Early Rome and the Etruscans (Fontana History of the Ancient by R.M. Ogilvie

By R.M. Ogilvie

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When Octavian heard Antony had made contact with the Republicans he knew he could not afford to be absent from any ensuing clash of arms, for if Brutus and Cassius had the victory he could not defy them alone, whereas if Antony triumphed singlehandedly his ascendancy would be so complete none would dare challenge his claim to the legacy of Caesar. Although still sick, Octavian hastened to link up with his partner, arriving at Philippi 10 days after Antony. Every day the Triumvirs would go through the motions of assembling their army and offering battle; Brutus and Cassius would also draw out their forces on their higher ground, in order not to lose face, or depress the fighting The approach to Philippi 1.

Finally, it reduced the bounties promised to Octavian's troops and stalled on the plan for distributing the land they had been promised, establishing a commission - that did not include Octavian - to determine the terms of the settlement. The Senate further alienated the heir of Caesar by legitimizing the acquisitions of Brutus and Cassius in the east and voting supreme naval command to Sextus Pompey, who had advanced to Massilia (Marseilles). It appeared to Octavian that the Senate was determined to marginalize him.

In alliance with the seven led by Lepidus, the three Plancus had available, and the two Pollio could spare, Antony could now put 20 legions in the field (and 10,000 cavalry) against the 17 commanded by Octavian, nominally in the name of the Senate. In reality, Octavian was seeking terms, not battle. As a gesture of good faith, he had ordered the decrees of outlawry levied against Antony and Lepidus be revoked. In full view of their armies, and having frisked each other for concealed weapons, the three men met in a conference on a small island in a river near Bononia.

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