What was going on with Mark Anthony at Actium?

Oct 2015
1,008
Virginia
Antonius commanded a total of about 23 Roman legions (Keppie, Brunt, Syme et al think 19 of them were in the Balkans in 31BC). Whatever other assets he and Cleopatra controlled (ships, treasure, client kings, mercenaries et al), only these Roman troops could stand up to the armies Octavian could bring against them. As the OP says, when Antonius abandoned his legions, and they surrendered to Octavian, he and Cleopatra were doomed.

Is it possible that the defection or death of Antonius' client kings (Amyntas) and senatorial allies (Domitius, Junius Silanus, Dellius), Caesarian propaganda, as well as hunger and disease, had made Antonius' Roman troops unreliable in a fight against their kinsmen ? Apparently Canidius tried to get the troops to march into Macedonia after the battle of Actium, but they refused.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2019
186
Vergina
Antonius commanded a total of about 23 Roman legions (Keppie, Brunt, Syme et al think 19 of them were in the Balkans in 31BC). Whatever other assets he and Cleopatra controlled (ships, treasure, client kings, mercenaries et al), only these Roman troops could stand up to the armies Octavian could bring against them. As the OP says, when Antonius abandoned his legions, and they surrendered to Octavian, he and Cleopatra were doomed.

Is it possible that the defection or death of Antonius' senatorial allies (Domitius, Junius Silanus, Dellius, Sosius), Caesarian propaganda, as well as hunger and disease, had made the Roman troops unreliable in a fight against their kinsmen ?
Ruggiero mentions Antony having 11 reserve legions not in Greece but I don't know where he gets that number from. I know Lucius Pinarius Scarpus had a force in Cyrene and Antony hoped to use these soldiers but Scarpus defected after Actium. Maybe Antony thought Sacrpus' men, plus native levies and the money would be enough?

Antony seemed confident that he could win a battle and Plutarch recounts he even dared Octavian to fight him at Pharsulus. He did have the veteran 10th Legion which didn't like Octavian and was disbanded for rebellion later. Overall though you could very well be right that his army had become unreliable due to attrition.