(11) When Octavius reached Tarraco it was hard to believe that he had managed to arrive in so great a tumult of war. Not finding Caesar there, he had to endure more trouble and danger. He caught up with Caesar in Spain near the city of Calpia. Caesar embraced him as a son and welcomed him, for he had left him at home, ill, and he now unexpectedly saw him safe from both enemies and brigands. In fact, he did not let him go from him, but he kept him at his own quarters and mess. He commended his zeal and intelligence, inasmuch as he was the first of those who had set out from Rome to arrive. And he made the point of asking him in conversation, for he was anxious to make a trial of his understanding; and finding that he was sagacious, intelligent, and concise in his replies and that he always answered to the point, his esteem and affection for him increased. After this they had to sail for Carthago Nova, and arrangements were made whereby Octavius embarked in the same boat as Caesar, with five slaves, but, out of affection, he took three of his companions aboard in addition to the slaves, though he feared that Caesar would be angry when he found this out. However, the reverse was the case, for Caesar was pleased in that Octavius was fond of his comrades and he commended him because he always liked to have present with him men who were observant and who tried to attain to excellence; and because he was already giving no little thought to gaining a good reputation at home.
(12) Caesar duly arrived at Carthago Nova, intending to meet with those who were in need of him. A great many came to see him, some for the purpose of settling any differences they might have had with certain persons, others because of matters of civil administration, others in order to obtain the rewards for deeds of courage which they had performed. Regarding these matters he gave them audience. Many other officers had congregated there also. The Saguntini came to Octavius asking for assistance, for there were a number of charges against them. He acted as their spokesman, and speaking before Caesar skillfully secured their release from the charges. He sent them home delighted, singing his praises to everyone and calling him their savior. Thereupon many people approached him, asking for his patronage, and he proved of considerable value for them. Some he relieved of the charges brought against them, for others he secured rewards, and he placed still others in offices of state. His kindness, humanity, and the prudence he had revealed at these gatherings were subjects of comment to all. In fact Caesar himself cautiously [lacuna]....
(13) [lacuna] ...of silver, according to the ancestral custom; nor to associate with young fellows who drank freely, nor to remain at banquets till nightfall, nor to dine before the tenth hour, except at the house of Caesar or Philippus or Marcellus, his sister's husband, a man of sobriety and of the best Roman descent. Modesty [aidos], which one might assume was fitting for one of that age (for nature has assigned it an earlier place than other virtues) was apparent in his actions and continued during his whole life. Therefore Caesar made much of him and not as some think, entirely because of relationship. Some time before he had decided to adopt him, but fearing that elated at the hope of such good fortune, as those usually are who are brought up in wealth, he might become forgetful of virtue and depart form his accustomed mode of life, Caesar concealed his intention but he adopted him as son in his Will (for he had no male children of his own) and made him residuary legatee of his entire estate, after bequeathing one fourth of his property to friends and townsmen, as was afterwards known.
(14) Octavius asked permission to go home to see his mother, and when it was granted, he set out. When he reached the Janiculan Hill near Rome, a man who claimed to be the son of Gaius Marius came with a large crowd of people to meet him. He had taken also some women who were relatives of Caesar, for he was anxious to be enrolled in the family, and they testified to his descent. He did not succeed in persuading Atia at all, nor her sister, to make any false statement concerning their family; for the families of Caesar and Marius were very close, but this young man was really no relative whatever. So then, he came up to the young Caesar with a great multitude and tried to gain his authority also for being enrolled in the family. The citizens who accompanied him were also earnestly persuaded that he was Marius' son. Octavius was in quite a quandary and began to consider what he should do. It was a difficult thing to greet a stranger as a relative, one whose origin he did not know, and for whom his mother did not vouch; and on the other hand, to repudiate the youth [neaniskon] and the crowd of citizens with him would be very difficult particularly for one so modest as he. Accordingly he quietly answered and dismissed the fellow, saying that Caesar was the head of their family and the chief of the state and of the whole Roman government.. He should therefore go to him and explain to him the kinship, and if he convinced Caesar, then both they and the other relations would accede to his decision quite convinced; otherwise there could be no ground for their connection with him. In the meanwhile, until Caesar decided, he should not come to Octavius nor ask for anything that might be expected of a relative. Thus sensibly he answered and everyone there commended him; nevertheless the young fellow followed him all the way home.
(15) When he arrived in Rome he lodged near the house of Philippus and his mother, and passed his time with them, seldom leaving them, except at times when he wished to invite some of his young friends to dine with him; but that was not often. While he was in the City, he was declared a patrician by the Senate. FGrH F 129: Octavius lived soberly and in moderation; his friends know of something else about him that was remarkable. For an entire year at the very age at which youths, particularly those with wealth, are most wanton, he abstained from sexual gratification out of regard for both his voice and his strength.
