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Maecenas rushed in. Before he could say anything, Octavian said, “I’ve heard about how angry the people are about the tax edict.”
“Their biggest complaint is that this isn’t a foreign war. They see it as a war between triumvirs, competing one against the other. Many believe Sextus has replaced Lepidus as a triumvir.”
Licinius stepped in and interrupted. There was urgency in his voice. “The people are rioting in the Forum. They’re shouting that they won’t pay the new taxes, and they’re tearing down the edicts we posted on the buildings.”
Octavian’s temper flared. “Don’t they want the grain to flow again? Don’t they understand that we need the tax money to defeat Sextus? I’m going out there!”
Licinius stepped in front of him and said, “It’s too dangerous, Caesar!”
“Dangerous or not, I’m their leader, and I’m going to face them no matter what the consequences.” He stepped around Licinius and hurried out the door.
When Maecenas caught up with him, a rock went flying over their heads. He screamed, “I told you this would happen! But you wouldn’t listen to me! We’ll all be dead in a few minutes.” More rocks came flying at them. The soldiers’ helmets were being pelted. Finally, one of the rocks hit Octavian on the shoulder. He stopped, his grey eyes flashing with anger. Licinius and his men formed a circle around him.
Then they heard noise at the other end of the Via Sacra. The rock throwing stopped as the people ran to see Antony arriving with a bodyguard of soldiers. When they reached him, they started yelling at him to go away. He yelled back angrily, “Nobody tells Antony to go away!” When the people started throwing rocks at him too. He shouted, “Swing your swords, lads. Slaughter anyone in your way. Kill them all if you have to…..