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Octavian's Propaganda and Antony's De Sua Ebrietate

Author(s): Kenneth Scott
Source: Classical Philology, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr., 1929), pp. 133-141
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/262638
Accessed: 27-03-2017 11:04 UTC

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it marked An- tony in the East as the successor of the Hellenistic kings. op. p.3 Mithradates Eupator. founding cities." AJP. the god who had swept through the East conquering nations." JHS. 241-61. and in many other ways. of. De imperatorum Romanorum cum certis dis et comparatione et aequatione (Halle dissertation.197. for that went along with his position as consort of Cleopatra and there- fore as king of Egypt. [CLASSICAL PHILOLOGY. which during the Hellenistic age was spread far and wide in the East and in Italy itself.90 on Mon. XIX (1924). OCTAVIAN'S PROPAGANDA AND ANTONY'S DE SUA EBRIETATE BY KENNETH SCOTT T nHE identification of Marcus Antonius with Dionysus-Osiris was clearly a political move. arch. XXIV. "The Deification of Demetrius Poliorcetes."I When Antony was greeted as Dionysus at Ephesus or at Athens. Riewald. bearing his attributes. 5 Riewald. he was merely following in the footsteps of the Ptolemies and the other Diadochs in turning to his political ad- vantage the immense popularity of the Dionysiac cult. 222 ff. Antigonus Monophthalmus. Antony could hardly choose but play the role of Dionysus.5 and Antiochus 1 In the Rev.org/terms . 3. 33. to pose as Dionysus was an indication of royal power.4 Antiochus VI. Aside from its value in establishing his divinity. So likewise it suited the policies or predilections of many of Alexander's successors to act the part of the wine-god by dressing up in his like- ness. The association of Antony with this god was no doubt propaganda intended to impress the peo- ple of the East with the divinity of the triumvir. who was ambitious of conquests in the Orient. and especially when he assumed the part of Osiris (the Egyp- tian Dionysus) in Egypt. XLVIII (1928). see further P. 61.2 his son Demetrius Poliorcetes. and bearing in his train the blessings of civilization. cit. in legend at least. making free with the wine-cup. 19291 133 This content downloaded from 46. 318.jstor.. p. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about.6. Nock. "Notes on Ruler-Cult. 319. 3. 2 Herodianus Ab excessu divi Marci i. 1912).. n. bound up with Dionysus. as Jeanmaire has recently pointed out in an article entitled "La politique religieuse d'Antoine et de Cleopatre. Indeed. XLIX (1928). 4 Cicero Pro Flacco 60. The career of Alexander was. Connection of the ruler with Dionysus meant identification with the typical god of world-conquest. 3 Scott. April.

Rose. "Ptolemaios Philopator und Dionysos. it was natural and advantageous for Antony to appear as a new Dionysus.org/terms . 4 Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology. Kunstsammlungen. 5 Ant. and the cry of a throng that called on Bakchos and leaped like satyrs. and he counselled him to remove himself as far as possible from that youth. Kaerst. Antony came off with the worst of it. saying that his fortune. and al- though it is spirited and exalted when it is by itself. p. 25-30. therefore. "The Departure of Dionysus.90 on Mon. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about.g."4 in which he calls attention to what he considers evidence of counter- propaganda of Octavian in two passages in Plutarch which run as follows: 1. 6 Ibid." Moreover the events which took place seemed to bear witness for the Egyptian. for it is said that when in sport they cast lots or threw dice to decide whatever matter they happened to have in hand. In the Orient. Dionysus incarnate. II (2d ed. Now those who considered the portent were of opinion that the god to whom Antony had always most likened himself and to whom he was most attached." he said. "your daimon fears his. V (1913). I give the translation of Rose. 319. And often when they were matching cocks and fighting quails those of Caesar used to win. "For. was leaving him. who. 317. as if a band of worshippers were going forth with much noise. 2 Von Prott. 3-4. 7266. 189-97.jstor. see F. and SB. 3 E. "Der iigyptische Kaiserkult. Antony's identification with Dionysus has been treated recently by H. And it sped well nigh through the midst of the city to the gate outside which faced the enemy. either to oblige Cleopatra or speaking the truth. Mitt. 341. XI (1924)." Ath. It is said that on that night. 1926).197..6 1 Ibid. J.6." Amtliche Berichte aus den Kgl. the Attalids2 and the Ptolemies3 traced their descent from the god Diony- sus. one of these who cast nativi- ties.. No. But their [the reference is to Octavian and Antony] contests in sports distressed Antony because he always had less success than Caesar. Now he had with him a certain soothsayer from Egypt. (1927). it becomes poorer and less noble when his is near. Papyrusfor- schung. although very brilliant and great. "Dionysos Kathegemon.. and in Egypt various Ptolemies were closely connected with the cult of Dionysus or were actually identified with him. XXVII (1902). This content downloaded from 46. Schubart. when the city was still and dejected through fearful expectation of the future. was ob- scured by that of Caesar. lxxv. 2-3. 161-88. about the middle of it. Blumenthal. addressed Antony frankly. in an interesting article. XXXVIII (1916-17).5 2. and there the noise rose to its height and passed away. 237. xxxiii. 134 KENNETH SCOTT XII' are among the rulers intimately associated with Dionysus. suddenly there was heard as it were the harmonious sound of all manner of instruments of music." Archiv. f. W. Geschichte des Hellenismus..

