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



Previous | Next
                  

Marcus Brutus   


After these things, they began to consider of Caesar's will, and the
ordering of his funeral. Antony desired that the will might be read,
and that the body should not have a private or dishonourable
interment, lest that should further exasperate the people. This
Cassius violently opposed, but Brutus yielded to it, and gave leave;
in which he seems to have a second time committed a fault. For as
before in sparing the life of Antony he could not be without some
blame from his party, as thereby setting up against the conspiracy a
dangerous and difficult enemy, so now, in suffering him to have the
ordering of the funeral, he fell into a total and irrevocable error.
For first, it appearing by the will that Caesar had bequeathed to
the Roman people seventy-five drachmas a man, and given to the
public his gardens beyond Tiber (where now the temple of Fortune
stands), the whole city was fired with a wonderful affection for
him, and a passionate sense of the loss of him. And when the body
was brought forth into the forum, Antony, as the custom was, making
a funeral oration in the praise of Caesar, and finding the multitude
moved with his speech, passing into the pathetic tone, unfolded the
bloody garment of Caesar, showed them in how many places it was
pierced, and the number of his wounds. Now there was nothing to be
seen but confusion, some cried out to kill the murderers, others (as
was formerly done when Clodius led the people) tore away the benches
and tables out of the shops round about, and, heaping them altogether,
built a great funeral pile, and having put the body of Caesar upon it,
set it on fire, the spot where this was done being moreover surrounded
with a great many temples and other consecrated places, so that they
seemed to burn the body in a kind of sacred solemnity. As soon as
the fire flamed out, the multitude, flocking in some from one part and
some from another, snatched the brands that were half burnt out of the
pile, and ran about the city to fire the houses of the murderers of
Caesar. But they, having beforehand well fortified themselves,
repelled this danger.
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 Antony. And perceiving him, and taking him not for
that Cinna who indeed he was, but for him that a little before in a
speech to the people had reproached and inveighed against Caesar, they
fell upon him and tore him to pieces.
This action chiefly, and the alteration that Antony had wrought,
so alarmed Brutus and his party that for their safety they retired
from the city. The first stay they made was at Antium, with a design
to return again as soon as the fury of the people had spent itself and
was abated, which they expected would soon and easily come to pass
in an unsettled multitude, apt to be carried away with any sudden
and impetuous passion, especially since they had the senate favourable
to them; which, though it took no notice of those that had torn
Cinna to pieces, yet made a strict search and apprehended in order
to punishment those that had assaulted the houses of the friends of
Brutus and Cassius. By this time, also, the people began to be
dissatisfied with Antony, who they perceived was setting up a kind
of monarchy for himself; they longed for the return of Brutus, whose
presence they expected and hoped for at the games and spectacles which
he, as praetor, was to exhibit to the public. But he having
intelligence that many of the old soldiers that had borne arms under
Caesar, by whom they had had lands and cities given them, lay in

Previous | Next
Site Search