Misunderstandings brought Antony and Octavian to the brink of a civil war. Antony was angry that Octavian had taken control of his eleven legions in Gaul, but perhaps he should have held his temper, given that he’d just learned that his wife, Fulvia, and his brother, Lucius, had started and fought a civil war against Octavian in Italy. The primary motivation for this war was Fulvia’s jealousy of Cleopatra. Antony was living with her in Egypt at the time, and Fulvia thought the war would induce him to return to Rome.
When Antony sailed into Brundisium harbor to confront Octavian, the citizens and soldiers would not let him enter the city. They’d built up their fortification walls to prevent against pirate attacks. They were also under strict orders from Octavian not to let any foreign armies enter. Antony was furious when he was refused entrance. He had his men build a cross peninsula wall so that he could put the city under siege, and he sent a message to Sextus Pompey that he wanted to form an alliance and that Sextus should immediately start attacking Italy’s ports.
For his part, Octavian was not aware that Antony was coming. He was in Rome when he learned that Antony was ready to attack. He immediately marched his main army to Brundisium. Things appeared bleak at first, but after Marcus Agrippa defeated Antony’s army in a land battle at Sipontum, and Sextus’ forces were driven out of the ports of Consentia and Thurii, Octavian’s situation improved. It was now up to Antony as to whether there would be a war or not. The complete story of the ‘Treaty of Brundisium’ is one of the ‘Octavian Chronicles’. It’s more about the human dramas of Octavian and Antony, two opposite personalities; what they were like, how they led their men, how they clashed against one another, and what it was like to be there when they sat down across from one another to negotiate a treaty .