Q. Salvidienus Rufus
of equestrian rank, was of humble origin, and owed his elevation to the favour of Octavian, which he repaid with the basest ingratitude.
He was with Octavian at Apollonia, and is mentioned along with Agrippa as one of his confidential advisers on the assassination of Julius Caesar in B. C. 44 (Vell. 2.59
He was soon employed by Octavian in the wars in which the latter forthwith became engaged. In B. C. 42 he commanded the fleet of Octavian against Sex. Pompeius, whose rising naval power had excited the apprehensions of the triumvirs. He' succeeded in protecting the coasts of Italy from the ravages of Pompey's fleet, but in a battle fought off Brundusium under the eyes of Octavian he was obliged to retire with loss. On Octavian's return from Greece after the defeat of Brutus and Cassius, Salvidienus was sent into Spain, but before he had crossed the Alps he was summoned back to Italy to oppose L. Antonius and Fulvia, who had taken up arms against Octavian.
In the struggle which ensued (B. C. 41-40), usually known by the name of the Perusinian war, Salvidienus took an active part as one of Octavian's legates.
At the conclusion of the war he was sent into Gallia Narbonensis. Notwithstanding the marks of confidence he had received from Octavian, who had even promised him the consulship, he wrote to M. Antonius, offering to induce the troops in his province to desert from Octavian. His proposal came too late. Antonius, who had just been reconciled to Octavian, betrayed the treachery of Salvidienus.
The latter was forthwith summoned to Rome on some pretext, and on his arrival was accused by Augustus in the senate, and condemned to death, B. C. 40. Livy relates that he put an end to his own life. (Appian, App. BC 4.85
; D. C. 48.13
; Liv. Epit. 123, 127 ; Vell. 2.76
; Suet. Oct. 66.
The annexed coin was probably struck by Salvidienus.
It bears on the obverse the head of Octavianus, with C. CAESAR III. VIR. R. P. C., and on the reverse Q. SALVIVS IMP. COS. DESIG.
The only difficulty in referring it to the preceding person is that he is here called Q. Salvius, while in the writers his name is always Q. Salvidienus.
But, on the other hand, there is no Q. Salvius mentioned by any ancient writer to whom it can belong, while the consul designatus
applies to Q. Salvidienus, as well as the time at which the coin was struck, namely, while Octavianus was triumvir. (Eckhel, vol. v. p. 299.)