previous next


Lepidus lays Claim to Sicily -- Octavius tampers with his Troops -- Conflict in the Camp of Lepidus -- He is deserted by his Soldiers -- Lepidus deposed from his Command -- Octavius does not pursue Pompeius -- Mutiny in the Army -- It is suppressed by Octavius -- Octavius rewards his Soldiers and returns to Italy -- Unbounded Honors bestowed upon him at Rome -- He refuses to punish Lepidus -- Robbery suppressed -- Octavius elected Tribune for Life

[123] Including this new accession, Lepidus now had twenty-two legions of infantry and a large body of cavalry. He was elated, and thought to make himself master of Sicily, using the pretext that he was the first to invade the island and that he had induced many cities to join the triumvirs. He sent word to the garrisons of these places that they should not admit the emissaries of Octavius, and he seized all the defiles. Octavius arrived on the following day, and reproached Lepidus through friends, who reminded him that he had come into Sicily as an ally of Octavius, not to acquire it for himself. Lepidus replied that he had been despoiled of his former allotment, which was now in the exclusive possession of Octavius, and that, if the latter pleased, he would now exchange Africa and Sicily for that former allotment. Octavius was exasperated. He came to Lepidus in anger and heaped reproaches on him for ingratitude. They separated, indulging in mutual threats. They forthwith surrounded themselves with guards, and the ships of Octavius were anchored away from the shore, as it was said that Lepidus intended to set fire to them.

[124] The soldiers were angry at the thought of engaging in another civil war, and that there was never to be an end of sedition. They did not, however, seek to compare Octavius and Lepidus; not even the army of Lepidus did that. They admired the energy of Octavius, and.they were aware of the indolence of Lepidus. They also blamed him for admitting the defeated enemy to an equal share of the plunder. When Octavius learned their state of mind, he sent emissaries among them to advise them secretly of their individual interests. Many of them he tampered with, especially those who had served under Pompeius, who feared lest the terms of their capitulation should not be valid if Octavius did not ratify them. While Lepidus, by reason of his ineptitude, remained ignorant of these things Octavius came to his camp with a large body of horse, whom he left at the entrance, and himself went in with a few. Coming forward, he declared to those whom he met that he was drawn into war unwillingly. Those who saw him saluted him as imperator. First of all the Pompeians, who had been tampered with, collected together and asked his forgiveness. He said that he was astonished that persons asking forgiveness should not do what their own interests demanded. They understood his meaning, and forthwith seized their standards and went over to him, while others began to take down their tents.

[125] When Lepidus became aware of this tumult he sprang from his tent to arms. Blows were exchanged and one of Octavius' armor-bearers was killed. Octavius himself was struck by a weapon on his breastplate, but it did not penetrate the flesh, and he ran and took refuge with his horsemen. A detachment of guards belonging to Lepidus jeered at him as he ran. Octavius was so angry that he could not restrain himself from dashing upon them with his horsemen1 and destroying them. The officers of the other guards transferred their allegiance from Lepidus to Octavius, some immediately, others during the night; some without solicitation, others pretending to be coerced more or less by the cavalry. There were some who still resisted the assault and beat off the assailants, for Lepidus sent reenforcements in all directions; but when these very reënforcements went over, the remainder of his army, even those who were yet well disposed toward him, changed their opinion. Again the first to move were those Pompeians who still remained with him. They transferred themselves by detachments, one after another. Lepidus armed others to prevent them from going, but the very ones who were armed for this purpose seized their standards and went over to Octavius with the rest. Lepidus threatened and besought them as they took their departure. He held fast to the standards, and said he would not give them up, until one of the standard-bearers said to him, "Let go, or you are a dead man." Then he was afraid and let go.

[126] The last to come over were the cavalry. They sent a messenger to Octavius to ask if they should kill Lepidus, who was no longer a commander. He replied in the negative. Thus was Lepidus deserted by all and bereft, in a moment of time, of so exalted a station and so great an army. He changed his costume and hastened to Octavius, all the spectators running with him to enjoy the spectacle. Octavius started up as he approached, and prevented him from throwing himself at his feet, and sent him to Rome in the garb of a private citizen, which he was wearing, deprived of his command, but not of the priesthood, which he held. And so this man, who had often been a commander and once a triumvir, who had appointed magistrates and had proscribed so many men of his own rank, passed his life as a private citizen, asking favors of some of the proscribed, who were magistrates at a later period.2

[127] Octavius neither pursued Pompeius nor allowed others to do so; either because he refrained from encroaching on Antony's dominions, or because he preferred to wait and see what Antony would do to Pompeius and make that a pretext for a quarrel if he should do wrong (for they had long entertained the suspicion that ambition would bring them into mutual conflict when other rivals were out of the way), or, as Octavius said later, because Pompeius was not one of his father's murderers. He now brought his forces together, and they amounted to forty-five legions of infantry, 25,000 horse, and some 40,000 light-armed troops. He also had 600 war-ships and an immense number of merchant vessels, which he sent back to their owners. To the soldiers he awarded the prizes of victory, paying a part down and promising the rest later. He distributed crowns and other honors to all, and granted pardon to the Pompeian leaders.

