most distinguished Roman orators of his time. He started his cursus honorum as quaestor in 113 BC and in 102 BC he was elected praetor with proconsular powers for the province of Cilicia. During his term, Antonius fought the pirates with such success that the Senate voted a naval triumph in his honor. He was then elected consul in 99 BC, together with Aulus Postumius Albinus, and in 97 BC, he was elected censor. He held a command in the Social War in 90 BC. During the civil war between Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Antonius supported the latter. This cost him his life; Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Cinna executed him when they obtained possession of Rome in 87 BC.

Throughout his political career, he continued to appear as a mediative defender or an accuser in Roman courts of law. Antonius' modern reputation for eloquence derives from the authority of Cicero, since none of his speeches survive. He is one of the chief speakers in Cicero's De Oratore.

Antonius married a Roman woman whose name is no longer known. They had a daughter Antonia who was captured in Italy by pirates, from whom her father ransomed her for a large sum. They also had two sons Marcus Antonius Creticus and Gaius Antonius Hybrida. The former was the father of the famous general and triumvir, Mark Antony.