Agrippa vs Antony

Agrippa or Antony?

  • Agrippa

  • Antony


Results are only viewable after voting.
Oct 2009
3,447
San Diego
#11
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.
I guess you overlooked that I argue that your definition of military genius is far too narrow.

Grant was better than Lee strictly BECAUSE Grant could effectively coordinate the actions of dozens of generals UNDER his command. He was able to discern the talents and shortcomings of each and to make effective use of their strengths while limiting the damage caused by their faults.

In my book that makes him a far greater general- regardless of any other metric.

I argue that Octavian understood his own limitations. And he was able to asses the abilities of those he used to achieve his goals.
I argue that Octavian placed Agrippa in that role thinking it was his best chance for winning that battle- But ALSO because he knew full well that Agrippa was disposable to his overall plan... that is- Octavian knew that Agrippa was not only good, but also popular- and that even if Antony WON, Octavian could use the death of Agrippa to whip up even More roman support for going after Antony.

People who are in thrall to militarism always place far more emphasis on the importance of a single battle than is actually deserved or rational.

There is No WAY Cleopatra and Antony could have prevailed Against Octavian. He out-maneuvered them and every other ambitious man in Rome from the day Caesar died.

The greatest general is NOT the guy who's the best on the field of a given battle- he's the guy who still wins the war no matter what happens on the field of battle, because he truly understands the actual role of military force.

Agrippa was better at Battle than Octavian, and Antony. But Octavian was actually far better at waging war.
 
Sep 2018
96
Roman Empire
#12
I guess you overlooked that I argue that your definition of military genius is far too narrow.

Grant was better than Lee strictly BECAUSE Grant could effectively coordinate the actions of dozens of generals UNDER his command. He was able to discern the talents and shortcomings of each and to make effective use of their strengths while limiting the damage caused by their faults.

In my book that makes him a far greater general- regardless of any other metric.

I argue that Octavian understood his own limitations. And he was able to asses the abilities of those he used to achieve his goals.
I argue that Octavian placed Agrippa in that role thinking it was his best chance for winning that battle- But ALSO because he knew full well that Agrippa was disposable to his overall plan... that is- Octavian knew that Agrippa was not only good, but also popular- and that even if Antony WON, Octavian could use the death of Agrippa to whip up even More roman support for going after Antony.

People who are in thrall to militarism always place far more emphasis on the importance of a single battle than is actually deserved or rational.

There is No WAY Cleopatra and Antony could have prevailed Against Octavian. He out-maneuvered them and every other ambitious man in Rome from the day Caesar died.

The greatest general is NOT the guy who's the best on the field of a given battle- he's the guy who still wins the war no matter what happens on the field of battle, because he truly understands the actual role of military force.

Agrippa was better at Battle than Octavian, and Antony. But Octavian was actually far better at waging war.
The thing is, we fundamentally agree with each other, but we’re missing each other’s point. Octavian was the perfect statesman, that guy was always ten steps ahead of everybody else, and sure, Antony, who wasn’t as brilliant as people nowadays love to believe, stood no chance against him, but I’m certain that when it came to planning Actium as a whole, he and Agrippa worked in tandem, with Octavian dealing with the politics, and Agrippa with the military.

Also, I don’t think Octavian ever envisioned Agrippa dying, he wouldn’t have let that happen, he was far too useful, and also, he was his best friend, not just a guy to exploit when convenient.
 
Oct 2009
3,447
San Diego
#13
The thing is, we fundamentally agree with each other, but we’re missing each other’s point. Octavian was the perfect statesman, that guy was always ten steps ahead of everybody else, and sure, Antony, who wasn’t as brilliant as people nowadays love to believe, stood no chance against him, but I’m certain that when it came to planning Actium as a whole, he and Agrippa worked in tandem, with Octavian dealing with the politics, and Agrippa with the military.

Also, I don’t think Octavian ever envisioned Agrippa dying, he wouldn’t have let that happen, he was far too useful, and also, he was his best friend, not just a guy to exploit when convenient.
I think Octavian was far more ruthless and calculating than you allow.
Agrippa was his friend BECAUSE Octavian found him useful.

I don't think he was merely a statesman... just because he understood that it would do him no good to be a heroic corpse on the field. His objective was to not only win but to survive to rule...
and If Agrippa thought himself way better a soldier than Octavian... then why didn't he try for the brass ring of the crown for himself?

I think Agrippa understood that going against octavian would be cutting his own throat.


Really... thru all of history... Octavian is the most stellar outlier.
No one I can think of shows anywhere near the far sighted calculation and intelligence that he shows. this wimpy scrawny kid changes the entire mindset of Rome from LOATHING kings- to BEGGING him to be theirs.
he doesn't try to do it by force. He doesn't try to make himself the hero. He does it by making everyone who opposed him an Enemy of Rome. He does it by spending a decade mythologizing Caesar from the guy who broke 5 centuries of tradition by marching an army on Rome to seize power, and turning him into the King that Never Was... leaving himself the natural heir.
He invented a history of kingship that never existed to legitimize his own rule and that of his heirs. Everything we think we know about Caesar was the narrative HE invented, and convinced Rome was true.

