Why Antony Lost Against Octavian
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March 7, 2012
Why did Mark Antony lose to his rival, Octavian? Antony lost because of his failure to view Octavian’s political and military success as a serious threat, his lack of political favoritism and support with the Senate in Rome, and finally abandoning his loyal army at the battle of Actium. Antony was well known throughout the political world in Rome and among his military colleagues as a virtuous, trailblazing commander. After all, he was in fact the great Julius Caesar’s second in command. Through much of the internal conflict of his time, he did astoundingly maintain at least some support in Rome. However, his failing to acknowledge Octavian’s military and political potential was his first mistake. Octavian learned that as Julius Caesar’s adopted great nephew, he was entitled to be the legal principle heir of all that belonged to Caesar. Although taking on such a role was a high risk to his own safety, making him a target by association with Caesar and his agenda, he pressed forward with an insatiable ambition. Possibly driven by the Roman cursus honorum, a lust for power and riches, and a desire for avenging the death of his great uncle, Octavian already had an advantage from the beginning. The citizens of Rome were promised a sum of money, but had been refused payment by Antony. The young New Caesar stepped in and raised his own money by selling his land and giving it to the people. Though only a mere 18 or 19 years of age, had not served in any Roman political capacity, nor had any military achievements under his belt, young Octavian had managed to muster up some support in Rome using only his newly assumed name, Caesar, and his overly liberal donations to the people. He was their connection to their beloved general, Julius Caesar, the “son of a god.” Octavian began to reinforce his strength with his personal forces with Caesar's former loyal veterans. Underscoring his...
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