THE SECOND TRIUMVIRATE
 CAESAR, the greatest man in Roman history, was dead. He had
been killed by Brutus, "an honorable man," who fancied
it was his duty to rid his country of a man whose
ambition was so great that it might become hurtful.
Brutus was as stern as patriotic, and did not consider
it wrong to take a man's life for the good of the
country. He therefore did not hesitate to address the
senate, and to try and explain his reasons for what he
But to his surprise and indignation, he soon found
himself speaking to empty benches. The senators had
all slipped away, one by one, because they were
doubtful how the people would take the news of their
Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators were
equally uncertain, so they retired to the Capitol,
where they could defend themselves if need be. The
Romans, however, were at first too stunned to do
anything. The senators came together on the next day
to decide whether Cæsar had really been a tyrant,
and had deserved death; but Cicero advised them to
leave the matter unsettled.
Thus, by Cicero's advice, the murderers were neither
rewarded nor punished; but a public funeral was decreed
for the dead hero. His remains were exposed in the
Forum, where he was laid in state on an ivory bed.
There Cæsar's will was read aloud, and when the
assembled people heard that he had left his gardens for
public use, and had directed that a certain sum of
money should be paid to every poor man, their grief at
his loss became more apparent than ever.
 As Cæsar had no son, the bulk of his property was
left to his nephew and adopted son, Octavius. When
the will had been read, Mark Antony, Cæsar's
friend, pronounced the funeral oration, and made use of
his eloquence to stir up the people to avenge the
He gradually worked them up to such a pitch that they
built the funeral pyre with their own hands, and wished
to put the murderers to death. The conspirators,
however, succeeded in escaping from the city; and
before long Brutus and Cassius made themselves masters
of Macedonia and Syria.
With Cæsar dead, and Cassius and Brutus away, Mark
Antony was the most powerful man in Rome. He soon
discovered, however, that Octavius and the ex-consul
Lepidus would prove his rivals. After fighting against
them for a short time, without gaining any advantage,
he finally made peace with them.
These three men then formed what is know in history as
the Second Triumvirate (43 B.C.). They agreed that
Antony should rule Gaul, Lepidus Spain, and Octavius
Africa and the Mediterranean; but Rome and Italy were
to be held in common.