Historical background to
All for Love: The Roman Civil Wars
against Julius Caesar †††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† Caesar's supporters†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††
(Republicans)†††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† (Royalists)
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† Julius Caesar (killed March 15, 44 BCE)
Cassius†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††† †††††††††
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† ††††††††† Lepidus††††† *††††††††††††††††††††††††††
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† ††††††††† Octavian
Complete Historical Action, mostly via Plutarch
Marcus Antonius/Marc Antony, known as a rake in his wild youth
(drinking, gambling, loving many, piling up debts), rises first as a
Greek-trained rhetorician and then to military prominence under Julius Caesar
(his cousin) earning victories in Gaul (France) and the esteem of Julius.
Caesar is assassinated by Brutus, Antony
famously indicts Brutus & Cassius and the rebels in his funeral oration (I
come to bury Caesar not to praise him). Yet the real trouble comes from power
struggles with young Octavian on his own side, the imperial side.
rule in the 2nd Triumvirate was divided thus: Octavian rules Rome;
Lepidus rules Spain, some of
Africa; Antony rules Egypt. After Lepidus tires to take Sicily, Octavian exiles him, leaving Antony in control of the Eastern provinces
vs. Octavian in control of the Western provinces. As part of the deal, Antony marries Octavian's
sister Octavia.† When Antony
takes over the Western provinces, leaving Octavian to handle Rome,
he gets jurisdiction in Egypt.
Administering Egypt, Antony meets Cleopatra,
Caesar's former lover.
that Parthia (Persia/Iran)
is allied with the Brutus/Cassius side, Antony
wants to move against them. Antony
always remained loyal to Julius and to† avenging him.† Antony's
general Ventidius is sent to fight the
Parthian invasion of Judea, where Parthiaís
infringed on Roman-ruled Judea and made their man Antigonus
king in Jerusalem.
punish Parthia (and its
Roman republican allies) Antony wants to invade Parthia itself, but needs money and troops from Rome, controlled by
Octavian.† Skeptical of getting all he
wants, he gets money and troops from Egypt, care of Cleopatra, and further
alienates Octavian and Rome by leaving his second wife, Octavia,
Octavian's sister, in Greece and pregnant, so he can go to war himself in
thus funds the capture of Jerusalem, in Judea,
and her money and Antony's
plan put Herod on the throne there, unseating the Parthian/Roman republican
faction's king, Antigonus.
satisfied with thwarting this Parthian plan, Antony
itself, in winter. The campaign is as disastrous as Napoleon's invasion of Russia. This
military debacle destroys the 2nd Triumvirate as Octavius
become hardened foes.
Octavius blames Antony,
arguing his moral bankruptcy in having abandoned his wife Octavia and children
for Cleopatra and power-grabbing plans, and for
"turning Egyptian" and becoming apostate to Roman culture and
law--his Parthian invasion had no senate approval.
insult to injuries, Antony divides parts of the Roman empire among Julius
Caesar's and his own children by Cleopatra. Caesarion,
son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, whom Antony
calls the true heir of Julius Caesar (Octavian was only adopted into the Julian
line, but was named heir in the will) becomes King of Egypt along with mother
Cleopatra as Queen.
Roman senate declares war on Cleopatra, but some of the senate remains loyal to
defects to his side
decisive naval battle comes at Actium, in Greece. Octavian and the rising
general Agrippa meet Cleopatra's Egyptian navy and Antony's naval forces there. In the midst of
battle, Cleopatra pulls her whole navy back and Antony abandons his command, takes 40 of his
ships to chase her ships. The Antony/Cleopatra forces, some 300 ships, are
beaten by Octavian.† All 60 Egyptian
ships survive and carry Cleopatra and Antony
back to Alexandria, Egypt.
army pursues them to Egypt, Antony commits suicide,
Cleopatra follows suit, and Caesarion is killed.
having quelled faction, three years later becomes Emperor Augustus Caesar,
under whom the arts will flourish as never before in Rome.