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CHAPTER VIII

Sextus Pompeius cuts off the Supply of Corn -- Famine in Rome -- Riot in the Forum -- Octavius is stoned by the Mob and rescued by Antony -- Negotiations with Sextus Pompeius -- Sextus puts Murcus to Death -- Sextus goes to Puteoli, and has a Conference with Antony and Octavius -- They come to an Agreement -- Banquets on Shipboard and on Shore -- Great Rejoicing at Rome -- Antony returns to the East -- Spends the Winter in Athens


[67] 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.

[68] Octavius with his friends and a few attendants came into the forum intending to intercede with the people and to show the unreasonableness of their complaints. As soon as he made his appearance they stoned him unmercifully, and they were not ashamed when they saw him enduring this treatment patiently, and offering himself to it, and even bleeding from wounds. When Antony learned what was going on he came with haste to his assistance. When the people saw him coming down the Via Sacra they did not throw stones at him, since he was in favor of a treaty with Pompeius, but they told him to go away. When he refused to do so they stoned him also. He called in a larger force of troops, who were outside the walls. As the people would not allow him to pass through, the soldiers divided right and left on either side of the street and the forum, and made their attack from the narrow lane, striking down those whom they met. The people could no longer find ready escape on account of the crowd, nor was there any way out of the forum. There was a scene of slaughter and wounds, while shrieks and groans sounded from the housetops. Antony made his way into the forum with difficulty, and snatched Octavius from the most manifest danger, in which he then was, and brought him safe to his house.1 The mob having been dispersed, the corpses were thrown into the river in order to avoid a shocking spectacle. It was a fresh cause of lamentation to see them floating down the stream, and the soldiers stripping them, and certain miscreants, as well as the soldiers, carrying off the clothing of the better class as their own property. This insurrection was suppressed, but with terror and hatred for the triumvirs. The famine grew worse. The people groaned, but did not stir.

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[69] Antony suggested to the relatives of Libo that they

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should summon him from Sicily for the purpose of congratulating his brother-in-law,2 and to accomplish something more important; and he promised him a safe-conduct. His relatives wrote promptly and Pompeius acquiesced. Libo, on his arrival, cast anchor at the isle of Pithecusa, which is now called Ænaria.3 When the people learned this, they assembled together again and besought Octavius with tears to send letters of safeguard to Libo, who desired to negotiate with him for peace. He did so reluctantly. The people also threatened to burn Mucia, the mother of Pompeius, with her house, if she did not communicate with her son in the interest of peace. When Libo perceived that his enemies were on the point of yielding, he demanded that the leaders themselves should come together in order to make such concessions to each other as they could agree upon. The people compelled them to this course, and, accordingly, Octavius and Antony went to Baiæ.

[70] All the friends of Pompeius urged him with one accord to make peace, except Menodorus, who wrote to him from Sardinia either to prosecute the war vigorously or still to procrastinate, because famine was fighting for them, and he would thus get better terms if he should decide to make peace. Menodorus also advised him to distrust Murcus, who opposed these views, intimating that he was seeking power for himself. Pompeius, who had been vexed with Murcus lately on account of his high position and his stubbornness, became still more averse to him for this reason, and held no communication with him whatever, until, finally, Murcus retired in disgust to Syracuse. Here he saw some of Pompeius' guards following him, and he expressed his opinion of Pompeius to them freely. Then Pompeius bribed a tribune and a centurion of Murcus, and induced them to kill him and to say that he had been murdered by slaves. To give credibility to this falsehood he crucified the slaves. But he did not succeed in concealing this crime, -- the next one committed by him after the murder of Bithynicus, -- Murcus having been a man distinguished for his warlike deeds, who had been strongly attached to that party from the beginning, and had rendered great assistance to Pompeius in Spain, and had joined him in Sicily voluntarily. Such was the death of Murcus.

