Translation by John Dryden
Marcus Brutus was descended from that Junius Brutus to whom the ancient Romans erected a statue of brass in the capitol among the images of their kings with a drawn sword in his hand, in remembrance of his courage and resolution in expelling the Tarquins and destroying the monarchy. But that ancient Brutus was of a severe and inflexible nature, like steel of too hard a temper, and having never had his character softened by study and thought, he let himself be so far transported with his rage and hatred against tyrants, that, for conspiring with them, he proceeded to the execution even of his own sons. But this Brutus, whose life we now write, having to the goodness of his disposition added the improvements of learning and the study of philosophy, and having stirred up his natural parts, of themselves grave and gentle, by applying himself to business and public affairs, seems to have been of a temper exactly framed for virtue; insomuch that they who were most his enemies upon account of his conspiracy against Caesar, if in that whole affair there was any honorable or generous part, referred it wholly to Brutus, and laid whatever was barbarous and cruel to the charge of Cassius, Brutus's connection and familiar friend, but not his equal in honesty and pureness of purpose. His mother, Servilia, was of the family of Servilius Ahala, who, when Spurius Maelius worked the people into a rebellion and designed to make himself king, taking a dagger under his arm, went forth into the marketplace, and, upon presence of having some private business with him, came up close to him, and, as he bent his head to hear what he had to say, struck him with his dagger and slew him. And thus much, as concerns his descent by the mother's side, is confessed by all; but as for his father's family, they who for Caesar's murder bore any hatred or ill-will to Brutus say that he came not from that Brutus who expelled the Tarquins, there being none of his race left after the execution of his two sons; but that his ancestor was a plebeian, son of one Brutus, a steward, and only rose in the latest times to office or dignity in the commonwealth. But Posidonius the philosopher writes that it is true indeed what the history relates, that two of the sons of Brutus who were of men's estate were put to death, but that a third, yet an infant, was left alive, from whom the family was propagated down to Marcus Brutus; and further, that there were several famous persons of this house in his time whose looks very much resembled the statue of Junius Brutus. But of this subject enough.
Cato the philosopher was brother to Servilia, the mother of
Brutus, and he it was whom of all the Romans his nephew most admired and
studied to imitate, and he afterwards married his daughter Porcia. Of all the
sects of the Greek philosophers, though there was none of which he had not been
a hearer and in which he had not made some proficiency, yet he chiefly esteemed
the Platonists; and, not much approving of the modern and middle Academy, as it
is called, he applied himself to the study of the ancient. He was all his
lifetime a great admirer of Antiochus of the city of
In Latin, he had by exercise attained a sufficient skill to be able to make public addresses and to plead a cause; but in Greek, he must be noted for affecting the sententious and short Laconic way of speaking in sundry passages of his epistles; as when, in the beginning of the war, he wrote thus to the Pergamenians: "I hear you have given Dolabella money; if willingly, you must own you have injured me; if unwillingly, show it by giving willingly to me." And another time to the Samians: "Your counsels are remiss and your performances slow: what think ye will be the end?" And of the Patareans thus: "The Xanthians, suspecting my kindness, have made their country the grave of their despair; the Patareans, trusting themselves to me, enjoy in all points their former liberty; it is in your power to choose the judgment of the Patareans or the fortune of the Xanthians." And this is the style for which some of his letters are to be noted.
When he was but a very young man, he accompanied his uncle
But upon the general separation into two factions, when,
Pompey and Caesar taking up arms against one another, the whole empire was
turned into confusion, it was commonly believed that he would take Caesar's
side; for his father in past time had been put to death by Pompey. But he,
thinking it his duty to prefer the interest of the public to his own private
feelings, and judging Pompey's to be the better cause, took part with him;
though formerly he used not so much as to salute or take any notice of Pompey,
if he happened to meet him, esteeming it a pollution to have the least
conversation with the murderer of his father. But now, looking upon him as the
general of his country, he placed himself under his command, and set sail for
It is said that Caesar had so great a regard for him that he ordered his commanders by no means to kill Brutus in the battle, but to spare him, if possible, and bring him safe to him, if he would willingly surrender himself; but if he made any resistance, to suffer him to escape rather than do him any violence. And this he is believed to have done out of a tenderness to Servilia, the mother of Brutus; for Caesar had, it seems, in his youth been very intimate with her, and she passionately in love with him; and, considering that Brutus was born about that time in which their loves were at the highest, Caesar had a belief that he was his own child. The story is told, that when the great question of the conspiracy of Catiline, which had like to have been the destruction of the commonwealth, was debated in the senate, Cato and Caesar were both standing up, contending together on the decision to be come to; at which time a little note was delivered to Caesar from without, which he took and read silently to himself. Upon this, Cato cried out aloud, and accused Caesar of holding correspondence with and receiving letters from the enemies of the commonwealth; and when many other senators exclaimed against it, Caesar delivered the note as he had received it to Cato, who reading it found it to be a love-letter from his own sister Servilia, and threw it back again to Caesar with the words, "Keep it, you drunkard," and returned to the subject of the debate. So public and notorious was Servilia's love to Caesar.
After the great overthrow at Pharsalia, Pompey himself
having made his escape to the sea, and Caesar's army storming the camp, Brutus
stole privately out by one of the gates leading to marshy ground full of water
and covered with reeds, and, traveling through the night, got safe to Larissa.
From Larissa he wrote to Caesar, who expressed a great deal of joy to hear that
he was safe, and, bidding him come, not only forgave him freely, but honored
and esteemed him among his chiefest friends. Now when nobody could give any
certain account which way Pompey had fled, Caesar took a little journey alone
with Brutus, and tried what was his opinion herein, and after
some discussion which passed between them, believing that Brutus's
conjecture was the right one, laying aside all other thoughts, he set out
directly to pursue him towards
Brutus in the meantime gained Caesar's forgiveness for his friend Cassius; and pleading also in defense of the king of the Lybians, though he was overwhelmed with the greatness of the crimes alleged against him, yet by his entreaties and deprecations to Caesar in his behalf, he preserved to him a great part of his kingdom. It is reported that Caesar, when he first heard Brutus speak in public, said to his friends, "I know not what this young man intends, but, whatever he intends, he intends vehemently." For his natural firmness of mind, not easily yielding, or complying in favor of everyone that entreated his kindness, once set into action upon motives of right reason and deliberate moral choice, whatever direction it thus took, it was pretty sure to take effectively, and to work in such a way as not to fail in its object. No flattery could ever prevail with him to listen to unjust petitions; and he held that to be overcome by the importunities of shameless and fawning entreaties, though some compliment it with the name of modesty and bashfulness, was the worst disgrace a great man could suffer. And he used to say, that he always felt as if they who could deny nothing could not have behaved well in the flower of their youth.
