The murderers of Caesar called themselves the
"liberators" of the republic. They thought that all Rome would
applaud their deed, but the contrary was true. The senatorial order remained
lukewarm. The people, instead of flocking to their support, mourned the loss of
a friend and benefactor. Soon the conspirators found themselves in great peril.
Caesar's friend and lieutenant, Antony, who became sole consul after Caesar's
death, quickly made himself master of the situation. Brutus and Cassius were
forced to withdraw to the provinces which had been previously assigned to them
by Caesar, leaving Antony to rule Rome as his successor.
A RIVAL IN THE YOUNG OCTAVIAN
Antony's hope of reigning supreme was soon disturbed by
the appearance of a new rival. Caesar, in his will, had made his grandnephew,
Octavian,  his heir. He now came to Rome to claim the inheritance. In that
sickly, studious youth people did not at first recognize the masterful
personality he was soon to exhibit. They rather reëchoed Cicero's
sentiment that "the young man was to be praised, complimented, and got rid
of."  But Octavian easily made himself a power, winning the populace
by paying Caesar's legacies to them and conciliating the senatorial party by
siding with it against Antony. Men now began to talk of Octavian as the
destined restorer of the republic.
 His name was Octavius, but after his adoption by
Caesar he called himself Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.