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After Caesar was murdered, Antony tried to maintain control of Rome and rouse the people to seek vengeance against Caesar's assassins, Brutus and Cassius. Caesar's great-nephew and adopted son Octavian became Antony's chief rival.  The two formed a five-year pact with Lepidus, a pact known as the second triumvirate, which enabled them to prosecute and execute their enemies, including Cicero, who famously described Antony as drunken and lustful.

The triumvirs planned to divide the empire among them. Despite his earlier affair with Cleopatra, Antony married Octavian's sister Octavia, but the tension between the two men continued to mount. Having sent Octavia back to Italy, Antony renewed his affair with Cleopatra. Antony eventually divorced Octavia; Octavian declared war against Cleopatra. Octavian won a decisive battle against Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 BCE. A year later, Antony committed suicide, followed by Cleopatra, when it became clear that they could no longer resist Octavian's forces.

Published @ RC

March 2008