xxxi. OCTAVIAN AND ANTONY'S "DE SUA EBRIETATE" 135 The first passage quoted from Plutarch is very likely evidence of Octavian's propaganda against Antony.90 on Mon.197. who becomes for the Egyptians Augustus 2. had enemies. Aug. and R. 3. The story of the departure of Dionysus. 12. even of a religious nature. does not even seem to be propaganda. Janssen.2 Suetonius writes of Domitian: "He dreamed that Minerva. and the East in general must have had little enthusiasm for the dead and discredited Antony-Dionysus who had extorted from the Eastern cities enormous sums. C. Varia- tions of this same theme may have been current after the death of other rulers who had been devoted to a special divinity. Octavian. and much of the campaign literature which Antony had spread abroad was probably -a source of trouble and vexation to Octavian. The account of the departure of Dionysus very likely had its origin among the superstitious Alexandrians. 97. C. p. in which he seemed to be deserted by his patron goddess. for I cannot agree with Rose that Octavian had anything to fear from Antony-Dionysus once Antony was dead. Egypt subdued. At least there seems to be no evi- dence of any affection. departed from her shrine and said that she could no longer defend him because she had been disarmed by Jupiter" . Doubtless the two thousand prophetic writings in Greek and Latin which Augustus col- lected and burned' consisted in part of Antony's propaganda.org/terms . and we seem to have such a variation in the tale of Domitian's dream. who must have heard or fancied that they head many strange things during the night of un- certainty and alarm which preceded the capture of their city. 74.jstor. of course. Gephart. n.6.wr'p or Zeus 'EXEvOE'pLos. p. This content downloaded from 46. whom he supersti- tiously worshipped. however. Minerva. 2 Evidence of Domitian's special reverence for Minerva is given by J. and the military forces of the Empire united under Octavian's command.3 1 Suet. Suetonii Tranquilli Vita Domitiani (1919). but the point of the whole story is that the fortune and daimon of Antony were inferior to the fortune and daimon of Octavian. for the departed Antony-Dionysus. 3 Domit. It appears that these writings were dangerous even so many years after Actium. xv. but I believe that the menace of Antony-Dionysus ended with the death of the triumvir. Suetonii Tran- quilli Vita Domitiani (1922). and the tale cannot be connected with Antony as Dionysus or Osiris. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about. Egypt evidently changed its allegiance readily to Octavian.