He won every war he fought- and you can not say it was not by his design those wars were fought.

I mean- the guys is a true FREAK.

I don't care how good a general you cite. Octavian makes them look like unimaginative dullards who can't see the big picture.
 
Sep 2018
96
Roman Empire
#14
I think Octavian was far more ruthless and calculating than you allow.
Agrippa was his friend BECAUSE Octavian found him useful.

I don't think he was merely a statesman... just because he understood that it would do him no good to be a heroic corpse on the field. His objective was to not only win but to survive to rule...
and If Agrippa thought himself way better a soldier than Octavian... then why didn't he try for the brass ring of the crown for himself?

I think Agrippa understood that going against octavian would be cutting his own throat.


Really... thru all of history... Octavian is the most stellar outlier.
No one I can think of shows anywhere near the far sighted calculation and intelligence that he shows. this wimpy scrawny kid changes the entire mindset of Rome from LOATHING kings- to BEGGING him to be theirs.
he doesn't try to do it by force. He doesn't try to make himself the hero. He does it by making everyone who opposed him an Enemy of Rome. He does it by spending a decade mythologizing Caesar from the guy who broke 5 centuries of tradition by marching an army on Rome to seize power, and turning him into the King that Never Was... leaving himself the natural heir.
He invented a history of kingship that never existed to legitimize his own rule and that of his heirs. Everything we think we know about Caesar was the narrative HE invented, and convinced Rome was true.

He won every war he fought- and you can not say it was not by his design those wars were fought.

I mean- the guys is a true FREAK.

I don't care how good a general you cite. Octavian makes them look like unimaginative dullards who can't see the big picture.
Pal, I share all your sentiments, I’m a massive Augustus fan too, but I believe he was more human than others, like Ronald Syme, think. Octavian didn’t need to give Agrippa as much power as he did, he had other competent generals at disposal, like Taurus, and he didn’t need to stay married with Livia and give her as much power as he did, there were wives aplenty for a good looking princeps. I believe he loved both of them, as a friend and as a lover respectively, and he was reciprocated in his feelings. He also cared about his daughter, his grandsons and his step children. Augustus was cruel and ruthless in cruel and ruthless times, but he could still be capable of emotions despite everything.
 
Mar 2017
858
Colorado
#15
As a very late note:

No matter how good a general Agrippa was, he had no "path" to be emperor. At the time of Actium, Lepidus was gone from the Triumvirate, and it was a civil war between Antony & Octavian ... winner take all. Octavian was already ruling 2/3's of the Roman world, Antony the other 1/3.

The Senate heavily favored Octavian, in part because he spun the civil war as a defensive war against Egypt, but mainly because he had so much power in Rome and they feared him. Octavian stole, by force, Antony's will from the Vestal Virgins (before he altered it): this was a heinous crime .... that got completely overlooked.

The Roman capitol of the East was Ephesus and Antony wasn't even there: he ruled his part of the empire from Alexandria ... not even a Roman city. It's very easy to throw your support to the ultimate power that gets in your face every day.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2011
970
Scotland
#16
Octavian's path to power was Caesar's will adopting him. As Caesar, son of a god, he held considerable sway over the legions, soon manifested in the legal position of the second triumvirate. As a fellow Caesarian, given high office by Caesar the Dictator, Antony could rival Octavian for the loyalty of some legions.

Agrippa wasn't in any such position. He was of lesser birth and not in a position to subvert legionary loyalties. He was however, extremely capable as both general and admiral. On the basis of accomplishments alone, I would place Agrippa in a much higher category than Antony.

Agrippa and Octavian worked well together with a mutual need of one for the other. One of the amazing things about Octavian's rise to supremacy is that he accomplished this despite being of weak military talent. Agrippa's lower birth also explains Octavian's willingness to trust him, above other possible commanders who might have set up as rivals.

It's just possible that after Actium, Agrippa might have had sufficient troop loyalty to make a bid for himself, but there is no indication he ever contemplated this incredibly risky act.

Whilst Octavian/Augustus is here given credit for humanity- correctly, in many respects - it cannot disguise his utter ruthlessness in killing and terrorising his way to power in the early part of his career. As Augustus, he successfully metamorphosed into the beneficient Father of the Country.
 
Oct 2009
3,447
San Diego
#17
Octavian's path to power was Caesar's will adopting him. As Caesar, son of a god, he held considerable sway over the legions, soon manifested in the legal position of the second triumvirate. As a fellow Caesarian, given high office by Caesar the Dictator, Antony could rival Octavian for the loyalty of some legions.

Agrippa wasn't in any such position. He was of lesser birth and not in a position to subvert legionary loyalties. He was however, extremely capable as both general and admiral. On the basis of accomplishments alone, I would place Agrippa in a much higher category than Antony.

Agrippa and Octavian worked well together with a mutual need of one for the other. One of the amazing things about Octavian's rise to supremacy is that he accomplished this despite being of weak military talent. Agrippa's lower birth also explains Octavian's willingness to trust him, above other possible commanders who might have set up as rivals.

It's just possible that after Actium, Agrippa might have had sufficient troop loyalty to make a bid for himself, but there is no indication he ever contemplated this incredibly risky act.

