Cicero of Arpinum: A Political and Literary Biography Being a Contribution to the History of Ancient Civilization and a Guide to the Study of Cicero's Writings

By E. G. Sihler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY
ANTONY AND OCTAVIAN

DURING the night the Regicides remained in their stronghold. Antony at first was in mortal terror, believing that he was to be the second victim. As soon as possible Antony, recovering from the first panic, as senior consul removed the public funds in Caesar's house (the Regia) and those in the temple of Ops into his own mansion in the Carinae, where the splendid vestibule was still adorned with Pirates' prows, memorials of Pompey. The funds in the temple named amounted to the enormous sum of 700 million sesterces ($30,800,000) according to Cicero, and the official accounts. (Phil. 2, 93.) He also acquired the papers of Caesar, which Calpurnia, acting it seems with her father's consent or counsel, willingly handed over. Antony with prompt resolution and impressive swiftness of action went about his great task, which was nothing less than to seize the purple of the fallen Regent, as far as circumstances permitted and so to mould and modify circumstances further on that they might permit. Two things dominated the soul of Antony, a wild wantonness of appetites and a lust of power; his very ingenium was more oriental than Roman. He made a vigorous beginning.

Cicero in the night of the murder paid his respects to the occupants of the Capitol. (Att. 14, 10.) He loudly demanded that the senate should promptly be summoned to that very spot. Summoned by whom? Dolabella, designed for the next vacancy of the consular office by the Regent and probably the most youthful and unbalanced holder so far recorded for that office, had on March 16th at first avowed1 his complete sympathy for the slayers. The first afflatus of feeling seemed to favor the conservatives of Rome. Cicero extolled the Regicides to the sky, nay to Olympus. No words, no eloquence, could do justice to their imperishable deed. So at least he felt. (Att. 14, 14, 3.) It was a time of feeling. For March 17th, the Liberalia (exactly one year after

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1
App. 2, 122 indeed suggests that this was a pretense on the part of Dolabella.

-395-

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