Mark Antony, more than a golden voice

 

by Burt Dubin on July 29, 2011

Mark Antony, more than a golden voice

 

In this, my series about great speakers of the past, Mark Antony stands out.

He would be a remarkable man in any era.  The following words are those of Plutarch as published in his classic book.

(Plutarch, was born about 50 B.C., studied philosophy in Athens, wrote his classic, now known as “Plutarch’s Lives,” and lived to a very old age.)

His education:

“Mark Antony grew up a very beautiful youth.  He left Italy and traveled into Greece, where he spent most of his time in military exercises and in the study of eloquence.

His personal bravery and leadership:

“In Syria he made a military campaign in which he routed, in a pitched battle, an army many times his number.  (In other fierce battles) he gave continual proof of his personal valour.  He left behind a great name as a most gallant soldier.

His appearance:

“He also had a very good and noble appearance.  His beard was well grown, his forehead large, his nose aquiline, giving him altogether a bold, masculine look.

His eloquence:

“The influence which he gained with the people by his eloquence enabled him to become tribune of the people.  (Reporting only to Caesar.)

His character:

“It was his character in calamities to be better than at any other time; in misfortune he was most nearly a virtuous man.  He was a most wonderful example to his soldiers.”

Shakespeare immortalized Mark Antony in the play, “Julius Caesar.”  Do you remember the lines from his classic speech, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him . . .?”

During this brilliant speech his eloquence turned the tide of public opinion 180 degrees.  This revealed him to be a master speaker, a role model for all of us who aspire to enjoy what Naomi Rhode aptly calls “the privilege of the platform”.

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