Carefully read the following extract several times. What impression does Dio give of the relationship between Cleopatra and Antony, and how does this impression relate to other Roman attitudes found in the chapter?


Cassius Dio was a Roman historian writing over two hundred years after the deaths of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. His audience would have been Roman citizens and therefore his writing would most likely be slightly bias to the Roman viewpoint. This is not to say his account was inaccurate, merely that his sources of information would probably have come from Romans as opposed to Egyptians since the Romans won the conflict.

When writing about the relationship between Cleopatra and Antony, Dio using phrases such as “enslaved......laid him under some spell......enchanted and enthralled”. (Open University 2010), to describe Cleopatra’s influence. This implies that Antony was not acting under his own free will that Cleopatra controlled him, thus relinquishing him from all blame, and laying it at her feet.

Dio claims Cleopatra hoped to rule Rome, Antony seems to encourage her ambition and calls her “Queen”, (Open University 2010), this image would have invoked hostility and suspicion among the Romans as they hated any allusion to a monarchy after their bitter conflicts in the past. This further emphasizes Cleopatra’s over powering influence on Antony that he would embrace a concept that he had once fought against.

Dio creates an image of Antony as having left all things Roman behind to embrace all things Egyptian. Antony is said to dress like them, he is shown in paint and sculpture as one of their gods, he even walks side by side with Cleopatra’s eunuchs. This new image of Antony shows that Cleopatra’s domination of Antony is so complete that he has lost his very identity.

Dio’s assessment of Antony and Cleopatra’s relationship casts her in a very negative light this opinion seems to be shared by Plutarch...