yet he now gives up all his ancestral ways of life and cultivates all those which are foreign and barbaric. though a mighty god. 16. he shows no respect for I lxvii. 3 Dio. he has twice been consul. Two passages in Dio which do not seem to have been con- sidered by either Jeanmaire or Rose bear directly on Octavian's "campaign" in the West. cast away her arms and on a chariot drawn by black horses was falling into a chasm. 1. however. In the first Dio relates how the Romans." Rose believes. that Octavian's propaganda against Antony- Dionysus took an entirely different form from that which Rose suggests."' Rose points out that "merely to kill a divine king or other thean- thropic figure would by no means put an end to his influence. not a divine king.6. This content downloaded from 46.. And what appears to have especially excited the Romans was the fact that "he [Antony] was represented with her in paintings and statues. along with me he has been intrusted with the superintendence of the public affairs. was weaker than Apollo-Octavian." and says that Octavian faced the problem of having "to keep the East quiet and obedient. that the East would not be convinced by such a tale. and she as Selene and Isis. which Octavian wished to convince that "Osiris-Antony." In the first passage.2 It appears. he has had control of so many cities and so many legions. though really on Antony. he himself as Osiris and Dionysus. 2 Op. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about.org/terms .90 on Mon.jstor. infuriated by the terms of Antony's will. which Octavian caused to be read in the senate. cit. often imperator. 29-30. 136 KENNETH SCOTT and Dio gives this slightly different dream: "And it seemed to him that Minerva. and especially on this account he seemed to be rendered mad by her through some enchantment. 3. moreover. or perhaps in general. pp. Rose would see Octavian's propaganda intended for the West."3 Again Dio has Octavian deliver the following address to his troops just before the battle of Actium: Who would not lament upon hearing and seeing Antony himself. 5. and that in our second passage we have a story spread by Octavian's bureau of propaganda to the effect that Osiris quitted Antony before the last battle at Alexandria and that it was only the man Antony who died. whose statue he had in his bedroom. therefore. declared war officially on Cleopatra.197. that the gods of the East could not hope to withstand those of the West.

Seneca Epist. The only resemblance between Antony and his favorite god would seem to be that the triumvir had become a reveler and wine-sot.org/terms . The attack on the queen was really directed against Antony himself. OCTAVIAN AND ANTONY'S "DE SUA EBRIETATE" 137 our laws and ancestral gods but worships that person [Cleopatra] as if she were some Isis or Selene and calls her children Helios and Selene. many of them at least.90 on Mon. 25. Yet in the declaration of war. must have been rather hostile to the Dionysiac cult in the first place. cf. This content downloaded from 46.C. written probably in the autumn of 30 B. Cicero had al- ready placed Antony before the Roman public in that light. Antony is never named. So. The idea of a new Dionysus must have brought to the minds of the Romans their enemy Mithradates Eupator and the weak drunkard Ptolemy Auletes. the figure of the ebrius Antonius behind that of the ebria regina: 1 Dio 1. op.6. In the following lines of Horace we must there- fore see. Horace in his ode on the downfall of Cleopatra. in the Res Gestae of Octavian. Antony was linked with Cleopatra. in the triumph.2 The Romans. lxxxiii. In Horace. 2 See Cicero's second Philippic and Plut. seems to have taken a very definite stand. with a special thrust at his identification with Osiris-Dionysus.197. reflects Octavian's propaganda against the drunkenness and revelry of Antony. just as in the dec- laration of war and triumph. and in Horace alike. Dio represents him as openly ridiculing in the most scathing language the conception of Antony as Osiris-Dionysus-the very idea that Antony is anything but a mortal become slave to a woman. 2-4. to Western civilization. only Cleopatra is mentioned. 25. as every Roman surely did. and An- tony's identification with the god of wine gave Octavian a chance to follow up the old attacks of Cicero. Octavian in his Res Gestae never mentions Antony by name.jstor. Octavian in making his appeal to the Romans.. just as if he were lord of all the earth and sea.C. if we may infer a continuance of the hostility shown in the terms of the Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus of 187 B. 3. ix. too. cit. finally he even calls himself Osiris and Dionysus and from these [titles]. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about. makes a present of whole islands and some of the continents?' Here we have the tradition of an active propaganda directed by Octavian against Antony.