Caesar, being about to make his expedition into Africa against Cato and Scipio, committed to Brutus the government of Cisalpine Gaul, to the great happiness and advantage of that province. For while people in other provinces were in distress with the violence and avarice of their governors, and suffered as much oppression as if they had been slaves and captives of war, Brutus, by his easy government, actually made them amends for their calamities under former rulers, directing moreover all their gratitude for his good deeds to Caesar himself; insomuch that it was a most welcome and pleasant spectacle to Caesar, when in his return he passed through Italy, to see the cities that were under Brutus's command and Brutus himself increasing his honor and joining agreeably in his progress.
Now several praetorships being vacant, it was all men's opinion, that that of the chiefest dignity, which is called the praetorship of the city, would be conferred either upon Brutus or Cassius; and some say that, there having been some little difference upon former accounts between them, this competition set them much more at variance, though they were connected in their families, Cassius having married Junia, the sister of Brutus. Others say that the contention was raised between them by Caesar's doing, who had privately given each of them such hopes of his favor as led them on, and provoked them at last into this open competition and trial of their interest. Brutus had only the reputation of his honor and virtue to oppose to the many and gallant actions performed by Cassius against the Parthians. But Caesar, having heard each side, and deliberating about the matter among his friends, said, "Cassius has the stronger plea, but we must let Brutus be first praetor." So another praetorship was given to Cassius; the gaining of which could not so much oblige him, as he was incensed for the loss of the other. And in all other things Brutus was partaker of Caesar's power as much as he desired; for he might, if he had pleased, have been the chief of all his friends, and had authority and command beyond them all, but Cassius and the company he met with him drew him off from Caesar. Indeed, he was not yet wholly reconciled to Cassius, since that competition which was between them; but yet he gave ear to Cassius's friends, who were perpetually advising him not to be so blind as to suffer himself to be softened and won upon by Caesar, but to shun the kindness and favors of a tyrant, which they intimated that Caesar showed him, not to express any honor to his merit or virtue, but to unbend his strength, and undermine his vigor of purpose.
Neither was Caesar wholly without suspicion of him nor
wanted informers that accused Brutus to him; but he feared, indeed, the high
spirit and the great character and the friends that he had, but thought himself
secure in his moral disposition. When it was told him that
And this, some say, was the chief provocation that stirred up Cassius to conspire against Caesar; but they are much in the wrong. For Cassius had from his youth a natural hatred and rancor against the whole race of tyrants, which he showed when he was but a boy, and went to the same school with Faustus, the son of Sylla; for, on his boasting himself amongst the boys, and extolling the sovereign power of his father, Cassius rose up and struck him two or three boxes on the ear; which when the guardians and relations of Faustus designed to inquire into and to prosecute, Pompey forbade them, and, sending for both the boys together, examined the matter himself. And Cassius then is reported to have said thus, "Come, then, Faustus, dare to speak here those words that provoked me, that I may strike you again as I did before." Such was the disposition of Cassius.
But Brutus was roused up and pushed on to the undertaking by many persuasions of his familiar friends, and letters and invitations from unknown citizens. For under the statue of his ancestor Brutus, that overthrew the kingly government, they wrote the words, "O that we had a Brutus now!" and, "O that Brutus were alive!" And Brutus's own tribunal, on which he sat as praetor, was filled each morning with writings such as these: "You are asleep, Brutus," and, "You are not a true Brutus." Now the flatterers of Caesar were the occasion of all this, who, among other invidious honors which they strove to fasten upon Caesar, crowned his statues by night with diadems, wishing to incite the people to salute him king instead of dictator. But quite the contrary came to pass, as I have more particularly related in the life of Caesar.
When Cassius went about soliciting friends to engage in this
design against Caesar, all whom he tried readily consented, if Brutus would be
head of it; for their opinion was that the enterprise wanted not hands or
resolution, but the reputation and authority of a man such as he was, to give
as it were the first religious sanction, and by his presence, if by nothing
else, to justify the undertaking; that without him they should go about this
action with less heart, and should lie under greater suspicions when they had
done it, for, if their cause had been just and honorable, people would be sure
that Brutus would not have refused it. Cassius, having considered these things
with himself, went to Brutus, and made him the first visit after their falling
out; and after the compliments of reconciliation had passed, and former
kindnesses were renewed between them, he asked him if he designed to be present
in the senate on the Calends of March, for it was discoursed, he said, that
Caesar's friends intended then to move that he might be made king. When Brutus
answered, that he would not be there, "But what," says Cassius,
"if they should send for us?" "It will
be my business then," replied Brutus, "not to hold my peace, but to
stand up boldly, and die for the liberty of my country." To which Cassius
with some emotion answered, "But what Roman will suffer you to die? What,
do you not know yourself, Brutus? Or do you think that those writings that you
find upon your praetor's seat were put there by weavers and shopkeepers, and
not by the first and most powerful men of
Among the friends of Pompey there was one Caius Ligarius, whom Caesar had pardoned, though accused for having been in arms against him. This man, not feeling so thankful for having been forgiven as he felt oppressed by that power which made him need a pardon, hated Caesar, and was one of Brutus's most intimate friends. Him Brutus visited, and, finding him sick, "O Ligarius," says he, "what a time have you found out to be sick in!" At which words Ligarius, raising himself and leaning on his elbow, took Brutus by the hand, and said, "But, O Brutus, if you are on any design worthy of yourself, I am well."
From this time, they tried the inclinations of all their acquaintance that they durst trust, and communicated the secret to them, and took into the design not only their familiar friends, but as many as they believed bold and brave and despisers of death. For which reason they concealed the plot from Cicero, though he was very much trusted and as well beloved by them all, lest, to his own disposition, which was naturally timorous, adding now the wariness and caution of old age, by his weighing, as he would do, every particular, that he might not make one step without the greatest security, he should blunt the edge of their forwardness and resolution in a business which required all the dispatch imaginable. As indeed there were also two others that were companions of Brutus, Statilius the Epicurean, and Favonius the admirer of Cato, whom he left out for this reason: as he was conversing one day with them, trying them at a distance, and proposing some such question to be disputed of as among philosophers, to see what opinion they were of, Favonius declared his judgment to be that a civil war was worse than the most illegal monarchy; and Statilius held, that, to bring himself into troubles and danger upon the account of evil or foolish men, did not become a man that had any wisdom or discretion. But Labeo, who was present, contradicted them both; and Brutus, as if it had been an intricate dispute, and difficult to be decided, held his peace for that time, but afterwards discovered the whole design to Labeo, who readily undertook it. The next thing that was thought convenient, was to gain the other Brutus, surnamed Albinus, a man of himself of no great bravery or courage, but considerable for the number of gladiators that he was maintaining for a public show, and the great confidence that Caesar put in him. When Cassius and Labeo spoke with him concerning the matter, he gave them no answer; but, seeking an interview with Brutus himself alone, and finding that he was their captain, he readily consented to partake in the action. And among the others, also, the most and best were gained by the name of Brutus. And, though they neither gave nor took any oath of secrecy, nor used any other sacred rite to assure their fidelity to each other, yet all kept their design so close, were so wary, and held it so silently among themselves, that, though by prophecies and apparitions and signs in the sacrifices the gods gave warning of it, yet could it not be believed.
