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What impression does Dio give of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra? - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Dio’s work is a history of Augustus and written from the perspective of a Roman and therefore an enemy of Cleopatra. The work was written two hundred years after the fact leaving the detail imprecise but the overwhelming Roman sentiment accurate.

Dio sets out to character assassinate Antony and Cleopatra to his Roman readers. He does this by relating how Antony acts as a gymnasiarch and addresses Cleopatra as “queen” or “mistress” (Cassius Dio 50.5) and that “Roman soldiers guard her and bear her name on their shields” (ibid). These things are to show us how Antony is subservient and Cleopatra his better, something unacceptable to Romans. Dio continues by relating how Antony while accompanying Cleopatra to the market place to preside over festivals or to hear law suits, “”would walk behind the queen among her eunuchs” (ibid) a parody for the unmanning of Antony.

Antony was, whilst an enemy, still a brave Roman warrior and Dio, understanding this, lays the blame for his fall on Cleopatra. He accuses her of bewitching and manipulating not just Antony but his entire entourage thus offering extenuating circumstances for the behaviour of all the Romans involved . Having outraged his fellow Romans Dio says “so surely as I shall one day give judgement on the capitol” (Cassius Dio 50.5) Cleopatra’s claim that she will rule Rome, the most scandalous accusation of all.

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