ab Italia volantem remis adurgens .. 4Ibid. Professor B. Ullman kindly called my attention to the significance of this ode for the subject of this paper. quo. and that it was of such a serious nature that Antony actual- ly issued a political pamphlet in reply just before the battle of Actium.f. Lit. quidlibet impotens sperare fortunaque dulci ebria. Part II. sed minuit furorem vix una sospes navis ab ignibus mentemque lymphatam Mareotico redegit in veros timores Caesar. quanta mala per temulentiam terrarum orbi intulisset. 37.. p. L. exiguo tempore ante proelium Actiacum id volumen evomuit..jstor. 22. This content downloaded from 46. II. adprobavit plane. "Es war sicherlich eine Verteidigungsschrift. Elsewhere.). however. "Mehr eine Kuriositat ist des Maecenas Schrift uber seine Lebensweise 'de cultu suo'."3 an opinion with which I most certainly agree. patrocinari sibi ausus.' "5 ' Horace Carmina i. 1 It seems that some such attack as I have suggested was made by Octavian.org/terms . Part I. die mit der Broschulre des Maecenas 'de cultu suo' und mit der des Antonius 'de sua ebrietate' verglichen werden kann" . dum Capitolio regina dementes ruinas.2 There seems to have been some variation in the interpretation of this pamphlet. funus et imperio parabat contaminato cum grege turpium morbo virorum. he writes. ut equidem arbitror. 138 KENNETH SCOTT antehac nefas depromere Caecubum cellis avitis. for in one place Schanz writes. I. sie bildet ein Pendant zu Antonius' Schrift utber seine Trunksucht 'de sua ebrietate.90 on Mon. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about. "Mehr ein Produkt des Scherzes war die Monographie des Domitian uber die Haarpflege.] avidissime adprehenderat hanc palmam [of being able to drink a great deal] edito etiam volumine de sua ebrietate.6. 551. 197. 3 Gesch. 5 Ibid. The pamphlet itself is lost. 5 ff. Part II. rom. 24... d.4 and again. but in Pliny there is a short account of it which reads as follows: Is [Antonius] ante eum [Ciceronem M. (3d ed. 2 NH xiv.197.

6. where Octavian and his followers presented his actions in the worst possible light. I. one may well believe. since Antony wrote "daring to defend himself" (patrocinari sibi ausus). pp. it was a Verteidigungsschrift. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about. 500. was a trying moment for Antony and one in which he could hardly take the time to write a humorous sketch of that weakness of his which Cicero had painted so darkly and with which we may reasonably suppose that Octavian had taxed him. Antony's identifi- cation with Osiris-Dionysus in the East and his conduct there were all very well as far as Orientals or Greeks were concerned. suggests that the de sua ebrie- tate was perhaps a philosophical writing WrEpL /IE'Ols and that the word sua is a malicious misrepresentation. one may readily perceive 1 I.90 on Mon. 388-89. Indeed. in which Antony evidently explained or tried to explain to the Romans charges of drunkenness which must have been brought against him. 2 Part I.. Cit. If we may trust the evidence of Dio and the interpretation of Antony's de sua ebrietate which I have suggested. edited by Kroll and Skutsch.2 Only Gardthausen long ago seems to have understood the writing correctly as a reply to accusations against Antony. a reply intended for readers at Rome. p. This content downloaded from 46.197. Vol. for a short time before the battle of Actium (exiguo tempore ante proelium Actiacum).3 It does not appear reasonable to consider Antony's pamphlet an amusing composition. and it seems likely that the pamphlet was at the same time a reply to the accusations of Octavian recorded by Dio.jstor.' while Hosius in the fourth edi- tion of Schanz's Romische Literaturgeschichte (1927) classes Antony's pamphlet with Cratinus' I1vrL'V7. OCTAVIAN AND ANTONY'S "DE SUA EBRIETATE" 139 The sixth edition of Teuffel's Geschichte der romischen Literatur (1915). "Cum tot hellenistico- rum temporum reges nomine novi Bacchi ornati sint.org/terms . then a problem in the religious history of the Roman Empire has a ready solution."4 But if Octavian held up to ridicule the identification of Antony with Osiris- Dionysus and made it one of his main points of attack in the propa- ganda which he carried on before Actium. 3 Augu8tu8 und seine Zeit. mirum est. Riewald has written in his Halle dissertation. 320. quod imperatoris ei aequati ne unum quidem exstat exemplum. Part I (18 4 Op. but he thereby had evidently laid himself open to severe criticism in Italy.

