Marcus Antonius, a hero and a whore

Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius) lived from 87? to 30 BC and is not only well known as a Roman general and politician, but also famous for long-term homosexual relationship with his friend and lover Gaius Scribonius Curio. Curio served as a tribune in Rome, but he was also a mentor and close friend to Antony. Throughout this relationship, Antony served Curio in many of the same ways that an escort serves a client today.

Antony was born into the Antonius clan, one of the most powerful and influential plebeian Roman families of its times. Antony’s father passed away when he was only a child, and he spent his teenage years wandering the streets of Rome with his friends and cousins, which set the stage for his future way of life. He lived a rebellious and reckless lifestyle as a young man, amassing over 250 talents of debt, which is equivalent to today’s value of $5 million. Reliable accounts from others of the time indicate he was a womanizer and known for debauchery with both men and women, both for personal enjoyment and political gain.

Despite his rocky start as a young man, he was named as a cavalry commander and general at age 26 by Julius Caesar (Antony’s cousin) and found great success due to his vigor and bravery on the battlefield. He regularly had young men, performing the roles of modern-era escorts, accompany him to the battlefield. His troops loved him, though he consistently alienated the people of Rome due to his lifestyle and poor political judgment, which repeatedly pitted citizens against one another.

Because Romans openly accepted relationships between both sexes, Antony’s homosexual relationship with Curio was not frowned upon. It was the speed and ease with which he changed lovers, escorts and alliances that caused many Romans to judge him harshly. Antony, who was said to have the physique of a gladiator and to have descended from Hercules, was married five times, divorcing three of his wives for reasons ranging from adultery to incompatibility. He left behind many children. His five wives included: Fadia, Antonia, Fulvia (who happened to be the widow of Curio), Octavia and Cleopatra (of Egypt).

During Caesar’s second reign of power in Rome, he named Antony as the “Master of the Horse” in 47 B.C. As the administrator of the Italian peninsula, Antony led an extremely extravagant life. He was known for having no ethical principles: everything he had, be it his own body or vacant public position, was for sale, and everything he wanted he grabbed. Cicero described his debauchery in such detail and color that Marc Antony eventually had the great orator murdered. The citizens became increasingly dissatisfied with his management of the land (in addition to his life of luxury), and violence broke out in the streets by 46 B.C. Caesar removed Antony from his political responsibilities, however, due to Antony’s persistence, a reconciliation between the two men occurred in 44 B.C.

After Caesar’s assassination, Antony delivered the eulogy, where William Shakespeare has quoted him as making the famous speech, “Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend me your ears”. Antony later joined with Octavian and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus to form an alliance known as the Second Triumvirate in order to protect the interests of Rome from outsiders. Antony became quite desperate in later life to retain his political ties and used sexual relations with men and women to acquire his goals. Additionally, many young men offered themselves to Antony as escorts, and he forged close relationships with many of them, though none of them compared to the emotional and physical attachment he had shared with his old friend Curio.