Cæsar was preoccupied by the necessity of coming to a conclusion with Pompey, and, after Pompey's death, with the numerous parts of his faction still remaining. When he had settled everything he returned to Rome and made preparations for war with the Getæ and the Parthians. The Illyrians began to fear lest he should attack them, as they were on his intended line of march. So they sent ambassadors to Rome to crave pardon for what they had done and to offer their friendship and alliance, vaunting themselves
as a very brave race. Cæsar was hastening his preparations
against the Parthians; nevertheless, he gave them the dignified answer that he could not make friends of those who had done what they had, but that he would grant them pardon if they would subject themselves to tribute and give him hostages. They promised to do both, and accordingly he sent Vatinius thither with three legions and a large cavalry force to impose a light tribute on them and receive the
hostages. When Cæsar was slain the Dalmatians, thinking
that the Roman power resided in him and had perished with him, would not listen to Vatinius on the subject of the tribute or anything else. When he attempted to use force they attacked and destroyed five of his cohorts, including their commanding officer, Bæbius, a man of senatorial rank. Vatinius took refuge with the remainder of his force in Epidamnus. The Roman Senate transferred this army, together with the province of Macedonia and Roman Illyria, to Brutus Cæpio, one of Cæsar's murderers, and at the same time assigned Syria to Cassius, another of the assassins. But they also, being involved in war with Antony and the second Cæsar, surnamed Augustus, had no time to attend to the Illyrians.