Now Brutus, feeling that the noblest spirits of Rome for virtue, birth, or courage were depending upon him, and surveying with himself all the circumstances of the dangers they were to encounter, strove indeed as much as possible, when abroad, to keep his uneasiness of mind to himself, and to compose his thoughts; but at home, and especially at night, he was not the same man, but sometimes against his will his working care would make him start out of his sleep, and other times he was taken up with further reflection and consideration of his difficulties, so that his wife that lay with him could not choose but take notice that he was full of unusual trouble, and had in agitation some dangerous and perplexing question. Porcia, as was said before, was the daughter of Cato, and Brutus, her cousin-german, had married her very young, though not a maid, but after the death of her former husband, by whom she had one son, that was named Bibulus; and there is a little book, called Memoirs of Brutus, written by him, yet extant. This Porcia, being addicted to philosophy, a great lover of her husband, and full of an understanding courage, resolved not to inquire into Brutus's secrets before she had made this trial of herself. She turned all her attendants out of her chamber, and, taking a little knife, such as they use to cut nails with, she gave herself a deep gash in the thigh; upon which followed a great flow of blood, and, soon after, violent pains and a shivering fever, occasioned by the wound. Now when Brutus was extremely anxious and afflicted for her, she, in the height of all her pain, spoke thus to him: "I, Brutus, being the daughter of Cato, was given to you in marriage, not like a concubine, to partake only in the common intercourse of bed and board, but to bear a part in all your good and all your evil fortunes; and for your part, as regards your care for me, I find no reason to complain; but from me, what evidence of my love, what satisfaction can you receive, if I may not share with you in bearing your hidden griefs, nor be admitted to any of your counsels that require secrecy and trust? I know very well that women seem to be of too weak a nature to be trusted with secrets; but certainly, Brutus, a virtuous birth and education, and the company of the good and honorable, are of some force to the forming our manners; and I can boast that I am the daughter of Cato and the wife of Brutus, in which two titles though before I put less confidence, yet now I have tried myself, and find that I can bid defiance to pain." Which words having spoken, she showed him her wound, and related to him the trial that she had made of her constancy; at which he being astonished, lifted up his hands to heaven, and begged the assistance of the gods in his enterprise, that he might show himself a husband worthy of such a wife as Porcia. So then he comforted his wife.
But a meeting of the senate being appointed, at which it was believed that Caesar would be present, they agreed to make use of that opportunity: for then they might appear all together without suspicion; and, besides, they hoped that all the noblest and leading men of the commonwealth, being then assembled, as soon as the great deed was done, would immediately stand forward, and assert the common liberty. The very place, too, where the senate was to meet, seemed to be by divine appointment favorable to their purpose. It was a portico, one of those joining the theater, with a large recess, in which there stood a statue of Pompey, erected to him by the commonwealth, when he adorned that part of the city with the porticos and the theater. To this place it was that the senate was summoned for the middle of March (the Ides of March is the Roman name for the day); as if some more than human power were leading the man thither, there to meet his punishment for the death of Pompey.
As soon as it was day, Brutus, taking with him a dagger, which none but his wife knew of, went out. The rest met together at Cassius's house, and brought forth his son, that was that day to put on the manly gown, as it is called, into the forum; and from thence, going all to Pompey's porch, stayed there, expecting Caesar to come without delay to the senate. Here it was chiefly that anyone who had known what they had purposed, would have admired the unconcerned temper and the steady resolution of these men in their most dangerous undertaking; for many of them, being praetors, and called upon by their office to judge and determine causes, did not only hear calmly all that made application to them and pleaded against each other before them, as if they were free from all other thoughts, but decided causes with as much accuracy and judgment as they had heard them with attention and patience. And when one person refused to stand to the award of Brutus, and with great clamor and many attestations appealed to Caesar, Brutus, looking round about him upon those that were present, said, "Caesar does not hinder me, nor will he hinder me, from doing according to the laws."
Yet there were many unusual accidents that disturbed them and by mere chance were thrown in their way. The first and chiefest was the long stay of Caesar, though the day was far spent, and his being detained at home by his wife, and forbidden by the soothsayers to go forth, upon some defect that appeared in his sacrifice. Another was this: There came a man up to Casca, one of the company, and, taking him by the hand, "You concealed," said he, "the secret from us, but Brutus has told me all." At which words when Casca was surprised, the other said laughing, "How come you to be so rich of a sudden, that you should stand to be chosen aedile?" So near was Casca to let out the secret, upon the mere ambiguity of the other's expression. Then Popilius Laenas, a senator, having saluted Brutus and Cassius more earnestly than usual, whispered them softly in the ear and said, "My wishes are with you, that you may accomplish what you design, and I advise you to make no delay, for the thing is now no secret." This said, he departed, and left them in great suspicion that the design had taken wind. In the meanwhile, there came one in all haste from Brutus's house, and brought him news that his wife was dying. For Porcia, being extremely disturbed with expectation of the event, and not able to bear the greatness of her anxiety, could scarce keep herself within doors; and at every little noise or voice she heard, starting up suddenly, like those possessed with the bacchic frenzy, she asked everyone that came in from the forum what Brutus was doing, and sent one messenger after another to inquire. At last, after long expectation, the strength of her body could hold out no longer; her mind was overcome with her doubts and fears, and she lost the control of herself, and began to faint away. She had not time to betake herself to her chamber, but, sitting as she was amongst her women, a sudden swoon and a great stupor seized her, and her color changed, and her speech was quite lost. At this sight, her women made a loud cry, and many of the neighbors running to Brutus's door to know what was the matter, the report was soon spread abroad that Porcia was dead; though with her women's help she recovered in a little while, and came to herself again. When Brutus received this news, he was extremely troubled, nor without reason, yet was not so carried away by his private grief as to quit his public purpose.