(16) Octavius spent three months in Rome and then came and sojourned here [Apollonia]. He was admired by his friends and companions, revered by everyone in the city, and praised by his instructors. In the fourth month of his stay, a freedman came from home, in excitement and dismay, sent by his mother and carrying a letter which said that Caesar had been killed in the Senate by Cassius and Brutus and their accomplices. She asked her son to return to her as she did not know what the outcome of affairs would be. She said he must show himself a man now and consider what he ought to do and put his plans in action, according to fortune and opportunity. His mother's letter made all this clear, and the man who brought it gave a similar report. He said he had been sent immediately after Caesar's murder, and he had wasted no time on the way, so that hearing the news as quickly as possible, Octavius would be able to make his plans accordingly. He added that the relatives of the murdered man were in great danger, and it was necessary to consider first of all how this was to be avoided. The group of murderers was not small, and they would drive out and murder Caesar's relatives.
When they heard this they were greatly disturbed (it was just about the time that they were going to dinner). Speedily a report spread to those out of doors and through the whole city, revealing nothing accurately, but only that some great calamity had befallen. Then when the evening was fully come many of the foremost Apollonians came up with torches, asking with kind intent what the news was. After taking counsel with his friends Octavius decided to tell the most distinguished of them, but to send the rabble away. He and his friends did so, and when the crowd was with difficulty persuaded by the leaders to leave, Octavius had the opportunity of taking counsel with his friends (much of the night already having been spent) as to what ought to be done and how he should improve the situation. After thoroughly considering the case, some of his friends advised him to go and join the army in Macedonia; it had been sent out for the Parthian War, and Marcus Acilius was in command of it. They advised him to take the army for the sake of safety, to go to Rome, and to take vengeance upon the murderers. The soldiers would be hostile toward the murderers because they had been fond of Caesar, and their sympathy would increase when they saw the boy. But this seemed a difficult course for a very young man, and too much for his present youth and inexperience, especially since the disposition of the people toward him was not clear as yet and many enemies were at hand. Hence the suggestion was not adopted.
Avengers of Caesar were expected to appear from among those who in his lifetime had come upon good fortune at his hands or who had received from him power, riches, and valuable gifts, such as they had not hoped for even in dreams. Octavius received advice of various sorts form different people, as is always the case in times when a situation is obscure and unsettled, but he determined to postpone decision in the whole matter until he could see those of his friends who were preeminently mature and wise and secure the aid of their counsel also. He decided therefore to refrain from action, but to go to Rome, and having first arrived in Italy, to find out what had taken place after Caesar's murder, and to take counsel with the people there concerning the entire affair.
(17) His retinue then began preparations for the voyage. Alexander, pleading his age and ill health, returned to his home at Pergamum. The inhabitants of Apollonia came in multitudes and for some time affectionately begged Octavius to stay with them, saying that they would put the city to any use that he wished, out of good will toward him and reverence for the deceased. they thought that it would be better for him to await developments in a friendly city, since so many enemies were abroad. However, since he desired to participate in whatever was done, and to avail himself of any opportunity for action, he did not change his decision, but said that he must set sail. Then he praised the Apollonians, and afterward when he became master of Rome he conferred on them autonomy and immunity and some other not inconsiderable favors, and made it one of the most fortunate cities. All the people in tears escorted him at his departure, admiring his restraint and wisdom that he had revealed in his sojourn there; and at the same time the were sorry for his lot.
There came to him from the army not a few from the cavalry and infantry, both tribunes and centurions, and many others for the sake of serving him, but some for their own gain. Then they exhorted him to take up arms and they promised that they would take the field with him and persuade others also, in order to avenge Caesar's death. He commended them, but said that he had no need of them at present; when, however, he would call them to take vengeance, he asked that they be ready; and they agreed to this.
Octavius put out to sea on ships which were at hand, though it was still quite perilously wintry, and crossing the Ionian Sea, arrived at the nearest promontory of Calabria, where the news regarding the revolution at Rome had not yet been clearly announced to the inhabitants. He came ashore here and started on foot for Lupiae. When he arrived there he met people who had been in Rome when Caesar was buried; and they told him, among other things, that he had been named in the will as Caesar's son, inheriting three fourths of his property, the remaining share having been set aside to pay the sum of seventy-five drachmae to each man in the city. He had enjoined Atia, the youth's mother, to take charge of his burial, but a great crowd had forced its way into the Forum and had there cremated the body and interred the remains. They told Octavius that Brutus and Cassius and the other murderers had taken possession of the Capitol, and were obtaining, through the promise of freedom, the slaves as allies. On the first two days while Caesar's friends were still panic stricken many men came and joined the murderers; but when colonists from the neighboring cities (whom Caesar had furnished with grants and had established in those cities) began to come in large numbers and attach themselves to the followers of Lepidus, the Master of the Horse, and to those of Antonius, Caesar's colleague in the consulship, who were promising to avenge Caesar's death, most of the conspirators' group dispersed. The conspirators being thus deserted gathered some gladiators and others who were implacably hostile to Caesar, or who had had a share in the plot. A little later, all these came down from the Capitoline, having received pledges of safety from Antonius who now had a large force, but who for the present had given up his plan to avenge Caesar's murder. (That was why they were allowed to leave Rome safely and go to Antium). Even their houses were besieged by the people, not under any leader, but the populace itself was enraged on account of the murder of Caesar, of whom they were fond, and especially when they had seen his bloody garment and newly slain body brought to burial when they had forced their way into the Forum and had there interred it.
