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From the 1st of January, B.C. 43.

The reader of the letters, taken in combination with the remaining Philippics, will now be able to follow the course of events almost step by step: the futile negotiations with Antony, the authority and rank bestowed on Octavian, the defeat of Antony at Mutina, and his masterly retreat across the Maritime Alps to Vada, the vain pursuit of him by Decimus Brutus, his reinforcement by Ventidius Bassus, and the treason of Lepidus, who after a few weeks' hesitation united his forces with him. There, too, he will see foreshadowed, though not completed, the similar treason of Plancus and of Pollio, the coming destruction of Decimus Brutus, and the unfolding of Octavian's real policy in regard to the Optimates. In the East he will find M. Brutus master of Macedonia, with Gaius Antonius a prisoner in his camp: Trebonius put to death in his province of Asia by Dolabella, and Dolabella being slowly but surely brought to bay by Cassius. The defeat of Antony at Forum Gallorum and Mutina (April 13th and 15th) was the prelude to a series of bitter disappointments to Cicero. When the report reached Rome he and his party confidently believed that the war was over, that Antony was entirely crushed, that the old liberty was restored. This exultation was very little damped by the subsequent intelligence that both consuls had fallen. Decent expressions of regret and complimentary votes in their honour seemed all that was necessary. But despatch after despatch from Decimus Brutus revealed the fact of how little had been accomplished, and how strong Antony still was. Cicero, whose energy was still unabated, turned with frantic eagerness to the task of inducing Lepidus and Plancus to remain loyal to the senate; and, as a last hope, to persuade Brutus and Cassius that it was their duty to return to Italy with their victorious armies and protect Rome from Antony. The correspondence leaves Cicero still hopeful and eager, before Plancus had declared for Antony, or Decimus Brutus had been finally ruined; and before it had become evident that Octavian meant to turn upon the senate, under whose authority he had been acting.

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