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Marcus Brutus   


they were well persuaded that Cassius, being a man governed by anger
and passion, and carried often, for his interest's sake, beyond the
bounds 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
Rome, whether a Cinna, a Marius, or a Carbo, it is manifest that they,
having set their country as a stake for him that should win, did
almost own in express terms that they fought for empire. But even
the enemies of Brutus did not, they tell us, lay this accusation to
his charge; nay, many heard Antony himself say that Brutus was the
only man that conspired against Caesar out of a sense of the glory and
the apparent justice of the action, but that all the rest rose up
against the man himself, from private envy and malice of their own.
And it is plain by what he writes himself, that Brutus did not so much
rely upon his forces, as upon his own virtue. For thus he speaks in
a letter to Atticus, shortly before he was to engage with the enemy:
that his affairs were in the best state of fortune that he could wish;
for that either he should overcome, and restore liberty to the
people of Rome, or die, and be himself out of the reach of slavery;
that other things being certain and beyond all hazard, one thing was
yet in doubt, whether they should live or die free men. He adds
further, that Mark Antony had received a just punishment for his
folly, who, when he might have been numbered with Brutus and Cassius
and Cato, would join himself to Octavius; that though they should
not now be both overcome, they soon would fight between themselves.
And in this he seems to have been no ill-prophet.
Now when they were at Smyrna, Brutus desired of Cassius that he
might have part of the great treasure that he had heaped up, because
all his own was expended in furnishing out such a fleet of ships as
was sufficient to keep the whole interior sea in their power. But
Cassius's friends dissuaded him from this; "for," said they, "it is
not just that the money which you with so much parsimony keep, and
with so much envy have got, should be given to him to be disposed of
in making himself popular, and gaining the favour of the soldiers."
Notwithstanding this, Cassius gave him a third part of all that he
had; and then they parted each to their several commands. Cassius,
having taken Rhodes, behaved himself there with no clemency; though at
his first entry, when some had called him lord and king, he answered
that he was neither king nor lord, but the destroyer and punisher of a
king and lord. Brutus, on the other part, sent to the Lycians to
demand from them a supply of money and men, but Laucrates, their
popular leader, persuaded the cities to resist, and they occupied
several little mountains and hills with a design to hinder Brutus's
passage. Brutus at first sent out a party of horse which, surprising
them as they were eating, killed six hundred of them, and afterward,
having taken all their small towns and villages round about, he set
all his prisoners free without ransom, hoping to win the whole
nation by good-will. But they continued obstinate, taking in anger
what they had suffered, and despising his goodness and humanity;
until, having forced the most warlike of them into the city of
Xanthus, he besieged them there. They endeavoured to make their escape
by swimming and diving through the river that flows by the town, but
were taken by nets let down for that purpose in the channel, which had
little bells at the top, which gave present notice of any that were
taken in them. After that, they made a sally in the night, and seizing
several of the battering engines, set them on fire; but being
perceived by the Romans, were beaten back to their walls, and there
being a strong wind, it carried the flames to the battlements of the
city with such fierceness that several of the adjoining houses took
fire. Brutus, fearing lest the whole city should be destroyed,
commanded his own soldiers to assist and quench the fire.
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

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