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Caesar's death he was at Apollonia, a city of Illyricum, north of Greece. 

The troops under his command there offered to march at once with him, if 

he wished it, to Rome, and avenge his uncle's death. Octavius, after 

some hesitation, concluded that it would be most prudent for him to 

proceed thither first himself, alone, as a private person, and demand 

his rights as his uncle's heir, according to the provisions of the will. 

He accordingly did so. He found, on his arrival, that the will, the 

property, the books and parchments, and the substantial power of the 

government, were all in Antony's hands. Antony, instead of putting 

Octavius into possession of his property and rights, found various 

pretexts for evasion and delay. Octavius was too young yet, he said, to 

assume such weighty responsibilities. He was himself also too much 

pressed with the urgency of public affairs to attend to the business of 

the will. With these and similar excuses as his justification, Antony 

seemed inclined to pay no regard whatever to Octavius's claims. 


Octavius, young as he was, possessed a character that was marked with 

great intelligence, spirit, and resolution. He soon made many powerful 

friends in the city of Rome and among the Roman Senate. It became a 

serious question whether he or Antony would gain the greatest ascendency 

in the party of Caesar's friends. The contest for this ascendency was, in 

fact, protracted for two or three years, and led to a vast complication 

of intrigues, and maneuvers, and civil wars, which can not, however, be 

here particularly detailed. 


The other competitor which Antony had to contend with was a 

distinguished Roman general named Lepidus. Lepidus was an officer of the 

army, in very high command at the time of Caesar's death. He was present 

in the senate-chamber on the day of the assassination. He stole secretly 

away when he saw that the deed was done, and repaired to the camp of the 

army without the city and immediately assumed the command of the forces. 

This gave him great power, and in the course of the contests which 

subsequently ensued between Antony and Octavius, he took an active part, 

and held in some measure the balance between them. At length the contest 

was finally closed by a coalition of the three rivals. Finding that they 

could not either of them gain a decided victory over the others, they 

combined together, and formed the celebrated _triumvirate_, which 

continued afterward for some time to wield the supreme command in the 

Roman world. In forming this league of reconciliation, the three rivals 

held their conference on an island situated in one of the branches of 

the Po, in the north of Italy. They manifested extreme jealousy and 

suspicion of each other in coming to this interview. Two bridges were 

built leading to the island, one from each bank of the stream. The army 

of Antony was drawn up upon one side of the river, and that of Octavius 

upon the other. Lepidus went first to the island by one of the bridges. 

After examining the ground carefully, to make himself sure that it 

contained no ambuscade, he made a signal to the other generals, who then 

came over, each advancing by his own bridge, and accompanied by three 

hundred guards, who remained upon the bridge to secure a retreat for 

their masters in case of treachery. The conference lasted three days, at 

the expiration of which time the articles were all agreed upon and 



This league being formed, the three confederates turned their united 

force against the party of the conspirators. Of this party Brutus and 

Cassius were still at the head. 


The scene of the contests between Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus had been 

chiefly Italy and the other central countries of Europe. Brutus and 

Cassius, on the other hand, had gone across the Adriatic Sea into the 

East immediately after Caesar's assassination. They were now in Asia 

Minor, and were employed in concentrating their forces, forming 

alliances with the various Eastern powers, raising troops, bringing over 

to their side the Roman legions which were stationed in that quarter of 

the world, seizing magazines, and exacting contributions from all who 

could be induced to favor their cause. Among other embassages which they 

sent, one went to Egypt to demand aid from Cleopatra. Cleopatra, 

however, was resolved to join the other side in the contest. It was 

natural that she should feel grateful to Caesar for his efforts and 

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