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 Octavius knew that these citizens were suffering injustice, but he was without means to prevent it. There was no money to pay the value of the land to the cultivators,1 nor could the rewards to the soldiers be postponed, on account of the enemies who were still on foot. Pompeius ruled the sea and was reducing the city to famine by cutting off supplies. Ahenobarbus and Murcus were collecting a new fleet and army. The soldiers would be less zealous in the future if they were not paid for their former service. It was a matter of much importance that the five years' term of office was running out, and that the good-will of the soldiers was needed to renew it, for which reason he was willing to overlook for the time being their insolence and arrogance. Once in the theatre when he was present, a soldier, not finding his own seat, went and took one in the place reserved for the knights. The people pointed him out and Octavius had him removed. The soldiers were angry. They gathered around Octavius as he was going away from the theatre and demanded their comrade, for, as they did not see him, they thought that he had been put to death. When he was produced before them they supposed that he had been brought from prison, but he denied that he had been imprisoned and related what had taken place. They said that he had been instructed to tell a lie and reproached him for betraying their common interests. Such was the example of their insolence in the theatre.2
1 Among the dispossessed were the poets, Vergil, Horace, Tibullus, and Propertius. Vergil's property was seized after the battle of Philippi, but was restored, as he relates in the first Eclogue. It was seized a second time after the siege of Perusia, and this time it was not restored, but he was compensated with land elsewhere. Horace's paternal estate was seized after, and in consequence of, the battle of Philippi, in which he took part on the republican side (Epistles, ii. 2. 50). It was not restored to him, but he was compensated for the loss in other ways by the influence of Mæcenas, to whom he was introduced by Vergil and Varius (Satires, i. 6. 55).
2 Suetonius (Aug. 14) relates this incident in the theatre. He says that Octavius narrowly escaped with his life, and was saved only by the sudden appearance of the man safe and sound.
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