21. M.JuniusBrutus, the son of No. 20, by Servilia, was born in the autumn of B. C. 85. He was subsequently adopted by his uncle Q. Servilius Caepio, which must have happened before B. C. 59, and hence he is sometimes called Caepio or Q. Caepio Brutus, especially in public documents, on coins, and inscriptions. (On the coin annexed the inscription on the reverse is CAEPIO BRUTUS PROCOS.) He lost his father at the early age of eight years, but his mother, Servilia, assisted by her two brothers, continued to conduct his education with the utmost care, and he acquired an extraordinary love for learning, which he never lost in after-life. M. Porcius Cato became his great political model, though in his moral conduct he did not follow his example. In 59, when J. Caesar was consul and had to silence some young and vehement republicans, L. Vettius on the instigation of the tribune, P. Vatinius, denounced Brutus as an accomplice in a conspiracy against Pompey's life; but as it was well known that Brutus was perfectly innocent, Caesar put a stop to the prosecution. When it was thought necessary in 58 to remove from Rome some of the leading republicans, Cato was sent to Cyprus, and Brutus accompanied him. After his return to Rome, Brutus seems for some years to have taken no part in public proceedings, and not to have attached himself to any party. In 53 he followed Appius Claudius, whose daughter Claudia he had married, to Cilicia, where he did not indeed, like his father-in-law, plunder the provincials, but could not resist the temptation to lend out money at an exorbitant rate of interest. He probably did not return to Rome till 51. During his absence Cicero had defended Mile, and Brutus also now wrote a speech, in which he endeavoured to show that Milo not only deserved no punishment, but ought to be rewarded for having murdered Clodius. This circumstance, together with Cicero's becoming the successor of Appius Claudius in Cilicia, brought about a sort of connexion between Cicero and Brutus, though each disliked the sentiments of the other. Cicero, when in Cilicia, took care that the money which Brutus had lent was repaid him, but at the same time endeavoured to prevent his transgressing the laws of usury, at which Brutus, who did not receive as high a percentage as he had expected, appears to have been greatly offended. In 50 Brutus defended Appius Claudius, against whom two serious charges were brought, and succeeded in getting him acquitted.
When the civil war broke out in 49 between Caesar and Pompey, it was believed that Brutus would join the party of Caesar; but Brutus, who saw in Pompey the champion of the aristocracy, suppressed his personal feelings towards the murderer of his father, and followed the example of Cato, who declared for Pompey. Brutus, however, did not accompany Cato, but went with P. Sextius to Cilicia, probably to arrange matters with his debtors in Asia, and to make preparations for the war. In 48, he distinguished himself in the engagements in the neighbourhood of Dyrrhachium, and Pompey treated him with great distinction. In the battle of Pharsalia, Caesar gave orders not to kill Brutus, probably for the sake of Servilia, who implored Caesar to spare him. (Plut. Brut. 5.) After the battle, Brutus escaped to Larissa, but did not follow Pompey any further. Here he wrote a letter to Caesar soliciting his pardon, which was generously granted by the conqueror, who even invited Brutus to come to him. Brutus obeyed, and, if we may believe Plutarch (Plut. Brut. 6), he informed Caesar of Pompey's flight to Egypt. As Caesar did not require Brutus to fight against his former friends, he withdrew from the war, and spent his time either in Greece or at Rome in his favourite literary pursuits, He did not join Caesar again till the autumn of 47 at Nicaea in Bithynia, on which occasion he endeavoured to interfere with the conqueroron behalf of a friend of king Deiotarus, but Caesar refused to comply with the request. In the year following Brutus was made governor of Cisalpine Gaul, though he had been neither praetor nor consul; and he continued to serve the dictator Caesar, although the latter was making war against Brutus's own relatives in Africa. The provincials in Cisalpine Gaul were delighted with the mild treatment and justice of Brutus, whom they honoured with public monuments : Caesar too afterwards testified his satisfaction with his administration. As his province was far from the scene of war, Brutus as usual devoted his time to study. At this time, Cicero made him one of the speakers in the treatise which bears the name of Brutus, and in 46 he dedicated to him his Orator. In 45, Brutus was succeeded in his province by C. Vibius Pansa, but did not go to Rome immediately. Before his return, he published his eulogy on Cato, in which Cicero found sentiments that hurt his vanity, as his suppression of the conspiracy of Catiline was not spoken of in the terms he would have liked. Accordingly, upon the arrival of Brutus at one of his country-seats near Rome, a certain degree of coldness and want of confidence existed between the two, although they wrote letters to each other, and Cicero, on the advice of Atticus, even dedicated to him his work De Finibus. About this time, Brutus divorced Claudia, apparently for no other reason than that he wished to marry Portia, the daughter of Cato. After the close of Caesar's war in Spain, Brutus went from Rome to meet him, and, in the beginning of August, returned to the city with him.
In 44 Brutus was praetor urbanus, and C. Cassius, who had been disappointed in his hope of obtaining the praetorship, was as much enraged against Brutus as against the dictator. Caesar promised Brutus the province of Macedonia, and also held out to him hopes of the consulship. Up to this time Brutus had borne Caesar's dictatorship without expressing the least displeasure; he had served the dictator and paid homage to him, nor had he thought it contrary to his republican principles to accept favours and offices from him. His change of mind which took place at this time was not the result of his reflections or principles, but of the
From his first visit to Asia, Brutus appears as a man of considerable wealth, and he afterwards increased it by lending money upon interest. He possessed an extraordinary memory and a still more extraordinary imagination, which led him into superstitions differing only from those of the multitude by a strange admixture of philosophy. He was deficient in knowledge of mankind and the world, whence he was never able to foresee the course of things, and was ever surprised at the results. Hence also his want of independent judgment. The quantity of his varied knowledge, which he had acquired by extensive reading and his intercourse with philosophers, was beyond his control, and was rather an encumberance to him than anything else. Nothing had such charms for him as study, which he prosecuted by day and night, at home and abroad.