[71] His other friends urged Pompeius to make peace, and they accused Menodorus of fondness of power and as opposing peace not so much from good-will to his master4 as from a desire to command an army and a province. Pompeius yielded and set sail for Ænaria with a large number of his best ships, having embarked himself on a magnificent one with six banks of oars. In this style, toward evening, he sailed proudly past Puteoli in sight of his enemies. Early in the morning two sets of piles were driven in the sea a short distance apart, and planks were placed upon them. Upon the platform nearest the shore Octavius and Antony took their places, while Pompeius and Libo occupied the seaward one, a small space of water separating them, but not preventing them from hearing each other without shouting. As Pompeius thought that he had come in order to be admitted to a share of the government in place of Lepidus, while the others would concede nothing but his recall from exile, they separated for the time without accomplishing anything. Nevertheless, negotiations were continued on the part of friends, who advanced various proposals from one side to the other. Pompeius demanded that, of the proscripts and the men with him, those who had participated in the murder of Gaius Cæsar should be allowed a safe place of exile, and the rest an honorable recall to their homes, and that the property they had lost should be restored to them. Urged on by the famine and by the people to an agreement, Octavius and Antony reluctantly conceded a fourth part of this property, promising to buy it from the present holders. They wrote to this effect to the proscripts themselves, hoping that this would satisfy them. The latter accepted all the terms, for they already had apprehensions of Pompeius on account of his crime against Murcus. So they gathered around Pompeius and besought him to come to an agreement. Pompeius rent his garments, declaring that he had been betrayed by those for whom he had fought, and he frequently invoked the name of Menodorus as his most competent officer and his only friend.

[72] Finally, at the instance of his mother, Mucia, and of his wife, Julia, again the three men (Octavius, Antony, and Pompeius) came together on the mole of Puteoli, washed by the waves on both sides, and with ships moored around it as guards. Here they came to an agreement on the following terms: That the war should cease on both land and sea, and that commerce should be everywhere unmolested; that Pompeius should remove his garrisons from Italy and no longer afford a refuge to fugitive slaves; that he should not assail with his fleet the Italian coast, but should govern Sardinia, Sicily, and Corsica, and any other islands then in his possession, as long as Antony and Octavius should hold sway over the other countries; that he should send to Rome the corn that had been previously required as tribute from those islands, and that he might have Peloponnesus in addition; that he might hold the consulship in his absence through any friend he might choose, and be inscribed as a member of the priesthood of the first rank. Such were the conditions accorded to Pompeius himself. Members of the nobility who were still in exile were allowed to return, except those who had been condemned by vote of the Senate and judgment of court for participation in the murder of Gaius Cæsar. The property of those who had fled merely from fear, and whose goods had been seized by violence, should all be restored except movables. Proscripts should receive one fourth part of theirs. Slaves who had served in the army of Pompeius should be free, and free persons who had thus served should, upon their discharge, receive the same rewards as those who had served under Octavius and Antony.

[73] Such were the terms of the treaty, to which they attached their names and seals and sent it to Rome to be placed in the custody of the Vestal virgins. Then they entertained each other, casting lots to determine the order of the ceremony. The first banquet took place on Pompeius' six-banked ship, moored alongside the mole. On succeeding days Antony and Octavius gave banquets in tents pitched on the mole, on the pretext that thus all might participate, but perhaps really for their better security and to quiet apprehensions; for they did not even then neglect precautions. Their ships were moored alongside and guards were stationed around them, and the banqueters were girded with concealed daggers. It is said that, while the three were feasting in the ship, Menodorus sent a message to Pompeius advising him to entrap these men and avenge the wrongs of his father and his brother, and to avail himself of this most favorable occasion to resume the sway that his father had exercised, saying that he, with his own ships, would take care that nobody should escape; but that Pompeius replied, in a manner worthy of his family and his position, "Would that Menodorus had done this without my knowledge. False swearing may become Menodorus, but not Pompeius."5 At this banquet the daughter of Pompeius and granddaughter of Libo was betrothed to Marcellus, the stepson of Antony and nephew of Octavius. On the following day they designated the consuls for the next four years, viz., for the first year Antony and Libo, Antony being privileged to substitute whomsoever he liked in his own place; next Octavius and Pompeius; next Ahenobarbus and Sossius; and, finally, Antony and Octavius again; and as they would then have been consuls the third time it was expected that they would restore the government to the people.

