Octavian, Mark Antony and the Ancient Battle of “Fake News”
Disinformation and propaganda have featured in human communication since at least the ancient Roman period. Apart from using biographers and their writings to discredit the reputation of the Roman general Mark Antony, Octavian, the adopted heir of Julius Caesar, also waged a propaganda campaign in the form of brief, sharp slogans written on coins to portray Antony as a womanizer and a drunk. Through his use of propaganda, Octavian also implied that Mark Antony had been corrupted by his affair with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and had become Cleopatra’s puppet. This early use of disinformation campaign had allowed Octavian to change the republican system once and for all and led to his road to becoming Augustus, the first Roman Emperor.