the river broken down, and the

water let out and overflowing the road by which they were to pass,

saw at once that this was the handiwork of the Parthians, done out

of mischief, and to hinder their march: so he advised Antony to be

upon his guard, for that the enemy was nigh at hand. And sooner had

he begun to put his men in order, disposing the slingers and dart-men

in convenient intervals for sallying out, but the Parthians came pouring

in on all sides, fully expecting to encompass them, and throw the

whole army into disorder. They were at once attacked by the light

troops, whom they galled a good deal with their arrows; but being

themselves as warmly entertained with the slings and darts, and many

wounded, they made their retreat. Soon after, rallying up afresh,

they were beat back by a battalion of Gallic horse, and appeared no

more that day.

By their manner of attack Antony, seeing what to do, not only placed

the slings and darts as a rear guard, but also lined both flanks with

them, and so marched in a square battle, giving order to the horse

to charge and beat off the enemy, but not to follow them far as they

retired. So that the Parthians, not doing more mischief for the four

ensuing days than they received, began to abate in their zeal, and,

complaining that the winter season was much advanced, pressed for

returning home.

But, on the fifth day, Flavius Gallus, a brave and active officer,

who had a considerable command in the army, came to Antony, desiring

of him some light infantry out of the rear, and some horse out of

the front, with which he would undertake to do some considerable service.

Which when he had obtained, he beat the enemy back, not withdrawing,

as was usual, at the same time, and retreating upon the mass of the

heavy infantry, but maintaining his own ground, and engaging boldly.

The officers who commanded in the rear, perceiving how far he was

getting from the body of the army, sent to warn him back, but he took

no notice of them. It is said that Titius the quaestor snatched the

standards and turned them round, upbraiding Gallus with thus leading

so many brave men to destruction. But when he on the other side reviled

him again, and commanded the men that were about him to stand firm,

Titius made his retreat, and Gallus, charging the enemies in the front,

was encompassed by a party that fell upon his rear, which at length

perceiving, he sent a messenger to demand succour. But the commanders

of the heavy infantry, Canidius amongst others, a particular favourite

of Antony's, seem here to have committed a great oversight. For, instead

of facing about with the whole body, they sent small parties, and,

when they were defeated, they still sent out small parties, so that

by their bad management the rout would have spread through the whole

army, if Antony himself had not marched from the van at the head of

the third legion, and, passing this through among the fugitives, faced

the enemies, and hindered them from any further pursuit.

In this engagement were killed three thousand, five thousand were

carried back to the camp wounded, amongst the rest Gallus, shot through

the body with four arrows, of which wounds he died. Antony went from

tent to tent to visit and comfort the rest of them, and was not able

to see his men without tears and a passion of grief. They, however,

seized his hand with joyful faces, bidding him go and see to himself

and not be concerned about them, calling him their emperor and their

general, and saying that if he did well they were safe. For, in short,

never in all these times can history make mention of a general at

the head of a more splendid army; whether you consider strength and

youth, or patience and sufferance in labours and fatigues; but as

for the obedience and affectionate respect they bore their general,

and the unanimous feeling amongst small and great alike, officers

and common soldiers, to prefer his good opinion of them to their very

lives and being, in this part of military excellence it was not possible

that they could have been surpassed by the very Romans of old. For

this devotion, as I have said before, there were many reasons, as

the nobility of his family, his eloquence, his frank and open manners,

his liberal and magnificent habits, his familiarity in talking with

everybody, and, at this time particularly, his kindness in visiting

and pitying the sick, joining in all their pains, and furnishing them

with all things necessary, so that the sick and wounded were even

more eager to serve than those that were whole and strong.

Nevertheless, this last victory had so encouraged the enemy that,

instead of their former impatience and weariness, they began soon

to feel contempt for the Romans, staying all night near the camp,

in expectation of plundering their tents and baggage, which they concluded

they must abandon; and in the morning new forces arrived in large

masses, so that their number was grown to be not less, it is said,

than forty thousand horse; and the king had sent the very guards that

attended upon his own person, as to a sure and unquestioned victory,

for he himself was never present in any fight. Antony, designing to

harangue the soldiers, called for a mourning habit that he might move

them the more, but was dissuaded by his friends; so he came forward

in the general's scarlet cloak, and addressed them, praising those

that had gained the victory, and reproaching those that had fled,

the former answering him with promises of success, and the latter

excusing themselves, and telling him they were ready to undergo decimation,

or any other punishment he should please to inflict upon them, only

entreating that he would forget and not discompose himself with their

faults. At which he lifted up his hands to heaven, and prayed the

gods that, if to balance the great favours he had received of them

any judgment lay in store, they would pour it upon his head alone,

and grant his soldiers victory.

