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Quintus Salvius Salvidienus Rufus

David Sear says that this Q Salvius may be Quintus Salvius Salvidienus Rufus who was the boyhood friend and confidant of Octavian. In 42 BC Octavian made him admiral of his fleet and instructed him to attack Sextus Pompey in Sicily. Despite being beaten by Sextus off the coast of Rhegium he was granted the title of Imperator which appears on his coins.

After the battle of Philippi (42 BC) Salvidienus was given command of six legions and sent to Spain. However he quickly had to return to Italy to confront Fulvia (Antony's wife) and Lucius Antonius (Antony's brother). Salvidienus captured and destroyed the city of Sentinum (41 BC) and then moved on to Perusia with Agrippa to besiege Lucius Antony's army.  Lucius Antony surrendered, was spared and sent to govern Spain.  At the end of the Perusian War (winter 40 BC) Octavian sent Salvidienus to Gallia as Governor, with eleven legions. He was also designated as consul for 39 BC, although he had not reached senatorial rank.

Salvidienus proved to be unworthy of Octavian's trust and entered into secret negotiations with Mark Antony thinking that Antony would prevail. Unfortunately for Salvidienus, Antony and Octavian were reconciled and Antony informed Octavian of Salvidienus treachery. Antony's decision to inform on Salvidienus has been used to show his desire to settle the differences with Octavian. In contrast Octavian did everything he could to break his promises to Antony. No doubt Octavian influenced the senate to declare Salvidienus a public enemy and shortly after he was killed, either by his own hand (Livy) or by execution.

Bare head of Octavian right


Italy early 40 BC

Sear 1541, RSC 514