“Brutus is an honourable man. And if you believe that, then I have a bridge in Londinium to sell you.”

To Marcus Antonius, better known to history as Mark Antony the Latin speaking Roman general (not to be confused with the Latin singing Marc Anthony), born on this day in 83BC.  Part of the original Triumvir, Mark Antony, as a supporter of Julius Caesar, was instrumental in transforming the late Roman Republic into the autocratic state that Augustus would continue during his reign as the first official Roman emperor.

His exploits were well documented by contemporary historians, but he also found lasting fame in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (c. 1599) and Antony and Cleopatra (1607).  It is in Julius Caesar that Antony is given some of the most memorable lines in the history of English history: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones” (Act III. sc. ii).

Although speech is a study in modern approaches to rhetorical persuasion, the advice remains sound after all these years, even if Mark Antony never said them himself.