[74] Having finished this business they separated, Pompeius SEXTUS POMPEIUS Museum of the Louvre (Duruy)

going to Sicily by sea, Octavius and Antony to Rome by land. When the Romans and Italians learned the news 3 there was universal rejoicing at the return of peace and at their deliverance from intestine war, from the conscription of their sons, from the arrogance of guards, from the running away of slaves, from the pillage of fields, from the ruin of agriculture, and, above all, from the famine that had pressed upon them with the greatest severity. As the triumvirs were proceeding on their journey sacrifices were offered in their honor as to saviours. The city would have given them a magnificent reception, had they not entered secretly by night in order to avoid jealousies. The only ones disappointed were those to whom had been allotted lands belonging to men who were to be restored with Pompeius. They thought that they should have irreconcilable enemies dwelling alongside of them as landlords, who would do them injury whenever they could. The exiles who were with Pompeius, all but a few, took leave of him at Puteoli and set sail for Rome. Their coming was to the people a new source of joy and acclamations, so great a number of illustrious men having been unexpectedly saved from death.

[75] After these events Octavius set forth on an expedition to Gaul, which was in a disturbed state, and Antony started for the war against the Parthians. The Senate having voted to ratify all that he had done or should do, Antony again despatched his lieutenants in all directions and arranged everything else as he wished. He set up kings here and there as he pleased, on condition of their paying a prescribed tribute: in Pontus, Darius, the son of Pharnaces and grandson of Mithridates; in Idumea and Samaria, Herod; in Pisidia, Amyntas; in a part of Cilicia, Polemon, and others in other countries. Desiring to enrich as well as to exercise the soldiers, who were to go with him into winter quarters, he sent some of them against the Partheni, an Illyrian tribe near Epidamnus, who had been very much attached to Brutus; others against the Dardani, another Illyrian tribe, who were forever making.incursions into Macedonia. Others he ordered to remain in Epirus, in order to have them all within reach, as he intended to pass the winter himself in Athens. He sent Furnius to Africa to bring four legions, that were under the command of Sestius, for service against the Parthians. He did not know as yet that Lepidus had deprived Sestius of the command of these troops.

[76] Having made these dispositions, he spent the winter at Athens with Octavia just as he had spent the previous one at Alexandria with Cleopatra, merely looking over the reports sent from the army, exchanging the display of a commander for the simplicity of private life, wearing the square-cut pallium and the Attic shoe, and without formal company. He went out, in like manner, without the insignia of office, accompanied by two friends and two attendants, to the discussions and lectures of the public teachers. He took his meals in the Greek fashion, passed his leisure time with Greeks, and enjoyed their festivals in company with Octavia, with whom he was very much in love, being

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by nature excessively fond of women. At the end of the
B.C. 38
winter he was like another man. He changed his clothing, and with his clothing his whole appearance. There was straightway a crowd around his doors composed of lictors, army officers, guards, and all things that inspire terror and awe. Embassies were received which had previously been kept waiting by his orders, lawsuits were decided, ships were launched, and all other preparations for the campaign were put in motion.

1 καὶ τοῦ κινδύνου τὸν Καίσαρα περιφανῶς δὴ τότε μάλιστα ὁ̂τος ἐξείελτο καὶ ἐς τὴν οἰκίαν περιέσωσεν: possibly the words οὗτος (this man) and τότε (then) are intended to emphasize the contrast between the present relations of Antony and Octavius, and what transpired later.

2 ἐπὶ συνησθήσει τοῦ κήδους; Musgrave suggested συνθέσει. (an agreement) "instead of συνησθήσει (congratulation), and Mendelssohn concurs, but does not change the text.

3 The modern Ischia.

4 Menodorus was a freedman. He had been a slave of Pompey the Great. See Sec. 79 infra. Dion Cassius, Plutarch, and Velleius give him the name of Menas.

5 Plutarch relates this tale in nearly the same language. He says that "while the banquet was at its height, and they were cracking jokes about Cleopatra and Antony, Menas the pirate approached Pompeius, and whispered to him so that the others could not hear: 'Do you wish me to cut loose from the ship's anchors and make you master, not of Sicily and Sardinia only, but of the whole Roman empire?' Pompeius, after hearing him, waited a brief space, and said: ' O Menas, you might have done so without telling me beforehand! Now we must be satisfied with present conditions, for I cannot break my oath.'" (Life of Antony, 32.)

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