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Marcus Junius Brutus
Portrait Brutus Massimo.jpg
Marble bust of Brutus, National Museum of Rome.
Born June 85 BC
Died October 23, 42 BC (aged 43)
Philippi, Roman province of Macedonia
Occupation Politician, jurist, military commander
Known for Assassination of Julius Caesar
Movement Liberatores

Marcus Junius Brutus (early June 85 BC – late October 42 BC), usually referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. He is best known for his leading role in the assassination of Julius Caesar.

Early life

Marcus Junius Brutus was born in or about 85 BCE in Macedonia. He was the eldest son of a Roman politician with the same name, who was killed in 78 BCE by Pompey the Great after he had taken part in the rebellion of Lepidus. His mother Servilia was the half-sister of Cato the Younger.

Brutus was raised by his uncle, Cato the Younger, who taught him the principles of Stoicism. He was later adopted by a relative of his mother, Quintus Servilius Caepio, and started to call himself Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio to honor his adoptive father. Brutus was educated by his half-brother, Marcus Porcius Cato, and later studied philosophy and rhetoric in Athens.

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 Scipio. In 45 BC, Caesar nominated Brutus to serve as urban praetor for the following year.

Personal life

In 54 BCE, Brutus married a welthy woman named Claudia. They had at least one son together. In June of 45 BCE, Brutus divorced Claudia and married his first cousin, Porcia Catonis, the daughter of his half-brother, Marcus Porcius Cato, who died in 46. They had at least one son together.

According to Cicero the marriage caused a semi-scandal as Brutus failed to state a valid reason for his divorce from Claudia, except that he wished to marry Porcia. The marriage also caused a rift between Brutus and his mother, who resented the affection Brutus had for Porcia.

Relationship with Julius Caesar

Brutus' mother Servilia became Caesar's mistress. Some ancient sources mention the possibility of Caesar being Brutus' real father, despite the fact that Caesar was only fifteen years old when Brutus was born. However, ancient historians were skeptical of this possibility, and scholars have generally rejected the idea that Caesar was Brutus' father.

Brutus and Caesar were not related by blood, but they were acquaintances and political allies before the assassination.

Conspiracy to kill Caesar

Around this time, many senators began to fear Caesar's growing power after his appointment as Dictator for life. Brutus was persuaded into joining the conspiracy against Caesar. Eventually, Brutus decided to take action against Caesar. His wife was the only woman who knew about the plot.

The conspirators planned to kill Caesar on the Ides of March (March 15) that same year. On that day, Caesar was delayed going to the Senate because his wife 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. The conspirators attacked in such numbers that they even wounded one another. Brutus is said to have been wounded in the hand.

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 Mark Antony. Nonetheless, uproar among the people 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 Senate, one of his first actions was to have the people that had assassinated Julius Caesar declared murderers and enemies of the state. Cicero, angry at Octavian, wrote a letter to Brutus explaining that the forces of Octavian and Mark Antony were divided. Antony had laid siege to the province of Gaul, where he wanted the governorship. In response to this siege, Octavian rallied his troops and fought a series of battles in which Antony was defeated. Upon hearing that neither Antonius nor Octavian had an army big 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 totaled about 19 legions, marched to meet Brutus and Cassius. The two sides met in two engagements known as the Battle of Philippi. The first was fought on 3 October 42 BC, in which Brutus defeated Octavian's forces. Cassius was defeated by Antony, and took his own life, because he thought Brutus had also failed.

The second engagement was fought on 23 October 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 took his own life on October of 42 BCE, just two and a half years after the assassination.

According to Plutarch, Brutus suffered from depression and anxiety after the assassination of Caesar. He was haunted by nightmares and visions of Caesar's ghost, which he interpreted as a sign of divine retribution. It is also believed that Brutus was feeling guilty for killing Caesar and thus bringing Rome to ruin.

Antony, as a show of respect, ordered Brutus' body to be wrapped in his most expensive purple mantle, which was later stolen. Antony had the thief executed. Brutus was cremated, and his ashes were sent to his mother.


  • 85 BC: Brutus was born in Rome to Marcus Junius Brutus The Elder and Servilia Caepionis.
  • 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.
  • 49 BC: Brutus followed Pompey to Greece during the civil war against Caesar.
  • 48 BC: Brutus was pardoned by Caesar.
  • 46 BC: He was made governor of Gaul.
  • 45 BC: He was made Praetor.
  • 44 BC: A ring-leader in the assassination of Julius Caesar; then went to Athens and then to Crete.
  • 42 BC: Lost the Battle of Philippi to Mark Antony's forces.

"And you, Brutus?"

"And you, Brutus?" is a famous line from William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. The line is spoken by Julius Caesar as he is being assassinated, and it expresses his shock and disappointment that even his close friend Brutus is involved in the plot to kill him. The line has become a popular catchphrase and is often used to express surprise or disappointment when someone is betrayed by a friend or ally. The phrase is sometimes misquoted as "Et tu, Brute?" which is the Latin version of the line.

This catchphrase is believed to be an artistic interpretation of a similar phrase ascribed to Caesar. Ancients historians report that Caesar yielded to the attack when he saw Brutus among the assassins and shouted in Greek kai su teknon ("You too, child?").


Despite his reputation as one of the assassins of Julius Caesar, Brutus was admired by many Romans for his commitment to the Republic and his willingness to stand up against tyranny. Brutus' descendants continued to play a prominent role in Roman politics for several generations after his death.

However, others view him as a traitor. Dante Alighieri's Inferno notably placed Brutus in the lowest circle of Hell for his betrayal of Caesar, where he (along with Cassius and Judas Iscariot) is personally tortured by Satan.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Marco Junio Bruto para niños

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