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[80] Such was the state of affairs in Syria and Macedonia. In Italy Octavius, although he considered it an insult that Decimus, instead of himself, was chosen general against Antony, concealed his indignation and asked the honors of a triumph for his exploits. Being disdained by the Senate as though he were seeking honors beyond his years, he began to fear lest if Antony were destroyed he should be despised still more, and so he desired a reconciliation with Antony, as Pansa on his death-bed had recommended to him.1 Accordingly, he began to make friends of those of Antony's army who had been taken prisoners, both officers and soldiers. He enrolled them among his own troops, or if they wished to return to Antony he allowed them to do so, in order to show that he was not moved by implacable hatred against him. When he was encamped near to Ventidius, Antony's friend, who had command of three legions, he inspired the latter with fear, but performed no hostile act, and in like manner gave him the opportunity to join himself or to go on safely with his army to Antony, and told him to chide the latter for ignoring their common interests. Ventidius took the hint and proceeded to join Antony. Octavius also allowed Decius, one of Antony's officers, who had been taken prisoner at Mutina, and had been treated with honor, to return to Antony if he wished, and when Decius tried to find out what were his sentiments toward Antony, he said that he had given plenty of indications to persons of discernment and that more would be insufficient for fools.

1 As soon as Antony was defeated and driven to the Alps the Senate supposed that it had no further need of Octavius. Cicero, who was the first wit, as well as the greatest orator of the age, indulged in an unseasonable jest about this time. The first account we have of it is in a letter from Decimus Brutus to Cicero, dated Eporedia, May 23. "My affection and duty to you," he says, "compel me to feel for you what I never feel for myself, namely, fear. It is about a saying that I have heard several times, and have at no time made light of, and very lately from Labeo Segulius (so very like himself), who tells me that he was with Octavius, and they were having much conversation about you. Octavius himself did not make any complaint of you, except as to a phrase that he said you had uttered, namely, 'laudandum adolescentem, ornandum, tollendum.'" The force of this bon mot is found in the last word, which has a double meaning, so that the sentence may read: "The young man should be praised, honored, and extolled," or "The young man should be praised, honored, and taken off." Decimus continued, " Octavius said that he should not furnish any opportunity for his taking off." He added that very likely Segulius himself had reported this saying to Octavius, or even that he had invented the whole thing himself (Ad Fam. xi. 20). We have Cicero's reply to this letter. " May the gods confound Segulius," he says, " for the basest creature of all who live, or have lived, or shall live," but he does not deny that he made use of the phrase (Ad Fam. xi. 21).

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