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 When the news of Octavius' approach reached the city there was immense confusion and alarm. People ran hither and thither, and some conveyed their wives and children and whatever they held most dear to the fields and to the fortified parts of the city, for it was not yet known that he aimed only at securing the consulship. Having heard that an army was advancing with hostile intentions, there was nothing that they did not fear. The Senate was struck with consternation since it had no military force in readiness. As is usual in cases of panic they blamed each other. Some were blamed because they had wrongfully deprived him of the command of the campaign against Antony, others because they had treated with contempt his demand for a triumph, a request which was not without justice; others because they had envied him the honor of distributing the money; others because he had not been made an additional member of the board of ten. Still others said that the army had become hostile because the gifts voted to them had not been quickly and fully paid. They complained especially because of the inopportune time for such a strife, while Brutus and Cassius were far away and their forces not yet organized, and on their own flank in a hostile attitude were Antony and Lepidus, who, they thought, might form an alliance with Octavius. Thus their fears were greatly augmented. Cicero, who had so long taken the lead, was nowhere to be seen.1
1 In the month of July Cicero wrote a despairing letter to Brutus acquainting him with the demand made by Octavius for the consulship. " Octavius," he says, "who has hitherto been governed by my counsels and who has shown a most excellent disposition and an admirable firmness, has been pushed on by certain persons by most wicked letters and lying reports and messages to an absolutely certain hope of the consulship. As soon as I learned this I ceased not to admonish him by letters while absent, and to accuse his friends who are present, and who seem to support his claims, nor did I hesitate to expose in the Senate the source of these most wretched designs. Nor do I remember any affair in which the Senate or the magistrates have shown a better spirit. For it has never before happened when it was a question of conferring an extraordinary honor on a powerful man, or rather an all-powerful man (since power now resides in force and arms), that no one, whether tribune of the people or other magistrate or even a private person, would lift his voice in favor of it. Yet in the midst of this firmness and virtue the city was in a state of anxiety. We are made sport of, Brutus, by the whims of the soldiers and the insolence of the general. Each one demands as much power in the republic as he has the force to extort. Reason, moderation, law, custom, duty, count for nothing, nor is regard for the opinion of citizens, or shame for that of posterity, of any avail. It was because I foresaw all this long ago that I fled from Italy, at the time when the report of your proclamation recalled me." (Ad Brutum, 10.)
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