For now news was brought that Caesar was coming, carried in a litter. For, being discouraged by the ill omens that attended his sacrifice, he had determined to undertake no affairs of any great importance that day, but to defer them till another time, excusing himself that he was sick. As soon as he came out of his litter, Popilius Laenas, he who but a little before had wished Brutus good success in his undertaking, coming up to him, conversed a great while with him, Caesar standing still all the while, and seeming to be very attentive. The conspirators, (to give them this name,) not being able to hear what he said, but guessing by what themselves were conscious of that this conference was the discovery of their treason, were again disheartened, and, looking upon one another, agreed from each other's countenances that they should not stay to be taken, but should all kill themselves. And now when Cassius and some others were laying hands upon their daggers under their robes, and were drawing them out, Brutus, viewing narrowly the looks and gesture of Laenas, and finding that he was earnestly petitioning and not accusing, said nothing, because there were many strangers to the conspiracy mingled amongst them, but by a cheerful countenance encouraged Cassius. And after a little while, Laenas, having kissed Caesar's hand, went away, showing plainly that all his discourse was about some particular business relating to himself.
Now when the senate was gone in before to the chamber where
they were to sit, the rest of the company placed themselves close about
Caesar's chair, as if they had some suit to make to him, and Cassius, turning
his face to Pompey's statue, is said to have invoked it, as if it had been
sensible of his prayers. Trebonius, in the meanwhile, engaged
Caesar being thus slain, Brutus, stepping forth into the
midst, intended to have made a speech, and called back and encouraged the
senators to stay; but they all affrighted ran away in great disorder, and there
was a great confusion and press at the door, though none pursued or followed. For they had come to an express resolution to kill nobody besides
Caesar, but to call and invite all the rest to liberty. It was indeed
the opinion of all the others, when they consulted about the execution of their
design, that it was necessary to cut off
But the next day, the senate being assembled in the temple
of the Earth, and Antony and Plancus and Cicero having made orations
recommending concord in general and an act of oblivion, it was decreed, that
the men should not only be put out of all fear or danger, but that the consuls
should see what honors and dignities were proper to be conferred upon them.
After which done, the senate broke up; and, Antony having sent his son as an
hostage to the capitol, Brutus and his company came down, and mutual salutes
and invitations passed amongst them, the whole of them being gathered together.
After these things, they began to consider of Caesar's will,
and the ordering of his funeral.
There was however a kind of poet, one Cinna, not at all
concerned in the guilt of the conspiracy, but on the contrary one of Caesar's
friends. This man dreamed that he was invited to supper by Caesar,
and that he declined to go, but that Caesar entreated and pressed him to it
very earnestly; and at last, taking him by the hand, led him into a very deep
and dark place, whither he was forced against his will to follow in great
consternation and amazement. After this vision, he had a fever the most part of
the night; nevertheless in the morning, hearing that the body of Caesar was to
be carried forth to be interred, he was ashamed not to be present at the
solemnity, and came abroad and joined the people, when they were already
infuriated by the speech of
This action chiefly, and the alteration that
This was the posture of affairs when another sudden
alteration was made upon the young Caesar's coming to
The city being now divided into two factions, some betaking
themselves to Caesar and others to Antony, the soldiers selling themselves, as
it were, by public outcry, and going over to him that would give them most,
Brutus began to despair of any good event of such proceedings, and, resolving
to leave Italy, passed by land through Lucania and came to Elea by the seaside.
From hence it was thought convenient that Porcia should return to
But Hector, you
To me are father and are mother too,
My brother, and my loving husband true.
Brutus, smiling, replied, "But I must not answer Porcia, as Hector did Andromache,
'Mind you your loom, and to your maids give law.'
For though the natural weakness of her body hinders her from doing what only the strength of men can perform, yet she has a mind as valiant and as active for the good of her country as the best of us." This narrative is in the memoirs of Brutus written by Bibulus, Porcia's son.
Brutus took ship from hence, and sailed to
At length he began to act openly, and to appear in public
business, and, being informed that there were several Roman ships full of
treasure that in their course from
But fate my death and Leto's son have wrought.
And some writers add that in the last battle which he fought
Antistius, the commander of these ships, at his parting gave
him fifty thousand myriads of the money that he was conveying to Italy; and all
the soldiers yet remaining of Pompey's army, who after their general's defeat
wandered about Thessaly, readily and joyfully flocked together to join him.
Besides this, he took from Cinna five hundred horse that he was carrying to
Brutus growing very faint, and there being none in the whole
army that had anything for him to eat, his servants were forced to have
recourse to the enemy, and, going as far as to the gates of the city, begged
bread of the sentinels that were upon duty. As soon as they heard of the
condition of Brutus, they came themselves, and brought both meat and drink
along with them; in return for which, Brutus, when he took the city, showed the
greatest kindness, not to them only, but to all the inhabitants, for their
sakes. Caius Antonius, in the meantime, coming to Apollonia, summoned all the
soldiers that were near that city to join him there; but finding that they
nevertheless went all to Brutus, and suspecting that even those of Apollonia
were inclined to the same party, he quitted that city, and came to Buthrotum,
having first lost three cohorts of his men, that in their march thither were
cut to pieces by Brutus. After this, attempting to make himself master of some
strong places about Byllis which the enemy had first seized, he was overcome in
a set battle by young Cicero, to whom Brutus gave the command, and whose
conduct he made use of often and with much success. Caius himself was surprised
in a marshy place, at a distance from his supports; and Brutus, having him in
his power, would not suffer his soldiers to attack, but maneuvering about the
enemy with his horse, gave command that none of them should be killed, for that
in a little time they would all be of his side; which accordingly came to pass,
for they surrendered both themselves and their general. So that Brutus had by
this time a very great and considerable army. He showed all marks of honor and esteem
to Caius for a long time, and left him the use of the ensigns of his office,
though, as some report, he had several letters from
As he was preparing to pass into Asia, tidings reached him
of the alteration that had happened at Rome; where the young Caesar, assisted
by the senate, in opposition to Antony, and having driven his competitor out of
Italy, had begun himself to be very formidable, suing for the consulship
contrary to law, and maintaining large bodies of troops of which the
commonwealth had no manner of need. And then, perceiving that the senate,
dissatisfied with his proceedings, began to cast their eyes abroad upon Brutus,
and decreed and confirmed the government of several provinces to him, he had
taken the alarm. Therefore dispatching messengers to
This news being brought to Brutus in
Having made his army, that was already very considerable,
pass into Asia, he ordered a fleet to be prepared in
Cassius obeyed his summons, and returned, and Brutus went to meet him; and at Smyrna they met, which was the first time they had seen one another since they parted at the Piraeus in Athens, one for Syria, and the other for Macedonia. They were both extremely joyful and had great confidence of their success at the sight of the forces that each of them had got together, since they who had fled from Italy, like the most despicable exiles, without money, without arms, without a ship or a soldier or a city to rely on, in a little time after had met together so well furnished with shipping and money, and an army both of horse and foot, that they were in a condition to contend for the empire of Rome.
