THE LOVE AFFAIR OF CLEOPATRA AND MARK ANTONY.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra, a Roman general and an Egyptian princess, flaunted their scandalous love affair while questioning Rome's power.
42 B.C. The three most powerful men in Rome gravitated the empire among them. After turbulent times the triumvirate of Lepidus, Octavian, and Mark Antony was an awkward coalition. Mark Antony, who was in control of the eastern provinces, found himself far from Rome and lost himself in the Hellenistic society which he had once adored. It's been a heady mix that pulled him into the arms of Cleopatra, the beguiling queen of Egypt. (Read more about Cleopatra quest by archaeologists.)
As Antony journeyed to take up his new responsibilities, amorous adventures ranked low on his agenda. The triumvirate that ruled over Rome’s vast territories needed to urgently restructure the army in the east, secure new sources of military funding, and launch a punitive expedition against the Parthians to avenge a humiliating defeat in 53 B.C. Julius Caesar had been planning such an expedition before his assassination, and Antony was keen to be seen to continue his great mentor’s work. He also knew that a major victory against a foreign foe would greatly enhance his personal prestige and power.
>> Mark Antony develop a romantic inerest in Cleopatra.
Nevertheless, the ambitions of Mark Antony went beyond roman affairs. He had a deep love for the Greek Hellenistic civilization which the conquests of Alexander the Great had firmly embedded in the territories which now constituted the eastern provinces of Rome. The plentiful cultural opportunities helped alleviate the state's intense concerns, and Antony took full advantage of it as he pursued his territories. Visiting Athens, he received the sobriquet "Dionysus the Giver of Joy," and heading to Asia Minor, a dazzling parade of men and women posing as satyrs and priestesses of Bacchus, the Roman god of revelry, greeted him at Ephesus.The people of Ephesus offered the sacred honor of "Dionysus the benefactor" to the Roman Antony (read more about the Greek culture that Antony worshiped).
Then Antony's grand tour brought him to Tarsus, in the south of modern-day Turkey. He sent a messenger from here to the Queen of Egypt, welcoming her to a city dinner. That was diplomacy, not fun, since Rome had to tap into Egypt's immense wealth, plentiful reserves of food, and strategic military position. Cleopatra had strong political motives to reach Antony too. Winning the support of one of the most powerful men in Rome will offer closer ties to the empire, cement its hold on the throne and perhaps even extend its rule.Also playing a brilliant political game, Cleopatra postponed her exit, increasing the expectation of Antony and making sure the arrangements were in place to make the Roman's first meeting with the queen of Egypt one to recall. (Learn more about the pharaohs of Egypt, and their power.)
>> Cleopatra's Sensational Entrance
Cleopatra worked effectively on the obsession of Mark Antony with Greek culture and its appreciation of luxury. She reached Tarsus on a splendid boat with a golden bow, purple sails, and silver oars, sailing up the Cydnus Channel. Cleopatra reclined under a gold-embroidered canopy disguised as Aphrodite, the Roman goddess of love, as the musicians performed. She was fanned by youngsters dressed as Eros and waited on by girls dressed as sea nymphs, while servants wafted perfume toward the gaping masses lining the street. The image created by Cleopatra must have been truly extraordinary, because sound and scent embellished this physically provocative tableau.
Antony was shocked by the show. The Greek writer Plutarch portrays a scenario where the Roman was deserted in the square of the city while his guards followed people rushing to the river for the queen's first glance. Antony, caught off guard, decided to invite the Cleopatra to a banquet. The Egyptian queen was in full control of affairs however, and instead Antony found himself welcoming her invitation to a feast she had already planned. According to Athenaeus, quoting Socrates of Rhodes, the design of the dining hall was dominated by gold and precious gems, which were also decorated with costly purple and gold carpets.Cleopatra arranged expensive sofas for Antony and his entourage and the queen assured him with a grin that they were a surprise to the triumvir's amazement. Antony attempted to reciprocate but soon realized that he had not been able to compete with Cleopatra.
