People - Ancient Rome: Marcus Brutus Born Marcus Junius Brutus, he was a politician of the late Roman Republic.
Marcus Brutus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
Marcus Iunius Brutus, son of the preceding, was by the mother's side nephew of M. Cato (Uticensis). He accompanied his uncle to
Cyprus, a.u.c. 695, where the latter was sent by Clodius to annex that island to the Roman Empire. It appears, however, that he did
not copy the example of Cato 's integrity; for, having become the creditor of the citizens of Salamis to a large amount, he employed
one Scaptius, a man of infamous character, to enforce the payment of the debt, together with an interest four times exceeding the
rate allowed by law (Ad Att. v. 21). When Cicero governed the province of Cilicia, to which Cyprus seems to have been annexed, Brutus
wrote to him, and was supported by Atticus in his request, entreating him to give Scaptius a commission as an officer of the Roman
government, and to allow him to employ a military force to exact from the Salaminians the usurious interest which he illegally
demanded. Cicero was too upright a magistrate to comply with such requests, but they were so agreeable to the practice of the times
that he continued to live on intimate terms with the man who could prefer them; and the literary tastes of Brutus were a
recommendation which he could not resist; so that he appears soon to have forgotten the affair of Scaptius, and to have spoken and
thought of Brutus with great regard. They both, indeed, were of the same party in politics, and Brutus actively exerted himself in
the service of Pompey, although his own father had been put to death by the orders of that commander. Being taken prisoner in the
battle of Pharsalia, he received his life from the conqueror. Before Caesar set out for Africa to carry on war against Scipio and
Iuba, he conferred on Brutus the government of Cisalpine Gaul, and in that province Brutus accordingly remained, and was actually
holding an office under Caesar while his uncle Cato was maintaining the contest in Africa and committed suicide rather than fall
alive into the hands of the enemy. His character, however, seems to have been greatly improved since his treatment of the
Salaminians, for he is said to have governed Cisalpine Gaul with great integrity and humanity. In the year B.C. 45 he returned to
Rome, but afterwards set out to meet Caesar on his return from Spain, and, in an interview which he had with him at Nicaea, pleaded
the cause of Deiotarus, tetrarch of Galatia, with such warmth and freedom that Caesar was struck by it, and was reminded of what he
used frequently to say of Brutus—that what his inclinations might be made a very great difference; but that, whatever they were, they
would be nothing lukewarm. It was about this time also that Brutus divorced his first wife, Appia, daughter of Appius Claudius, and
married the famous Porcia, his cousin, the daughter of Cato. Soon after, he received another mark of Caesar's favour, in being
appointed praetor urbanus, B.C. 44; and he was holding that office when he resolved to become the assassin of the man whose
government he had twice acknowledged by consenting to act in a public station under it. He was led into the conspiracy, it is said,
by Cassius, who sought at first by writing, and afterwards by means of his wife Iunia, the sister of Brutus, to obtain his consent to
become an accomplice; and Plutarch informs us that when the attack was made on Caesar in the Senate-house, the latter resisted and
endeavoured to escape, until he saw the dagger of
Brutus pointed against him, when he covered his head with his robe and resigned himself to his fate. See Caesar.
After the assassination of Caesar, the conspirators endeavoured to stir up the feelings of the people in favour of liberty; but
Antony, by reading the will of the dictator, excited against them so violent a storm of odium that they were compelled to flee from
the city. Brutus retired to Athens, and used every exertion to raise a party there among the Roman nobility. Obtaining possession, at
the same time, of a large sum of the public money, he was enabled to bring to his standard many of the old soldiers of Pompey who
were scattered about Thessaly. His forces daily increasing, he soon saw himself surrounded by a considerable army, and Hortensius,
the governor of Macedonia, aiding him, Brutus became master in this way of all Greece and Macedonia. He went now to Asia and joined
Cassius, whose efforts had been equally successful. In Rome, on the other hand, the triumvirs were all-powerful; the conspirators had
been condemned, and the people had taken up arms against them. Brutus and Cassius returned to Europe to oppose the triumvirs, and
Octavius and Antony met them on the plains of Philippi. In this memorable conflict Brutus commanded the right wing of the republican
army, and defeated the division of the enemy opposed to him, and would in all probability have gained the day if, instead of pursuing
the fugitives, he had brought reinforcements to his left wing, commanded by Cassius, which was hard pressed and eventually beaten by
Antony. Cassius, upon this, believing everything lost, slew himself in despair. Brutus bitterly deplored his fate, styling him, with
tears of the sincerest sorrow, “the last of the Romans.” On the following day, induced by the ardour of the soldiers, Brutus again
drew up his forces in line of battle, but no action took place, and he then took possession of an advantageous post, where it was
difficult for an attack to be made upon him. His true policy was to have remained in this state, without hazarding an engagement, for
his opponents were distressed for provisions, and the fleet that was bringing them supplies had been totally defeated by the vessels
of Brutus. The condition of things, however, was unknown to the latter, and, after an interval of twenty days, he hazarded a second
battle. Where he himself fought in person, he was still successful; but the rest of his force was soon overcome, and the conflict
ended in a total defeat of the republican army. Escaping with only a few friends, he passed the night in a cave, and, as he saw his
cause irretrievably ruined, ordered Strato, one of his attendants, to kill him. Strato refused for a long time to perform the painful
office; but, seeing Brutus resolved, he turned away his face, and held his sword while Brutus fell upon it. He died in the forty-
third year of his age, B.C. 42.
