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



Previous | Next
                  

Marcus Brutus   


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 favour 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 honour 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 over by Caesar, but to shun the kindness and favours of a
tyrant, which they intimated that Caesar showed him, not to express
any honour to his merit or virtue, but to unbend his strength, and
undermine his vigour 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 Antony and Dolabella designed some disturbance, "It is
not," said he, "the fat and the long-haired men that I fear, but the
pale and the lean," meaning Brutus and Cassius. And when some maligned
Brutus to him, and advised him to beware of him, taking hold of his
flesh with his hand, "What," he said, "do you think that Brutus will
not wait out the time of this little body?" as if he thought none so
fit to succeed him in his power as Brutus. And indeed it seems to be
without doubt that Brutus might have been the first man in the
commonwealth, if he had had patience but a little time to be second to
Caesar, and would have suffered his power to decline after it was come
to its highest pitch, and the fame of his great actions to die away by
degrees. But Cassius, a man of a fierce disposition, and one that
out of private malice, rather than love of the public, hated Caesar,
not the tyrant, continually fired and stirred him up. Brutus felt
the rule an oppression, but Cassius hated the ruler; and, among
other reasons on which he grounded his quarrel against Caesar, the
loss of his lions which he had procured when he was aedile-elect was
one; for Caesar, finding these in Megara, when that city was taken
by Calenus, seized them to himself. These beasts, they say, were a
great calamity to the Megarians; for, when their city was just
taken, they broke open the lions' dens, and pulled off their chains
and let them loose that they might run upon the enemy that was
entering the city; but the lions turned upon them themselves, and tore
to pieces a great many unarmed persons running about, so that it was a
miserable spectacle even to their enemies to behold.
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 rancour 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
is then reported to have said thus, "Come, then, Faustus, dare to

Previous | Next
Site Search