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In Rome, Caesar fills us in on Antony’s wickedness. He reports that when in Alexandria, Antony chilled out on gold thrones in the marketplace, in full public view, with Cleopatra, Julius Caesar’s son by Cleopatra, and her children by Antony.
There he declared her Queen of Egypt and added Syria, Cyprus, and a dash of Lydia to the bounty for good measure.
Further, he added areas for the children to rule. All the while, Cleopatra was dressed up as the goddess Isis.
Caesar believes this information will turn the people against Antony. He thinks he can win the support of these people even though Antony’s been making some accusations against him, in particular claiming that he (Antony) was wrongly left out of the spoils gained from defeating Pompey, and that Lepidus shouldn’t have been unseated.
Caesar says he’s already sent a reply to Antony, insisting that Lepidus had grown too cruel and needed to be overturned (which is suspect, knowing what we know of Lepidus’s character up to this point) and that he’d share his spoils of war with Antony if Antony would do the same. Caesar feels comfortable doing this, as he assumes Antony would never share his bounty. It’s a crooked deal both ways.
Octavia enters. Caesar is upset that she arrived with so little fanfare.
Octavia says she came of her own free will, after hearing her brother would make war against her husband.
Caesar cuts her short. It’s clear to him that Antony got Octavia out of the way so he could go back to Cleopatra, and further, that the pair is collecting the kings of the east to wage war against Caesar and Rome.
Caesar claims that he was holding back on making war on Antony for Octavia’s sake, but now that she’s here, they can be certain Antony has betrayed them both. Octavia seems uncertain.