Cassius was desirous to show no less respect and honor to
Brutus than Brutus did to him; but Brutus was still beforehand with him, coming
for the most part to him, both because he was the elder man, and of a weaker
constitution than himself. Men generally reckoned Cassius a very expert
soldier, but of a harsh and angry nature, and one that desired to command
rather by fear than love; though, on the other side, among his familiar
acquaintance he would easily give way to jesting, and play the buffoon. But
Brutus, for his virtue, was esteemed by the people, beloved by his friends,
admired by the best men, and hated not by his enemies themselves. For he was a
man of a singularly gentle nature, of a great spirit, insensible of the
passions of anger or pleasure or covetousness; steady and inflexible to maintain
his purpose for what he thought right and honest. And that which gained him the
greatest affection and reputation was the entire faith in his intentions. For
it had not ever been supposed that Pompey the Great himself, if he had overcome
Caesar, would have submitted his power to the laws, instead of taking the
management of the state upon himself, soothing the people with the specious
name of consul or dictator, or some other milder title than king. And they were
well persuaded that Cassius, being a man governed by anger and passion and
carried often, for his interest's sake, beyond the bounce of justice, endured
all these hardships of war and travel and danger most assuredly to obtain
dominion to himself, and not liberty to the people. And as for the former
disturbers of the peace of
Now when they were at
But the Lycians were on a sudden possessed with a strange and incredible desperation; such a frenzy as cannot be better expressed than by calling it a violent appetite to die, for both women and children, the bondmen and the free, those of all ages and of all conditions strove to force away the soldiers that came in to their assistance, from the walls; and themselves gathering together reeds and wood, and whatever combustible matter they found, spread the fire over the whole city, feeding it with whatever fuel they could, and by all possible means exciting its fury, so that the flame, having dispersed itself and encircled the whole city, blazed out in so terrible a manner, that Brutus, being extremely afflicted at their calamity, got on horseback and rode round the walls, earnestly desirous to preserve the city, and, stretching forth his hands to the Xanthians, begged of them that they would spare themselves and save their town. Yet none regarded his entreaties, but by all manner of ways strove to destroy themselves; not only men and women, but even boys and little children, with a hideous outcry, leaped, some into the fire, others from the walls, others fell upon their parents' swords, baring their throats and desiring to be struck. After the destruction of the city, there was found a woman who had hanged herself with her young child hanging from her neck, and the torch in her hand, with which she had fired her own house. It was so tragical a sight, that Brutus could not endure to see it, but wept at the very relation of it, and proclaimed a reward to any soldier that could save a Xanthian. And it is said that one hundred and fifty only were found, to have their lives saved against their wills. Thus the Xanthians, after a long space of years, the fated period of their destruction having, as it were, run its course, repeated by their desperate deed the former calamity of their forefathers, who after the very same manner in the Persian war had fired their city and destroyed themselves.
Brutus, after this, finding the Patareans resolved to make resistance and hold out their city against him, was very unwilling to besiege it, and was in great perplexity lest the same frenzy might seize them too. But having in his power some of their women, who were his prisoners, he dismissed them all without any ransom; who, returning and giving an account to their husbands and fathers, who were of the greatest rank, what an excellent man Brutus was how temperate and how just, persuaded them to yield themselves and put their city into his hands. From this time all the cities round about came into his power, submitting themselves to him, and found him good and merciful even beyond their hopes. For though Cassius at the same time had compelled the Rhodians to bring in all the silver and gold that each of them privately was possessed of, by which he raised a sum of eight thousand talents, and besides this had condemned the public to pay the sum of five hundred talents more, Brutus, not having taken above a hundred and fifty talents from the Lycians, and having done them no other manner of injury, parted from thence with his army to go into Ionia.
Through the whole course of this expedition, Brutus did many
memorable acts of justice in dispensing rewards and punishments to such as had
deserved either; but one in particular I will relate, because he himself, and
all the noblest Romans, were gratified with it above all the rest. When Pompey
the Great, being overthrown from his great power by Caesar, had fled to Egypt,
and landed near Pelusium, the protectors of the young king consulted among
themselves what was fit to be done on that occasion, nor could they all agree
in the same opinion, some being for receiving him, others for driving him from
Egypt. But Theodotus, a Chian by birth, and then attending upon the king as a
paid teacher of rhetoric, and for want of better men admitted into the council,
undertook to prove to them, that both parties were in the wrong, those that
counseled to receive Pompey, and those that advised to send him away; that in
their present case one thing only was truly expedient, to seize him and to kill
him; and ended his argument with the proverb, that "dead men don't
bite." The council agreed to his opinion, and Pompey the Great (an example
of incredible and unforeseen events) was slain, as the sophister himself had
the impudence to boast, through the rhetoric and cleverness of Theodotus. Not
long after, when Caesar came to
About this time, Brutus sent to Cassius to come to him at
the city of
Be ruled, for I am older than ye both.
At this Cassius laughed; but Brutus thrust him our, calling him impudent dog and counterfeit Cynic; but yet for the present they let it put an end to their dispute, and parted. Cassius made a supper that night, and Brutus invited the guests; and when they were set down, Favonius, having bathed, came in among them. Brutus called out aloud and told him he was not invited, and bade him go to the upper couch; but he violently thrust himself in, and lay down on the middle one; and the entertainment passed in sportive talk, not wanting either wit or philosophy.
