Brutus (the Younger) (/ˈbruːtəs/; 85 BC – 23
October 42 BC), often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of
the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the
name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using
his original name. He took a leading role in the assassination of
Brutus was close to General Julius Caesar, the leader of the Populis
faction. However, Caesar's attempts to assume greater power for
himself put him at greater odds with the Roman elite and members of
Brutus eventually came to oppose Caesar and fought on the
side of the
Optimate faction, led by
Pompey the Great, against
Caesar's forces in Caesar's Civil War.
Pompey was defeated at the
Battle of Pharsalus
Battle of Pharsalus in 48 B.C., after which
Brutus surrendered to
Caesar, who granted him amnesty.
However, the underlying political tensions that led to the war had not
been resolved. Due to Caesar's increasingly monarchical behavior,
several senators, calling themselves "Liberators", plotted to
assassinate him. They recruited Brutus, who took a leading role in the
assassination, which was carried out successfully on March 15, 44 B.C.
The Senate, at the request of the Consul Mark Antony, granted amnesty
to the assassins. However, a populist uprising forced
Brutus and his
brother-in-law, fellow assassin Gaius Cassius Longinus, to leave the
City of Rome. In 43 B.C., Caesar's grandnephew, Consul Octavian, by
then also formally known as Gaius Julius Caesar, immediately after
taking office passed a resolution declaring the conspirators,
including Brutus, murderers. This led to the Liberators' civil war,
pitting the erstwhile supporters of Caesar, under the Second
Triumvirate, wishing both to gain power for themselves and avenge his
death, against those who opposed him.
Octavian combined his troops
with those of Antony, and together they decisively defeated the
outnumbered armies of
Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of
October 42 B.C. After the battle,
Brutus committed suicide.
1 Early life
2 Military career
3 Assassination of
Julius Caesar (March 15, 44 BC)
4 Liberators' civil war
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Marble bust of Brutus, at the Capitoline Museums
Brutus Minor (Classical Latin: [ˈmaːr.kʊs
ˈjuː.ni.ʊs ˈbruː.tʊs ˈmɪ.nɔr]) was the son of Marcus Junius
Brutus Maior and Servilia. 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
Julius Caesar's mistress. Some sources refer to the possibility of
Caesar being his real father, despite Caesar's being only 15 years
Brutus was born.
Brutus' uncle, Quintus Servilius Caepio, adopted him in about
59 BC, and
Brutus was known officially for a time as Quintus
Brutus before he reverted to using his birth-name.
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.
Brutus was also active in the province of
Cilicia, in the year before
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero was proconsul there;
Cicero documents how
Brutus profited from money lending to the
provincials in his Letters. He returned to
Rome a rich man, where
he married Claudia Pulchra. From his first appearance in the
Brutus aligned with the
Optimates (the conservative faction)
First Triumvirate of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Gnaeus
Pompeius Magnus, and Gaius Julius Caesar.
Caesar's Civil War
Caesar's Civil War broke out in 49 BC between
Pompey and Caesar,
Brutus followed his old enemy and the present leader of the Optimates,
Pompey. When the
Battle of Pharsalus
Battle of Pharsalus began on August 9, Caesar ordered
his officers to take
Brutus prisoner if he gave himself up
voluntarily, but to leave him alone and do him no harm if he persisted
in fighting against capture. Caesar's concern, given that he and
Brutus' mother Servilia had been lovers in their youth, was that
Brutus might be his biological son. Indeed, he and
Brutus enjoyed a
close relationship at this time. Even when
Great to fight with Caesar and his soldiers, Caesar's main focus was
Pompey, but he demanded
Brutus be captured alive.
After the defeat of the
Optimates at the Battle of Pharsalus, Brutus
surrendered and wrote to Caesar with apologies. 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 was resentful of the affection
Brutus had for Porcia.
