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  • In the previous episode in this series, we  talked about the events that happened after  

  • the assassination of Caesar, but the series itself  is about the civil wars that continued shaking the  

  • Roman Republic leading to the principate. Unlike  Caesar's Civil War that began with a clear act  

  • of war, the crossing of the Rubicon, the Civil War  that would be later called the War of Mutina began  

  • slowly, with a number of events slowly pushing the  relevant parties closer and closer to bloodshed.  

  • In this episode, we will talk about  this first post-Caesar civil war.

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  • By the summer of 44BC, Octavian had successfully  halted Brutus and Cassius' plan to win over  

  • the Roman public, forcing them to abandon  the city. Brutus had retreated to Greece,  

  • where he was greeted warmly in Athens, and began  rallying support, while Cassius was en-route to  

  • the East, where he held the most influence. Antony  and Dolabella, the two consuls for the year,  

  • had been assigned Macedonia and Syria  respectively for the following year,  

  • but their position was somewhat weak. The public  in Rome was starting to turn against them and  

  • they had no significant army under their commandDolabella had been granted command of the legions  

  • Caesar had picked out for the Parthian campaigncurrently in Illyria, but this command would not  

  • take effect until the end of his consulship  at the end of the year. They needed men now

  • Suddenly, a rumour reached Rome that a huge Getae  force had attacked Macedonia. Antony immediately  

  • requested that the Parthian army be put under  his command to defend the province. The Senate  

  • was initially reluctant, but not wanting to risk  the province, relented. Soon it was reported that  

  • the Getae were no longer in Macedonia, and some  reports claimed that they never even attacked.  

  • Nevertheless, Antony insisted that he maintain  command, claiming that if the army were moved,  

  • then there certainly would be a huge  attack on the undefended province.  

  • Antony had just secured himself a large, and  well-trained army consisting of Caesar's veterans

  • Antony immediately brought 4 legions to Brundisium  and demanded that the Senate reassign governance  

  • of Macedonia to his brother Gaius, while he  was to be given governance of Cisalpine Gaul.  

  • Just as Caesar before him, Antony knew he had  to secure governance of a province in order  

  • to have legal immunity. Moreover, Caesar  had shown how valuable the province was,  

  • and how much control the governor of Cisalpine  Gaul could exercise over Rome. Decimus Brutus  

  • was currently the governor, however, and the  Senate refused to allow Antony to replace him.  

  • Looking to bypass the Senate, Antony planned  to put the law to the Public Assembly,  

  • but his popularity greatly diminishedhe was unlikely to pass the law alone

  • The most popular man in Rome at the  moment was Octavian. The two men had  

  • constantly been at loggerheads, but Antony's  circle had been advising him to reconcile.  

  • Finally seeing the benefit in this, Antony and  Octavian made a temporary alliance. Octavian  

  • would swing the vote in the Assemblywhile Antony would later help Octavian.  

  • Still bitter towards Antony, Octavian was even  more resentful of Decimus and was willing to do  

  • what was necessary to weaken Caesar's assassinsThe law was passed by the People, ensuring Antony  

  • would be governor of Cisalpine Gaul, and  his brother governor of Macedonia for 43BC.  

  • The Senate, however, sent messages to Decimus to  not give in to Antony and to defend his province

  • Meanwhile, Sextus Pompey had ventured out  from his base in Sicily and had managed  

  • to stir up a revolt in Spain, which had  always had Pompeian sympathies. Lepidus,  

  • previously Caesar's Master of Horse, was able to  negotiate with Sextus to retreat without fighting  

  • and the Senate, praised him for thatas winning over Lepidus would greatly  

  • strengthen their position and  severely undermine Antony

  • In Rome, one of the Tribunes of the Plebs diedand needed to be replaced. Octavian was the  

  • popular candidate, but the Senate feared that he  would use his office to prosecute the Liberators.  

  • Octavian turned to Antony, calling to  repay the favour, but the latter refused,  

  • claiming that Octavian was too young. The  majority voted for Octavian nevertheless,  

  • but Antony once again interceded, annulling  the vote. Octavian was furious and immediately  

  • began sending his agents throughout Italygauging which cities would be loyal to him  

  • and which of Antony's legions had wavering  loyalty, and amassing old veterans of Caesar.  