six gods and six god- desses. 2 See Wissowa's article. Mercury and Ceres. XXIII (1924).6. non Antoni modo epistulae singulorum nomina amar- issime enumerantis exprobant. Mars and Venus. just as Octavian taxed him with assuming the part of Dionysus. Dum nova divorum cenat adulteria: Omnia se a terris tunc numina declinarunt. quae vulgo S03EKaWOIE vocaba- tur. Impia dum Phoebi Caesar mendacia ludit. in qua deorum dearumque habitu discubuisse convivas et ipsum pro Apolline ornatum. Neptune and Minerva.org/terms . sed et sine auctore notissimi versus. p.jstor. 3 Professor Rostovtzeff. In our SSEKa'OEOs it is not likely that Jupiter was represented since Octavian appeared as Apollo. Fugit et auratos Iuppiter ipse thronos. Suetonius has preserved an obvious case of propaganda set on foot by Antony. In the famous lectisternium after the defeat of Lake Trasemenus the twelve gods are Jupiter and Juno. In chaps. quo cognomine is deus quadam in parte urbis colebatur. Vulcan and Vesta. The passage of Suetonius runs as follows: Cena quoque eius secretior in fabulis fuit. sed tortorem. Apollo and Diana. the god whose cult he had tried to discredit in the West and East." Auxit cenae rumorem summa tunc in civitate penuria ac fames.3 The true gods in dismay or anger depart from earth.90 on Mon.197. 1108-15. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about. 1112. and it is interesting to note that Antony accused Octavian of playing the false role of Apollo.2 and would therefore be exceptionally shocking to conserva- tive Romans. lxx. "Cum primum istorum conduxit mensa choragum. The form of the banquet is exactly that of a lectisternium.' The charge made by Antony that Octavian and his friends held a banquet in the guise of gods and goddesses would seem to be a countercharge to Octavian's attack on Antony-Dionysus. Sexque deos vidit Mallia sexque deas. while Jupiter (Capitolinus?) leaves his golden throne (on the Capitol- ine?). has called my attention to this point. This content downloaded from 46. adclama- tumque est postridie: Omne frumentum deos comedisse et Caesarem esse plane Apollinem. lxviii and lxix are other accusations made by Antony against Octavian. 140 KENNETH SCOTT that Octavian could never cause or permit himself to be designated as a new Dionysus. and esp. "Lectisternium" in PW. whose criticism has been most valuable. It is interesting to note that Octavian actually did transfer the 1 Aug.

"' "And such. 'Giver of Joy. xxiv. 'the Fierce. Our sources. A banquet held by Antony which was similar to the 0O&EK&O-0o3 of Octavian may be hinted at by Velleius Paterculus. point to Octavian's emphatic denial in the West of the existence of any divinity in the person of Antony or of any identification of Antony with Dionysus.90 on Mon. YALE UNIVERSITY 1 Op. 'Gracious. Rose would see in the pas- sages which he cites from Plutarch evidence of Octavian's method of dealing with Antony's Dionysiac propaganda.moreover." continues Plutarch. This last sentence of Suetonius in which he says that in a spirit of bitterness Octavian was named "Apollo Tortor" finds its parallel in the story of Antony's entry into Ephesus. 3-4. "whose inhabitants greeted him as Dionysus Xap3o'rr1. therefore. The de sua ebrietate was probably Antony's reply to Octavian's attack on his ways of life and on his identification with Dionysus-Osiris in the East.2 We have. This content downloaded from 46. 82-83. and I believe that the tale of the departure of Dionysus originated with the Alexandrians and not with Octavian or his agents.197. some idea of the rumors which were set afloat by the two hostile parties in the period which preceded Actium. OCTAVIAN AND ANTONY'S "DE SUA EBRIETATE" 141 religious center of Rome from the Capitoline and Jupiter to the Pala- tine and Apollo. "he was to some. The story of the daimones of the two leaders does not deal with the conception of Antony as Dionysus. 2 ii.6." It is evident that both parties indulged in a bitter campaign of charge and countercharge.r's. and we must not underestimate the part played by propaganda in the struggle between Antony and Octavian. cit.' and 'A'yptc?jv'to.jstor.org/terms . but to the many he was Dionysus 'Qy?7o.' and MELtMXtOg. 'the Savage. 27 Mar 2017 11:04:31 UTC All use subject to http://about.