Antony then ordered the fleet to move forward to the island of Samos.
Here it was brought to anchor and remained for some time, waiting for
the coming in of new re-enforcements, and for the completion of the
other arrangements. Antony, as if becoming more and more infatuated as
he approached the brink of his ruin, spent his time while the expedition
remained at Samos, not in maturing his plans and perfecting his
arrangements for the tremendous conflict which was approaching, but in
festivities, games, revelings, and every species of riot and dissolute
excess. This, however, is not surprising. Men almost always, when in a
situation analogous to his, fly to similar means of protecting
themselves, in some small degree, from the pangs of remorse, and from
the forebodings which stand ready to terrify and torment them at every
instant in which these gloomy specters are not driven away by
intoxication and revelry. At least Antony found it so. Accordingly, an
immense company of players, tumblers, fools, jesters, and mountebanks
were ordered to assemble at Samos, and to devote themselves with all
zeal to the amusement of Antony's court. The island was one universal
scene of riot and revelry. People were astonished at such celebrations
and displays, wholly unsuitable, as they considered them, to the
occasion. If such are the rejoicings, said they, which Antony celebrates
before going into the battle, what festivities will he contrive on his
return, joyous enough to express his pleasure if he shall gain the
victory?

After a time, Antony and Cleopatra, with a magnificent train of
attendants, left Samos, and, passing across the Aegean Sea, landed in
Greece, and advanced to Athens, while the fleet, proceeding westward
from Samos, passed around Taenarus, the southern promontory of Greece,
and then moved northward along the western coast of the peninsula.
Cleopatra wished to go to Athens for a special reason. It was there that
Octavia had stopped on her journey toward her husband with
re-enforcements and aid; and while she was there, the people of Athens,
pitying her sad condition, and admiring the noble spirit of mind which
she displayed in her misfortunes, had paid her great attention, and
during her stay among them had bestowed upon her many honors. Cleopatra
now wished to go to the same place, and to triumph over her rival there,
by making so great a display of her wealth and magnificence, and of her
ascendency over the mind of Antony, as should entirely transcend and
outshine the more unassuming pretensions of Octavia. She was not
willing, it seems, to leave to the unhappy wife whom she had so cruelly
wronged even the possession of a place in the hearts of the people of
this foreign city, but must go and enviously strive to efface the
impression which injured innocence had made, by an ostentatious
exhibition of the triumphant prosperity of her own shameless wickedness.
She succeeded well in her plans. The people of Athens were amazed and
bewildered at the immense magnificence that Cleopatra exhibited before
them. She distributed vast sums of money among the people. The city, in
return, decreed to her the most exalted honors. They sent a solemn
embassy to her to present her with these decrees. Antony himself, in the
character of a citizen of Athens, was one of the embassadors. Cleopatra
received the deputation at her palace. The reception was attended with
the most splendid and imposing ceremonies.

One would have supposed that Cleopatra's cruel and unnatural hostility
to Octavia might now have been satisfied; but it was not. Antony, while
he was at Athens, and doubtless at Cleopatra's instigation, sent a
messenger to Rome with a notice of divorcement to Octavia, and with an
order that she should leave his house. Octavia obeyed. She went forth
from her home, taking the children with her, and bitterly lamenting her
cruel destiny.

[...]
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