Life of Antony, 9

Plutarch  translated by Bernadotte Perrin

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9However, Dolabella, who was tribune at this time—a newcomer in politics who aimed at a new order of things, introduced a law for the abolition of debts, and tried to persuade Antony, who was his friend and always sought to please the multitude, to take common action with him in the measure. But Asinius and Trebellius advised Antony to the contrary, and, as chance would have it, a dire suspicion fell upon him that he was wronged as a husband by Dolabella. 2Antony took the matter much to heart, drove his wife from his house (she was his cousin, being a daughter of the Caius Antonius who was Cicero’s colleague in the consulship), made common cause with Asinius and Trebellius, and waged war upon Dolabella. For Dolabella had occupied the forum in order to force the passage of his law; so Antony, after the senate had voted that arms must be employed against Dolabella, came up against him, joined battle, slew some of his men, and lost some of his own. 3This course naturally made him odious to the multitude, and to men of worth and uprightness he was not acceptable because of his life in general, as Cicero says,[14] nay, he was hated by them. They loathed his ill-timed drunkenness, his heavy expenditures, his debauches with women, his spending the days in sleep or in wandering about with crazed and aching head, the nights in revelry or at shows, or in attendance at the nuptial feasts of mimes and jesters. 4We are told, at any rate, that he once feasted at the nuptials of Hippias the mime, drank all night, and then, early in the morning, when the people summoned him to the forum, came before them still surfeited with food and vomited into his toga, which one of his friends held at his service. Sergius the mime also was one of those who had the greatest influence with him, and Cytheris, a woman from the same school of acting, a great favourite, whom he took about with him in a litter on his visits to the cities, and her litter was followed by as many attendants as that of his mother. 5Moreover, people were vexed at the sight of golden beakers borne about on his excursions from the city as in sacred processions, at the pitching of tents when he travelled, at the laying out of costly repasts near groves and rivers, at chariots drawn by lions, and at the use of honest men and women’s houses as quarters for harlots and psaltery-players. 6For it was thought a monstrous thing that, while Caesar himself was lodging under the skies outside of Italy and clearing away the remnants of the war at great toil and peril, his adherents, by virtue of his efforts, should revel in luxury and mock at their fellow citizens.

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  • [14] The second Philippic pictures Antony's excesses.

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