  • To further damage Antony's position, Octavian's  ally Cicero began disseminating the first of a  

  • number of speeches attacking Antony's  actions and character, the Philippics

  • Octavian's agents were successful in sewing  discontent among legions in Brundisium,  

  • as many legionaries saw Antony's actions  against Caesar's heir as disrespectful  

  • and insulting. Immediately, Antony rushed to  Brundisium to regain control of the situation.  

  • Octavian, nervous of what Antony was planningalso left Rome, calling Caesarean veterans to  

  • his banner. He offered huge rewards  and soon had an army of thousands.  

  • With no legal right to command an army, he  justified it by calling them his bodyguards.  

  • He sent this force to Arretium and then started  waiting for Antony to make the first move

  • In Brundisium, Antony was  struggling to regain control.  

  • Octavian's agents had been effective, and  Antony's initial gift of 100 drachmae was  

  • laughed off. Infuriated, Antony rounded  up the ring-leaders and decimated them.  

  • This brutal action, combined with a larger  offered reward, was enough to temporarily win  

  • the legions back to his side, and Antony returned  to Rome, sending the 4 legions north to Arminium,  

  • joining with two more on the road. However, while  on the march two other Macedonian Legions, the  

  • Martian and 4th consisting of Caesar's veteransdefected, pledging their loyalties to Octavian.  

  • Antony tried to win them back but was forced away  by arrow fire. Nevertheless, at this point in late  

  • November, Antony was in a solid position. He had  4 legions in Italy, Lepidus and Asinius Pollio in  

  • Spain commanded 4 and 3 legions respectively, and  Plancus commanded another 3 in Transalpine Gaul;  

  • Antony was confident that  they would side with him

  • Meanwhile, Dolabella had also begun his journey  from Rome to Syria collecting a small force,  

  • likely from Macedonia, to take up governorship  there when his term as consul ended.  

  • En route, he passed through Asiathe province governed by Trebonius.  

  • While attempting to resupply, Dolabella  found all the cities closed to him. Furious,  

  • he attacked Smyrna where Trebonius was located but  was unsuccessful. Disgruntled, he began to retreat  

  • and was shadowed by Trebonius men. Dolabella's  scouts informed of this though, and he managed  

  • to lay an ambush, destroying Trebonius' force and  rushing back to seize the now undefended Smyrna.  

  • Trebonius was captured in his bed and beheaded by  Dolabella's men - the first of Caesar's assassins  

  • to die. With the year coming to a close, Dolabella  and Antony's terms as consul would also be ending  

  • soon. Antony, knowing he needed to secure  a governorship, sent messages to Decimus  

  • demanding that he give up his province, demands  that Decimus refused. Antony then left Rome to  

  • join his army to enforce his claim on the province  and was given a fabulous send-off by the Senate

  • Octavian, outraged at Antony's earlier betrayalalso left Rome to join with his force in Arretium.  

  • He now also had a formidable force: effectively  2 legions of veterans and 2 of levies who had  

  • rallied to him, and the Martian and 4th LegionsHe too received a warm send-off from the Senate  

  • which hoped that two Caesareans would  wear each other down. Antony, marching  

  • to Cisalpine Gaul once again demanded Decimusresignation, and Decimus once again refused.  

  • Antony entered the province and began marching  on various towns, many of which simply open their  

  • gates to him, not wanting to be sacked. Decimushowever, had 3 legions, two made of veterans,  

  • and a sizeable force of gladiators. He marched  to Mutina and prepared to defend the city. Antony  

  • arrived shortly, besieging the city and encircling  it with walls, just as Caesar had done at Alesia

  • 44 BC had come to an end, and new consuls were  elected in Rome: Hirtius and Pansa. Both men had  

  • served under Caesar, but both were somewhat  moderate Caesareans, convinced by Cicero of  

  • the danger that Antony presented. Cicero was  doubling down on his attacks against Antony  

  • and in an impassioned speech in the Senate called  for Antony to be declared an enemy of the People.  

