The Art Archive/Museo Capitolino Rome/Gianni Dagli Orti
WHAT’S IN A NAMESAKE? The very name of the Antonia gives us important information about its construction. Herod named the fortress after his Roman friend and protector Marc Antony (left), who was engaged in a power struggle with Octavian (later named Augustus). When Octavian defeated Antony and his lover Cleopatra at the naval Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.E., he took sole control of the Roman Empire. Herod quickly and strategically switched his allegiance to the victorious Octavian. The fact that the Antonia is so-named indicates that it was built before 31 B.C.E. It was apparently his first building project.