Antony Essay Research Paper Antony died 30 — страница 3

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common fair dealing was driven out and in danger of his life. Upon this, Caesar set his army in motion, and marched into Italy; and for this reason it is that Cicero writes in his Philippics that Antony was as much the cause of the civil war as Helen was of the Trojan. But this is but a calumny. For Caesar was not of so slight or weak a temper as to suffer himself to be carried away, by the indignation of the moment, into a civil war with his country, upon the sight of Antony and Cassius seeking refuge in his camp meanly dressed and in a hired carriage, without ever having thought of it or taken any such resolution long before. This was to him, who wanted a pretence of declaring war, a fair and plausible occasion; but the true motive that led him was the same that formerly led

Alexander and Cyrus against all mankind, the unquenchable thirst of empire, and the distracted ambition of being the greatest man in the world, which was impracticable for him, unless Pompey were put down. So soon, then, as he had advanced and occupied Rome, and driven Pompey out of Italy, he proposed first to go against the legions that Pompey had in Spain, and then cross over and follow him with the fleet that should be prepared during his absence, in the meantime leaving the government of Rome to Lepidus, as praetor, and the command of the troops and of Italy to Antony, as tribune of the people. Antony was not long in getting the hearts of the soldiers, joining with them in their exercises, and for the most part living amongst them and making them presents to the utmost of his

abilities; but with all others he was unpopular enough. He was too lazy to pay attention to the complaints of persons who were injured; he listened impatiently to petitions; and he had an ill name for familiarity with other people’s wives. In short, the government of Caesar (which, so far as he was concerned himself, had the appearance of anything rather than a tyranny) got a bad repute through his friends. And of these friends, Antony, as he had the largest trust, and committed the greatest errors, was thought the most deeply in fault. Caesar, however, at his return from Spain, overlooked the charges against him, and had no reason ever to complain, in the employments he gave him in the war, of any want of courage, energy, or military skill. He himself, going aboard at

Brundusium, sailed over the Ionian Sea with a few troops and sent back the vessels with orders to Antony and Gabinius to embark the army, and come over with all speed to Macedonia. Gabinius, having no mind to put to sea in the rough, dangerous weather of the winter season, was for marching the army round by the long land route; but Antony, being more afraid lest Caesar might suffer from the number of his enemies, who pressed him hard, beat back Libo, who was watching with a fleet at the mouth of the haven of Brundusium, by attacking his galleys with a number of small boats, and gaining thus an opportunity, put on board twenty thousand foot and eight hundred horse, and so set out to sea. And, being espied by the enemy and pursued, from this danger he was rescued by a strong south

wind, which sprang up and raised so high a sea that the enemy’s galleys could make little way. But his own ships were driving before it upon a lee shore of cliffs and rocks running sheer to the water, where there was no hope of escape, when all of a sudden the wind turned about to south-west, and blew from land to the main sea, where Antony, now sailing in security, saw the coast all covered with the wreck of the enemy’s fleet. For hither the galleys in pursuit had been carried by the gale, and not a few of them dashed to pieces. Many men and much property fell into Antony’s hands; he took also the town of Lissus, and, by the seasonable arrival of so large a reinforcement, gave Caesar great encouragement. There was not one of the many engagements that now took place one

after another in which he did not signalize himself; twice he stopped the army in its full flight, led them back to a charge, and gained the victory. So that now without reason his reputation, next to Caesar’s, was greatest in the army. And what opinion Caesar himself had of him well appeared when, for the final battle in Pharsalia, which was to determine everything, he himself chose to lead the right wing, committing the charge of the left to Antony, as to the best officer of all that served under him. After the battle, Caesar, being created dictator, went in pursuit of Pompey, and sent Antony to Rome, with the character of Master of the Horse, who is in office and power next to the dictator, when present, and in his absence the first, and pretty nearly indeed the sole