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Ahenobarbus

Imperatorial General and Imperator, 42 - 32 B. C.

Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus lived during the time of the late Republic, a period of Roman history during which political power shifted constantly as different groups of men formed new alliances and turned suddenly against old friends almost on a daily basis.

Ahenobarbus was originally a follower of Pompey the Great who was pardoned by Julius Caesar after Pompey's death. Ahenobarbus returned the favor by joining forces with Brutus, one of Caesar's murderers. He commanded a fleet at the Battle of Philippi and won a decisive naval victory over the forces of Antony and Octavian. This victory made no difference, though, because Brutus and Cassius were defeated in the end even though they seemed to be winning handily during the first parts of the battle.

For a while, Ahenobarbus turned to piracy on the Mediterranean. The big - hearted Antony eventually pardoned Ahenobarbus as Caesar had done before him and made him governor of Bithynia. Later, Ahenobarbus repaid this second act of mercy the same way he had repaid Caesar. When it looked like Octavian was getting the upper hand, Ahenobarbus once again betrayed his friend and defected to Antony's arch enemy shortly before the Battle of Actium.


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