The next day they took better order for their march, and the Parthians,

who thought they were marching rather to plunder than to fight, were

much taken aback, when they came up and were received with a shower

of missiles, to find the enemy not disheartened, but fresh and resolute.

So that they themselves began to lose courage. But at the descent

of a bill where the Romans were obliged to pass, they got together,

and let fly their arrows upon them as they moved slowly down. But

the full-armed infantry, facing round, received the light troops within;

and those in the first rank knelt on one knee, holding their shields

before them, the next rank holding theirs over the first, and so again

others over these, much like the tiling of a house, or the rows of

seats in a theatre, the whole affording sure defence against arrows,

which glanced upon them without doing any harm. The Parthians, seeing

the Romans down upon their knees, could not imagine but that it must

proceed from weariness; so that they laid down their bows, and, taking

their spears, made a fierce onset, when the Romans, with a great cry,

leaped upon their feet, striking hand to hand with their javelins,

slew the foremost, and put the rest to flight. After this rate it

was every day, and the trouble they gave made the marches short; in

addition to which famine began to be felt in the camp, for they could

get but little corn, and that which they got they were forced to fight

for; and, besides this, they were in want of implements to grind it

and make bread. For they had left almost all behind, the baggage horses

being dead or otherwise employed in carrying the sick and wounded.

Provision was so scarce in the army that an Attic quart of wheat sold

for fifty drachmas, and barley loaves for their weight in silver.

And when they tried vegetables and roots, they found such as are commonly

eaten very scarce, so that they were constrained to venture upon any

they could get, and, among others, they chanced upon an herb that

was mortal, first taking away all sense an understanding. He that

had eaten of it remembered nothing in the world, and employed himself

only in moving great stones from one place to another, which he did

with as much earnestness and industry as if it had been a business

of the greatest consequence. Through all the camp there was nothing

to be seen but men grubbing upon the ground at stones, which they

carried from place to place. But in the end they threw up bile and

died, as wine, moreover, which was the one antidote, failed. When

Antony saw them die so fast, and the Parthians still in pursuit, he

was heard to exclaim several times over, "O, the Ten Thousand!" as

if in admiration of the retreat of the Greeks, with Xenophon, who,

when they had a longer journey to make from Babylonia, and a more

powerful enemy to deal with, nevertheless came home safe.

The Parthians, finding that they could not divide the Roman army,

nor break the order of their battle, and that withal they had been

so often worsted, once more began to treat the foragers with professions

of humanity; they came up to them with their bows unbent, telling

them that they were going home to their houses; that this was the

end of their retaliation, and that only some Median troops would follow

for two or three days, not with any design to annoy them, but for

the defence of some of the villages further on. And, saying this,

they saluted them and embraced them with a great show of friendship.

This made the Romans full of confidence again, and Antony, on hearing

of it, was more disposed to take the road through the level country,

being told that no water was to be hoped for on that through the mountains.

But while he was preparing thus to do, Mithridates came into the camp,

a cousin to Monaeses, of whom we related that he sought refuge with

the Romans, and received in gift from Antony three cities. Upon his

arrival, he desired somebody might be brought to him that could speak

Syriac or Parthian. One Alexander, of Antioch, a friend of Antony's,

was brought to him, to whom the stranger, giving his name, and mentioning

Monaeses as the person who desired to do the kindness, put the question,

did he see that high range of hills pointing at some distance. He

told him, yes. "It is there," said he, "the whole Parthian army lie

in wait for your passage; for the great plains come immediately up

to them, and they expect that, confiding in their promises, you will

leave the way of the mountains, and take the level route. It is true

that in passing over the mountains you will suffer the want of water,

and the fatigue to which you have become familiar, but if you pass

through the plains, Antony must expect the fortune of Crassus."

