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[66] Such was the course of events around Mutina. At Rome, in the absence of the consuls, Cicero took the lead by public speaking. He held frequent assemblies, procured arms by inducing the artificers to work without pay, collected money, and exacted heavy contributions from the Antonians. These paid without complaining in order to avoid calumny, until Publius Ventidius, who had served under Gaius Cæsar and was a friend of Antony, unable to endure the exactions of Cicero, betook himself to Cæsar's colonies, where he was well known, and raised two legions for Antony and hastened to Rome to seize Cicero. The consternation was extreme. They removed most of the women and children in a panic, and Cicero himself fled from the city. When Ventidius learned this he turned his course toward Antony, but being intercepted by Octavius and Hirtius, he proceeded to Picenum, where he recruited another legion and waited to see what would happen.1 When Pansa was drawing near with his army, Octavius and Hirtius sent Carsuleius to him with Octavius' prætorian cohort and the Martian legion to assist him in passing through a defile. Antony had disdained to occupy the defile as it served no other purpose than to hinder the enemy; but, eager to fight, and having no chance to win distinction with his cavalry, because the ground was marshy and cut by ditches, he placed his two best legions in ambush in the marsh, where they were concealed by the reeds and where the road, which had been thrown up artificially, was narrow.

1 This tale, in so far as it relates to Cicero, must be entirely fictitious, since nothing of the kind is mentioned in the Philippics, although Ventidius is mentioned twice after his supposed march upon Rome to arrest Cicero.

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