  • In an equally impressive speech, Caesar's  father-in-law Lucius Calpurnius Piso,  

  • who had been trying to decrease the  tensions during the last decade of wars,  

  • defended Antony insisting that his crimes were  not enough to be declared an enemy of the state  

  • and advocating for Antony to stand  trial. Despite Cicero's attempts,  

  • the Senate initially attempted to negotiateoffering him the governorship of Macedonia,  

  • but Antony was having none of it citing  the vote of the People's Assembly

  • Antony's rejection played into Cicero's hands  perfectly, and he convinced the Senate to declare  

  • both Antony and Dolabella enemies of the stateAt the same time, Cicero ensured that Octavian had  

  • the legal right to command armies under the Senate  assigning him to assist Hirtius and Pansa, who had  

  • been instructed to raise troops to fight AntonyLastly, Brutus and Cassius were both confirmed  

  • as governors of Macedonia and Syria, with all  governors East of the Adriatic being instructed  

  • to assist them in any way they could. It wasmasterful play that returned the power to the  

  • Senate with Consuls sympathetic to their cause,  a large army in Italy, and the East secured

  • Brutus and Cassius were quick to seize the  moment. Brutus, having rallied support in  

  • Greece throughout 44BC, marched into Macedoniaseizing it and capturing Antony's brother Gaius.  

  • Meanwhile, Cassius had leveraged his  incredible popularity in the east,  

  • a result of his heroic conduct in Crassusotherwise disastrous Carrhae campaign. With  

  • the Senate having assigned all eastern governors  to assist him and Brutus, Cassius had managed to  

  • gather a huge force of 12 legions and marched  to Syria, confronting Dolabella at Laodicea.  

  • He easily captured the town, Dolabella committing  suicide with the assistance of his soldiers

  • Antony's position, was now perilousbut Octavian too was nervous,  

  • as, despite the imperium to command armieshe was still outranked and subservient to the  

  • new Consuls, who could easily remove him from his  command. His primary motivation was to destroy the  

  • Liberators and the Pompeians, but it now seemed  that the Pompeian faction had been revived and  

  • in power. Still thinking that his best chances lay  with the Senate, Octavian continued to assist the  

  • two Consuls. Pansa was still levying legions, but  Hirtius joined Octavian, taking command of the two  

  • ex-Antonine Legions. With winter closing in and  Decimus running low on supplies, the two marched  

  • to his position to put pressure on Antony. Given  the quality of Antony's army, however, they were  

  • apprehensive to commit to a battle, preferring to  skirmish while they waited for Pansa's arrival

  • Meanwhile, in Rome, Cicero was effectively  in charge, pursuing a stringent anti-Antony  

  • policy and extracting heavy taxes from  Antony's allies, to raise war funds.  

  • However, he went too far, pushing one of themVentidius, to rally 3 legions worth of veterans.  

  • With this force, he tried to make his  way to Antony, but finding the road  

  • blocked by Octavian and Hirtius, diverted to  Picenum to bide his time. Meanwhile, Pansa,  

  • having recently levied 4 new legions, marched  to Octavian and Hirtius in late March of 43BC

  • Antony, upon hearing this and fearing that  he would soon be massively outnumbered,  

  • decided to try and defeat his enemies in  detail. Leading two of his veteran Legions,  

  • the 2nd and 35th, a few cohorts of his picked  bodyguard, and a significant number of cavalry,  

  • between Octavian and Hirtius' armies, Antony  marched to the Via Aemilia, positioning  

  • themselves near the Forum Gallorum just outside  the marshes ready to ambush Pansa. He also sent  

  • smaller forces under his brother Lucius to harass  Octavian's camp, keeping him pinned inside

  • Fortunately for Pansa, both Hirtius and Octavian  had been cautious, Hirtius sending the veteran  

  • Martian Legion under Galba, one of Caesar's  assassins, and Octavian sending 2 cohorts of his  

  • bodyguard to escort the new levies. It was a wise  move. As Pansa's force marched through the marsh,