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Who Were Antony's Wives, and How Many of Them Were There?

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Cleopatra and Mark Antony on Coins

Cleopatra and Mark Antony on Coins

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Question: Who Were Antony's Wives, and How Many of Them Were There?
Answer: Mark Antony was a womanizer and one of those Roman men about whom it could be said that his decisions were made by his wife, which was considered improper behavior at the time. The Roman emperors Claudius and Nero ran into trouble later for similar reasons, so although Antony's third wife Fulvia had what may have been good ideas, Antony was frowned upon for following them. Antony's debauched lifestyle was expensive, and so by an early age he had run up tremendous debt. It is possible that all his marriages were carefully conceived to provide money or political advantage, as Eleanor G. Huzar argues in "Mark Antony: Marriages vs. Careers." The Classical Journal, Vol. 81, No. 2. (Dec., 1985 - Jan., 1986), pp. 97-111. The following information comes from her article.
  1. Fadia
    The first possible wife of Antony was Fadia, the daughter of a rich freedman named Quintus Faius Gallus. This marriage is attested in Cicero's Philippics and letter 16 to Atticus. However, it is an implausible marriage because Antony was a member of the Plebeian nobility. His mother was a 3d cousin of Caesar. The marriage may have been arranged to help with Antony's 250 talent debt. Cicero says Fadia and children were all dead by at least 44 B.C. If he actually married her, Antony probably divorced her.

    Children: Unknown

  2. Antonia
    In his late 20s Antony married his cousin Antonia, a proper wife, to help his career. She bore him a daughter and they remained married for about 8 years. He divorced her in 47 B.C. on a charge of adultery with Publius Cornelius Dolabella, husband of Cicero's daughter Tullia.

    Children: Daughter, Antonia.

  3. Fulvia
    In 47 or 46 B.C., Antony married Fulvia. She had already been married to 2 of Antony's friends, Publius Clodius and Gaius Scribonius Curio. Cicero said she was the driving force behind Antony's decisions. She bore him two sons. Fulvia was active in political machinations and although Antony denied knowledge of it, Fulvia and Antony's brother mutinied against Octavian (the Perusine War). She then fled to Greece where Antony met her. When she died shortly thereafter in 40 B.C. he blamed himself.

    Children: Sons, Marcus Antonius Antyllus and Iullus Antonius.

  4. Octavia
    Part of the reconciliation between Antony and Octavian (following the mutiny) was the marriage between Antony and Octavian's sister Octavia. They married in 40 B.C. and Octavia bore their first child the following year. She acted as peacemaker between Octavian and Antony, trying to persuade each to accommodate the other. When Antony went east to fight the Parthians, Octavia moved to Rome where she looked after Antony's brood (and continued to do so even after divorce). They remained married for five more years during which time they never saw each other again. Antony divorced Octavia in 32 B.C. when the confrontation that was to be the Battle of Actium seemed unavoidable.

    Children: Daughters, Antonia Major and Minor.

  5. Cleopatra
    Antony's last wife was Cleopatra. He acknowledged it and their children in 36 B.C. It was a marriage that was to be unrecognized at Rome. Huzar argues that Antony made the marriage in order to utilize Egyptian resources. Octavian wasn't very forthcoming with the troops Antony needed for his Parthian campaign, so he had to look elsewhere. The marriage ended when Antony committed suicide following the Battle of Actium.

    Children: Fraternal Twins, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II; Son, Ptolemy Philadelphus.

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