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[48] The soldiers of Octavius furnished him lictors provided with fasces and urged him to assume the title of proprætor, carrying on war and leading themselves, since they were always marshalled under magistrates. He thanked them for the honor, but referred the matter to the Senate. When they wanted to go before the Senate en masse he prevented them and would not even allow them to send messengers, believing that the Senate would vote these things to him voluntarily; "and would do this all the more," he said, "if they know of your zeal and my hesitation." They were reconciled to this course with difficulty. The leading officers complained that he disdained them, and he explained to them that the Senate was moved not so much by good-will toward him as by fear of Antony and the want of an army; "and that will be the case," he continued, "until we humble Antony, and until the murderers, who are friends and relatives of the senators, collect a military force for them. Knowing these facts I falsely pretend to be serving them. Let us not be the first to expose this false pretence. If we usurp the office they will accuse us of arrogance and violence, whereas if we are modest they will probably give it of their own accord, fearing lest I accept it from you." After he had thus spoken he witnessed some military exercises of the two legions that had deserted from Antony, who ranged themselves opposite each other and gave a complete representation of a battle, except only the killing. Octavius was delighted with the spectacle and was pleased to make this a pretext for distributing 500 drachmas more to each man, and he promised that in case of war he would give them 5000 drachmas each if they were victorious. Thus, by means of lavish gifts, did Octavius bind these mercenaries to himself. Such was the course of events in Italy.

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