A great deal of false glamour has been thrown around the character of Brutus. That he was a stern and consistent patriot throughout
the whole of his career, the sketch which we have given of his movements prior to the assassination of Caesar most clearly disproves.
Why hold office under one who was trampling upon the liberties of his country? Why require so much solicitation before engaging in
the conspiracy? Was he not aware that Caesar was a usurper?—this would show a miserable want of penetration. Or if he preferred
security to danger, where was the Roman patriot in this? The truth is that Brutus, notwithstanding all that has been said of him, was
but a tardy patriot. His motives towards the close of his career were no doubt pure enough, but he ought to have had nothing to do
with Caesar from the moment when that general began to act with treason towards his country. As a student and man of letters, the
character of Brutus appears to more advantage than as a patriot. He was remarkable for literary application, usually rising with this
view long before day, and it is said that on the evening previous to a battle, while his army was in a state of anxious suspense and
alarm, he calmly occupied himself in his tent with writing an abridgment of the history of Polybius. One of the most singular
circumstances in the life of Brutus is that of the so-called apparition which, it was said, appeared to him on one occasion in his
tent at midnight. “Who art thou?” inquired Brutus. “Thy evil genius,” replied the phantom; “we shall meet again at Philippi.” And so
it happened. The spirit reappeared on the eve of the second battle of Philippi—a story that reminds one of the Bodach Glas in
Waverley. See Plutarch's life of Brutus.
Marcus Brutus in Roman Biography
Brutus, (Marcus Junius,) a noted Roman, son of the
preceding, was born in So B.C. Cato Uticensis was his
maternal uncle, and afterwards his father-in-law, Brutus
having married his daughter Porcia. In the civil wars
he sided with Pompey. After the battle of Pharsalia he
was treated with great kindness by Caesar, and appears
to have been sincerely attached to him for a time. He
.it the instigation of Caesar's enemies, induced to
the conspiracy against the life of the dictator.
he and Cassius became the leaders of the
republican army against Antony and Octavius. At the
battle of Philippi, Brutus, who commanded the right was at
first completely successful, and drove the
troops of Octavius even to their camp ; but Antony,
ving the mistake his enemies had committed iii
pursuing fugitives, instead of assuring the victory to their
own friends, turned upon the exposed flank of Cassius
and entirely changed the fortune of the day. The republican
troops were totally defeated; and Brutus, after
seeing many of his bravest and most attached followers
ay down their lives in order to prevent his falling into
the hands of his enemies, killed himself with his own
sword, 36 B.C.
Plutarch "Lives;" Appian, "Bellum Civile;" Quevedo
rVllLEC.AS, "VidadeM. Bruto," 1648.
Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger in Wikipedia
Marcus Junius Brutus (early June 85 BC – late October 42 BC), often referred to simply as Brutus, was a politician of the late
Roman Republic. He is best known in modern times for taking a leading role in the assassination conspiracy against Julius Caesar.
Early life -
Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger was the son of Marcus Junius Brutus the Elder and Servilia Caepionis. His father was killed by
Pompey the Great in dubious circumstances after he had taken part in the rebellion of Lepidus; his mother was the half-sister of
Cato the Younger, and later became Julius Caesar's mistress. Some sources refer to the possibility of Caesar being his real
father. Brutus' uncle, Quintus Servilius Caepio, adopted him in about 59 BC, and Brutus was known officially for a time as
Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus before he reverted to using his birth-name. However, following Caesar's assassination in 44 BC,
Brutus revived his adoptive name in order to illustrate his links to another famous tyrannicide, Gaius Servilius Ahala, from whom
he was descended.
Brutus held his uncle in high regard and his political career started when he became an assistant to Cato, during his
governorship of Cyprus. During this time, he enriched himself by lending money at high rates of interest. He returned to Rome a
rich man, where he married Claudia Pulchra. From his first appearance in the Senate, Brutus aligned with the Optimates (the
conservative faction) against the First Triumvirate of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Gaius Julius Caesar.
