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 After Brutus and Cassius had left the city, Antony, being in possession of something like monarchical power, cast about for the government of a province and an army for himself. He desired that of Syria most of all, but he was not ignorant of the fact that he was under suspicion and that he would be more so if he should ask for it; for the Senate had secretly encouraged Dolabella, the other consul, to oppose Antony, as the former had always been at variance with the latter. Antony, knowing that this young Dolabella was himself ambitious, persuaded him to solicit the province of Syria and the army enlisted against the Parthians, in place of Cassius, and to ask it, not from the Senate, which had not the power to grant it,1 but from the people by a law. Dolabella was delighted, and immediately brought forward the law. The Senate accused him of nullifying the decrees of Cæsar. He replied that Cæsar had not assigned the war against the Parthians to anybody, and that Cassius, who had been assigned to the command of Syria, had himself been the first to alter the decrees of Cæsar by authorizing colonists to sell their allotments before the expiration of the legal period of twenty years. He said also that it would be an indignity to himself if he, being Dolabella,2 were not chosen for Syria instead of Cassius. The Senate then persuaded one of the tribunes, named Asprenas, to falsify the signs in the sky during the comitia,3 expecting that Antony, who was both consul and augur, and was supposed to be still at variance with Dolabella, would coöperate with him. But when the voting came on, and Asprenas said that the signs in the sky were unfavorable, as it was not his business to attend to this, THE YOUNG OCTAVIUS Vatican Museum (Duruy) Antony, angry at his lying, ordered that the tribes should go on with the voting on the subject of Dolabella.
1 οὐ γὰρ ἐξῆν. This means that it is not within the competence of the Senate to assign the province of Syria to Dolabella. Yet in the next section we are informed that it was within the competence of the Senate to assign the province of Macedonia to Antony. The fact is that the competency of the Senate extended to both. Combes-Dounous suggests ἦ instead of οὐ, changing it from negative to affirmative.
2 That is, a man in his position, a consul whose term was about expiring.
3 In which case the proceedings must be suspended.
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