(18) When Octavius heard this he was moved to tears and grief because of his memory and affection for the man, and his sorrow stirred anew. Then he stopped and waited for other letters from his mother and friends in Rome, although he did not disbelieve those who had reported the events, for he saw no reason why they should fabricate any falsehood. After this he set sail for Brundisium, for he had now learned that none of his enemies were there, though previously he had been suspicious lest the city might be held by some of them, and consequently he had not recklessly approached it directly from the other shore. There arrived from his mother also a letter in which was written an urgent request for him to return to hear and the whole household as soon as possible, so that no treachery should come upon him from without, seeing that he had been designated Caesar's son. It bore out the earlier news, and said that the whole populace was aroused against Brutus and Cassius and their party, and was greatly vexed at what they had done. His stepfather Philippus sent him a letter asking him not to take steps to secure Caesar's bequest but even to retain his own name because of what had happened to Caesar and to live free from politics and in safety. Octavius knew that this advice was given with kind intent, but he thought differently, as he already had his mind on great things and he was full of confidence; he therefore took upon himself the toil and danger and the enmity of men whom he did not care to please. Nor did he propose to cede to anyone a name or a rule so great as his, particularly with the state on his side and calling him to come into his father's honors; and very rightly, since both naturally and by law the office belonged to him, for he was the nearest relative and had been adopted as son by Caesar himself, and he felt that to follow the matter up and avenge his death was the proper course to pursue. This is what he thought, and he wrote and so answered Philippus though he did not succeed in convincing him. His mother Atia, when she saw the glory of fortune and the extent of the Empire devolving upon her own son, rejoiced; but on the other hand knowing that the undertaking was full of fear and danger, and having seen what had happened to her uncle Caesar, she was not very enthusiastic; so it looked as if she was between the view of her husband Philippus and that of her son. Hence she felt many cares, now anxious when she enumerated all the dangers awaiting one striving for supreme power, and now elated when she thought of the extent of that power and honor. Therefore she did not dare to dissuade her son from attempting the great deed and effecting a just requital, but still she did not venture to urge him on, because fortune seemed somewhat obscure. She permitted his use of the name Caesar and in fact was the first to assent. Octavian, having made inquiry as to what all his friends thought about this also, without delay accepted both the name and the adoption, with good fortune and favorable omen.
This was the beginning of good both for himself and all mankind, but especially for the state and the entire Roman people. He sent immediately to Asia for the money and means that Caesar had previously dispatched for the Parthian War, and when he received it along with a year's tribute from the people of Asia, contenting himself with the portion that had belonged to Caesar he turned the public property over to the state treasury. At that time, too, some of his friends urged him as they had at Apollonia to go to Caesar's colonies and to levy an army, inducing the men to join an expedition on his behalf by employing the prestige of the great name of Caesar. They declared that the soldiers would gladly follow the leadership of Caesar's son and would do everything for him; for there persisted among them a wonderful loyalty and good will toward Caesar and a memory of what they had accomplished with him in his lifetime, and they desired under the auspices of Caesar's name to win the power which they had formerly bestowed upon Caesar. However, the opportunity for this did not seem to be at hand. He therefore turned his attention toward seeking legally, through a senatorial decree, the dignity his father had held; and he was careful not to acquire the reputation of being one who was ambitious and not a law abiding man. Accordingly, he listened especially to the eldest of his friends and those of the greatest experience, and set out from Brundisium for Rome.
(19) From this point my narrative will investigate the manner in which the assassins formed their conspiracy against Caesar and how they worked out the whole affair, and what happened afterward when the whole state was shaken. Accordingly, I shall in the first place rehearse the circumstances of the plot itself, its reasons, and its final momentous outcome. In the next place I shall speak of Octavian on whose account this narrative was undertaken; how he came into power, and now, after he had taken his predecessor's place, he employed himself in deeds of peace and war.
