Week 11: Monday, January 9, 2023
Antony and Cleopatra

The period from the death of Julius Caesar to the final triumph of Octavian (44-31 BC) is the period of the Civil War.  A number of critical battles take place during these 14 years, but central to them all is the figure of Mark Antony.  And in the later years of the war, it becomes a partnership between the Roman general and the Egyptian queen.  Their story is one of the most famous romances of all time.  We will talk about the Civil War, Mark Antony, and Cleopatra this week.

Philippi: The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian (of the Second Triumvirate) and the forces of Julius Caesar’s assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia. The Second Triumvirate declared this civil war to avenge Julius Caesar’s murder. (Wikipedia)

Actium: The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic, a naval engagement between Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, in the Roman province of Epirus vetus in Greece. Octavian’s fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, while Antony’s fleet was supported by the ships of Queen Cleopatra of Ptolemaic Egypt. (Wikipedia)


Michael Grant, History of Rome, Part VI, Chapter 13, “Augustus.”


You will all want one book to use as an introduction and as a kind of reference book to search out answers and maps and other study helps for this year of study on ancient Rome. I have searched for such a book, and although there are newer ones than this classic by one of the truly great experts on Rome, there really is nothing better. This is a one-volume, basic introduction to the whole subject of our year of study. It covers the period from the Republic to the Decline and Fall. So I encourage you to get a copy of this book. It is out of print so you will have to sort through the used book options but there are many copies available as of August, 2013. Dont buy the “new” from the UK since I have no idea whether this is a quality reprint or not. So go get a used hardcover for $10.00. At that price amazon says “very good” so thats a great deal. A used hardcover is more likely to have endured in good shape than a paperback. But we may exhaust the supplies of used hardcovers so dont be afraid of a used paperback if the seller says it is in excellent condition. There are many used paperback copies that they describe as “like new,” so there is nothing wrong with that.

Michael Grant,

History of Rome,

Prentice Hall,

ISBN 0023456108

About the Author :

Michael Grant (1914-2004) was a historian whose over forty publications on ancient Rome and Greece popularised the classical and early Christian world. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, served in intelligence and as a diplomat during the Second World War, and afterwards became deputy director of the British Council's European division, when he also published his first book. He later returned to academia, teaching at Cambridge and Edinburgh, and serving as Vice Chancellor at the University of Khartoum and at Queen's University, Belfast.


Goldsworthy presents a wonderful exploration of Caesar's life, including his military and political conquests, revealing his personality in a sympathetic telling. Many, many books have been written about Caesar and his time. This one is very accessible and worthwhile, and, I think, the best.

Adrian Goldsworthy,

Caesar: Life of a Colossus,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300126891