Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Marcus Antonius-Caesar's Successor?

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears...I come to bury Caesar not to praise him." So begins one of the greatest interpretations of the speech (here Marlon Brando plays Anthony in Shakespeare's play) that put Marcus Antonius (Mark Anthony) on the road to joint ruler ship of Rome. With his moving speech, and control of Julius' legions,he and Caesar's adopted son, Octavian,quickly seized control of the Roman Government.

After destroying their many enemies, Antonius and Octavian ruled Rome together. This coin was minted with both their images to show how united they and the Empire were. Antonius even went so far as to marry Octavian's sister Octavia.

But peace was not to be. After taking control of the Eastern half of the Empire, Antonius fell under the spell of Cleopatra VII. They soon married, a great insult to Octavius, the people of Rome and Octavia. The couple had several children and proclaimed themselves living gods on Earth (on his coin Antonius calls himself Amen the sun god-Cleopatra VII was the goddess Isis). Only one action could meet such disregard for Roman traditions and the dire threat to the Empire Antonius and his foreign queen posed-WAR!

With his victory, and the deaths of Cleopatra VII, Caesarion and Marcus Antonius, Octavian became the sole ruler of the Roman World. He would soon earn a new name from the grateful people of Rome-Augustus.

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