Antony and Cleopatra (Part 4)

markantonyAs Cleopatra was returning to Alexandria, she learned that Caesar had been assassinated. After Caesar’s murder, she realized that there would be no one to protect her so she devised a plan to have her only sibling Ptolemy XIV killed. By following through on this plan, it allowed her son from Caesar, Caesarion, to be co-ruler with her. She also believed that by making Caesarion her co-ruler it would strengthen her ties with Rome.

Antony outraged by Caesar’s murder, delivered a speech at Caesar’s funeral that touched the hearts of many. Thereafter, anyone accused of helping to assassinate Caesar, was murdered and all their belongings were confiscated. Later, after Caesar’s death, a second Triumvirate was formed. This Triumvirate consisted of Antony, Octavius, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, the least prominent of the three.

In the autumn of 42 B.C., Antony and Octavius led an army to northern Greece. Here, Brutus and Cassius’ army waited to do battle with Antony and Octavius. This battle could not be lost to Brutus and Cassius because then Rome and Cleopatra’s Egypt would be controlled by Rome’s old republican government. This could not happen. Many lives were lost in this battle, especially Roman lives; however, Antony and Octavius won the battle. Upon winning the battle they returned to Rome and the Roman territories were divided between them. Because Antony was the strongest and the most prominent of the three, he was given Roman territories in Greece, Asia Minor, the Middle East, and independent territories such as Egypt.

Since Antony now controlled the better sections of the Roman kingdoms, he began to finance a war against Parthia, a territory considered unconquerable. Antony also knew that Egypt was very rich and had many things to offer so he summoned Cleopatra to meet with him.

Cleopatra was very much aware that Antony was the strongest of the three. She knew if would benefit her if Antony and her developed a close friendship. Therefore, she decided to make the trip to Asia Minor in Tarsus to meet with him. But to make an impression, she arrived on a huge barge that was decorated with Egypt’s best. The ship was gold plated and adorned with sails of purple. As she arrived, there was music playing that had the sounds of soft tunes of the flute and harp. She covered herself with a canopy of gold and ensured that she was alone. She gave herself the appearance of dressing like Venus and had young boys fanning her as she arrived to greet Antony. She was sure to make this trip as elaborate as possible to entice Antony. Upon Cleopatra’s arrival, Antony soon boarded the ship and within a short week they became lovers. Her plan worked.

Cleopatra soon agreed to finance the war against Parthia and Antony promised that he would ensure her safety both inside and outside of Egypt. Right about this time, Cleopatra’s half sister, Arsinoe, was murdered. Cleopatra agreed to finance the difficult war and had to stay until the spring. As a result, Antony spent the winter in Alexandria and enjoyed the lavish feasts and ceremonies that Egypt could offer. She spoiled him with all that Egypt had.

All this time that Antony was with Cleopatra, he was married to Fulvia. In 40 B.C. while Antony was away in Egypt, Fulvia and her brother Lucius started a rebellion in Italy against Octavius. They were hoping that Antony would leave Cleopatra and he would return home and focus on his other responsibilities. The rebellion failed and Lucius was murdered. Antony’s wife Fulvia had to flee to Greece and he immediately went to meet her there but only stayed a short time with her. Fulvia died shortly after her arrival to Greece.

By this time, Cleopatra was pregnant by Antony’s departure and was extremely saddened that he had left her but she returned to her daily routines. During this time Antony and Octavius had resolved their differences and they signed a treaty known as the Treaty of Brundisuim. In order for Antony to prove his loyalty to Octavius, Antony married Octavius’s sister. This would confirm the Treaty between the two.

When Cleopatra found out about Antony’s marriage she was extremely angry. She thought that he loved her as much as she loved him but he had now married another woman. In addition to everything else, she was pregnant with Antony’s child. Cleopatra gave birth to twins, a girl and a boy, whom she named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene. She was so in love with Antony and believed that he would one day return to her. Until then, she resolved herself to running Egypt independently.