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208 Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus, the second Triumvirate.
Antony, sensible that he had too openly declared himself, and raifud a fufpicion of his intentions in the fenate, endeavoured by some acts of self-denial to reconcile himself to them, and regain their favour. For this purpose he began to foften the harih expreffions of his funeral oration, and remonstrated to them, how necessary it was to quiet the minds of the people, and to prevent the calamities of a civil war. But all this feemingly candid declaration could not clear him from the suspicion of a design upon the sovereignty:
Cæfar, by his will, had adopted Octavius his sister's grandfon, and appointed him his heir. This young Roman, was at Apollonia in Greece, when he first heard of his great uncle's murder, and the unsettled state of Italy. He immediately determined to set out for Rome, and support his pretensions. His arrival entirely frustrated the mcafures of Antony. In a folemn manner, he immediately claimed his adoption, and took upon him the name of Cæfar. Whilst he upbraided Antony for his double dealing, he put on the appearance of civility to him.
Octavius seems to have inherited, not only the wealth but the inclinations of his uncle. He sold his own paternal estate, to pay such legacies as Cæsar had left; and particularly that to the people. By these means he gained a degree of popularity, which his enemies in vain laboured to diminish. His conversation was elegant and insinuating; his face comely and graceful; and his affection to the late dictator fo fincere, that every person was charmed either with his piety or his address. But what added still more to his interest, was the name of Cæsar which he had affumed; and, in confequence of which, the former followers of his uncle now flocked in great numbers to him.
Thus the state was divided into three distinct factions; that of Octavius, who aimed at procuring Cæsar's inheritance, and revenging his death ; that of Antony, whose sole view was to obtain absolute power; and that of the conspirators, who endeayoyred to restore the senate to its former authority;
In order to prevent Octavius from joining with Antony, the fenate gave him the consulship, flattered him with new honours, and invested him with a power superior to all law, The firit use that Octavius made of his new authority, was to procure a law for the condemnation of Brutus and Caffius; and, in short, to join his forces with those of Antony and Lepidus,
The meeting of these three usurpers of their country's freedom, was near taking place, upon a little island of the river Panarus. Their mutual fufpicions were the cause of their meeting in a place, where they could not fear any treachery} for even in their union, they could not divest themselves of mutual diffidence. Lepidus first entered; and, finding all things safe made the signal for the other two to approach. They embraced each other, upon their first meeting ; and Oétavius began the conference, by thanking Antony for his zeal in putting Decimus Brutus to death; who, being abandoned by his army, was taken, as he was endeavouring to escape into Macedonia, and beheaded by Antony's command.
They then entered upon the bufinels that lay before them, without any retrospect on the past. Their conference lasted for three days; and, in this period, they fixed a division of government, and determined upon the fate of thousands. One can scarce avoid wondering how that city, which gave birth, to such men as Fabricius and Cato, could now be a tame fpectator of a conference, which bartered away the lives and liberties of the people at their pleasure. To see these three men seated, without attendants, on the highest part of a desolate iNand, marking out whole cities, and nations for destruction, and yet none to oppose their designs, shows what changes may quickly be wrought in the bravest people in a short time. The result of their conference was, that the supreme authority should be lodged in their hands, under the title of the Triumvirate, for the space of five years; that Antony should have Gaul; Lepidus, Spain; and Octavius, Africa and the Mediterranean islands. As for Italy and the Eastern provinces they were to remain in common, until their general enemy was entirely subdued. But the last article of their union was a dreadful one. It was agreed, that all their enemies 1hould be destroyed, of which each presented a lift. In these were comprised, not only the enemies, but the friends of the Triumvirate, since the partisans of the one were often found among the opposers of the other. Thus Lepidus gave up his brother Paulus to the vengeance of his colleague; Antony permitted the proscription of his uncle Lucius; and Augustus delivered up the great Cicero. The most facred rights of nature were violated; three hundred senators, and above two thousand knights, were included in this. terrible proscription; their fortunes were confiscated, and their murderers enriched with the spoil. Rome foon felt the effects of this infernal union. Nothing but cries and lamentations were to be heard through all the city, scarce a house escaping without a murder. No man dared to 'refuse Vol. I.
Death of Brutus and Caftus. entrance to the assassins, although he had no other hopes of safety; and this city, that was once the beauty of the world, seenied now reduced to desolation without an army; and now felt the effects of an invading enemy, with all the deliberate malice of cool-blooded slaughter.
In this horrid carnage, Cicero was one of those principally fought after, who, for a while, seemed to evade the malice of his pursuers; but upon hearing of the slaughters that were committed at Rome, he set forward from his Tusculan villa, towards the sea fide, intending to transport himself out of the reach of his enemies. But he was pursued by a party of Antony's affaflins, who cut off his head and his hands, returning with them to Rome, as the most agreeable present to their cruel employer. Antony, who was then at Rome, received them with extreme joy, rewarded the murderers with a large sum of money, and placed Cicero's head on the roftrum, as if there once more to reproach his vile inhumanity. Cicero was slain in the sixty-third year of his age, but not until he had seen his country ruined before him. « The glory he ob“ tained,” says Julius Cæsar, " was as much above all other “ triumphs as the extent of the Roman genius was above that u of the bounds of the Roman empire.”
