Life of Antony, 2

Plutarch  translated by Bernadotte Perrin

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2His wife was Julia, of the house of the Caesars, and she could vie with the noblest and most discreet women of her time. By this mother her son Antony was reared, after the death of whose father she married Cornelius Lentulus, whom Cicero put to death for joining the conspiracy of Catiline.[2] This would seem to have been the origin and ground of the violent hatred which Antony felt towards Cicero. 2At any rate, Antony says that not even the dead body of Lentulus was given up to them until his mother had begged it from the wife of Cicero. This, however, is admittedly false; for no one of those who were punished at that time by Cicero was deprived of burial. 3Antony gave brilliant promise in his youth, they say, until his intimate friendship with Curio fell upon him like a pest. For Curio himself was unrestrained in his pleasures, and in order to make Antony more manageable, engaged him in drinking bouts, and with women, and in immoderate and extravagant expenditures. This involved Antony in a heavy debt and one that was excessive for his years—a debt of two hundred and fifty talents.[3] 4For this whole sum Curio went surety, but his father heard of it and banished Antony from his house. Then Antony allied himself for a short time with Clodius, the most audacious and low-lived demagogue of his time, in the violent courses which were convulsing the state; but he soon became sated with that miscreant’s madness, and fearing the party which was forming against him, left Italy for Greece, where he spent some time in military exercises and the study of oratory. 5He adopted what was called the Asiatic style of oratory, which was at the height of its popularity in those days and bore a strong resemblance to his own life, which was swashbuckling and boastful, full of empty exultation and distorted ambition.

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  • [2] Cf. the Cicero, xxii.

  • [3] An equivalent, roughly, of £60,000, or $300,000, with four or five times the purchasing power of modern money.

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