Julius Caesar (March 15, 44 BC)
Main article: Assassination of Julius Caesar
Death of Caesar by Vincenzo Camuccini
Around this time, many senators began to fear Caesar's growing power
following his appointment as dictator in perpetuity.
persuaded to join the conspiracy against Caesar by the other
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 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, he was distracted by
Tillius Cimber, who presented Caesar with a request to free his exiled
brother. Caesar dismissed him, and Cimber subsequently grabbed his
toga. "Why this violence?" Caesar asked. After this, the
conspirators attacked him. Publius
Servilius Casca Longus was
allegedly the first to attack Caesar with a stab 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
hand and in the legs.
After the assassination, the Senate passed an amnesty on the
assassins. This amnesty was proposed by Caesar's friend and co-consul
Mark Antony. Nonetheless, uproar among the population against the
Brutus and the conspirators to leave Rome. Brutus
Crete from 44 to 42 BC.
Marcus Junius Brutus
Liberators' civil war
Brutus and his companions after the battle of Philippi
In 43 BC, after
Octavian received his consulship from the Roman
Senate, one of his first actions was to have the people who had
Julius Caesar declared murderers and enemies of the
state. Cicero, angry at Octavian, wrote a letter to Brutus
explaining that the forces of
Mark Antony were divided.
Antony 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, culminating in the Battle of Mutina,
in which Antony was defeated.
Upon hearing that neither
Mark Antony nor
Octavian had an army large
enough to defend Rome,
Brutus rallied his troops, which totalled about
17 legions. When
Octavian heard that
Brutus was on his way to Rome, he
made peace with Antony. Their armies, which together totalled
about 19 legions, marched to meet
Brutus and his ally, fellow assassin
Gaius Cassius Longinus, thus beginning the Liberators' civil war. 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 Antony's
forces, and subsequently committed suicide. The second engagement was
fought on October 23, and ended in Brutus' defeat.
EID MAR ("Ides of March") denarius, issued by Marcus Junius
43/42 BC. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Marcus
Brutus. The inscription reads BRVT IMP L PLAET CEST, which means
Brutus, Imperator, Lucius Plaetorius Cestianus. Lucius Plaetorius
Cestianus was the moneyer who actually managed the mint workers who
produced the coin. The two daggers on the reverse differ to show more
than one person was involved in the slaying. The cap is a pileus
(liberty cap) that in Roman times was given to slaves on the day of
their emancipation – freedom from slavery. In the context of the
Brutus is making it clear the killers were defending
the Republic and its people from Caesar’s grasp at kingship. A gold
aureus with the same design was also minted. Both coins are
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
Brutus committed suicide by running into his own sword being
held by two of his own men. 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 Antony (
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
Brutus repeated two verses, but Volumnius was only able to
recall the one quoted.
Mark Antony, as a show of great respect, ordered Brutus' body to be
wrapped in Antony's most expensive purple mantle (this was later
stolen and Antony had the thief executed).
Brutus was cremated, and
his ashes were sent to his mother, Servilia. His wife Porcia was
reported to have committed suicide upon hearing of her husband's
death, although, according to
Brutus 53 para 2), there
is some dispute as to whether this is the case:
Plutarch states that
there was a letter in existence that was allegedly written by Brutus
mourning the manner of her death.
Brutus was born in
Rome to Marcus Junius
Brutus The Elder and
58 BC: He was made assistant to Cato, governor of Cyprus, which helped
him start his political career.
53 BC: He was given the quaestorship in Cilicia.
Greece during the civil war against
Brutus was pardoned by Caesar.
46 BC: He was made governor of Gaul.
45 BC: He was made Praetor.
44 BC: Murdered Caesar with other liberatores; went to
Athens and then
42 BC: Battle with Mark Antony's forces and suicide.
This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world "This was a man!"
