Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Plutarch
Pages of Marcus Brutus



Previous | Next
                  

Marcus Brutus   


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, travelling 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 honoured 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
along 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 Egypt. But Pompey, having
reached Egypt, as Brutus guessed his design was to do, there met his
fate.
Brutus in the meantime gained Caesar's forgiveness for his friend
Cassius; and pleading also in defence 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 favour of every one 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 honour 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

Previous | Next
Site Search