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[88] At these words the army cheered heartily, and forthwith sent their centurions to ask the consulship for Octavius. When the Senate began to make talk about his youth, the centurions replied, as they had been instructed, that in the olden time Corvinus had held the office and at a later period the Scipios, both the elder and the younger, before the legal age, and that the country profited much from the youth of each. They instanced, as recent examples, Pompey the Great and Dolabella and said that it had been granted to Cæsar himself to stand for the consulship ten years before the legal age.1 While the centurions were arguing with much boldness, some of the senators, who could not endure that army officers should use such freedom of speech, rebuked them for exceeding the bounds of military discipline. When the army heard of this, they were still more exasperated and demanded to be led immediately to the city, saying that they would hold a special election and elevate him to the consulship because he was Cæsar's son. At the same time they extolled the elder Cæsar without stint. When Octavius saw them in this excited state, he led them directly from the assembly toward the city, eight legions of foot and a corresponding number of horse, and the auxiliary troops that were serving with the legions. Having crossed the river Rubicon from the Gallic province into Italy, -- the stream that his father crossed in like manner at the beginning of the civil war, -- he divided his army in two parts. One of these divisions he ordered to follow in a leisurely way. The other and better one, consisting of picked men, made forced marches, hastening in order to take the city unprepared. Meeting a convoy on the road with a part of the money which the Senate was sending as a present to the soldiers, Octavius feared the effect it might have on his mercenaries. So he secretly sent forward a force to scare away the convoy, and they took to flight with the money.

1 This is erroneous. Cæsar was first elected consul in the year 694 (B.C. 60), and entered upon the office at the beginning of 695, at which time he had just reached the legal age of forty-three.

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