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 Now famine fell upon Rome, since the merchants of the Orient could not put to sea for fear of Pompeius, who controlled Sicily, and those of the west were deterred by Sardinia and Corsica, which the lieutenants of Pompeius held, while those of Africa opposite were prevented by the same hostile fleets, which infested both shores. There was great dearness of provisions, and the people considered the cause of it to be the strife between the chiefs, and cried out against them and urged them to make peace with Pompeius. As Octavius would by no means yield, Antony advised him to hasten the war on account of the scarcity. As there was no money for this purpose, an edict was published that the owners of slaves should pay a tax for each one, equal to one-half of the twenty-five drachmas that had been ordained for the war against Brutus and Cassius, and that those who acquired property by legacies should contribute a share thereof. The people tore down the edict with fury. They were exasperated that, after exhausting the public treasury, stripping the provinces, burdening Italy itself with contributions, taxes, and confiscations, not for foreign war, not for extending the empire, but for private enmities and to add to their own power (for which reason the proscriptions and this terrible famine had come about), the triumvirs should deprive them of the remainder of their property. They banded together, with loud cries, and stoned those who did not join them, and threatened to plunder and burn their houses, until the whole populace was aroused.
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