Antony and Cleopatra and the Book of Daniel

"Antony and Cleopatra" by Andrea Casali

“Antony and Cleopatra” by Andrea Casali

“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at [or “with”] him [immediate context : “THE king” mentioned in previous 4 verses]: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships…” (Daniel 11:40)

Note : Those words were recorded by Daniel almost 500 years (!!!) before the Battle of Actium (31 B. C.) which will be mentioned later in this post

I had the idea recently to write this blog entry concerning the historical fulfillment of a verse contained in Daniel chapter 11 (verse 40) which involves Mark Anthony, Cleopatra and Octavius Caesar (later called Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor who reigned at the time of the birth of Christ). I will quote some portions of chapter 9 of Philip Mauro’s book “The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation”  (which can be read here) to show historical fulfillment of the previously quoted verse:

“The words, “the king,” should suffice, in the light of the context, without further description, to identify Herod [the king of Judea at the time of the birth of Christ] to those who thoughtfully read their Bibles; for Herod alone is called by that title in the Gospels, and he alone had the rank and authority of “king” in Israel in the days after the captivity, “the latter days.” The text does not speak of A king, but of THE king, the emphatic Hebrew article being used. This is in marked contrast with the terms of v. 40, where the original speaks of “a king of the north,” and “a king of the south.”

King Herod the Great

King Herod the Great

“The events foretold in this part of the prophecy took place “at the time of the end;” that is to say they were coincident with the last era of Jewish history, the era of the Herods. At that time a king of the south (Cleopatra, the last to occupy the throne of Egypt, aided by Mark Antony) made a push with Herod, who was in league with them, against Syria, which had meanwhile become a Roman province. This was the beginning of the great Actian war.”

Mark Antony (83 B.C. - 30 B. C.)

Mark Antony (83 B.C. – 30 B. C.)

Bust of Cleopatra VII (69 B. C. - 30 B. C.)

Cleopatra VII (69 B. C. – 30 B. C.)

“As to the manner in which that war began, we have a very clear account in Plutarch’s “Life of Mark Antony,” by which it appears that the fulfilment of the prophecy was marvellously exact, not only as regards the manner in which the war began, but also in respect to the sides on which the different parties were at first engaged in it, in regard also to the outcome, to the peculiar arms, “chariots and horsemen and many ships”–by means of which the victories of Augustus were achieved, and finally, in regard also to the rapidity of his conquest, which was effected within the space of a single year.”

Augustus (63 B. C. - 14 A. D.)

Augustus (63 B. C. – 14 A. D.)

“The first move in the Actian war was made by Antony (at the urgency of Cleopatra), in which he was assisted by Herod. Says Plutarch: “Antony, being informed of these things” (that is of certain disputes between Augustus and others in the Senate at Rome) “immediately sent Canidus to the seacoast with sixteen legions. In the meantime he went to Ephesus attended by Cleopatra. There he assembled his fleet, which consisted of 800 ships of burden, whereof Cleopatra furnished 200 besides 20,000 talents, and provisions for the army.”

historian Plutarch (46 A. D. - 120 A. D.)

historian Plutarch (46 A. D. – 120 A. D.)

“Antony advanced to Athens, with constantly increasing forces, Augustus being wholly unprepared to meet him; for says the historian: “When Caesar was informed of the celerity and magnificence of Antony’s preparations, he was afraid of being forced into war that summer. This would have been most inconvenient for him, for he was in want of almost everything. * * * The auxiliary kings who fought under his (Antony’s) banner were Bocchus of Africa,” &c. a list being given–”Those who did not attend in person, but sent supplies were Polemo of Pontus, Malchus of Arabia, HEROD OF JUDEA, and Amyntas of Lycaonia and Galatia.”

“Thus a king of the south was the first to make a push in this war, and he pushed with Herod. As showing the accuracy of the prophecy it should be noted that, as Plutarch records, the Senate of Rome declared war with Cleopatra alone, ignoring Antony, so that it was strictly between a king of the north, and a king of the south.”

“Mr. Farquharson points out that the predictions of the prophet were strictly fulfilled also in respect to the character of the forces engaged in the war. For, notwithstanding that each side assembled large numbers of infantry, and notwithstanding that such are the arms usually relied upon to decide a war, yet in this case the infantry were not engaged at all, the issue being decided (as the prophecy indicates) by chariots and horsemen, and many ships.”

“A strange feature of the affair is that, although Antony’s footmen outnumbered those of Augustus, and although his generals urged him to bring the matter to an issue in a land battle, nevertheless (to quote again from Plutarch)–”Such a slave was he to the will of a woman that, to gratify her, though much superior on land, he put his whole confidence in the navy; notwithstanding that the ships had not half their complement of men.”

“This brought on the great naval fight of Actium, which ended in a complete victory for Augustus; and thus did a king of the north come upon a king of the south, with the effect of a whirlwind, with many ships. A more literal and exact fulfilment of prophecy could not be found. But that is not all. For Plutarch records that, after the disaster at Actium, Antony’s infantry deserted him, so that the infantry were not engaged during the entire war.” : "A baroque painting of the battle of Actium by Lorenzo A. Castro, 1672. The Maritime Museum of Greenwich, Director's office, UK" : “A baroque painting of the battle of Actium by Lorenzo A. Castro, 1672. The Maritime Museum of Greenwich, Director’s office, UK”

Battle of Actium (31 B. C.) : order of battle (

Battle of Actium (31 B. C.) : order of battle (

“But,” says Farquharson, “when Antony arrived in Egypt, and endeavoured to defend it, to fulfil the prediction of the Prophet that the king of the north would come with chariots and horsemen, as well as with many ships–there were actions with cavalry.” For Plutarch says, “When Caesar arrived he encamped near the hippodrome (at Alexandria); whereupon Antony made a brisk sally, routed the cavalry, drove them back into their trenches, and returned to the city with the complacency of a conqueror.” It was the conduct of their fleets and cavalry that sealed the fate of Antony and Cleopatra, and left them without resource in their last retreat.”

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