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 5, Scene 5 (Mark
Brutus by Michelangelo Buonarroti
The phrase Sic semper tyrannis! ["thus, ever (or always), to
tyrants!"] is attributed to
Brutus at Caesar's assassination. The
phrase is also the official motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In 1787, the
Anti-Federalist Papers were written under the pseudonym
"Brutus" in reference to Caesar's assassin who tried to preserve the
John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, claimed to be
inspired by Brutus. Booth's father, Junius
Brutus Booth, was named for
Brutus, and Booth (as Mark Antony) and his brother Edwin (as Brutus)
had performed in a production of
Julius Caesar in New York just six
months before the assassination. On the night of the assassination,
Booth is alleged to have shouted "Sic semper tyrannis" while leaping
to the stage of Ford's Theater. Lamenting the negative reaction to his
deed, Booth wrote in his journal on April 21, 1865, while on the
run, "[W]ith every man's hand against me, I am here in despair. And
why; For doing what
Brutus was honored for ... And yet I for striking
down a greater tyrant than they ever knew am looked upon as a common
cutthroat." Booth was also known to be greatly attracted to Caesar
himself, having played both
Brutus and Caesar upon various stages.
In Dante's Inferno,
Brutus is one of three people deemed sinful enough
to be chewed in one of the three mouths of Satan, in the very center
of Hell, for all eternity. The other two are Cassius, who was Brutus's
fellow conspirator, and
Judas Iscariot (Canto XXXIV). Dante condemned
these three in the afterlife for being treacherous against their
William Shakespeare's play
Julius Caesar depicts Brutus' internal
struggles, his assassination of Caesar with the other conspirators,
and their subsequent downfall. In the final scene, Mark Antony
Brutus as "the noblest Roman of them all", for he was the
only conspirator who acted for the good of Rome. In the play Caesar
utters "Et tu, Brute?" ("Brutus, you too?") although they are not his
last words, and the sources describing Caesar's death disagree about
what his last words were.
The 1911 Italian silent film
Brutus portrays the life of Brutus.
Ides of March
Ides of March is an epistolary novel by
Thornton Wilder dealing
with characters and events leading to, and culminating in, the
assassination of Julius Caesar.
In the Masters of
Rome novels of Colleen McCullough,
portrayed as a timid intellectual whose relationship with Caesar is
deeply complex. He resents Caesar for breaking his marriage
arrangement with Caesar's daughter, Julia, whom
Brutus deeply loved,
so that she could be married instead to
Pompey the Great. However,
Brutus enjoys Caesar's favor after he receives a pardon for fighting
with Republican forces against Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus. In
the lead-up to the Ides of March, Cassius and
Trebonius use him as a
figurehead because of his family connections to the founder of the
Republic. He appears in Fortune's Favourites, Caesar's Women, Caesar
and The October Horse.
Brutus is an occasional supporting character in
Asterix comics, most
Asterix and Son in which he is the main antagonist. The
character appears in the first three live
Asterix film adaptations –
though briefly in the first two –
Asterix and Obelix vs Caesar
(played by Didier Cauchy) and
Asterix at the Olympic Games. In the
latter film, he is portrayed as a comical villain by Belgian actor
Benoît Poelvoorde: he is a central character to the film, even though
he was not depicted in the original
Asterix at the Olympic Games comic
book. Following sources cited in Plutarch, he is implied in that film
to be Julius Caesar's biological son.
In the TV series Rome, Brutus, portrayed by Tobias Menzies, is
depicted as a young man torn between what he believes is right, and
his loyalty and love of a man who has been like a father to him. In
the series, his personality and motives are somewhat inaccurate, as
Brutus is portrayed as an unwilling participant in politics. In the
earlier episodes he is frequently inebriated and easily ruled by
emotion. Brutus' relationship to Cato is not mentioned, and his three
sisters and wife Porcia are omitted from the series completely.
The Hives' song "B is for Brutus" contains titular and lyrical
references to Junius Brutus.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Even You Brutus?" from their 2011 album
I'm with You makes reference to
Brutus and Judas Iscariot
The video game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood features a small side
story in the form of the "Scrolls of Romulus" written by Brutus, which
reveals that Caesar was a Templar and
Brutus and the conspirators were
members of the Roman Brotherhood of Assassins. At the end of the side
quest, the player is able to get Brutus' armor and dagger. Later at
Assassin's Creed Origins,
Brutus and Cassius make an appearance as
Aya's earliest recruits and is the one who give the killing blow to
Caesar though his armor from Brotherhood do not make an appearance
In Tina Fey's teen movie, Mean Girls, one of the main characters
delivers a monologue about
Brutus and how he is just as good as
Caesar, saying, "And when did it become okay for one person to be the
boss of everybody, huh? Because that's not what
Rome is about. We
should totally just stab Caesar!"
