Marcus Brutus

(Marcus Junius Brutus)


Marcus Brutus, along with Cassius Longinus, were the two primary conspirators against Caesar. Both fought on the side of Pompey against Caesar in the battle of Pharsalia, but Caesar went out of his way to instruct his solders not to kill Brutus, and after the battle pardoned Brutus and made him governor of Cisalpine Gaul. Caesar had a high regard for Brutus's reputation for honesty and for his scholarship, and it was due to the influence of Brutus that Caesar also pardoned Cassius. Cassius however, continued to hate Caesar and began to plot against him. He believed that it was imperative to have Brutus on his side, because he thought that Brutus's oratorical skills and reputation of honesty would help persuade the people of the necessity of the assassination after the fact. Brutus took a great deal of convincing, but he eventually agreed to becoming a leader of the conspiracy, and it was in fact Brutus who gave a speech to the people immediately after Caesar was killed. His work of persuasion, however, was undone by Antony who so inflamed the people against Cassius and Brutus that they were driven from the city. They went east and there raised an army to fight in the name of the republic. Their armies were defeated in a very close battle at Philippi by the combined forces of Antony and Octavius. Although the battle was close, and the republican cause was not yet hopeless, both leaders committed suicide after the defeat.

Marcus Brutus is often confused with Decimus Brutus, another less prominent member of the conspiracy against Caesar. It was Decimus who was an especially close friend of Caesar, and was his heir after Octavius. It was Decimus to whom Caesar spoke his final words, "Et tu, Brute?".

Key events during the life of Marucs Junius Brutus:

48 BC
Fought at Pharsalia with Pompey, but Caesar pardoned and befriended him afterwards.
46 BC
Served as governor of Cisalpine Gaul.
44 BC
Served as praetor. Joined with Cassius in plot to kill Caesar. Gave speech justifying murder after his death.
42 BC
Defeated by Octavius and Antony at battle of Philippi. Committed suicide.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Conspiracy  in  Julius Caesar  by  Jacob Abbott
Cato, Brutus, and Porcia  in  Roman Life in the Days of Cicero  by  Alfred J. Church
Caesar's Friend and Enemy  in  Tales of the Romans: The Children's Plutarch  by  F. J. Gould
Death of Caesar  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Vision of Brutus  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Marcus Brutus  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie Kaufman
Brutus Speaks to the Citizens  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Battle of Philippi  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Assassination of Caesar  in  Historical Tales: Roman  by  Charles Morris
Brutus  in  Plutarch's Lives W. H. Weston  by  

Image Links

Marcus Junius Brutus
 in Roman Life in the Days of Cicero

The Assassination of Julius Caesar
 in  Augustus—His Life and Work

Suicide of Brutus
 in Greatest Nations - Rome

Here, sheltered by steep cliffs, he sat down to rest.
 in The Story of Rome

The Assassination of Caesar
 in Historical Tales: Roman

The murder of Caesar
 in Plutarch's Lives W. H. Weston

Brutus and his companions after the Battle of Philippi
 in Plutarch's Lives W. H. Weston

Short Biography
Julius Caesar Conquered Gaul, prevailed in civil war. Mastermind of Roman empire. Killed by senators.
Antony With Octavius, led empire after Caesar's death. Liaison with Cleopatra caused downfall.
Cassius Mastermind of conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. Committed suicide at Philippi.
Portia Wife of Brutus and daughter of Cato the Younger.