Senate career -
When civil war broke out in 49 BC between Pompey and Caesar, Brutus followed his old enemy and present leader of the Optimates,
Pompey. When the Battle of Pharsalus began, Caesar ordered his officers to take him prisoner if he gave himself up voluntarily, and
if he persisted in fighting against capture, to let him alone and do him no violence. After the disaster of the Battle of
Pharsalus, Brutus wrote to Caesar with apologies and Caesar immediately forgave him. Caesar then accepted him into his inner circle
and made him governor of Gaul when he left for Africa in pursuit of Cato and Metellus Scipio. In 45 BC, Caesar nominated Brutus to
serve as urban praetor for the following year.
Also, in June 45 BC, Brutus divorced his wife and married his first cousin, Porcia Catonis, Cato's daughter. According to
Cicero the marriage caused a semi-scandal as Brutus failed to state a valid reason for his divorce from Claudia other than he
wished to marry Porcia. The marriage also caused a rift between Brutus and his mother, who resented the affection Brutus had
Conspiracy to kill Caesar -
Death of Caesar by Vincenzo Camuccini
Around this time, many senators began to fear Caesar's growing power following his appointment as dictator for life. Brutus was
persuaded into joining the conspiracy against Caesar by the other senators. (In William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, he
also discovers letters placed on his Praetor's chair and a statue of his ancestor, which have been forged by Cassius to make Brutus
feel as if he were doing the right thing for Rome. This, however, may just be dramatic license on the part of Shakespeare. There is
no real evidence that Cassius ever planted phony notes).
Eventually, Brutus decided to move against Caesar after Caesar's king-like behavior prompted him to take action. His wife
was the only woman privy to the plot.
The conspirators planned to carry out their plot on the Ides of March (March 15) that same year. On that day, Caesar was delayed
going to the Senate because his wife, Calpurnia Pisonis, tried to convince him not to go. The conspirators feared the plot had
been found out. Brutus persisted, however, waiting for Caesar at the Senate, and allegedly still chose to remain even when a
messenger brought him news that would otherwise have caused him to leave. When Caesar finally did come to the Senate, they
attacked him. Publius Servilius Casca Longus was allegedly the first to attack Caesar with a blow to the shoulder, which Caesar
blocked. However, upon seeing Brutus was with the conspirators, he covered his face with his toga and resigned himself to his
fate. The conspirators attacked in such numbers that they even wounded one another. Brutus is said to have been wounded in the
After Caesar's assassination -
After the assassination, the Senate passed an amnesty on the assassins. This amnesty was proposed by Caesar's friend and co-consul
Marcus Antonius. Nonetheless, uproar among the population caused Brutus and the conspirators to leave Rome. Brutus settled in Crete
from 44 to 42 BC.
In 43 BC, after Octavian received his consulship from the Roman Senate, one of his first actions was to have the people that had
assassinated Julius Caesar declared murderers and enemies of the state. Marcus Tullius Cicero, angry at Octavian, wrote a
letter to Brutus explaining that the forces of Octavian and Marcus Antonius were divided. Antonius had laid siege to the province
of Gaul, where he wanted a governorship. In response to this siege, Octavian rallied his troops and fought a series of battles in
which Antonius was defeated. Upon hearing that neither Antonius nor Octavian had an army big enough to defend Rome, Brutus
rallied his troops, which totaled about 17 legions. When Octavian heard that Brutus was on his way to Rome, he made peace with
Antonius. Their armies, which together totaled about 19 legions, marched to meet Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. The two
sides met in two engagements known as the Battle of Philippi. The first was fought on October 3, 42 BC, in which Brutus defeated
Octavian's forces, although Cassius was defeated by Antonius' forces. The second engagement was fought on October 23, 42 BC and
ended in Brutus' defeat.
After the defeat, he fled into the nearby hills with only about four legions. Knowing his army had been defeated and that he would
be captured, Brutus committed suicide. Among his last words were, according to Plutarch, "By all means must we fly; not with our
feet, however, but with our hands." Brutus also uttered the well-known verse calling down a curse upon Antonius (Plutarch repeats
this from the memoirs of Publius Volumnius): Forget not, Zeus, the author of these crimes (in the Dryden translation this passage
is given as Punish, great Jove, the author of these ills). Plutarch wrote that, according to Volumnius, Brutus repeated two
verses, but Volumnius was only able to recall the one quoted.
Antonius, as a show of great respect, ordered Brutus' body to be wrapped in Antonius' most expensive purple mantle (this was later
stolen and Antonius had the thief executed). Brutus was cremated, and his ashes were sent to his mother, Servilia Caepionis.
His wife Porcia was reported to have committed suicide upon hearing of her husband's death, although, according to Plutarch (Brutus
53 para 2), there is some dispute as to whether this is the case: Plutarch states that there is a letter in existence that was
allegedly written by Brutus mourning the manner of her death.