Brutus and Caffius had withdrawn themselves into Greece, where they reduced Saruis, and other cities in the East; Antony and Octavius agreed to follow them; and both armies met at the city of Philippi, on the confines of Macedonia and Thrace. Here the future destiny of the Republic was. decided, and the liberty of Rome buried in the death of Brutus and Cassius. The former defeated that part of the army which Oetavius commanded; but Antony got the better of Caflius, who obliged one of his freedmen to kill him. Brutus, after the loss of a second battle, killed himself, that he might not outlive the liberty of his country, and fall into the hands of his enemies.
Thus died Brutus in the forty-third year of his age, and with him all the hopes of liberty and Rome. The conquered troops submitted, and the Triumvirs established, on the ruins of the Republic, the authority they had usurped, and became masters of the whole Roman empire.
The first days after the victory, were employed by the Triumvirate in punishing their enemies. The head of Brutus was sent to Rome, and laid at the feet of the late dictator's statue; at the fame time his ashes were sent to his wife Portia, the daughter of Cato, who, it is said, on receiving this sad prefeni, kiled herself by swallowing burning ccals. It is ob
ferved, that of all those, who had a hand in Cæsar's death, siat one died a natural death.
crease his power.
Lepidus is hanifped.—- Antony and Cleopatra-Battle of Adium
-Death of Antony-Cleopatra poisons herself. A
FTER this victory, O&avius returned to Italy, and
Antony pafred over into Afia. He afterwards went into Egypt, where he spent the remainder of the year, at Alexandria with Cleopatra, in the moft riotous pleasures.
Sextus Pompeius, the younger son of Pompey the Greaty had long resided in Sicily, and afforded an asylum to the friends of liberty. Meffala collected the remains of the army from the battle of Philippi, and appeared at the head of fourteen thousand men; finding it impossible, however, to oppose the present torrent of success, he went over to the Triumvi. rate. O&avius sent Agrippa into Sicily, who soon obliged Pompey to retire from the country; whilft he himself remained for the most part in Italy, and took every step to in
As the republican party was no more, unrivalled dominion was now Oétavius's object. Lepidus, being soon divested of his share of the sovereignty, was banished to Circæum, where he spent the remainder of his days, despised by his friends, and to all a melancholy object of blasted ambition.
The only obstacle to universal empire, which now stood in his way, was Antony, whom he resolved to remove, and for that purpose began to render his character as contemptible as he poffibly could at Rome. Antony's conduct, indeed, did not a little contribute to promote the endeavours of his ambitious partner in the state. He had marched against the Parthians with a prodigious army, but was forced to return, with the loss of the fourth part of his forces, and all his baggage. This extremely diminished his reputation; but his making a triumphal entry into Alexandria, soon after, ena tirely disgusted the citizens of Rome; however, Antony, seemed quite regardless of their resentment. Alive only to pleasure, and totally disregarding the business of the state, as well as his wife Otavia, the sister of Octavius, he spent whole days and nights in the company of Cleopatra, who itu.
Antony and Cleopatra. died every art to increase his passion, and vary his entertainments. Few women have been so much celebrated for the art of giving novelty to pleasure, and making trifles important. Still ingenious in filling up the languid pauses of sensual delight with some new stroke of refinement, she was at one time a queen, then a bacchanal, and sometimes a huntress. She invented a fociety called, the Inimitable; and those of the court, who made the most sumptuous entertainments, carried away the prize. Not contented with sharing, in her company, all the delights which Egypt could afford, Antony was resolved to enlarge his sphere of luxury, by granting her many of those kingdoms which belonged to the Roman empire. This complication of vice and foily at Jast totally exasperated the Romans; and Augustus, willing to take the ada vantage of their resentment, took care to exaggerate all his defects. At length, when he found the people sufficiently irritated against him, he resolved to send Octavia, who was chen at Rome, to Antony, as if with a view of reclaiming her husband, but in fact, to furnish a sufficient pretext of declaring war against him, as he knew she would be dismifled with contempt.
Antony was now at the city Leucopolis revelling with his infamous paramour, when he heard that Octavia was at Athens, upon her journey to visit him. This was very unwelcome news as well to him as to Cleopatra; who fearing the charms of her rival, endeavoured to convince Antony of the strength of her passion by her fighs, languishing looks and well-feigned melancholy. He frequently caught her in tears, which she feemed as if willing to hide; and often intreated her to tell him the cause, which she seemed willing to suppress. Thefe artifices, together with the incessant fattery and importunity of her creatures, prevailed fo much upon Antony's weakness, that he commanded Octavia to return without seeing her, and attached himself ftill more closely to Cleopatra than before. His ridiculous passion began to have no bounds. He resolved to own her for his wife, and entirely to repudiate Ostavia. He accordingly assembled the people of Alexandria in the public theatre, where was raised an alcove of filver, under which were placed two thrones of gold, one for himself and the other for Cleopatra. There he feated himself drefled like Bacchus, while Cleopatra fat beside him clothed in the ornaments and attributes of ffis, the principar deity of the Egyptians. On that occasion he declared her queen of all the countries which he had already bestowed upon her; while he associated Cæsario, her son by Cæfar, as