The next day after, upon the accusation of the Sardians,
Brutus publicly disgraced and condemned Lucius Pella, one that had been censor
About the time that they were going to pass out of Asia into
As soon as the apparition vanished, he called his servants to him, who all told him that they had neither heard any voice nor seen any vision. So then he continued watching till the morning, when he went to Cassius, and told him of what he had seen. He, who followed the principles of Epicurus's philosophy, and often used to dispute with Brutus concerning matters of this nature, spoke to him thus upon this occasion: "It is the opinion of our sect, Brutus, that not all that we feel or see is real and true; but that the sense is a most slippery and deceitful thing, and the mind yet more quick and subtle to put the sense in motion and affect it with every kind of change upon no real occasion of fact; just as an impression is made upon wax; and the soul of man, which has in itself both what imprints and what is imprinted on, may most easily, by its own operations, produce and assume every variety of shape and figure. This is evident from the sudden changes of our dreams; in which the imaginative principle, once started by anything matter, goes through a whole series of most diverse emotions and appearances. It is its nature to be ever in motion, and its motion is fantasy or conception. But besides all this, in your case, the body, being tired and distressed with continual toil, naturally works upon the mind, and keeps it in an excited and unusual condition. But that there should be any such thing as supernatural beings, or, if there were, that they should have human shape or voice or power that can reach to us, there is no reason for believing; though I confess I could wish that there were such beings, that we might not rely upon our arms only, and our horses and our navy, all which are so numerous and powerful, but might be confident of the assistance of gods also, in this our most sacred and honorable attempt." With such discourses as these Cassius soothed the mind of Brutus. But just as the troops were going on board, two eagles flew and lighted on the first two ensigns, and crossed over the water with them, and never ceased following the soldiers and being fed by them till they came to Philippi, and there, but one day before the fight, they both flew away.
Brutus had already reduced most of the places and people of
these parts; but they now marched on as far as to the coast opposite Thasos,
and, if there were any city or man of power that yet stood out, brought them
all to subjection. At this point Norbanus was encamped, in a place called the
Straits, near Symbolum. Him they surrounded in such sort that they forced him
to dislodge and quit the place; and Norbanus narrowly escaped losing his whole
army, Caesar by reason of sickness being too far behind; only
The space between the two armies is called by the Romans the Campi Philippi. Never had two such large Roman armies come together to engage each other. That of Brutus was somewhat less in number than that of Caesar, but in the splendidness of the men's arms and richness of their equipage it wonderfully exceeded; for most of their arms were of gold and silver, which Brutus had lavishly bestowed among them. For though in other things he had accustomed his commanders to use all frugality and self-control, yet he thought that the riches which soldiers carried about them in their hands and on their bodies would add something of spirit to those that were desirous of glory, and would make those that were covetous and lovers of gain fight the more valiantly to preserve the arms which were their estate.
Caesar made a view and lustration of his army within his trenches, and distributed only a little corn and but five drachmas to each soldier for the sacrifice they were to make. But Brutus, either pitying this poverty, or disdaining this meanness of spirit in Caesar, first, as the custom was, made a general muster and lustration of the army in the open field, and then distributed a great number of beasts for sacrifice to every regiment, and fifty drachmas to every soldier; so that in the love of his soldiers and their readiness to fight for him Brutus had much the advantage. But at the time of lustration it is reported that an unlucky omen happened to Cassius; for his lictor, presenting him with a garland that he was to wear at sacrifice, gave it him the wrong way up. Further, it is said that some time before, at a certain solemn procession, a golden image of Victory, which was carried before Cassius, fell down by a slip of him that carried it. Besides this there appeared many birds of prey daily about the camp, and swarms of bees were seen in a place within the trenches, which place the soothsayers ordered to be shut out from the camp, to remove the superstition which insensibly began to infect even Cassius himself and shake him in his Epicurean philosophy, and had wholly seized and subdued the soldiers; from whence it was that Cassius was reluctant to put all to the hazard of a present battle, but advised rather to draw out the war until further time, considering that they were stronger in money and provisions, but in numbers of men and arms inferior. But Brutus, on the contrary, was still, as formerly, desirous to come with all speed to the decision of a battle; that so he might either restore his country to her liberty, or else deliver from their misery all those numbers of people whom they harassed with the expenses and the service and exactions of the war. And finding also his light-horse in several skirmishes still to have had the better, he was the more encouraged and resolved; and some of the soldiers having deserted and gone to the enemy, and others beginning to accuse and suspect one another, many of Cassius's friends in the council changed their opinions to that of Brutus. But there was one of Brutus's party, named Atellius, who opposed his resolution, advising rather that they should tarry over the winter. And when Brutus asked him in how much better a condition he hoped to be a year after, his answer was, "If I gain nothing else, yet I shall live so much the longer." Cassius was much displeased at this answer; and among the rest, Atellius was had in much disesteem for it. And so it was presently resolved to give battle the next day.
Brutus that night at supper showed himself very cheerful and full of hope, and reasoned on subjects of philosophy with his friends, and afterwards went to his rest. But Messala says that Cassius supped privately with a few of his nearest acquaintance, and appeared thoughtful and silent, contrary to his temper and custom; that after supper he took him earnestly by the hand, and speaking to him, as his manner was when he wished to show affection, in Greek, said, "Bear witness for me, Messala, that I am brought into the same necessity as Pompey the Great was before me, of hazarding the liberty of my country upon one battle; yet ought we to be of courage, relying on our good fortune, which it were unfair to mistrust, though we take evil counsels." These, Messala says, were the last words that Cassius spoke before he bade him farewell; and that he was invited to sup with him the next night, being his birthday.
As soon as it was morning, the signal of battle, the scarlet
coat, was set out in Brutus's and Cassius's camps, and they themselves met in
the middle space between their two armies. There Cassius spoke thus to Brutus:
"Be it as we hope, O Brutus, that this day we may overcome, and all the
rest of our time may live a happy life together; but since the greatest of
human concerns are the most uncertain, and since it may be difficult for us
ever to see one another again, if the battle should go against us, tell me,
what is your resolution concerning flight and death?" Brutus answered,
"When I was young, Cassius, and unskillful in affairs, I was led, I know
not how, into uttering a bold sentence in philosophy, and blamed Cato for
killing himself, as thinking it an irreligious act, and not a valiant one among
men, to try to evade the divine course of things, and not fearlessly to receive
and undergo the evil that shall happen, but run away from it. But now in my own
fortunes I am of another mind; for if
The rest of the army, that had not gone round but had engaged the front, easily overthrew them, finding them in great disorder, and slew upon the place three legions; and being carried on with the stream of victory, pursuing those that fled, fell into the camp with them, Brutus himself being there. But they that were conquered took the advantage in their extremity of what the conquerors did not consider. For they fell upon that part of the main body which had been left exposed and separated, where the right wing had broke off from them and hurried away in the pursuit; yet they could not break into the midst of their battle, but were received with strong resistance and obstinacy. Yet they put to flight the left wing, where Cassius commanded, being in great disorder, and ignorant of what had passed on the other wing; and, pursuing them to their camp, they pillaged and destroyed it, neither of their generals being present; for Antony, they say, to avoid the fury of the first onset, had retired into the marsh that was hard by; and Caesar was nowhere to be found after his being conveyed out of the tents; though some of the soldiers showed Brutus their swords bloody, and declared that they had killed him, describing his person and his age. By this time also the center of Brutus's battle had driven back their opponents with great slaughter; and Brutus was everywhere plainly conqueror, as on the other side Cassius was conquered. And this one mistake was the ruin of their affairs, that Brutus did not come to the relief of Cassius, thinking that he, as well as himself, was conqueror; and that Cassius did not expect the relief of Brutus, thinking that he too was overcome. For as a proof that the victory was on Brutus's side, Messala urges his taking three eagles and many ensigns of the enemy without losing any of his own. But now, returning from the pursuit after having plundered Caesar's camp, Brutus wondered that he could not see Cassius's tent standing high, as it was wont, and appearing above the rest, nor other things appearing as they had been; for they had been immediately pulled down and pillaged by the enemy upon their first falling into the camp. But some that had a quicker and longer sight than the rest acquainted Brutus that they saw a great deal of shining armor and silver targets moving to and fro in Cassius's camp, and that they thought, by their number and the fashion of their armor, they could not be those that they left to guard the camp; but yet that there did not appear so great a number of dead bodies thereabouts as it was probable there would have been after the actual defeat of so many legions. This first made Brutus suspect Cassius's misfortune, and, leaving a guard in the enemy's camp, he called back those that were in the pursuit, and rallied them together to lead them to the relief of Cassius, whose fortune had been as follows.
