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THE BATTLE OF ACTIUM.
Perplexity of Antony.--His meeting with Fulvia.--Meeting of Antony and
Fulvia.--Reconciliation of Antony and Octavius.--Octavia.--Her marriage
to Antony.--Octavia's influence over her husband and her
brother.--Octavia pleads for Antony.--Difficulties settled.--Antony
tired of his wife.--He goes to Egypt.--Antony again with
Cleopatra.--Effect on his character.--The march to Sidon.--Suffering of
the troops.--Arrival of Cleopatra.--She brings supplies for the
army.--Octavia intercedes for Antony.--She brings him re-enforcements.
--Cleopatra's alarm.--Her arts.--Cleopatra's secret agents.--Their
representations to Antony.--Cleopatra's success.--Antony's message
to Octavia.--Devotion of Octavia.--Indignation against Antony.--Measures
of Antony.--Accusations against him.--Antony's preparations.--Assistance
of Cleopatra.--Canidius bribed.--His advice in regard to Cleopatra.--The
fleet at Samos.--Antony's infatuation.--Riot and revelry.--Antony and
Cleopatra at Athens.--Ostentation of Cleopatra.--Honors bestowed on
her.--Baseness of Antony.--Approach of Octavius.--Antony's will.--Charges
against him.--Antony's neglect of his duties.--Meeting of the fleets.
--Opinions of the council.--Cleopatra's wishes.--Battle of Actium.--Flight
of Cleopatra.--Antony follows Cleopatra.--He gains her galley.--Antony
pursued.--A severe conflict.--The avenger of a father.--Antony's
anguish--Antony and Cleopatra shun each other.--Arrival at
Tsenarus.--Antony and Cleopatra fly together to Egypt.
Cleopatra, in parting with Antony as described in the last chapter, lost
him for two or three years. During this time Antony himself was involved
in a great variety of difficulties and dangers, and passed through many
eventful scenes, which, however, can not here be described in detail.
His life, during this period, was full of vicissitude and excitement,
and was spent probably in alternations of remorse for the past and
anxiety for the future. On landing at Tyre, he was at first extremely
perplexed whether to go to Asia Minor or to Rome. His presence was
imperiously demanded in both places. The war which Fulvia had fomented
was caused, in part, by the rivalry of Octavius, and the collision of
his interests with those of her husband. Antony was very angry with her
for having managed his affairs in such a way as to bring about a war.
After a time Antony and Fulvia met at Athens. Fulvia had retreated to
that city, and was very seriously sick there, either from bodily
disease, or from the influence of long-continued anxiety, vexation, and
distress. They had a stormy meeting. Neither party was disposed to
exercise any mercy toward the other. Antony left his wife rudely and
roughly, after loading her with reproaches. A short time afterward, she
sank down in sorrow to the grave.
The death of Fulvia was an event which proved to be of advantage to
Antony. It opened the way to a reconciliation between him and Octavius.
Fulvia had been extremely active in opposing Octavius's designs, and in
organizing plans for resisting him. He felt, therefore, a special
hostility against her, and, through her, against Antony. Now, however,
that she was dead, the way seemed to be in some sense opened for a
Octavius had a sister, Octavia, who had been the wife of a Roman general
named Marcellus. She was a very beautiful and a very accomplished woman,
and of a spirit very different from that of Fulvia. She was gentle,
affectionate, and kind, a lover of peace and harmony, and not at all
disposed, like Fulvia, to assert and maintain her influence over others
by an overbearing and violent demeanor. Octavia's husband died about
this time, and, in the course of the movements and negotiations between
Antony and Octavius, the plan was proposed of a marriage between Antony
and Octavia, which, it was thought, would ratify and confirm the
reconciliation. This proposal was finally agreed upon, Antony was glad
to find so easy a mode of settling his difficulties. The people of Rome,
too, and the authorities there, knowing that the peace of the world
depended upon the terms on which these two men stood with regard to each
other, were extremely desirous that this arrangement should be carried
into effect. There was a law of the commonwealth forbidding the marriage
of a widow within a specified period after the death of her husband.
That period had not, in Octavia's case, yet expired. There was, however,
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