CHAPTER IReconciliation of Octavius and Antony -- The New Triumvirate of Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus -- Plunder of Italy promised to Soldiers -- Fearful Prodigies at Rome
THUS was punishment visited upon two of Cæsar's murderers, who were conquered in their own provinces, Trebonius in Asia and Decimus Brutus in Gaul. How vengeance overtook Cassius and Marcus Brutus, who were the principal leaders in the conspiracy against Cæsar, and who controlled the territory from Syria to Macedonia, and had large forces of cavalry and sailors, and more than twenty legions of infantry, together with ships and money, this fourth book of the Civil Wars will show. During the progress of these events came the pursuit and capture of the proscribed in Rome and the sufferings consequent thereon, the like of which cannot be recalled among the civil commotions or wars of the Greeks, or those of the Romans themselves save only in the time of Sulla, who was the first to put his enemies on a proscription list. Marius searched for his and punished those whom he found, but Sulla proclaimed large rewards to persons who should kill the proscribed and severe punishment to those who should conceal them. But what took place in the time of Marius and Sulla I have previously narrated in the history relating to them. The following events came next in order.  Octavius and Antony composed their differences on a small, gradually sloping islet in the river Lavinius, near the city of Mutina. Each had five legions of soldiers whom they stationed opposite each other, after which each proceeded with 300 men to the bridges over the river. Lepidus himself went before them, searched the island, and shook his military cloak as a signal to them to come. Then each left his three hundred in charge of friends on the bridges and advanced to the middle of the island in plain sight, and there the three sat together in council, Octavius in the centre because he was consul. They were in conference from morning till night for two days, and came to these decisions: That Octavius should resign the consulship and that Ventidius should take it for the remainder of the year; that anew magistracy for quieting the civil dissensions should be created by law, which Lepidus, Antony, and Octavius should hold for five years with consular power (for this name seemed preferable to that of dictator, perhaps because of Antony's decree abolishing the dictatorship); that these three should at once designate the yearly magistrates of the city for the five years; that a distribution of the provinces should be made, giving to Antony the whole of Gaul except the part bordering the Pyrenees Mountains, which was called Old Gaul. The latter, together with Spain, was assigned to Lepidus, while Octavius was to have Africa, Sardinia, and Sicily, and the other islands in the vicinity thereof.  Thus was the dominion of the Romans divided by the triumvirate among themselves. The assignment of the parts beyond the Adriatic only was postponed, since these were still under the control of Brutus and Cassius, against whom Antony and Octavius were to wage war. Lepidus was to be consul the following year and to remain in the city to do what was needful there, meanwhile governing Spain by proxy. He was to retain three of his legions to guard the city, and to divide the other seven between Octavius and Antony, three to the former and four to the latter, so that each of them might lead twenty legions to the war. To encourage the army with the expectation of booty they promised them, beside other gifts, eighteen cities of Italy as colonies -- cities which excelled in wealth, in the fertility of their territory, and in handsome houses, and which were to be divided among them (land, buildings, and all), just as though they had been captured from an enemy in war. The most renowned among these were Capua, Rhegium, Venusia, Beneventum, Nuceria, Ariminum, and Vibo.1 Thus were the most beautiful parts of Italy marked out for the soldiers. But they decided to destroy their personal enemies beforehand, so that the latter should not interfere with their arrangements while they were carrying on war abroad. Having come to these decisions, they reduced them to writing, and Octavius, as consul, communicated them to the soldiers, all except the proscriptions. When the soldiers heard them they applauded and embraced each other in token of mutual reconciliation.  While these transactions were taking place many fearful prodigies and portents were observed at Rome. Dogs howled exactly like wolves -- a fearful sign. Wolves darted through the forum -- an animal unused to the city. Cattle used the human voice. A newly born infant spoke. Sweat issued from statues; some even sweated blood. Loud voices of men were heard and the clashing of arms and the tramp of horses where none could be seen. Many fearful signs were observed around the sun, there were showers of stones, and continuous lightning fell upon the sacred temples and images; in consequence of which the Senate sent for diviners and soothsayers from Etruria. The oldest of them said that the kingly rule of former times was coming back, and that they would all be slaves except himself, whereupon he closed his mouth and held his breath till he was dead.