In the fourth issue, the relationship between the two remaining triumvirs, Octavian and Mark Anthony, grew tense before the declaration of open war. The Senate, at the instigation of Guy, announced it not to Mark himself, but to Cleopatra, but everyone knew very well what that meant - the loving king of the East would not leave her woman in trouble, so there would still be a mass slaughter.
Anthony had heard that Italy was raging because of exorbitant requisitions for the war, so he wanted to drag out the campaign as much as possible, hoping that Octavian would be devoured by starving crowds. However, it was impossible to meet the enemy in Egypt - on the way, the cunning “Caesar’s son” would have managed not only to improve his position properly, having plundered all the cities he met, but also to lure the locals to his side, because something, and build castles from the air Octavian had long learned noodles on the grateful ears of naive listeners.
Therefore, as usual, dragging on with the implementation of his plans, Anthony decided not to go into Italy itself, but dug in Greece, waiting for the adversary in a convenient place for himself, and even with a numerical advantage.
But something went wrong. During the time it took for the separatists to smoke from Sicily (see previous issues), Octavian not only began to roughly understand how to conduct military operations, but also acquired sensible advisers who willingly applied the acquired skills against a competitor of his superiors.
Mark, hoping that Guy would try to sail to him with the whole crowd, and then he would be able to cut off the food supplies, after which he would mock the starving enemy without stopping drinking, eat up three throats and have fun with Cleopatra, was somewhat discouraged. Probably, it was not necessary to use exactly the same tactics that Pompey had used a couple of years earlier - how they knew how to work against her in Italy.
Instead of the attack Antony expected from the north, where closer, the noble Octavian naval commanders began to nightmare his ships and bases from the south, and then, taking advantage of the confusion between Mark's disparate formations, landed not far from his main forces, both marine and land, near the Gulf of Ambraki .
At the same time, Guy did not immediately attack Cleopatra's husband, preferring to choose a better place, drier and taller, set up a camp with all the amenities there and sit there waiting for what would happen next, contemptuously spitting down.
Anthony was forced to crawl closer, hoping to give the adversary the last and decisive battle, after which he would end the circus and return to Egypt, where it was warm. However, there it was. Octavian sat on his top and didn’t want to go outside the walls, it was somewhat suicidal to rush to the assault, while meanwhile the brave Nakhimovs and Nelsons in the service of Rome actively reduced the number of ships flying the flag of Anthony, until they left only one group (albeit a considerable one, 200 units) in the same bay where two triumviers played in peepers.
Actions at sea not only took Mark's advantage in the fleet into the region of negative numbersbut they also blocked food supplies from warm Egypt to him, after which the soldiers of Anthony began to grumble and slowly switch to the other side - it was better to enjoy the heat on the walls than to sit in swamps under the walls and lick at someone else's food. The allied forces of Marku, which were not directly subordinate to him, also reached towards Guy, for the air clearly smelled of fail.
Realizing all the critical nuisance of the situation, Anthony went along the only remaining path - he started a naval battle in the bay. It turned out strange. On the one hand, Mark managed to break through the blockade and go behind enemy lines. On the other hand, he did not take advantage of the situation, but simply and without frills roasted at full steam towards Egypt. Plutarch believed that Cleopatra was the first to pry her skis, and Anthony simply followed her, as if tied, leaving the entire fleet.
After such a fiasco, those who were not sunk quickly chose to surrender and go to the side of the winner, since their commander had left the battlefield before it became clear who was winning. The land units remaining in Greece did not think too long - Octavian at least promised money and often even paid. Asian guys, to whom Mark sent a message as soon as he got to land, also refused - understand, say, with his Cleopatra himself, and we will go to Guy.
Anthony scratched his head, looked at the prospects that awaited him in the future, gathered his strength ... and continued the feast of life in Alexandria, trying to forget all possible problems and hardships. Fun, everyone guessed, did not last long. Octavian was detained a little in Italy - taxes were still too steep, but the very next year he came to Egypt to finish what he had begun. Mark tried to defend himself, but his warriors already saw that they had put on the wrong horse, and even minor victories meant nothing. Soon, his army went over to the side of Rome, and Alexandria fell.
Mark, agitated by rumors of Cleopatra's suicide, tried to commit suicide, but did not really succeed, simply inflicting a severe wound on himself. When it turned out that the queen was quite alive, he had to be delivered to the fortified palace on the ropes so that Anthony could die next to the one with whom he had lived all the past years. Cleopatra herself, realizing that with Octavian the number with seduction will not work (or maybe really grieving over Mark) followed her lover a few days later.
Having reached Egypt, Guy solved the remaining inheritance problems in his own style - he executed Caesarion and his eldest son Anthony, deprived the others of all rights and gave them to his sister in charge.
After the death of Mark Anthony, the last war of the Roman Republic was over. What became of Rome later had nothing to do with the republic and democracy, even though it was formally called. Octavian single-handedly ruled for another 44 years, collecting those positions that gave him maximum unlimited power in the provinces and the city itself, and appointing himself "first among equals" of citizens. Mindful of Caesar's mistake, of the royal title and divinity, he did not stutter, but the difference was not too great, and the nuts were constantly tightened.
When Guy Julius Caesar Octavian Augustus, princeps, father of the fatherland, supreme pontiff and main stands died in 14 AD already, the restoration of the republic was out of the question. Rome has completely turned into an Empire. Perhaps a little not what Brutus and Cassius wanted, discussing their plan to kill the "dictator" 58 years before.
The next major change in the political structure of Rome will happen only after 270 years, when Diocletian, lord and god ascend to the throne.
But this is a completely different story.
Read the rest of the story about Octavian coming to power:
- part 1 - triumvirate, 42-41 BC
- Part 2 - How did Anthony and Octavian share power?
- part 3 - the struggle for power and the elimination of rivals
- part 4 - the war of Anthony and Octavian