THE BATTLE OF PHILIPPI.
Consternation at Rome.—Caesar’s will.—Brutus and Cassius.—Parties formed.—Octavius and Lepidus.—Character of Octavius.—Octavius proceeds to Rome.—He claims his rights as heir.—Lepidus takes command of the army.—The triumvirate.—Conference between Octavius, Lepidus, and Antony.—Embassage to Cleopatra.—Her decision.—Cassius abandons his designs.—Approach of the triumvirs.—The armies meet at Philippi. —Sickness of Octavius.—Difference of opinion between Brutus and Cassius.—Council of war.—Decision of the council.—Brutus greatly elated.—Despondency of Cassius.—Preparations for battle.—Resolution of Brutus to die.—Similar resolve of Cassius.—Omens.—Their influence upon Cassius.—The swarms of bees.—Warnings received by Brutus.—The spirit seen by Brutus.—His conversation with it.—Battle of Philippi.—Defeat of Octavius.—Defeat of Cassius.—Brutus goes to his aid—Death of Cassius.—Grief of Brutus.—Defeat of Brutus.—His retreat.—Situation of Brutus in the glen.—The helmet of water.—Brutus surrounded.—Proposal of Statilius.—Anxiety and suspense.—Resolution of Brutus.—Brutus’s farewell to his friends.—The last duty.—Death of Brutus.—Situation of Antony.
When the tidings of the assassination of Caesar were first announced to the people of Rome, all ranks and classes of men were struck with amazement and consternation. No one knew what to say or do. A very large and influential portion of the community had been Caesar’s friends. It was equally certain that there was a very powerful interest opposed to him. No one could foresee which of these two parties would now carry the day, and, of course, for a time, all was uncertainty and indecision.
Mark Antony came forward at once, and assumed the position of Caesar’s representative and the leader of the party on that side. A will was found among Caesar’s effects, and when the will was opened it appeared that large sums of money were left to the Roman people, and other large amounts to a nephew of the deceased, named Octavius, who will be more particularly spoken of hereafter. Antony was named in the will is the executor of it. This and other circumstances seemed to authorize him to come forward as the head and the leader of the Caesar party. Brutus and Cassius, who remained openly in the city after their desperate deed had been performed, were the acknowledged leaders of the other party; while the mass of the people were at first so astounded at the magnitude and suddenness of the revolution which the open and public assassination of a Roman emperor by a Roman Senate denoted, that they knew not what to say or do. In fact, the killing of Julius Caesar, considering the exalted position which he occupied, the rank and station of the men who perpetrated the deed, and the very extraordinary publicity of the scene in which the act was performed, was, doubtless, the most conspicuous and most appalling case of assassination that has ever occurred. The whole population of Rome seemed for some days to be amazed and stupefied by the tidings. At length, however, parties began to be more distinctly formed. The lines of demarkation between them were gradually drawn, and men began to arrange themselves more and more unequivocally on the opposite sides.