This section is from "The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana. Also available from Amazon: The New American Cyclopędia. 16 volumes complete..
Mark (Marcus Antonius) Antony, the Roman triumvir, horn in 83 B. C, died in 30. He was the son of Marcus Antonius Oreticus and Julia, daughter of the former consul Lucius Julius Caesar. During his boyhood, and while he was receiving a good education under his tutor Epidius, his father died, and his mother married Publius Lentulus, afterward strangled for his share in Catiline's conspiracy. In his stepfather's house he met the most profligate young men of Rome, and, sharing their habits of extravagance, he was obliged to take refuge from his creditors in Greece, where he completed his studies. After serving with much distinction under Gabinius in Syria (57), and in Egypt (56-55), and under Caesar in Gaul, he returned to Rome, and was made a tribune of the people; but having strongly espoused the cause of Caesar, and vetoed the senate's decree commanding that leader to disband the armies he had with him in Gaul, Antony was obliged to leave Rome in the disguise of a slave and take refuge in Caesar's camp. He warmly seconded Caesar in his subsequent subjection of Italy, and when his chief became dictator was appointed by him commander of the cavalry, and governor of Italy during the absence of the victorious leader, who was pursuing Pompey. During his governorship, Antony gave himself up to the most open licentiousness, repudiating his wife, appearing publicly in his chariot with a common courtesan, and surrounding himself with debauchees of every class.
He subsequently married Fulvia, widow of Clodius. In 44 B. C. Caesar appointed him his colleague in the government, and he in return aided his patron in many ways; once testing the popular feeling by publicly offering him an imperial crown on the occasion of the Luperealia. On Caesars death, Antony at first'feigned submission to the assassins; but afterward, seizing the opportunity given by their allowing him to deliver the funeral oration, he so eloquently incited the people to avenge the dictator's murder that the conspirators were driven from Rome. He was now the most powerful man in the state; but his plans for the dictatorship were checked by Cicero, who urged the claims of Octavius Caesar; the surname Caesar proved an excellent popular catchword, and Antony, opposing this new choice, was declared an enemy of the republic and banished from Rome, while the senate supported Octavius. After raising an army, fighting several battles, and suffering defeat at Mutina - from which place he was obliged to flee to his friend Lepidus, who was preserving an armed neutrality beyond the Alps - Antony finally effected a reconciliation with Octavius, with whom he at once joined in a scheme for the complete subjection of Rome. The triumvirate was formed soon after by Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus (43). In the general slaughter of their enemies which followed, Antony caused Cicero to be murdered among the first victims.
Brutus and Cassius were speedily defeated at Philippi (42) by the army of the triumvirs, and the latter now divided the empire, Antony receiving Asia, Macedonia, Syria, and Greece. He next carried on a war against the Parthians, and, when finally obliged to retire from their country, effected one of the most skilful retreats recorded in history. While adjusting the affairs of his department of the empire, he met Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, and from that moment became the complete slave of her caprices, extending her dominions, ruling as she dictated, and deserting his wife (Octavia, the sister of Octavius, whom he had married after the death of Fulvia), to lead a life of unexampled luxury and sensuality with his new mistress at the Egyptian capital. The Romans were enraged. Octavius sent a fleet and army against him, and defeated him in the naval battle of Actium (31). partly through Antony's fatuity in following Cleopatra when she retired from the engagement, in which she at first acted as his ally. .For a time he abandoned himself again to his old excesses.
In a few months Octavius again completely defeated him in Egypt. His resources were now at an end, and, rendered desperate by his failure and by a false report that Cleopatra had committed suicide, he stabbed himself, and died in her presence, having been carried to her wounded as soon as he discovered that the report of her death was untrue.