Agrippa vs Antony

Agrippa or Antony?

  • Agrippa

  • Antony


Results are only viewable after voting.
Sep 2018
96
Roman Empire
#1
So, personally, I’m inclined to believe the better man won at Actium and that Agrippa really was more Caesar’s heir in military matters than Antony ever was. But, I’m well aware debate is still hot regarding Antony’s personal skills, and I’d like to see what other people think and why.
 
Mar 2017
852
Colorado
#2
I believe, from my reading, that Antony has received a bum rap. He was a much more able military man than most people give him credit for. I'm trying to get a copy (free) of "Marc Antony: A Life" that does an in-depth analysis and allegedly supports this view.

That being said, if you read Plutarch's version of Actium, Antony was out maneuvered. The Romans took advantage of the terrain and the weather and had superior strategy. *I* think the advantage became clear to Antony's fleet early, and the whole thing just fell apart after that. Also, all Antony's military experience was land based ... I honestly don't know how good he was in naval combat.

For some reason, the Romans were convinced that Antony's fleet was carrying around the wealth of Egypt. Why on Earth would you take that into a battle? Perhaps it was the monster ships that gave them the idea. The Romans had normal fighting triremes and the like. Antony had some Egyptian ships allegedly crewed with 5000 men. It was a Spanish Armada situation, once Antony had been out maneuvered. The Roman plan was to fire Antony's ships, and they only delayed because they wanted to plunder "the treasure". Some Romans got set on fire in their greed.

So, much as I support Antony, I'm inclined to agree with you.
 
Sep 2018
96
Roman Empire
#3
I believe, from my reading, that Antony has received a bum rap. He was a much more able military man than most people give him credit for. I'm trying to get a copy (free) of "Marc Antony: A Life" that does an in-depth analysis and allegedly supports this view.

That being said, if you read Plutarch's version of Actium, Antony was out maneuvered. The Romans took advantage of the terrain and the weather and had superior strategy. *I* think the advantage became clear to Antony's fleet early, and the whole thing just fell apart after that. Also, all Antony's military experience was land based ... I honestly don't know how good he was in naval combat.

For some reason, the Romans were convinced that Antony's fleet was carrying around the wealth of Egypt. Why on Earth would you take that into a battle? Perhaps it was the monster ships that gave them the idea. The Romans had normal fighting triremes and the like. Antony had some Egyptian ships allegedly crewed with 5000 men. It was a Spanish Armada situation, once Antony had been out maneuvered. The Roman plan was to fire Antony's ships, and they only delayed because they wanted to plunder "the treasure". Some Romans got set on fire in their greed.

So, much as I support Antony, I'm inclined to agree with you.
I don’t think he was that bad either, but honestly there are people out there claiming he even “won” Actium because he managed to break the blockade and flee to Egypt. I get that we want to give the man his due credit, but that’s just overkill.

Now there probably wasn’t the “gold of Egypt”, but Antony must have certainly carried with him a good amount of money, he did need to pay his troops and make sure they stayed loyal after all, and in the context of civil wars, soldiers always pretended to be readily paid by their generals.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2009
3,384
San Diego
#4
First of all, Antony was a Roman- handed power over the eastern empire.
At the time, the eastern Empire was richer than the west... but it WASN'T where ROME was. And Rome was still, Rome.

secondly- Agrippa wasn't the winner... he was great fighter wielded like a sword by a smarter strategist.

I think Antony was playing checkers.
I think Octavian was playing chess.

The very fact that Actium occured was proof that Octavian had already won in every regard that mattered.
He lured Antony into thinking he was getting the plum, when in fact it was just one step along the path of giving Antony the Shaft.

As Octavian propagandized Caesar as being the conqueror of Cleopatra... He just as deftly portrayed Antony as the lapdog of Cleopatra.
In making him seem Un-roman... he made Antony seem like an outsider and an enemy of Rome.

The men arrayed against Antony had been Manipulated by perhaps the shrewdest manipulator in human history. A skinny twerpy kid who spent 14 years politicking Caesar into a mythic hero and Caesar's right hand man into a villain.


Antony was outmatched.
It wouldn't have mattered a damn if he had won at Actium. Octavian would have turned that victory against him, too.
By Actium, Rome was solidly with Octavian and octavian would have absolutely steamrollered Antony one way or another.
 
