A complex and captivating portrait of Mark Antony that offers a fresh perspective on the fall of the Roman Republic
In his lifetime, Mark Antony was a famous man. Ally and avenger of Julius Caesar, rhetorical target of Cicero, lover of Cleopatra, and mortal enemy of Octavian (the future emperor Augustus), Antony played a leading role in the transformation of the Roman world. Ever since his and Cleopatra's demise at the hands of Octavian, he has remained famous, or infamous, a figure of recurring fascination.
His life--variegated, passionate, sensual, bold, and tragic--inspires vigorous reactions. Nearly everyone has a view on Antony. For Cicero, he was a distasteful though talented man. Octavian fashioned him a dangerous failure, a Roman noble corrupted by his appetites and his lust for Cleopatra. Later historians adopted and adapted these themes, delivering their readers an Antony who was irresistibly depraved, startlingly brave, sometimes cunning, but almost always constitutionally incapable of choosing the right side of history. From these, especially Plutarch's compelling portrait, Shakespeare gave us the chivalrous and unstudied Antony of Antony and Cleopatra
. A Noble Ruin
, the fullest biography of Antony in English, assimilates the various, often competing, ancient sources to provide a strong and much-needed dose of realism to the caricature we have of this major historical figure. The book gives ample attention to the varied cultural circumstances in which Antony operated, including the social and moral expectations of his republican heritage, as well as the exceptional challenges posed by the convulsion of civil war. In furnishing a complex and captivating portrait of Anthony, A Noble Ruin
allows readers to freshly assess his conduct, ambitions, and attainments, as well as the turbulent age in which he lived.