Carefully Read The Following Extract Several Times. Compare And Contrast The Ways In Which The Passage Below Attempts To Discredit Antony With The Ways This Is Done In The Speech Attributed To Octavian By Cassius Dio (

1318 words - 6 pages

Antony has been discredited in numerous way in both extracts. The key figure involved which led to the negative portrayal of Antony is the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, Cleopatra.

Contextually, Octavian already had a vendetta against Antony. Roman marriage was seen as a political coalition between families. Before the speech attributed to Octavian, Antony had abandoned his wife (the sister of Octavian) to pursue his life with Cleopatra.

Continuing with the theme of Cleopatra, both texts depict her as having complete control over Antony. Plutarch and Cassius Dio both illustrate a negative image of Antony due to Cleopatra’s influence. Cassius Dio claims Octavian said in a speech ...view middle of the document...

19) were passed to Antony during court proceedings.

Antony’s reputation continued to spiral due to Cleopatra as Egyptian’s ‘worship reptiles and beasts as gods, they embalm their bodies to make them appear immortal […] they are not ruled by a man, but are the slaves of a woman’ (Scott-Kilvert, 1987, Reputations, 2008, p. 27) which is unprecedented in Roman tradition. However, Plutarch does not mention Cleopatra’s culture within the extract from the Life of Antony.

This leads me to what I think is the main contrasting point: the difference in authenticity. Plutarch was a Roman citizen and classed himself as a Greek historian creating a number of character studies to illustrate great figures of Greek and Roman history. When necessary it was stated if there were any stipulations: ‘Calvisius was generally believed to have invented most of these accusations’ (Plutarch, AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2013, p. 19). Conversely, Cassius Dio made a dramatic and engaging piece of rhetoric causing suspicion of its validity. The speech was written around 200 years after the event took place. It is not an eye-witness account suggesting Cassius Dio may have invented it to create plausible fiction.

As explained above, both texts personify Antony as a changed man; no longer seen as a threat as a result of accepting an immoral way of life and becoming a disgrace to Roman tradition due to the bewitchment by Cleopatra.
Sub-total word count: 549

Plutarch, (trans.) (1965) abridged; quoted from ‘Plutarch: Markers of Rome’, (ed. Ian Scott-Kilvert), Penguin Books; reprinted in ‘AA100 Assignment Booklet’ (October 2013), Milton Keynes, The Open University, p. 19.
Scott-Kilvert, I. (trans.) (1987) ‘Cassius Dio: The Roman History: The Age of Augustus’, Harmondsworth, Penguin, pp. 52-55; reprinted in ‘AA100 The Arts Past and Present Book 1 Reputations’, Milton Keynes, The Open University, p. 27.
Fear, T. (2008), ‘Cleopatra’, in ‘AA100 The Arts Past and Present Book 1 Reputations’, Milton Keynes, The Open University, pp. 3-28.
‘Cleopatra’ (2008), AA100 DVD Video, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

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