At first a few men started the conspiracy, but afterwards many took part, more than are remembered to have taken part in any earlier plot against a commander. They say that there were more than eighty who had a share in it. Among those who had the most influence were: Decimus Brutus, a particular friend of Caesar, Gaius Cassius, and Marcus Brutus, second to none in the estimation of the Romans at that time. All these were formerly members of the opposite faction, and had tried to further Pompeius' interests, but when he was defeated, they came under Caesar's jurisdiction and lived quietly for the time being; but although Caesar tried to win them over individually by kindly treatment, they never abandoned their hope of doing him harm. He on his part was naturally without grudge against the beaten party, because of a certain leniency of disposition, but they, using to their own advantage his lack of suspicion, by seductive words and pretence of deeds treated him in such a way as to more readily escape detection in their plot. There were various reasons which affected each and all of them and impelled them to lay hands on the man. Some of them had hopes of becoming leaders themselves in his place if he were put out of the way; others were angered over what had happened to them in the war, embittered over the loss of their relatives, property, or offices of state. They concealed the fact that they were angry, and made the pretense of something more seemly, saying that they were displeased at the rule of a single man and that they were striving for a republican form of government. Different people had different reasons, all brought together by whatever pretext they happened upon.
At first the ringleaders conspired; then many more joined, some of their own accord because of personal grievances, some because they had been associated with the others and wished to show plainly the good faith in their long standing friendship, and accordingly became their associates. There were some who were of ne At first the ringleaders conspired; then many more joined, some of their own accord because of personal grievances, some because they had been associated with the others and wished to show plainly the good faith in their long standing friendship, and accordingly became their associates. There were some who were of neither of these types, but who had agreed because of the worth of the others, and who resented the power of one man after the long-standing republican constitution. They were very glad not to start the affair themselves, but were willing to join such company when someone else had initiated proceedings, not even hesitating to pay the penalty if need be. The reputation which had long been attached to the Brutus family was very influential in causing the uprising, for Brutus' ancestors had overthrown the kings who ruled from the time of Romulus, and they had first established republican government in Rome. Moreover, men who had been friends of Caesar were no longer similarly well disposed toward him when they saw people who were previously his enemies saved by him and given honors equal to their own. In fact, even these others were not particularly well disposed toward him, for their ancient grudges took precedence over gratitude and made them forgetful of their good fortune in being saved, while, when they remembered the good things they had lost in being defeated, they were provoked. Many also hated him because they had been saved by him although he had been irreproachable in his behavior toward them in every respect; but nevertheless, the very thought of receiving as a favor the benefits which as victors they would readily have enjoyed, annoyed them very much.
Then there was another class of men, namely those who had served with him, whether as officers or privates, and who did not get a share of glory. They asserted that prisoners of war were enrolled among the veteran forces and that they received identical pay. Accordingly, his friends were incensed at being rated as equal to those whom they themselves had taken prisoners, and indeed they were even outranked by some of them. To many, also, the fact that they benefitted at his hands, both by gifts of property and by appointments to offices, was a special source of grievance, since he alone was able to bestow such benefits, and everyone else was ignored as of no importance. When he became exalted through many notable victories (which was fair enough) and began to think himself superhuman the common people worshipped him, but he began to be obnoxious to the optimates and to those who were trying to obtain a share in the government. And so, every kind of man combined against him: great and small, friend and foe, military and political, every one of whom put forward his own particular pretext for the matter in hand, and as a result of his own complaints each lent a ready ear to the accusations of the others. They all confirmed each other in their conspiracy and they furnished as surety to one another the grievances which they held severally in private against him. Hence, though the number of conspirators became so great, no one dared to give information of the fact. Some say, however, that a little before his death, Caesar received a note in which warning of the plot was given, and that he was murdered with it in his hands before he had a chance to read it, and that it was found among other notes after his death.
(20) However, all this became known subsequently. At that time some wished to gratify him by voting him one honor after another, while others treacherously included extravagant honors, and published them, so that he might become and object of envy and suspicion to all. Caesar was of guileless disposition and was unskilled in political practices by reason of his foreign campaigns, so that he was easily taken in by these people, supposing, naturally enough, that their commendations came rather from men who admired him than from men who were plotting against him.
To those who were in authority this measure was expecially displeasing: that the people were now rendered powerless to make appointments to office, and that Caesar was given the right of investure to bestow upon whomsoever he pleased. An ordinance voted not long before provided this. Furthermore, all sorts of rumors were being bandied about in the crowd, some telling one story, others another. Some said that he had decided to establish a capital of the whole empire in Egypt, and that Queen Cleopatra had lain with him and borne him a son, named Cyrus, there. This he himself refuted in his will as false. Others said that he was going to do the same thing at Troy, on account of his ancient connection with the Trojan race.