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vian, who, thus reinforced, marched at Antony's heels northwards in the direction of Ariminum.
Cicero arrived at Rome on the 9th of December,' the day before the new tribunes, one of whom was the tyrannicide Casca, entered office. The state of the Empire in regard to the government of the provinces was this: Southern Spain (Bætica) was in the hands of Pollio, Gallia Narbonensis and Hispania Citerior were held by Lepidus, the rest of Gallia Transalpina by Plancus. It was uncertain which side these three men would take, and Cicero was in constant correspondence with them, urging them to be loyal to the senate. Africa was in the hands of Cornificius, whose loyalty was certain. Gaius Antonius was on his way to take over Macedonia. Trebonius, a strong Ciceronian, was in possession of Asia; Dolabella-whose sentiments were not certainly knownwas on his way to Syria; while Marcus Brutus and Cassius were also on their way, the former to Greece, with the intention of disputing the possession of Macedonia with Gaius. Antonius, the latter to Syria, where he meant to supersede Dolabella.
Cicero takes the lead in the senate in promoting measures against Antony.
Antony and Dec.
But the immediate point at which war seemed certain was Gallia Cisalpina. There Decimus Brutus had been governor since April, and it remained to be seen whether he would acknowledge the validity of the law which This named Antony as his successor. question was set at rest by the publication of his edict in Rome on the 19th of December, in which he forbade anyone with imperium to enter his province. But by this time Antony was on the point of investing him in Mutina, and Octavian on his way to relieve him. Such was the state of things when the tribunes summoned a meeting of the senate on the 20th, at which the state of the Republic was referred to the senators by Casca. A motion was proposed and carried by Cicero, giving the consuls-elect authority to protect the senate at its meeting on the 1st of January, and ordering all holders of provinces
2 P. 167.
1 P. 163.
to continue in office until successors were appointed by the senate; approving of the edict of Decimus Brutus ; and formally commending the actions of Octavian and of the fourth legion and the Martia. Cicero's speech is that now called the third Philippic, and the decree of the senate was explained to the people in a contio now called the fourth Philippic.
The reader of the letters, taken in combination with the remaining Philippics, will now be able to follow the course of events almost step by step: the futile negotiations with Antony, the authority and rank bestowed on Octavian, the defeat of Antony at Mutina, and his masterly retreat across the Maritime Alps to Vada, the vain pursuit of him by Decimus Brutus, his reinforcement by Ventidius Bassus, and the treason of Lepidus, who after a few weeks' hesitation united his forces with him. There, too, he will see foreshadowed, though not completed, the similar treason of Plancus and of Pollio, the coming destruction of Decimus Brutus, and the unfolding of Octavian's real policy in regard to the Optimates. In the East he will find M. Brutus master of Macedonia, with Gaius Antonius a prisoner in his camp: Trebonius put to death in his province of Asia by Dolabella, and Dolabella being slowly but surely brought to bay by Cassius. The defeat of Antony at Forum Gallorum and Mutina (April 13th and 15th) was the prelude to a series of bitter disappointments to Cicero. When the report reached Rome he and his party confidently believed that the war was over, that Antony was entirely crushed, that the old liberty was restored. This exultation was very little damped by the subsequent intelligence that both consuls had fallen. Decent expressions of regret and complimentary votes in their honour seemed all that was necessary. But despatch after despatch from Decimus Brutus revealed the fact of how little had been accomplished, and how strong Antony still was. Cicero, whose energy was still unabated, turned with frantic eagerness to the task of inducing Lepidus and Plancus to remain loyal to the senate; and, as a last hope, to persuade Brutus and Cassius that it was their duty to return to Italy with their victorious armies and protect Rome
From the 1st of
from Antony. The correspondence leaves Cicero still hopeful and eager, before Plancus had declared for Antony, or Decimus Brutus had been finally ruined; and before it had become evident that Octavian meant to turn upon the senate, under whose authority he had been acting.
