THE BATTLE OF PHILIPPI
 THE Triumvirs began to rule on the 1st January 42 B.C. But
neither Antony nor Octavius
was able to stay long in Rome, for Brutus and Cassius
had still to be pursued and
punished. So Antony with a large army set out for
Greece to fight against the
conspirators, while Octavius, also with an army, went
to Sicily to attack Sextus.
Lepidus was left in Rome to watch over the welfare of
Octavius did not conquer Sextus, but in August he left
Sicily to join Antony in
Greece. They found Brutus and Cassius, each with his
army, encamped in a strong
position at Philippi in the north of the country.
The rebels, for such Rome now called the two
conspirators, were in no haste to
fight, for they had a plentiful supply of food for
their armies, which was
constantly renewed by the fleet which they commanded.
Antony and Octavius had no fleet, and their supply of
provisions was uncertain; for
it was brought to them by the country folk, who were
not able to give them easily
all that was necessary.
Before the armies met, Brutus was one night sitting
alone in his tent, after his
soldiers had gone to their quarters.
It was late and the light was dim, for he was not
working, but brooding, as he had
begun to do since the death of Cæsar.
Suddenly he felt that he was no longer alone in the
tent, and looking up, he saw
that a strange figure was standing
 close beside him. In silence Brutus and his unknown
guest gazed the one at the
other, until at length Brutus spoke.
"What are you," he demanded, "of men or gods, and
upon what business come to me?"
"I am your evil genius, Brutus," a sombre voice
replied, "you shall see me at
The words sounded almost as a threat, but Brutus
answered steadily, "Then I shall
As he spoke the figure vanished. Brutus at once called
his servants and asked them
if they had heard any one enter the camp, but none of
them had either heard or seen
the mysterious stranger.
Soon after this Brutus and Cassius resolved to put
their fortune to the test. They
hung out a scarlet coat in their camp as a signal of
The soldiers of Antony were at the time busy digging
trenches, which they hoped
would stop provisions from the sea reaching the enemy.
Cæsar, as Octavius was now called, was not with
Antony, but being ill, was in his
camp, a short distance away. His soldiers seem not to
have seen the scarlet coat in
the camp of the enemy, for they made no preparations
for battle. Even when they
heard shouts and the clash of arms coming from the
direction of the trenches, they
paid no attention to the confused noises. If they had
bestirred themselves, the
result of the battle might have been different.
Cassius had fallen upon Antony's men as they worked in
their trenches, but he had
been repulsed. Then, following up their advantage, the
soldiers of Antony had
captured his camp.
Meanwhile Cassius had drawn up his soldiers behind the
camp, but when the enemy
attacked his cavalry, it suddenly gave way and fled
toward the sea.
When his infantry also began to waver, Cassius snatched
an eagle from a
standard-bearer who had turned to flee, and himself
thrust it in the ground and
tried to rally his men.
 But his troops refused to be rallied, and in a short
time Cassius found himself
deserted, and was forced to ride off the field with
only a few followers. He halted
on a hill from which he could see the battlefield.
Brutus meanwhile had attacked Cæsar's army, and all
but captured Cæsar himself.
For he had been carried out of the camp only a few
moments before the soldiers of
Brutus dashed into it.
The first thing their eyes fell upon was the litter in
which Cæsar had been
resting. Supposing that he was still lying there, the
soldiers hurled their darts
at it, and a rumour at once arose that Cæsar was
killed. But it was soon
discovered that the general had fled, that his litter
And now a sad mistake took place. Brutus, eager to
tell Cassius of his victory,
sent off a body of cavalry to find him and tell him the
Cassius saw the horsemen riding across the plain, and
thinking that it might be the
enemy in search of him, he sent one of his followers to
When the messenger reached the horsemen he was greeted
heartily. Some hastily
dismounted to gather around him and tell the story of
their triumph, others shouted
or clashed their arms.
Cassius was watching anxiously from the distance, and
he imagined that his follower
had been captured by the enemy. Then he thought that
Brutus must have been
defeated, perhaps even had been slain, and he
determined that he himself would live
no longer. Without waiting to learn the truth, Cassius
stole into an empty tent and
When the sad news was told to Brutus, he was greatly
grieved. "The last of the
Romans has fallen," he cried in his sorrow, "for it is
not possible that the city
should ever produce another man of so great a spirit."