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 These words of Antony convinced the tribunes that in all he had done he had been moved by bitter animosity toward the murderers and that he had been scheming against the Senate. Nevertheless they urged him to come to an agreement with Octavius; and as both yielded they formed a new alliance in the Capitol. Not long afterward Antony announced to his friends that some of his body-guard had been tampered with by Octavius, who had formed a plot against him. This he said either as a slander, or because he believed it to be true, or because he had heard of the emissaries of Octavius in his camp and thought they were actually plotting against his life. When this story was noised about there was a general tumult forthwith and great indignation, for there were few who had sufficient penetration to see that it was for the interest of Octavius that Antony, even though he were unjust to him, should live, because he (Antony) was a terror to the murderers. If he were dead they would quite fearlessly dare anything, especially as they had the support of the Senate. The more intelligent knew this, but the greater part, seeing what Octavius suffered daily from the indignities and the losses inflicted on him, considered the accusation not incredible, yet held it to be impious and intolerable that a conspiracy should be formed against Antony's life while he was consul. Octavius ran with mad fury to those who held this opinion of him, exclaiming that it was Antony that had conspired against him to alienate from him the friendship of the people, which was the only thing left to him. He ran to Antony's door and repeated the same things, calling the gods to witness, taking all kinds of oaths, and inviting Antony to a judicial investigation. As nobody came forward he said, "I will accept your friends as judges." With these words he attempted to enter the house. Being prevented from doing so he again cried out and railed at Antony and vented his wrath against the doorkeepers who restrained him from having a dispute with Antony. Then he went away and called the people to witness that if anything should happen to him his death would be due to Antony's plots. As these words were spoken with deep feeling the multitude underwent a change, and a kind of penitence took the place of their former opinion. There were some who still doubted, and hesitated to put faith in either of them. Some accused them both of making false pretences, believing that they had come to an agreement in the temple, and that these were plots devised against their enemies. Still others thought that this was a device of Antony to increase his body-guard. or to alienate the veterans from Octavius.1
1 Cicero refers in one of his letters to the attempt of Octavius to assassinate Antony. He says that the charge was considered by the populace a mere fiction on the part of Antony to serve as an excuse for seizing the young man's property, but that the better and more discerning citizens believed the report and highly approved of it; also that Antony was so generally detested that although he had caught the assassins in his house he dared not make the affair public. (Ad Fam. xii. 23.) Suetonius says: "At the instigation of some of his friends he (Octavius) hired assassins to kill him (Antony), but as the plot was discovered and he apprehended similar danger to himself, he drew over the veteran troops to his own service and that of the republic by as large a bribe as he could procure." (Aug. 10.) Suetonius makes this affair take place while Antony was besieging Decimus Brutus in Mutina, whereas it must have been considerably earlier. Plutarch says merely that "a rumor prevailed that Octavius had formed a plot against Antony. (Ant. 16.)
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