Whilst Octavian/Augustus is here given credit for humanity- correctly, in many respects - it cannot disguise his utter ruthlessness in killing and terrorising his way to power in the early part of his career. As Augustus, he successfully metamorphosed into the beneficient Father of the Country.
I think you should realize that NONE of those benefits accrued to Octavian because AT THE TIME- being a "Caesar" was NOT being a god- Being the "son" of Caesar did NOTHING for octavian but hand him a world fill of enemies and Antony's empty claim that Julius had meant to left every roman a bag of money.

Octavian bankrupted his family PAYING OUT the money Antony made up... as his first major tactic in rehabilitating the image of Caesar in the eyes of the Roman people.
At the time he was knifed- the MONIED people of Rome supported the idea of assassinating him.

He used the popularity he gained form that to secure a third of empire in the triumvirate and he angled for Antony to get the eastern empire because that was where the money was.... while Octavian stayed in Rome where he could manipulate the public perception of Antony and every other rival for power.

In just a few years he managed to turn Antony from the Hero who defended Caesar- into the lapdog of a foreign queen... weak and inffective. ... in the minds of the Roman people- while he portrayed Julius as the conqueror of egypt- he made Cleopatra out as the conqueror of Antony.

Rather than propagandize HIMSELF- octavian was wise enough to propagandize Julius into a martyr figure- the man who SHOULD have been king.
Caesar was mythologized from the guy who marched a legion on Rome- an overt act of treason- into the guy who tried to save rome from the chaos of the patrician senate.

And Octavian, as Caesars heir, thereby handed himself the legacy of legitimacy without having to claim it by force.

Every leader in human history is made to look amateurish by the stunning long range intelligence, insight and cunning of Octavian. and that includes Aggrippa. He not only won everything he wanted, not only changed the Roman people from loathing the idea of King to demanding it... he then ruled for a long time, and thwarted every plot and scheme to depose or murder him.
Octavian INVENTED empirical Rome... he invented its bureaucracy that lasted nigh 500 years. He literally found Rome brick and left it marble.

He didn't NEED to be the greatest military mind to get everything he wanted- because he was playing on a level far far above the mere military.
 
Feb 2011
970
Scotland
#18
I think you should realize that NONE of those benefits accrued to Octavian because AT THE TIME- being a "Caesar" was NOT being a god- Being the "son" of Caesar did NOTHING for octavian but hand him a world fill of enemies and Antony's empty claim that Julius had meant to left every roman a bag of money.

Octavian bankrupted his family PAYING OUT the money Antony made up... as his first major tactic in rehabilitating the image of Caesar in the eyes of the Roman people.
At the time he was knifed- the MONIED people of Rome supported the idea of assassinating him.

He used the popularity he gained form that to secure a third of empire in the triumvirate and he angled for Antony to get the eastern empire because that was where the money was.... while Octavian stayed in Rome where he could manipulate the public perception of Antony and every other rival for power.

In just a few years he managed to turn Antony from the Hero who defended Caesar- into the lapdog of a foreign queen... weak and inffective. ... in the minds of the Roman people- while he portrayed Julius as the conqueror of egypt- he made Cleopatra out as the conqueror of Antony.

Rather than propagandize HIMSELF- octavian was wise enough to propagandize Julius into a martyr figure- the man who SHOULD have been king.
Caesar was mythologized from the guy who marched a legion on Rome- an overt act of treason- into the guy who tried to save rome from the chaos of the patrician senate.

And Octavian, as Caesars heir, thereby handed himself the legacy of legitimacy without having to claim it by force.

Every leader in human history is made to look amateurish by the stunning long range intelligence, insight and cunning of Octavian. and that includes Aggrippa. He not only won everything he wanted, not only changed the Roman people from loathing the idea of King to demanding it... he then ruled for a long time, and thwarted every plot and scheme to depose or murder him.
Octavian INVENTED empirical Rome... he invented its bureaucracy that lasted nigh 500 years. He literally found Rome brick and left it marble.

He didn't NEED to be the greatest military mind to get everything he wanted- because he was playing on a level far far above the mere military.

I would take issue with a number of statements here.

Caesar was extremely popular with the Roman middle and lower classes, who rioted at his death. He did not need rehabilitating with these, or his soldiers.
He was deified, the first historical Roman to be so, on 1st January 42BC and thereafter Octavian's coinage positively blazes this point forth- over and over again- 'Caesar Divi F'- Caesar, son of a god. Octavian capitalised on this extensively. Octavian's coinage certainly shows him extensively propagandising both himself and Caesar. He certainly would never have suggested Caesar should have been King, that would have been suicidal.

I agree with a lot of the points you made on Octavian's strategy, not sure why you might feel I was suggesting he did not use clever strategies because clearly he did. My main aim here was the OP, in trying to show why I consider Agrippa superior to Antony- not to impugn Octavian.However, Antony assisted in Octavian's undermining of his image through his own errors. I'm not sure why you are trying to compare Octavian to Agrippa in this context.. That isn't the OP, nor is it particularly relevant here.

Rather than empirical Rome- do you mean Imperial Rome?
 

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