First, he had been angry at the onset that Brutus's soldiers made, without the word of battle or command to charge. Then, after they had overcome, he was as much displeased to see them rush on to the plunder and spoil, and neglect to surround and encompass the rest of the enemy. Besides this, letting himself act by delay and expectation, rather than command boldly and with a clear purpose, he got hemmed in by the right wing of the enemy, and, his horse making with all haste their escape and flying towards the sea, the foot also began to give way, which he perceiving labored as much as ever he could to hinder their flight and bring them back; and, snatching an ensign out of the hand of one that fled, he stuck it at his feet, though he could hardly keep even his own personal guard together. So that at last he was forced to fly with a few about him to a little hill that overlooked the plain. But he himself, being weak-sighted, discovered nothing, only the destruction of his camp, and that with difficulty. But they that were with him saw a great body of horse moving towards him, the same whom Brutus had sent. Cassius believed these were enemies, and in pursuit of him; however, he sent away Titinius, one of those that were with him, to learn what they were. As soon as Brutus's horse saw him coming, and knew him to be a friend and a faithful servant of Cassius, those of them that were his more familiar acquaintance, shouting out for joy and alighting from their horses, shook hands and embraced him, and the rest rode round about him singing and shouting, through their excess of gladness at the sight of him. But this was the occasion of the greatest mischief that could be. For Cassius really thought that Titinius had been taken by the enemy, and cried out, "Through too much fondness of life, I have lived to endure the sight of my friend taken by the enemy before my face." After which words he retired into an empty tent, taking along with him only Pindarus, one of his freedmen, whom he had reserved for such an occasion ever since the disasters in the expedition against the Parthians, when Crassus was slain. From the Parthians he came away in safety; but now, pulling up his mantle over his head, he made his neck bare, and held it forth to Pindarus, commanding him to strike. The head was certainly found lying severed from the body. But no man ever saw Pindarus after, from which some suspected that he had killed his master without his command. Soon after they perceived who the horsemen were, and saw Titinius, crowned with garlands, making what haste he could towards Cassius. But as soon as he understood by the cries and lamentations of his afflicted friends the unfortunate error and death of his general, he drew his sword, and having very much accused and upbraided his own long stay, that had caused it, he slew himself.
Brutus, as soon as he was assured of the defeat of Cassius, made haste to him; but heard nothing of his death till he came near his camp. Then having lamented over his body, calling him "the last of the Romans," it being impossible that the city should ever produce another man of so great a spirit, he sent away the body to be buried at Thasos, lest celebrating his funeral within the camp might breed some disorder. He then gathered the soldiers together and comforted them; and, seeing them destitute of all things necessary, he promised to every man two thousand drachmas in recompense of what he had lost. They at these words took courage, and were astonished at the magnificence of the gift; and waited upon him at his parting with shouts and praises, magnifying him for the only general of all the four who was not overcome in the battle. And indeed the action itself testified that it was not without reason he believed he should conquer; for with a few legions he overthrew all that resisted him; and if all his soldiers had fought, and the most of them had not passed beyond the enemy in pursuit of the plunder, it is very likely that he had utterly defeated every part of them.
There fell of his side eight thousand men, reckoning the servants of the army, whom Brutus calls Briges; and on the other side, Messala says his opinion is that there were slain above twice that number. For which reason they were more out of heart than Brutus, until a servant of Cassius, named Demetrius, came in the evening to Antony, and brought to him the garment which he had taken from the dead body, and his sword; at the sight of which they were so encouraged, that, as soon as it was morning, they drew out their whole force into the field, and stood in battle array. But Brutus found both his camps wavering and in disorder; for his own, being filled with prisoners, required a guard more strict than ordinary over them; and that of Cassius was uneasy at the change of general, besides some envy and rancor, which those that were conquered bore to that part of the army which had been conquerors. Wherefore he thought it convenient to put his army in array, but to abstain from fighting. All the slaves that were taken prisoners, of whom there was a great number that were mixed up, not without suspicion, among the soldiers, he commanded to be slain; but of the freemen and citizens, some he dismissed, saying that among the enemy they were rather prisoners than with him, for with them they were captives and slaves, but with him freemen and citizens of Rome. But he was forced to hide and help them to escape privately, perceiving that his friends and officers were bent upon revenge against them. Among the captives there was one Volumnius, a player, and Sacculio, a buffoon; of these Brutus took no manner of notice, but his friends brought them before him, and accused them that even then in that condition they did not refrain from their jests and scurrilous language. Brutus, having his mind taken up with other affairs, said nothing to their accusation; but the judgment of Messala Corvinus was, that they should be whipped publicly upon a stage, and so sent naked to the captains of the enemy, to show them what sort of fellow drinkers and companions they took with them on their campaigns. At this some that were present laughed; and Publius Casca, he that gave the first wound to Caesar, said, "We do ill to jest and make merry at the funeral of Cassius. But you, O Brutus," he added, "will show what esteem you have for the memory of that general, according as you punish or preserve alive those who will scoff and speak shamefully of him." To this Brutus, in great discomposure replied, "Why then, Casca, do you ask me about it, and not do yourselves what you think fitting?" This answer of Brutus was taken for his consent to the death of these wretched men; so they were carried away and slain.
