Octavian Chronicle #1, Assassination-44 BC, tells the whole story.
In May 44 BC, two months after Julius Caesar’s assassination in Rome, eighteen-year-old Octavian met and clashed with thirty-eight-year-old Mark Antony.
Caesar adopted Octavian as his son in his will and left him three-fourths of his personal wealth. Caesar also left each Roman man citizen 300 sesterces, a large sum of money at the time.
Mark Antony, in his position as consul, was now the head of government. After the assassination, Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, had brought him all of Caesar’s money and legal papers. It was his up to him to execute Caesar’s will.
Octavian had been away at a military camp in Apollonia, (current Albania), at the time of the assassination. Upon his return to Rome, Octavian waited for an invitation from Antony to discuss his inheritance, but no invitation came. Angry about this, Octavian had a meeting set up through friends of his family.
As they shook hands, Maecenas couldn’t help but notice the difference in size between his friend Octavian and the powerfully built like a gladiator, Mark Antony. He thought, Antony does bear resemblance to Hercules. Maybe he is descended from him as he claims.
When they were all seated, Antony asked gruffly, “What’s on your mind, lad?”
Octavian said, “I want you to know that I’m here as a private citizen, and as you are my elder, I would like to address you as father, if that’s alright with you.”
Antony grunted his approval.
His voice raised in agitation, Octavian began, “Well, seeing that you didn’t even have the courtesy to make an attempt to contact me since my return to Rome, I came over to meet with you to go over what has transpired since the assassination. I’m here to find out what you’re doing to arrest and punish the assassins, and I’m here to collect my inheritance from Caesar.”
Antony’s whole countenance changed.
“Father Antony, there are some things that you have done for which I want to give you my praise, and for which I owe you my thanks. But there are other things for which I blame you.
“On the day of the assassination, I know that you were detained at the door and were not at Caesar’s side when he was killed. At least you were able to survive, even if Caesar didn’t.”
Antony sat back in his chair and said sarcastically, “I’m glad you’re pleased that I’m alive.”
Ignoring his remark, Octavian continued, a sharp edge in his voice, “My question to you is this. If you’d been at his side, am I correct if I say that you would’ve saved his life or died trying?”
“I’d done it before and would’ve done it again.” Antony growled.
Octavian pointed his finger in anger at Antony as he spouted out his words, “If you would’ve saved his life, if you’d been at his side, then why did you not seek vengeance for Caesar later that night after the assassination?”
Antony stared at Octavian. He appeared to be at a loss for words.
“Father Antony, why did you not do, a few hours later, what you just now told me you would’ve done at the very time of assassination? In your position, as consul, you were well within your legal rights to avenge this monstrous crime if you wanted to. You certainly could have at least arrested these men. Lepidus had soldiers nearby on the Island in the Tiber. You had the military resources to do it. Why didn’t you do it?”
His face now red with anger, Octavian was almost screaming, “No, instead, you had dinner that evening with Cassius, and Lepidus had dinner with Brutus! Why did you not move against them immediately instead of having dinner with them?”
Maecenas observed that Antony’s advantage of physical size was being diminished as Octavian continued with his verbal onslaught.
In an attempt to defend himself, Antony answered, “Well, there was one thing that I did that was of great importance to Caesar and to you. I didn’t allow honors to be voted to the murderers as tyrannicides. If I’d agreed to this for my own safety, then Caesar would’ve been declared a tyrant. No glory, honor, or confirmation of his acts would’ve been possible.”
Octavian answered sarcastically, “If you were smart, you wouldn’t have put yourself in the position of negotiating with the murderers in the first place. Had you done your duty and seized the moment, they would’ve been answering to you instead of you answering to them.”
Nearly an hour later, after Octavian left, Antony said to his centurion, “Make sure that he keeps on going and give strict orders to everyone that he’s never to be let in again unless I personally give the approval!” Then he looked at his secretaries and said, “Alright, now let’s go over the menu for tonight’s dinner party.”