Rome is facing a dire shortage of grain, forcing Octavian to barter with Mark Antony to get new shipments sent from Egypt. Mark Antony and Cleopatra continually increase their demands in exchange for grain, eventually driving away Octavian's negotiator. In so doing, Antony hopes to push Octavian into declaring war, which Antony believes he can win due to his support among the Roman people. As a last resort to sway public sentiment to his side, Octavian sends Atia and Octavia to Alexandria, knowing that Antony will reject his lover and lawful wife respectively. Octavian is proven correct: Antony refuses to see Atia and Octavia (owing to the fact he's in the middle of having sex with Cleopatra) and sends them back to Rome, enraging the citizens of Rome who wonder how their former hero could slight his Roman wife in favor of the "Egyptian whore." Posca secretly leaves Antony's service and defects to Octavian. Lucius Vorenus, who has been telling Caesarion ambiguous stories about Caesarion's father (the boy believes his father to be Julius Caesar though Vorenus is speaking of Titus Pullo), chooses to stay in Alexandria with Antony.
Octavian greets Atia upon her return to Rome, where Posca also delivers to him the last will and testament of Antony and Cleopatra. Octavian uses this as evidence that Antony has gone mad and has become a threat to the state, spreading the news to the people and gaining the Senate's support in a war against Antony. Octavian summons Titus Pullo for a personal audience in the Senate house and requests that Pullo come with him to Egypt, hoping that Pullo could reason with Vorenus and mediate for Antony. Pullo expresses his doubts, but agrees to escort Octavian.
At the Aventine Collegium, where Pullo is rationing out grain to increasingly restless Romans, Pullo makes final arrangements with his men and Vorenus' children, and leaves Mascius in charge. However, the night before Pullo leaves, he is attacked by Memmio, who Pullo had imprisoned in a small cage since his defeat in the gang wars. Memmio knocks Pullo unconscious and moves in to kill him with a knife. Gaia intervenes and kills Memmio, but she is severely wounded. As Gaia is being treated, she confesses to Pullo that she had killed Eirene. Pullo, seething with anger, chokes her to death and dumps her body unceremoniously into a muddy pool, thereby ensuring that she will never enter the netherworld and her spirit will wander aimlessly in limbo because she has not received proper funeral rites.