[128] Fortune became jealous of his great prosperity.3 His army revolted, especially his own troops. They demanded to be discharged from the service and that rewards should be given them equal to those given to the men who fought at Philippi. Octavius knew that the present war had not been of the same grade as that one. He promised nevertheless to pay what their services were worth, and to include the soldiers serving under Antony when the latter should return. As to their breach of discipline, he reminded them, in a threatening tone, of the laws of their ancestors, of their oaths and of the punishments. As they gave little heed to what he said, he abandoned his threatening tone lest the spirit of mutiny should extend to his newly acquired troops, and said that he would discharge them at the proper time in conjunction with Antony. He said, also, that he would not engage them in any more civil wars, which had fortunately come to an end, but in war against the Illyrians and other barbarous tribes, who were disturbing the peace which had been gained with so much difficulty; from which war the soldiers would acquire great riches. They said that they would not go to war again until they had received the prizes and honors of the previous wars. He said that he would not postpone the honors. So he distributed many prizes, and gave to the legions additional crowns, and to the centurions and tribunes purple-bordered garments and the dignity of chief councillors in their native towns. While he was distributing other awards of this kind, the tribune Ofilius exclaimed that crowns and purple garments were playthings for boys, that the rewards for soldiers were lands and money. The multitude cried out, "Well said"; whereupon Octavius descended from the platform in anger. The soldiers gathered around the tribune, praising him and railing at those who did not join with them. Ofilius said that he alone would suffice to defend so just a cause, but after saying this he disappeared the following day, and it was never known what became of him.

[129] The soldiers no longer dared to give utterance to their complaints singly, but they joined together in groups and called for their discharge in common. Octavius conciliated their leaders in various ways. He released those who had served at Philippi and Mutina, and who wished to be discharged, as their time had expired. These, to the number of 20,000, he dismissed and sent out of the island at once, lest they should seduce the others. To those only AUGUSTUS In the Braccio Nuovo, Vatican Museum, Rome

who had served at Mutina he added, that, although they were discharged in this way, he would fulfil the promises made to them at that time. He came before the rest of the army and called upon them to bear witness to the perjury of the revolters, who had been dismissed contrary to the wish of their military commander. He praised those who remained with him, and encouraged them to expect a speedy release, saying that nobody would be sorry, and that they would be discharged rich, and that he would give them 500 drachmas per man now. Having thus spoken, he exacted tribute from Sicily to the amount of 1600 talents, appointed proprætors for Africa and Sicily, and assigned a division of the army to each of these provinces. He sent back Antony's ships to Tarentum. A part of the army he sent in advance of himself to Italy in ships, and took the remainder with him when he departed from the island.

[130] When he arrived at Rome the Senate voted him unbounded honors, giving him the privilege of accepting all, or such as he chose. They and the people went out a long distance to meet him, wearing garlands on their heads, and escorted him, when he arrived, first to the temples, and then from the temples to his house. The next day he made speeches to the Senate and to the people, recounting his exploits and his policy from the beginning to the present time. These speeches he wrote down and distributed in pamphlet form. He proclaimed peace and good-will, said that the civil wars were ended, remitted the unpaid taxes, and released the farmers of the revenue and the holders of public leases from what they owed. Of the honors voted to him, he accepted an ovation4 and annual solemnities on the days of his victories, and a golden image to be erected in the forum, with the garb he wore when he entered the city, to stand on a column surrounded by the beaks of captured ships. There the image was placed bearing the inscription: “"PEACE, LONG DISTURBED, HE REËSTABLISHED ON LAND AND SEA."”

[131] When the people desired to transfer from Lepidus to himself the office of pontifex maximus, which the law bestowed upon one person for life, he would not accept it, and when they prayed that Lepidus might be put to death as a public enemy he would not allow it. He sent sealed letters to all the armies, with instructions to open them all on a designated day and to execute the orders contained therein. These orders related to the slaves who had run away during the civil dissensions and joined the armies, for whom Pompeius had asked freedom, which the Senate and the treaty had granted. These were all arrested on the same day and brought to Rome, and Octavius returned them to their Roman or Italian masters, or to the heirs of the same. He also gave back those belonging to Sicilian masters. Those whom nobody claimed he caused to be put to death in the cities from which they had absconded.

[132] This seemed to be the end of the civil dissensions. Octavius was now twenty-eight years of age. Cities joined in placing him among their tutelary gods. At this time Italy and Rome itself were openly infested with bands of robbers, whose doings were more like barefaced plunder than secret theft. Sabinus was chosen by Octavius to correct this disorder. He executed many of the captured brigands, and within one year brought about a condition of absolute security. At that time, they say, originated the custom and system of cohorts of night watchmen still in force. Octavius excited astonishment by having put an end to this evil with such unexampled rapidity. He allowed the yearly magistrates to administer public affairs, in many particulars, according to the customs of the fathers. He burned the writings which contained evidence concerning the civil strife, and said that he would abdicate entirely when Antony should return from the Parthian war, for he was persuaded that Antony, too, would be willing to lay down the government, the civil wars being at an end. Thereupon he was chosen tribune for life by acclamation, the people urging him, by the offer of this perpetual magistracy, to give up his former one.5 This he accepted, and at the same time he wrote privately to Antony in reference to their government. Antony gave instructions to Bibulus, who was going away from him, to confer with Octavius. He sent governors to take charge of his provinces in like manner as Octavius had done, and he had thoughts of joining the latter in his expedition against the Illyrians.

1 πρὶν ἐξελεῖν αὐτὸ σὺν τοῖς ἱππεῦσι. Nauck suggests ἐπελθεῖν for ἐξελειν. The latter word is meaningless here.

2 See iv. 50 supra.

3 Ζήλου δὲ αὐτῷ γέμοντι ἐπὶ τούτοις, τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐνεμέσησε τοῦ ζήλου. Mendelssohn thinks that the words τοῦ ζήλου should be expunged.

4 πομπὴν; a procession inferior in splendor and magnitude to a triumph, the latter being awarded only for victories over foreign enemies. This ceremony was concluded with the sacrifice of a sheep (ovis), from which the word " ovation" is supposed to be derived.

5 The true date of his election to the tribuneship, deduced from the testament of Augustus inscribed on the wall of the Augusteum at Ancyra, was B.C. 25, i.e., eleven years later than Appian makes it.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1600 AD (1)
25 BC (1)
hide References (1 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: