What Was so Special about the Marc Anthony Cleopatra Relationship?

Of all historic romances, the Marc Anthony Cleopatra relationship is one of the most mysterious and celebrated.

Marc Anthony, whose name is sometimes spelled Marc Antony or Marcus Antonius, was a close friend of Julius Caesar and a military general of the Roman army.

He was born about 87 BC. Cleopatra was born about 69 BC in Alexandria Egypt, and was the daughter of the Pharoah, or king of Egypt named Ptolemy XII Auletes. She married her two half brothers and shared the throne with them, but eventually gained power over them.

Cleopatra had an affair with Julius Caesar, probably for political reasons. When Caesar died, Marc Anthony decided to visit with her to see if she may have been responsible. And thus begins the legendary relationship between Cleopatra and Marc Anthony.

They met in about 41 BC, making their ages about 46 (him) and 28 (her). Cleopatra was skilled at using romantic overtures for political reasons and went to meet him dressed like the goddess Venus. He fell for her.

Their relationship was one of whirlwind and partying. Marc Anthony had a wife already, so when he and Cleopatra were married in 37 BC, the marriage was not recognized in Rome. They already had a set of twins and another baby between them. (They both had children from other relationships, including a son between Caesar and Cleopatra.)

Anthony tried to keep peace with Rome by marrying the sister of Octavius, but Rome considered him a traitor when he left her to go back to Cleopatra. Octavius had his armies attack Egypt. In the ruckus that followed, Anthony's soldiers probably refused to fight against their fellow Romans.

The result was that Marc Anthony lost the battle. Cleopatra had disappeared, so Marc Anthony committed suicide. She in turn committed suicide too, by letting a poisonous snake bite her. The exact details are as much legend as history, but Marc Anthony and Cleopatra are genuine historical figures, and they did share a fiery romance.

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