Mar 2017
852
Colorado
#5
I am unimpressed with Octavian's military background. Most of the primaries I read always describe Agrippa as his main military advisor or "right hand man." Octavian was absolutely ruthless politically, but I don't see much evidence of military acumen.

Consider this from Livius.org:
"Marc Antony, one of the best generals of his age and beloved like a god by his men, overcame the last republicans in 42 at Philippi, and started to reorganize the eastern half of the Roman empire. " <-- perhaps "beloved like a god" is overstating it, but he was a soldier's soldier: drank with them, rewarded them, etc. The Senate feared the army's loyalty to Antony when Julius was assassinated.
" However, Octavian refused to be lured into battle - and wisely so, because Marc Antony was by far the better commander. "

Plutarch clearly thinks a naval battle was a huge mistake by Antony, whose experience was all ground based.

Octavian first fought in the Balkans with Agrippa around 35 BCE (Actium was only 5 yrs later). Antony had 22 yrs of experience over him. Julius Caesar trusted Antony to command 1/2 his army. Yes, Octavian's mother sent him to Julius in Gaul: his major achievement was just getting there ... he soon turned around and returned with the victorious troops (not participating in any fighting).

I give Actium to Agrippa. Actium was won by strategy taking advantage of the situation. Antony was defeated even before the "Spanish Armada" type ship battles took place.
 
Sep 2018
96
Roman Empire
#6
First of all, Antony was a Roman- handed power over the eastern empire.
At the time, the eastern Empire was richer than the west... but it WASN'T where ROME was. And Rome was still, Rome.

secondly- Agrippa wasn't the winner... he was great fighter wielded like a sword by a smarter strategist.

I think Antony was playing checkers.
I think Octavian was playing chess.

The very fact that Actium occured was proof that Octavian had already won in every regard that mattered.
He lured Antony into thinking he was getting the plum, when in fact it was just one step along the path of giving Antony the Shaft.

As Octavian propagandized Caesar as being the conqueror of Cleopatra... He just as deftly portrayed Antony as the lapdog of Cleopatra.
In making him seem Un-roman... he made Antony seem like an outsider and an enemy of Rome.

The men arrayed against Antony had been Manipulated by perhaps the shrewdest manipulator in human history. A skinny twerpy kid who spent 14 years politicking Caesar into a mythic hero and Caesar's right hand man into a villain.


Antony was outmatched.
It wouldn't have mattered a damn if he had won at Actium. Octavian would have turned that victory against him, too.
By Actium, Rome was solidly with Octavian and octavian would have absolutely steamrollered Antony one way or another.
I completely agree with most of what you said, but on a military note, Agrippa was the real winner of Actium, not Octavian.
 
Oct 2009
3,384
San Diego
#7
I completely agree with most of what you said, but on a military note, Agrippa was the real winner of Actium, not Octavian.
So... Agrippa ended up Emperor of Rome?

Who won the Civil war? Grant? Or Lincoln?

Agrippa being the general in charge was due to Octavian recognizing that Agrippa was a better battlefield commander... and using his talents intelligently. But Agrippa's efforts entirely served Octavian's ambitions. Octavian's plans.

A great actor certainly makes for a great performance- but he still is reading the lines written by the author.
 
Sep 2018
96
Roman Empire
#10
So... Agrippa ended up Emperor of Rome?

Who won the Civil war? Grant? Or Lincoln?

Agrippa being the general in charge was due to Octavian recognizing that Agrippa was a better battlefield commander... and using his talents intelligently. But Agrippa's efforts entirely served Octavian's ambitions. Octavian's plans.

A great actor certainly makes for a great performance- but he still is reading the lines written by the author.
Guess you overlooked the “military note” part, Octavian was a master politician, but as soldier and general he wasn’t worth a damn, Octavian drove Antony to Actium and Agrippa won it, that’s the scheme they always employed from Rufus’ death to Agrippa’s death, Octavian plans, Agrippa executes, but he’s given free rein to execute as he best sees fit. Agrippa wasn’t a mere tool in Octavian’s hands, they were friends, partners, and while not formally equals, it can’t be denied that Agrippa was almost an equal in effective power, he had the imperium and the tribunicia potestas, all he lacked were the trappings of power, and that was fine with him, he always saw himself as a soldier first and foremost, and indeed he was the best one born during the first century BCE.
 
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