Battle of Mutina
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Mutina
April 21, 43 BC
Mark Antony's forces
Aulus Hirtius† Octavian
The Battle of Mutina was fought on
April 21, 43 BCbetween the forces of Marc Antonyand the forces of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianusand Aulus Hirtius, who were providing aid to one of Caesar's assassins, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus.
Around one year after
Julius Caesar's murder, negotiations between the Roman Senate and Antony broke off. Antony gathered his legions and marched against one of the assassins Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, who was governor of Cisalpine Gaul.
Mark Antony had Decimus Brutus confined around "Mutina" (modern
Modena), just south of the Padus (Po) River on the via Aemilia. Pansa was sent north from Rome to link with Hirtius and Octavian in order to provide Brutus with aid. On April 14, Antony's legions collided with those of Pansa, in the village of Forum Gallorum. In the ensuing Battle of Forum Gallorum, Pansa's troops were routed and the general mortally wounded. However, instead of gaining a decisive victory, Antony was forced to withdraw when reinforcements under Hirtius crashed into his own exhausted ranks.
Six days after Forum Gallorum, the two armies met again in the vicinity of Mutina. Octavian's forces were now present and fought on the side of the remaining consul Hirtius. Antony was defeated again, but Hirtius himself was killed, leaving the army and republic leaderless. Hirtius died during the attack of Antony's camp. Octavian recovered his body and according to Suetonius, "in the thick of the fight, when the eagle-bearer of his legion was sorely wounded, he shouldered the eagle and carried it for some time." And now with a pro-praetorian imperium, he gained the deceased consul's legions.
Mutina is essentially where Octavian turns from an inferior young man to an equal of Antony. Soon after the battle, a truce was formed between Antony and Octavian at Bologna leading eventually to the
Second Triumviratewith Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Octavian and Marc Antony. They would set aside their differences and turn on the Senators involved in Caesar's assassination while assuming a 3-way dictatorship. Eventually in the ensuing power struggles many years later, Octavian would defeat Antony and Cleopatraat Actium in 31 BCand usher in the Principate, but Mutina was the milestone where Octavian first established himself as a force to be reckoned with. Without this victory, Octavian might never have achieved the prestige necessary to be looked upon as Caesar's successor, and the stability of the Empire might never have been established in the lasting manner which Octavian had decided for it.
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