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  • Title: Life of Brutus
  • Editor: John D. Cox

  • Copyright John D. Cox. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Plutarch
    Editor: John D. Cox
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Life of Brutus

    Plutarch, Life of Brutus

    See also these resources:

    • Shakespeare and Plutarch in Julius Caesar (John D. Cox)
    • Plutarch's Life of Caesar
    • Plutarch's Life of Antony (selections)
    • The Comparison of Dion with Brutus

    1I. The parentage of Brutus. Marcus Brutus came of that Junius Brutus, for whom the ancient Romans made his statue of brass to be set up in the Capitol, with the images of the kings, holding a naked sword in his hand: because he had valiantly put down the Tarquins from the kingdom of Rome. Brutus' manners. But that Junius Brutus, being of a sour stern nature not softened by reason, being like unto swordblades of too hard a temper, was so subject to his choler and malice he bare unto the tyrants, that for their sakes he caused his own sons to be executed. But this Marcus Brutus in contrary manner, whose life we presently write, having framed his manners of life by the rules of virtue and study of philosophy, and having employed his wit, which was gentle and constant, in attempting of great things, me thinks he was rightly made and framed unto virtue. So that his very enemies which wish him most hurt, because of his conspiracy against Julius Caesar, if there were any noble attempt done in all this conspiracy, they refer it wholly unto Brutus; and all the cruel and violent acts unto Cassius, who was Brutus' familiar friend, but not so well given and conditioned as he. Servilia M. Brutus' mother. His mother Servilia, it is thought, came of the blood of Servilius Hala; who, when Spurius Melius went about to make himself king, and, to bring it to pass, had enticed the common people to rebel, took a dagger and hid it close under his arm, and went into the market-place. When he was come thither, he made as though he had somewhat to say unto him, and pressed as near him as he could: wherefore Melius stooping down with his head to hear what he would say, Servilius stabbed him in with his dagger and slew him. Thus much all writers agree for his mother. Now touching his father, some, for the evil will and malice they bare unto Brutus, because of the death of Julius Caesar, do maintain, that he came not of Junius Brutus that drave out the Tarquins: for there were none left of his race, considering that his two sons were executed for conspiracy with the Tarquins; and that Marcus Brutus came of a mean house, the which was raised to honor and office in the common-wealth but of late time. Posidonius the Philosopher writeth the contrary, that Junius Brutus indeed slew two of his sons which were men grown, as the histories do declare; howbeit that there was a third son, being but a little child at that time, from whom the house and family afterwards was derived: and furthermore, that there were in his time certain famous men of that family, whose stature and countenance resembled much the image of Junius Brutus. Servilia, Cato's sister. And thus much for this matter.