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Who was Marc Antony?

By Noreen Gunnell

The name Marc Antony is tied to Cleopatra's and their affair. But there is more to Marc Antony (Marcus Antonius). Antony was a high ranking officer in Julius Caesar's army, an important official in his government, and served as one of Rome's second triumvirate. Use this lesson plan to learn more.

There is more to Marc Antony than his affair with Cleopatra and their tragic ends. Use this cooperative lesson plan to help your students learn more fact about Marc Antony (Marcus Antonius), Ancient Rome and his roles as soldier and leader.

A Lesson Plan on Marc Antony

Lesson Focus: Who was Marc Antony? Marc Antony (Marcus Antonius), Ancient Rome and why he mattered to the Republic during his time.

Grade Level: 9-12

Prior Knowledge: None

Time Needed: 2 or 3 class periods.

Educational Standards Met:

NCSS Thematic Standard: VI Power, Authority, and Governance.

NSS-WH.5-12.3 ERA 3: Classical Traditions, Major Religions, and Giant Empires, 1000 BCE-300 CE; Standard , How major religions and large-scale empires arose in the Mediterranean basin, China, and India, 500 BCE-300 CE.

Lesson Outline:

In order to understand who Marc Antony, (Marcus Antonius and sometimes Mark Antony), was and his place in world history, students will have to be familiar with certain terms, facts, and people. This cooperative lesson plan is designed to have students research the facts about Marc Antony and prepare a presentation for the class. Students can use their textbook, internet, and the library for research.

I. Divide the class into groups and have them research the following:

Group I: Marc Antony and his role in Julius Caesar’s military victories and rise to power.

Research should include the campaign against Pompey, the Roman Civil Wars, Caesar’s assassination, and Marc Antony’s speech at the funeral of Julius Caesar. The students should also research Marc Antony's position in Julius Caesar's government.

Group II: Marc Antony and the second triumvirate. Research should include who made up the triumvirate, the division of the empire, and the triumvirate’s dissolution. (Find the definition of triumvirate here.)

Group III: Marc Antony and Cleopatra. Research should include their relationship, children, and political alliance. His time in Egypt should be covered as well. This group's research should also cover his marriage to Octavia, the battle at Actium, and his and Cleopatra's suicides.

Group IV: Marc Antony's character and behavior. Marcus Antonius was a notorious drunkard and womanizer, and so this group may have the most entertaining assignment. However, Group IV's research should seriously examine who Marc Antony was as a man. It should include his birth, family, youth and military career. This group should also provide specific details and examples of Marc Antony's behaviors and how they affected his life and career.

Antony and Cleopatra 

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II. Assignment:

Each group should prepare an imaginary journal entry or letter written in the point-of-view of a person of their choice (i.e. Caesar, Antony, Cleopatra, Octavian, Marcus Lepidus). Dates and facts must be accurate and each group should present it in a creative way (i.e. reenactment, slide show, a reading from which the class guesses the author).

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