This said, he departed. Antony, in alarm calling his friends in council,

sent for the Mardian guide, who was of the same opinion. He told them

that, with or without enemies, the want of any certain track in the

plain, and the likelihood of their losing their way, were quite objection

enough; the other route was rough and without water, but then it was

but for a day. Antony, therefore, changing his mind, marched away

upon this road that night, commanding that every one should carry

water sufficient for his own use; but most of them being unprovided

with vessels, they made shift with their helmets, and some with skins.

As soon as they started, the news of it was carried to the Parthians,

who followed them, contrary to their custom, through the night, and

at sunrise attacked the rear, which was tired with marching and want

of sleep, and not in condition to make any considerable defence. For

they had got through two hundred and forty furlongs a night, and at

the end of such a march to find the enemy at their heels put them

out of heart. Besides, having to fight for every step of the way increased

their distress from thirst. Those that were in the van came up to

a river, the water of which was extremely cool and clear, but brackish

and medicinal, and, on being drunk, produced immediate pains in the

bowels and a renewed thirst. Of this the Mardian had forewarned them,

but they could not forbear, and, beating back those that opposed them,

they drank of it. Antony ran from one place to another, begging they

would have a little patience, that not far off there was a river of

wholesome water, and that the rest of the way was so difficult for

the horse that the enemy could pursue them no further; and, saying

this, he ordered to sound a retreat to call those back that were engaged,

and commanded the tents should be set up, that the soldiers might

at any rate refresh themselves in the shade.

But the tents were scarce well put up, and the Parthians beginning,

according to their custom, to withdraw, when Mithridates came again

to them, and informed Alexander, with whom he had before spoken, that

he would do well to advise Antony to stay where he was no longer than

needs he must, that, after having refreshed his troops, he should

endeavour with all diligence to gain the next river, that the Parthians

would not cross it, but so far they were resolved to follow them.

Alexander made his report to Antony, who ordered a quantity of gold

plate to be carried to Mithridates, who, taking as much as he could

well hide under his clothes, went his way. And, upon this advice,

Antony, while it was yet day, broke up his camp, and the whole army

marched forward without receiving any molestation from the Parthians,

though that night by their own doing was in effect the most wretched

and terrible that they passed. For some of the men began to kill and

plunder those whom they suspected to have any money, ransacked the

baggage, and seized the money there. In the end, they laid hands on

Antony's own equipage, and broke all his rich tables and cups, dividing

the fragments amongst them. Antony, hearing such a noise and such

a stirring to and fro all through the army, the belief prevailing

that the enemy had routed and cut off a portion of the troops, called

for one of his freedmen, then serving as one of his guards, Rhamnus

by name, and made him take an oath that whenever he should give him

orders, he would run his sword through his body and cut off his head,

that he might not fall alive into the hands of the Parthians, nor,

when dead, be recognized as the general. While he was in this consternation,

and all his friends about him in tears, the Mardian came up and gave

them all new life. He convinced them, by the coolness and humidity

of the air, which they could feel in breathing it, that the river

which he had spoken of was now not far off, and the calculation of

the time that had been required to reach it came, he said, to the

same result, for the night was almost spent. And, at the same time,

others came with information that all the confusion in the camp proceeded

only from their own violence and robbery among themselves. To compose

this tumult, and bring them again into some order after their distraction,

he commanded the signal to be given for a halt.

Day began to break, and quiet and regularity were just reappearing,

when the Parthian arrows began to fly among the rear, and the light-armed

troops were ordered out to battle. And, being seconded by the heavy

infantry, who covered one another as before described with their shields,

they bravely received the enemy, who did not think convenient to advance

any further, while the van of the army, marching forward leisurely

in this manner, came in sight of the river, and Antony, drawing up

the cavalry on the banks to confront the enemy, first passed over

the sick and wounded. And, by this time, even those who were engaged

with the enemy had opportunity to drink at their ease; for the Parthians,

on seeing the river, unbent their bows, and told the Romans they might

pass over freely, and made them great compliments in praise of their

valour. Having crossed without molestation, they rested themselves

awhile, and presently went forward, not giving perfect credit to the

fair words of their enemies. Six days after this last battle, they

arrived at the river Araxes, which divides Media and Armenia, and

seemed, both by its deepness and the violence of the current, to be

very dangerous to pass. A report, also, had crept in amongst them,

that the enemy was in ambush, ready to set upon them as soon as they

should be occupied with their passage. But when they were got over

on the other side, and found themselves in Armenia, just as if land

was now sighted after a storm at sea, they kissed the ground for joy,

shedding tears and embracing each other in their delight. But taking

their journey through a land that abounded in all sorts of plenty,

they ate, after their long want, with that excess of everything they

met with that they suffered from dropsies and dysenteries.

