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

Previous | Next

Marcus Brutus   

brought them all to subjection. At this point Norbanus was encamped,
in a place called the Straits, near Symbolum. Him they surrounded in
such sort that they forced him to dislodge and quit the place; and
Norbanus narrowly escaped losing his whole army, Caesar by reason of
sickness being too far behind; only Antony came to his relief with
such wonderful swiftness that Brutus and those with him did not
believe when they heard he was come. Caesar came up ten days after,
and encamped over against Brutus, and Antony over against Cassius.
The space between the two armies is called by the Romans the Campi
Philippi. Never had two such large Roman armies come together to
engage each other. That of Brutus was somewhat less in number than
that of Caesar, but in the splendidness of the men's arms and richness
of their equipage it wonderfully exceeded; for most of their arms were
of gold and silver, which Brutus had lavishly bestowed among them. For
though in other things he had accustomed his commanders to use all
frugality and self-control, yet he thought that the riches which
soldiers carried about them in their hands and on their bodies would
add something of spirit to those that were desirous of glory, and
would make those that were covetous and lovers of gain fight the
more valiantly to preserve the arms which were their estate.
Caesar made a view and lustration of his army within his trenches,
and distributed only a little corn and but five drachmas to each
soldier for the sacrifice they were to make. But Brutus, either
pitying this poverty, or disdaining this meanness of spirit in Caesar,
first, as the custom was, made a general muster and lustration of
the army in the open field, and then distributed a great number of
beasts for sacrifice to every regiment, and fifty drachmas to every
soldier; so that in the love of his soldiers and their readiness to
fight for him Brutus had much the advantage. But at the time of
lustration it is reported that an unlucky omen happened to Cassius;
for his lictor, presenting him with a garland that he was to wear at
sacrifice, gave it him the wrong way up. Further, it is said that some
time before, at a certain solemn procession, a golden image of
Victory, which was carried before Cassius, fell down by a slip of
him that carried it. Besides this there appeared many birds of prey
daily about the camp, and swarms of bees were seen in a place within
the trenches, which place the soothsayers ordered shut out from the
camp, to remove the superstition which insensibly began to infect even
Cassius himself and shake him in his Epicurean philosophy, and had
wholly seized and subdued the soldiers; from whence it was that
Cassius was reluctant to put all to the hazard of a present battle,
but advised rather to draw out the war until further time, considering
that they were stronger in money and provisions, but in numbers of men
and arms inferior. But Brutus, on the contrary, was still, as
formerly, desirous to come with all speed to the decision of a battle;
that so he might either restore his country to her liberty, or else
deliver from their misery all those numbers of people whom they
harassed with the expenses and the service and exactions of the war.
And finding also his light-horse in several skirmishes still to have
had the better, he was the more encouraged and resolved; and some of
the soldiers having deserted and gone to the enemy, and others
beginning to accuse and suspect one another, many of Cassius's friends
in the council changed their opinions to that of Brutus. But there was
one of Brutus's party, named Attellius, who opposed his resolution,
advising rather that they should tarry over the winter. And when
Brutus asked him in how much better a condition he hoped to be a
year after, his answer was, "If I gain nothing else, yet I shall
live so much the longer." Cassius was much displeased at this
answer; and among the rest, Attellius was had in much disesteem for
it. And so it was presently resolved to give battle the next day.
Brutus that night at supper showed himself very cheerful and full of
hope, and reasoned on subjects of philosophy with his friends, and
afterwards went to his rest. But Messala says that Cassius supped
privately with a few of his nearest acquaintance, and appeared

Previous | Next
Site Search