But within a month from the date at which the correspondence stops Cicero knew that his last The last days chance was gone. The inaction of Octavian after the victory of Forum Gallorum puzzled Decimus Brutus, Plancus, and Cicero almost equally. He declined to hand over any legions to Decimus Brutus, or to join him in the pursuit of Antony; but he did not commit any act of positive hostility against him. There were, however, sinister rumours. An epigram of Cicero's, to the effect that the young man was to be "complimented, promoted, and-got rid of," was said to have been retailed to Octavian, and he had replied that he had no intention of being got rid of. Other reports asserted that Pansa's wound had been poisoned by his physician at Octavian's suggestion. Others, again, that he was negotiating with Cicero, with a view to holding the consulship as his colleague.1 All that was certainly known was that he was keeping his whole force in hand, and shewed no sign of intending to lay down his command. Successive decrees of the senate had invested him with imperium, the prætorian, and then the consular rank, and had given him the privilege of standing for the consulship long before the legal age. But after the victory at Forum Gallorum the tone of the senate towards him altered. His name was ostentatiously omitted in the complimentary vote of thanks to the army, and when presently some of his officers appeared in the senate with a formal demand to be allowed to stand for the consulship at once, the demand was rejected. The senate trusted for protection to two legions which were being sent from Africa by Cornificius; but Octavian at once started for Rome in person at the head of his army. There were no troops between him and Rome, or in Rome itself, to withstand him. The legions from Africa arrived indeed about the same time as he did, but their officers almost immediately surrendered them to
1 See pp. 253, 254.
him. Cornutus, the prætor urbanus, committed suicide in despair, and the senate and city were alike at his disposal. Cicero, among the rest, had to make a somewhat pitiful submission, and after one attempt to organize an opposition, on a false report that the Martia and fourth legion had deserted Octavian, he retired to Tusculum and disappeared from public life.
The only question for him and his brother now was whether they would be allowed to live unmolested in a private station. Octavian soon made it evident that he meant relentlessly to punish his uncle's murderers. He was elected consul on the 19th of August with his cousin Q. Pedius. By his direction Pedius brought in a law condemning all the assassins of Cæsar, and the tribune Casca was the first victim under it. The law did not touch Cicero personally, but events quickly followed that made his death certain. What Octavian had now to deal with was the force collected in Gaul. By this time Antony had been joined not only by Lepidus, but by Plancus from Celtic Gaul, and by Pollio from Bætica. He had therefore a formidable force. Decimus Brutus was now a condemned man, and was besides entirely powerless; for when Plancus joined Antony nearly all the troops of Decimus Brutus did the same. He was almost alone, and was making desperate efforts to find his way to Marcus Brutus in Macedonia. So that when Octavian, leaving the care of the city to Pedius, started once more for the north, though his object was nominally to crush Decimus Brutus, he had nothing to do but to prevent his reaching Ravenna, and force him back to Gaul, where he was arrested and put to death by Antony's order. The real question for Octavian was how to deal with Antony. He had resolved on coming to terms with him, and after a certain amount of negotiation, he met him and Lepidus on a small island in one of the tributaries of the Po, not far from Bononia, and agreed to share the Empire as "triumvirs for the reconstitution of the state." They were to be appointed for five years, and as a preliminary were to draw up a list mutually agreed upon of men who were to be declared outside the law, and liable to be put to death at The obedient people of Rome accordingly voted the appointment on the 27th of November, and the first
exercise of their dictatorial powers was the publication of an edict and a provisional list of men to be thus "proscribed." The first list had been forwarded to Pedius before the actual publication of the edict,' and Cicero, who was at Tusculum, soon learnt that his own name, and those of his brother and nephew, were on it. The last scene shall be told in the words of Plutarch.
"While the conference between the triumvirs was going on Cicero was in his villa at Tusculum with his brother. When they heard of the proscription they resolved to remove to his seaside villa at Astura, and thence to take ship and join Brutus in Macedonia: for there were great reports of his success there. They travelled in litters overpowered by distress; and whenever there was a halt in the journey, the two litters were placed side by side and the brothers mingled their lamentations. Quintus was the more cast down of the two and was haunted with the idea of their want of money, for he had brought nothing, he said, with him, and Cicero himself was poorly provided for a journey. It would be better, therefore, he thought, for Cicero to precede him in his flight, while he went home, collected what was necessary, and hurried after him. This course was resolved upon, and the brothers parted with embraces and tears. Not many days after this Quintus was betrayed by his slaves and was put to death with his son. But Cicero reached Astura, found a vessel, embarked, and sailed with a favourable wind as far as Circeii. The pilots wished to put out to sea from that place at once: but whether it was that he feared the sea or had not yet given up all trust in the promise of Octavian, he disembarked and travelled a hundred furlongs upon the road to Rome. But once more, almost beside himself with distress and indecision, he returned to the sea-coast at Astura and there spent the night in terrified and hopeless reflexions. One of his ideas was to go to Octavian's house in disguise and kill himself at the hearth-altar and thus bring a curse upon it. But from undertaking this journey also he was deterred by a dread of being
1 The edict was not put up till the triumvirs entered Rome; but Cicero's name was among those forwarded before (App. B. C. iv. 4). For the text of the edict, see App. iv. 8-11.