^ a b Europius, translated, with notes, by Rev. John Selby Watson
(1843). "Abridgement of Roman History". Forumromanum.org. Retrieved
2011-01-16. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ Suetonius, The Deified Julius, 50
^ Plutarch, Life of Brutus, 5.2.
^ M. Crawford (1971) Roman Republican Coinage 502.2 shows that Brutus
issued coins bearing the inscription Q. CAEPIO BRVTVS PRO [COS] (Q.
Caepio Brutus, proconsul) in 42 BC
^ "Coin bearing inscription Q. Caepio Brutus". oldcoin.com.au.
Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
^ Plutarch, Life of Brutus, 2.1.
^ Plutarch, Life of Brutus, 3.1.
^ Cicero, Att. V 21
^ Cicero. ad Fam. iii. 4.
^ Plutarch, Life of Brutus, 5.1.
^ Plutarch. "Marcus Brutus". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
^ Plutarch, Marcus Brutus, 13.3.
^ Cicero. Brutus. 77, 94
^ Cic. Att. 13. 16
^ Cic. Att. 13. 22
^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 44.8.4.
^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 44.12.2.
^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 44.12.3.
^ Cassius Dio, 44.13.1.
^ Cassius Dio, 44.13.
^ Plutarch, Marcus Brutus, 14.4
^ Plutarch. Marcus Brutus. 15.1.
^ Cassius Dio. Roman History. 44.18.1.
^ Plutarch. Marcus Brutus. 15.5.
^ Getlen, Larry (March 1, 2015). "The real story behind the
assassination of Julius Caesar". New York Post. Retrieved January 2,
^ Plutarch. Marcus Brutus. 17.5.
^ Plutarch. Marcus Brutus. 17.6.
^ Plutarch. Marcus Brutus. 17.7.
^ Nicolaus. Life of Augustus. 24.
^ Plutarch, translated by John Dryden. "Marcus Brutus". Greek Texts.
p. 13. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
^ "Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa". Livius.org. 2010-01-02. Retrieved
^ "Ancient Greek Online library: Marcus
Plutarch page 13".
Greektexts.com. 2005. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
^ EID MAR
^ Plutarch, Life of Brutus, chapter 48
^ Plutarch, Marcus Brutus, 52.1-53.4.
^ a b Valerius Maximus, De factis mem. iv.6.5.
^ Cassius Dio, Roman History. 47.49.3.
^ Appian, The Civil Wars, Book 5.136.
John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth Manuscript". Baltimore Sun. 26 April 1992.
Retrieved 24 December 2013.
^ "Gretchen Wieners (Character)". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
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Corrigan, Kirsty (2015).
Brutus - Caesar's Assassin. Barnsley: Pen
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Heitland, W. E. (1909). The Roman Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge
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Syme, Ronald (1939). The Roman Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University
Tempest, Kathryn (2017). Brutus: The Noble Conspirator. New Haven, CT:
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Wistrand, Erik (1981). The Policy of
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marcus Junius Brutus.
Quotations related to Marcus Junius
Brutus at Wikiquote
Information on Marcus Junius
Brutus from www.Greektext.com
The works of Plutarch
Alcibiades and Coriolanus1
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar
Aratus of Sicyon
Aratus of Sicyon / Artaxerxes and
Galba / Otho2
Aristides and Cato the Elder1
Crassus and Nicias1
Demetrius and Antony1
Demosthenes and Cicero1
Dion and Brutus1
Fabius and Pericles1
Lucullus and Cimon1
Lysander and Sulla1
Numa and Lycurgus1
Pelopidas and Marcellus1
Philopoemen and Flamininus1
Phocion and Cato the Younger
Pompey and Agesilaus1
Poplicola and Solon1
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Romulus and Theseus1
Sertorius and Eumenes1
Agis / Cleomenes1 and
Tiberius Gracchus / Gaius Gracchus
Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus1
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Translators and editors
Arthur Hugh Clough
1 Comparison extant
2 Four unpaired Lives
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