Here Antony, making a review of his army, found that he had lost twenty

thousand foot and four thousand horse, of which the better half not

by the enemy, but by diseases. Their march was of twenty-seven days

from Phraata, during which they had beaten the Parthians in eighteen

battles, though with little effect or lasting result, because of their

being so unable to pursue. By which it is manifest that it was Artavasdes

who lost Antony the benefit of the expedition. For had the sixteen

thousand horsemen whom he led away, out of Media, armed in the same

style as the Parthians, and accustomed to their manner of fight, been

there to follow the pursuit when the Romans put them to flight, it

is impossible they could have rallied so often after their defeats,

and reappeared again as they did to renew their attacks. For this

reason, the whole army was very earnest with Antony to march into

Armenia to take revenge. But he, with more reflection, forbore to

notice the desertion, and continued all his former courtesies, feeling

that the army was wearied out, and in want of all manner of necessaries.

Afterwards, however, entering Armenia, with invitations and fair promises

he prevailed upon Artavasdes to meet him, when he seized him, bound

him, and carried him to Alexandria, and there led him in a triumph;

one of the things which most offended the Romans, who felt as if all

the honours and solemn observances of their country were, for Cleopatra's

sake, handed over to the Egyptians.

This, however, was at an after time. For the present, marching his

army in great haste in the depth of winter through continual storms

of snow, he lost eight thousand of his men, and came with much diminished

numbers to a place called the White Village, between Sidon and Berytus,

on the sea-coast, where he waited for the arrival of Cleopatra. And,

being impatient of the delay she made, he bethought himself of shortening

the time wine and drunkenness, and yet could not endure the tediousness

of a meal, but would start from table and run to see if she were coming.

Till at last she came into port, and brought with her clothes and

money for the soldiers. Though some say that Antony only received

the clothes from her and distributed his own money in her name.

A quarrel presently happened between the King of Media and Phraates

of Parthia, beginning, it is said, about the division of the booty

that was taken from the Romans, and creating great apprehension in

the Median lest he should lose his kingdom. He sent, therefore, ambassadors

to Antony, with offers of entering into a confederate war against

Phraates. And Antony, full of hopes at being thus asked, as a favour,

to accept that one thing, horse and archers, the want of which had

hindered his beating the Parthians before, began at once to prepare

for a return to Armenia, there to join the Medes on the Araxes, and

begin the war afresh. But Octavia, in Rome, being desirous to see

Antony, asked Caesar's leave to go to him; which he gave her, not

so much, say most authors, to gratify his sister, as to obtain a fair

pretence to begin the war upon her dishonourable reception. She no

sooner arrived at Athens, but by letters from Antony she was informed

of his new expedition, and his will that she should await him there.

And, though she were much displeased, not being ignorant of the real

reason of this usage, yet she wrote to him to know to what place he

would be pleased she should send the things she had brought with her

for his use; for she had brought clothes for his soldiers, baggage,

cattle, money, and presents for his friends and officers, and two

thousand chosen soldiers sumptuously armed, to form praetorian cohorts.

This message was brought from Octavia to Antony by Niger, one of his

friends, who added to it the praises she deserved so well. Cleopatra,

feeling her rival already, as it were, at hand, was seized with fear,

lest if to her noble life and her high alliance, she once could add

the charm of daily habit and affectionate intercourse, she should

become irresistible, and be his absolute mistress forever. So she

feigned to be dying for love of Antony, bringing her body down by

slender diet; when he entered the room, she fixed her eyes upon him

in a rapture, and when he left, seemed to languish and half faint

away. She took great pains that he should see her in tears, and, as

soon as he noticed it, hastily dried them up and turned away, as if

it were her wish that he should know nothing of it. All this was acting

while he prepared for Media; and Cleopatra's creatures were not slow

to forward the design, upbraiding Antony with his unfeeling, hard-hearted

temper, thus letting a woman perish whose soul depended upon him and

him alone. Octavia, it was true, was his wife, and had been married

to him because it was found convenient for the affairs of her brother

that it should be so, and she had the honour of the title; but Cleopatra,

the sovereign queen of many nations, had been contented with the name

of his mistress, nor did she shun or despise the character whilst

she might see him, might live with him, and enjoy him; if she were

bereaved of this, she would not survive the loss. In fine, they so

melted and unmanned him that, fully believing she would die if he

forsook her, he put off the war and returned to Alexandria, deferring

his Median expedition until next summer, though news came of the Parthians

being all in confusion with intestine disputes. Nevertheless, he did

some time after go into that country, and made an alliance with the

King of Media, by marriage of a son of his by Cleopatra to the king's

daughter, who was yet very young; and so returned, with his thoughts

taken up about the civil war.

