A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

15. D.JuniusBrutusGallaecus, M. F. M. N. (CALLAECUS) or CALLAICUS, son of No. 12 and brother of No. 13, was a contemporary of the Gracchi, and one of the most celebrated generals of his age. He belonged to the aristocratical party, and in his consulship with P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica, in B. C. 138, distinguished himself by his opposition to the tribunes. He refused to bring before the senate a proposition for the purchase of corn for the people; and when the tribunes wished to have the power of exempting ten persons apiece from the military levies, he and his colleague refused to allow them this privilege. In consequence of this they were committed to prison by the tribune C. Curiatius. (V. Max. 3.7.3; Liv. Epit. 55; Cic. de Leg. 3.9.) The province of Further Spain was assigned to Brutus, whither he proceeded in the same year. In order to pacify the province, he assigned lands to those who had served under Viriathus, and founded the town of Valentia. But as Lusitania continued to be overrun with parties of marauders, he laid waste the country in every direction, took numerous towns, and advanced as far as the river Lethe or Oblivio, as the Romans translated the name of the river, which was also called Limaea, Limia or Belion, now Lima. (Strab. iii. p.153; Mela, 3.1; Plin. H.N. 4.22. s. 35.) Here the soldiers at first refused to march further; but when Brutus seized the standard from the standard-bearer, and began to cross the river alone, they immediately followed him. From thence they advanced to the Minius (Minho), which he crossed and continued his march till he arrived at the ocean, where the Romans saw with astonishment the sun set in its waters. In this country he subdued various tribes, among whom the Bracari are mentioned as the most warlike. He also conquered the Gallacci, who had come to the assistance of their neighbours with an army of 60,000 men, and it was from his victory over them that he obtained the surname of Gallaecus. The work of subjugation, however, proceeded but slowly, as many towns after submission again revolted, among which Talabriga is particularly mentioned. In the midst of his successes, he was recalled into Nearer Spain by his relation, Aemilius Lepidus (Appian, App. Hisp. 80), and from thence he proceeded to Rome, where he celebrated a splendid triumph, B. C. 136, for his victories over the Lusitanians and Gallaeci. Drumann (Gesch. Roms, vol. iv. p. 8), misled apparently by a passage in Eutropius (4.19), places his triumph in the same year as that of Scipio's over Numantia, namely, in B. C. 132. (Liv. Epit. 55, 56; Appian, App. Hisp. 71-73; Flor. 2.17.12 ; Ores. 5.5; Vell. 2.5; Cic. pro Balb. 17; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 34, Ti. Gracch. 21; V. Max. 6.4, extern. 1.)

With the booty obtained in Spain, Brutus erected temples and other public buildings, for which the poet L. Accius wrote inscriptions in verse. (Cic. pro Arch. 11; Plin. Nat. 36.4. s. 5.7; V. Max. 8.14.2.) The last time we hear of Brutus is in B. C. 129, when he served under C. Sempronius Tuditanus against the Japydes, and by his military skill gained a victory for the consul,

and thereby repaired the losses which the latter had sustained at the commencement of the campaign. (Liv. Epit. 59.)

Brutus was a patron of the poet L. Accius, and for the times was well versed in Greek and Roman literature; he was also not deficient in oratorical talent. (Cic. Brut. 28.) We learn from Cicero (de Am. 2), that he was augur. The Clodia mentioned by Cicero in a letter to Atticus (12.22), whom Orelli supposes to be the mother of this Brutus, was in all probability his wife, and the mother of the consul of B. C. 77. [No. 16.] (Drumann, l.c.)