history is written by the victors. and augustus triumphed in his conflict with mark anthony. so it is not surprising that the historical impression of anthony has been of a good soldier, and loyal casarian until he fell in with THAT woman, cleopatra, and became emasculated, indecisive, and most importantly un-roman by adapting the trappings of orienatal monarchy and luxury.

my problem with this is twofold. 1) i don't think anthony was politically inept, i just think augustus was much much better. 2) a lot of the vices that were associated with anthony became the staples of the roman imperial cult.

on the issue of his political incompetence. i think his greatest moment was hours after the assasination of caesar, anthony sent his son as a hostage to the conspirators as a guarantee while negotiating a solution that kept the city of rome itself from becoming a battlefield.
a secondary political masterpiece was his marriage to cleopatra. though it is seen as evidence of anthony falling impetuously in love with her, the realpolitik of the marriage insured that with one stroke, anthony gained a legitimacy in the eastern half of the roman empire that no roman before him had possessed. by marrying into one of the successor dynasties of alexander, anthony was by that of course also claiming part of alexander's aura of the godking with its religious/political overtones. anthony's court with its decadence and luxury and authoritarianism was also in imitation of alexander. and all these things were uses as propaganda points of augustus as horrifyingly unroman.

my point is this. as the roman empire evolved after augustus, the rulers adapted more to the role of anthony than agustus. for exampple in the cult of the deified emperors, and the seclusion and luxury of the imperial court. for whatever reasons, the successive masters of the roman empire found it much easier to rule as hellenistic monarchs of a roman empire, than as a first magistrate of a roman republic.