When Octavia returned from Athens, Caesar, who considered she had

been injuriously treated, commanded her to live in a separate house;

but she refused to leave the house of her husband, and entreated him,

unless he had already resolved, upon other motives, to make war with

Antony, that he would on her account let it alone; it would be intolerable

to have it said of the two greatest commanders in the world that they

had involved the Roman people in a civil war, the one out of passion

for, the other out of resentment about, a woman. And her behaviour

proved her words to be sincere. She remained in Antony's house as

if he were at home in it, and took the noblest and most generous care,

not only of his children by her, but of those by Fulvia also. She

received all the friends of Antony that came to Rome to seek office

or upon any business, and did her utmost to prefer their requests

to Caesar; yet this her honourable deportment did but, without her

meaning it, damage the reputation of Antony; the wrong he did to such

a woman made him hated. Nor was the division he made among his sons

at Alexandria less unpopular; it seemed a theatrical piece of insolence

and contempt of his country. For assembling the people in the exercise

ground, and causing two golden thrones to be placed on a platform

of silver, the one for him and the other for Cleopatra, and at their

feet lower thrones for their children, he proclaimed Cleopatra Queen

of Egypt, Cyprus, Libya, and Coele-Syria, and with her conjointly

Caesarion, the reputed son of the former Caesar, who left Cleopatra

with child. His own sons by Cleopatra were to have the style of king

of kings; to Alexander he gave Armenia and Media, with Parthia, so

soon as it should be overcome; to Ptolemy, Phoenicia, Syria, and Cilicia.

Alexander was brought out before the people in Median costume, the

tiara and upright peak, and Ptolemy, in boots and mantle and Macedonian

cap done about with the diadem; for this was the habit of the successors

of Alexander, as the other was of the Medes and Armenians. And as

soon as they had saluted their parents, the one was received by a

guard of Macedonians, the other by one of Armenians. Cleopatra was

then, as at other times when she appeared in public, dressed in the

habit of the goddess Isis, and gave audience to the people under the

name of the New Isis.

Caesar, relating these things in the senate, and often complaining

to the people, excited men's minds against Antony, and Antony also

sent messages of accusation against Caesar. The principal of his charges

were these: first, that he had not made any division with him of Sicily,

which was lately taken from Pompey; secondly, that he had retained

the ships he had lent him for the war; thirdly, that, after deposing

Lepidus, their colleague, he had taken for himself the army, governments,

and revenues formerly appropriated to him; and lastly, that he had

parcelled out almost all Italy amongst his own soldiers, and left

nothing for his. Caesar's answer was as follows: that he had put Lepidus

out of government because of his own misconduct; that what he had

got in war he would divide with Antony, so soon as Antony gave him

a share of Armenia; that Antony's soldiers had no claims in Italy,

being in possession of Media and Parthia, the acquisitions which their

brave actions under their general had added to the Roman empire.

Antony was in Armenia when this answer came to him, and immediately

sent Canidius with sixteen legions towards the sea; but he, in the

company of Cleopatra, went to Ephesus, whither ships were coming in

from all quarters to form the navy, consisting, vessels of burden

included, of eight hundred vessels, of which Cleopatra furnished two

hundred, together with twenty thousand talents, and provision for

the whole army during the war. Antony, on the advice of Domitius and

some others, bade Cleopatra return into Egypt, there to expect the

event of the war; but she, dreading some new reconciliation by Octavia's

means, prevailed with Canidius, by a large sum of money, to speak

in her favour with Antony, pointing out to him that it was not just

that one that bore so great a part in the charge of the war should be robbed of her share of glory in the carrying it on; nor would it be politic to disoblige the Egyptians, who were so considerable a part of his naval

Translated by John Dryden

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