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Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C.
Mark Antony was military commander for Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul and administrator of Italy while Caesar eliminated his opponents in Greece, Africa, and Spain. After Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C., Antony joined Lepidus and Caesar's adoptive son Octavian in a three-man dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. They defeated Caesar's murderers, the Liberatores, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. and divided the Republic among themselves. Antony took the east, including Egypt, ruled by Queen Cleopatra, and command of Rome's war against Parthia. Relations within the Triumvirate were strained but civil war was averted when Antony married Octavian's sister Octavia. Despite the marriage, Antony continued his affair with Cleopatra and even married her. The Triumvirate broke up in 33 B.C. and erupted into civil war in 31 B.C. At Octavian's direction, the Roman Senate declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. Octavian defeated Antony at the Battle of Actium the same year. Defeated, Antony and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt where they committed suicide. With Antony dead, Octavian was the undisputed master of the Roman world and would reign as the first Roman emperor with the title Augustus.
|Antony's legion X may have been disbanded by Augustus. The famous X Fretensis ('from the Channel') fought for Octavian. In 66 A.D., Legion X Fretensis moved to Judaea to suppress the revolt. In 68, the Xth destroyed the monastery of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls originated. In 70, the Xth camped on the Mount of Olives and used war machines to hurl 25 kg stones 400 meters at the ramparts of besieged Jerusalem. After a five month siege and the horrors of starvation, the city was taken and then completely destroyed. In the autumn of 72, the Xth, auxiliary troops, and thousands of Jewish prisoners erected a wall of circumvallation around Masada, the last Jewish stronghold. The Jewish defenders chose mass suicide before the final assault. After the revolt, the Xth was the sole legion in Judaea and garrisoned at Jerusalem. X Fretensis is recorded to have existed at least until the 410s.|