patrician and plebeian.
The patrician Antonii bear the cognomen Merenda [MERENDA]; the plebeian Antonii bear no surname under the republic, with the exception of Q. Antonius, propraetor in Sardinia in the time of Sulla, who is called Balbus upon coins. (Eckhel, v. p. 140.)
The plebeian Antonii are given under ANTONIUS. Antonius, the triumvir, pretended that his gens was descended from Anton, a son of Hercules. (Plut. Ant. 4
.) We are told that he harnessed lions to his chariot to commemorate his descent from this hero (Plin. Nat. 8.16. s. 21
; comp. Cic. Att. 10.13
); and many of his coins bear a lion for the same reason. (Eckhel, vi. pp. 38, 44.)