Battle of Mutina

Infobox Military Conflict


caption=
conflict=Battle of Mutina
partof=
date= April 21, 43 BC
place=Northern Italy
result=Republican victory
combatant1=Roman Republic
combatant2=Mark Antony's forces
commander1=Aulus Hirtius
Octavian
commander2=Mark Antony
strength1=
strength2=
casualties1=
casualties2=
The Battle of Mutina was fought on April 21, 43 BC between the forces of Marc Antony and the forces of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus and Aulus Hirtius, who were providing aid to one of Caesar's assassins, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus.

Prelude

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.

The battle

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.

Consequences

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 Triumvirate with 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 Cleopatra at Actium in 31 BC and 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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