After this he gave the soldiers the reward that he had
promised them; and having slightly reproved them for having fallen upon the
enemy in disorder without the word of battle or command, he promised them, that
if they behaved themselves bravely in the next engagement, he would give them
up two cities to spoil and plunder, Thessalonica and
Neither were the affairs of Caesar and
The same night, they say, the vision appeared again to Brutus, in the same shape that it did before, but vanished without speaking. But Publius Volumnius, a philosopher, and one that had from the beginning borne arms with Brutus, makes no mention of this apparition, but says that the first eagle was covered with a swarm of bees, and that there was one of the captains whose arm of itself sweated oil of roses, and, though they often dried and wiped it, yet it would not cease; and that immediately before the battle, two eagles falling upon each other fought in the space between the two armies, that the whole field kept incredible silence and all were intent upon the spectacle, until at last that which was on Brutus's side yielded and fled. But the story of the Ethiopian is very famous, who meeting the standard-bearer at the opening the gate of the camp, was cut to pieces by the soldiers, that took it for an ill omen.
Brutus, having brought his army into the field and set them in array against the enemy, paused a long while before he would fight; for, as he was reviewing the troops, suspicions were excited, and informations laid against some of them. Besides, he saw his horse not very eager to begin the action, and waiting to see what the foot would do. Then suddenly Camulatus, a very good soldier, and one whom for his valor he highly esteemed, riding hard by Brutus himself, went over to the enemy, the sight of which grieved Brutus exceedingly. So that partly out of anger, and partly out of fear of some greater treason and desertion, he immediately drew on his forces upon the enemy, the sun now declining, about three of the clock in the afternoon. Brutus on his side had the better, and pressed hard on the left wing, which gave way and retreated; and the horse too fell in together with the foot, when they saw the enemy in disorder. But the other wing, when the officers extended the line to avoid its being encompassed, the numbers being inferior, got drawn out too thin in the center, and was so weak here that they could not withstand the charge, but at the first onset fled. After defeating these, the enemy at once took Brutus in the rear, who all the while performed all that was possible for an expert general and valiant soldier, doing everything in the peril, by counsel and by hand, that might recover the victory. But that which had been his superiority in the former fight was to his prejudice in this second. For in the first fight, that part of the enemy which was beaten was killed on the spot; but of Cassius's soldiers that fled few had been slain, and those that escaped, daunted with their defeat, infected the other and larger part of the army with their want of spirit and their disorder. Here Marcus, the son of Cato, was slain, fighting and behaving himself with great bravery in the midst of the youth of the highest rank and greatest valor. He would neither fly nor give the least ground, but, still fighting and declaring who he was and naming his father's name, he fell upon a heap of dead bodies of the enemy. And of the rest, the bravest were slain in defending Brutus.
There was in the field one Lucilius, an excellent man and a
friend of Brutus, who, seeing some barbarian horse taking no notice of any
other in the pursuit, but galloping at full speed after Brutus, resolved to
stop them, though with the hazard of his life; and, letting himself fall a
little behind, he told them that he was Brutus. They believed him the rather,
because he prayed to be carried to
Brutus had now passed a little brook, running among trees and under steep rocks, and, it being night, would go no further, but sat down in a hollow place with a great rock projecting before it, with a few of his officers and friends about him. At first, looking up to heaven, that was then full of stars, he repeated two verses, one of which, Volumnius writes, was this: --
Punish, great Jove, the author of these ills.
The other he says he has forgot. Soon after, naming severally all his friends that had been slain before his face in the battle, he groaned heavily, especially at the mentioning of Flavius and Labeo, the latter his lieutenant, and the other chief officer of his engineers. In the meantime, one of his companions, that was very thirsty and saw Brutus in the same condition, took his helmet and ran to the brook for water, when, a noise being heard from the other side of the river, Volumnius, taking Dardanus, Brutus's armor-bearer, with him, went out to see what it was. They returned in a short space, and inquired about the water. Brutus, smiling with much meaning, said to Volumnius, "It is all drunk; but you shall have some more fetched." But he that had brought the first water, being sent again, was in great danger of being taken by the enemy, and, having received a wound, with much difficulty escaped.
Now Brutus guessing that not many of his men were slain in the fight, Statyllius undertook to dash through the enemy (for there was no other way), and to see what was become of their camp; and promised, if he found all things there safe, to hold up a torch for a signal, and then return. The torch was held up, for Statyllius got safe to the camp; but when after a long time he did not return, Brutus said, "If Statyllius be alive, he will come back." But it happened that in his return he fell into the enemy's hands, and was slain.
The night now being far spent, Brutus, as he was sitting,
leaned his head towards his servant Clitus and spoke to him; he answered him
not, but fell a weeping. After that, he drew aside his armor-bearer, Dardanus,
and had some discourse with him in private. At last, speaking to Volumnius in
Greek, he reminded him of their common studies and former discipline, and
begged that he would take hold of his sword with him, and help him to thrust it
through him. Volumnius put away his request, and several others did the like;
and someone saying, that there was no staying there, but they needs must fly,
Brutus, rising up, said, "Yes, indeed, we must fly, but not with our feet,
but with our hands." Then giving each of them his right hand, with a
countenance full of pleasure, he said, that he found an infinite satisfaction
in this, that none of his friends had been false to him; that as for fortune,
he was angry with that only for his country's sake; as for himself, he thought
himself much more happy than they who had overcome, not only as he had been a
little time ago, but even now in his present condition; since he was leaving
behind him such a reputation of his virtue as none of the conquerors with all
their arms and riches should ever be able to acquire, no more than they could
hinder posterity from believing and saying, that, being unjust and wicked men,
they had destroyed the just and the good, and usurped a power to which they had
no right. After this, having exhorted and entreated all about him to provide
for their own safety, he withdrew from them with two or three only of his
peculiar friends; Strato was one of these, with whom he had contracted an
acquaintance when they studied rhetoric together. Him he placed next to
himself, and, taking hold of the hilt of his sword and directing it with both
his hands, he fell upon it, and killed himself. But others say, that not he
himself, but Strato, at the earnest entreaty of Brutus, turning aside his head,
held the sword, upon which he violently throwing himself, it pierced his
breast, and he immediately died. This same Strato, Messala, a friend of Brutus,
being, after reconciled to Caesar, brought to him once at his leisure, and with
tears in his eyes said, "This, O Caesar, is the man that did the last
friendly office to my beloved Brutus." Upon which Caesar received him
kindly; and had good use of him in his labors and his battles at
Brutus's dead body was found by