'I am Antony yet': Reading Mark Antony's Mail

G17 - Nuffield
Tuesday 10 October 2017 (16:00-18:00)

The flesh and bone Antony, like his Shakespearean incarnation, struggled with Roman demands for constancy.

An aristocrat’s constantia, crucial to his public reputation, was constantly put at risk and therefore open to challenge owing to the variegated circumstances of open or private communication in situations both routine and exceptional. Matters were more extreme during the unstable political conditions of the fourties and thirties BC.  Letters by Antony are preserved from this period. These documents, embedded in Ciceronian oratory and epistolography and in Suetonian biography – contexts putting Antony’s letters to purposes sometimes diverging from his original designs – help to illustrate Antony’s exertions, not always successful, at fashioning a sustained and reliable public image. Furthermore, these letters, because they are letters, remain profoundly, if perhaps mistakenly, suggestive for any modern biographer attempting to recover even basic aspects of Antony’s personality.

Speaker: Jeff Tatum (Victoria University of Wellington)