The queen had been persuaded, according to Plutarch, that her capture of Antony would be better than her earlier seduction of Julius Caesar— she was now far more seasoned in the world's ways. By 28 she had a mature woman's faith, intellect and elegance. Through a concerted attack of conspicuous consumption and kindness, she was sure to win over Antony, demonstrating both Egypt's abundant resources and her powerful seductive charms. Cleopatra's appearance would not have turned heads at first glance by some sources, but she was deeply charming and renowned for her richness of voice.Cleopatra always realized that she had the advantage: Antony had seen her 14 years earlier in Alexandria and was captivated by her then. They have now fallen deeply in lust.
>> Mark Antony and Cleopatra romantic bloom.
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He was fascinated by the large amount of food being cooked like eight whole roast boars. Which prompted him to talk about the anticipated huge number of guests, at which the royal cook burst out laughing. He said that only 12 diners actually came, but they always prepared a lot more food, as Antony's appetites were so unpredictable.
>> Mark Antony Living A double life.
Antony seemed to lead a double life, not just because he was already in Rome married to a highly political lady. His character has two sides: The Romans ' sobriety and gravitas, and the Greeks ' fun-loving Dionysian attitude. Yes, Alexandrians claimed Antony carried the mask of humor while he was in the company of Egyptians, but he would turn to the mask of disaster along with the Romans.
One anecdote relates the disappointment of Antony when Cleopatra noticed his bad fishing results. Antony had no success, so secretly instructed a fisherman to fill his hook with fish that had been captured already. Cleopatra knew what was going on after he landed these in a quick succession; she openly lauded Antony's talent and encouraged friends to come back and admire his capacity with rod and line the next day. Unknown to Antony, the queen ordered a diver to put Antony's hook on an obviously dead fish.Assuming it was a real grab this time, Antony dragged it into laughter gales. "Lord, leave the fishing rod to us weak Pharos and Canopus kings," he mocked Cleopatra, "The targets are villages, kingdoms and continents."
06. The Tragedy’s Final (How it all ended.)
Antony and Cleopatra had struck a contented compromise between their leisure appetite and political obligations. The 40 B.C. season, however. Bringing news from Rome breaking the lovers ' hedonistic idyll: Antony's wife was causing trouble. The brother of Fulvia and Antony had launched a military threat to Octavian, who governed from Rome to the North. Antony was interested, of course, so he undoubtedly had some expertise and was likely to give them his tacit approval. But the conspiracy collapsed, and Antony had to do everything in his power to convince Octavian of his innocence, including going back to Italy.
Comfortably, though not suspiciously, Fulvia died that year, and Antony exploited the political opportunity. Antony married Octavian's niece, Octavia, to prove his loyalty and to seal the alliance. She was found more attractive by some than Cleopatra, but as a symbol of sober Roman morality, she was very distinct from the Egyptian, who enjoyed fun.
Antony eventually came back east in 37 B.C. And his romantic affair resumed instantly. He still saw in Cleopatra not only a matchless lover but also a highly efficient ruler, whose political ambitions were attuned with his own. He defended her right to rule over Egypt, while promoting his belated campaign against the Parthians, a military venture which ended in disaster.
With increasing disgust Octavian treated such events in Rome. Tensions rose between the former allies and then escalated into a war framed by Octavian as a battle against a dissolute Egyptian queen whose clutches Antony had fallen into. The Roman opposing armies met in Greece, where Octavian managed to cut off supply lines from Antony to Egypt. Forced into action, Antony had taken advice from Cleopatra to fight at sea. 31 B.C. In the Battle of Actium around 900 ships clashed.It was a battle which was tightly contested. But when the galleys of Cleopatra left Antony resisted, and quickly yielded to his forces. The lovers were vanquished, and both took their own lives in dramatic fashion. The death of Mark Antony eliminated the last impediment to Octavian becoming Rome's new emperor. In 27 B.C he assumed the title of Augustus