Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus
Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus (born ca. 85–81 BC, died 43 BC) was a Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 politician and general of the 1st century BC and one of the leading instigators of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

's assassination. Decimus Brutus is not to be confused with the more famous Brutus among the conspirators, Marcus Brutus.

Early life

Decimus Brutus was a distant cousin of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, and on several occasions Caesar expressed how he loved Brutus like a son. Ronald Syme
Ronald Syme
Sir Ronald Syme, OM, FBA was a New Zealand-born historian and classicist. Long associated with Oxford University, he is widely regarded as the 20th century's greatest historian of ancient Rome...

 argued that Decimus may have been the natural son of Julius Caesar, not the more famous Marcus Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

 (another distant cousin).

Decimus Brutus spent his youth mainly in the company of Publius Clodius, Gaius Curio and Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

. His mother was Sempronia
Sempronia is the nomen of the Roman gens Sempronia. Men of the gens were named Sempronius, and women Sempronia. The Sempronii were an important family throughout the history of the Republic...

 Tuditani, wife of Decimus Junius Brutus
Brutus is the cognomen of the Roman gens Junia, a prominent family of the Roman Republic. The plural of Brutus is Bruti, and the vocative form is Brute, as immortalized in the quotation "Et tu, Brute?", from Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar....

 who was consul in 77 BC. He was adopted by Aulus Postumius Albinus
Aulus Postumius Albinus
Aulus Postumius Albinus, was a politician of the Roman Republic, and second consul in 99 BC with M. Antonius. Aulus Gellius quotes the words of a senatus consultum passed in their consulship in consequence of the spears of Mars having moved...

, but kept his own family name, only adding his adoptive father's cognomen Albinus.

During the Wars

He was a legate
A legatus was a general in the Roman army, equivalent to a modern general officer. Being of senatorial rank, his immediate superior was the dux, and he outranked all military tribunes...

 in Caesar's army during the Gallic wars
Gallic Wars
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. They lasted from 58 BC to 51 BC. The Gallic Wars culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the...

 and was given the command of the fleet in the war against the Veneti
Veneti (Gaul)
The Veneti were a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the Brittany peninsula , which in Roman times formed part of an area called Armorica...

. In a decisive sea battle Decimus Brutus succeeded in destroying the Veneti fleet. Using sickle-like hooks fitted on long poles, Decimus Brutus attacked the enemy's sails, leaving them immobilized and easy prey to Roman boarding parties.

When the Republican Civil War
Caesar's civil war
The Great Roman Civil War , also known as Caesar's Civil War, was one of the last politico-military conflicts in the Roman Republic before the establishment of the Roman Empire...

 broke out, Decimus Brutus sided with his commander, Caesar, and was entrusted once again with fleet operations.

The Greek city of Massilia (present-day Marseille) sided with Pompey the Great, and Caesar, in a hurry to reach Spain and cut Pompey off from his legions, left Decimus Brutus in charge of the naval blockade of Massilia. Within thirty days, Decimus Brutus built a fleet from scratch and secured the capitulation of Massilia.

Ides of March

When Caesar returned to Rome as dictator
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

 after the final defeat of the Republican faction in the Battle of Munda
Battle of Munda
The Battle of Munda took place on March 17, 45 BC in the plains of Munda, modern southern Spain. This was the last battle of Julius Caesar's civil war against the republican armies of the Optimate leaders...

 (45 BC), Marcus Brutus joined the conspiracy against Caesar, after being convinced by Cassius and Decimus Brutus.
In 44 BC, he was made (Decimus) praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

 peregrinus by personal appointment of Caesar and was destined to be the governor of Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul, in Latin: Gallia Cisalpina or Citerior, also called Gallia Togata, was a Roman province until 41 BC when it was merged into Roman Italy.It bore the name Gallia, because the great body of its inhabitants, after the expulsion of the Etruscans, consisted of Gauls or Celts...

 in the following year.

On the Ides of March
Roman calendar
The Roman calendar changed its form several times in the time between the founding of Rome and the fall of the Roman Empire. This article generally discusses the early Roman or pre-Julian calendars...

 (March 15), when Caesar decided not to attend the Senate meeting due to the concerns of his wife, he was persuaded to attend by Decimus Brutus, who escorted him to the senate house, and neatly evaded Mark Antony, who wished to tell Caesar of the assassination. After Caesar was attacked by the first assassin, Decimus and the rest of the conspirators attacked and assassinated him. According to Nicolaus of Damascus
Nicolaus of Damascus
Nicolaus of Damascus was a Greek historian and philosopher who lived during the Augustan age of the Roman Empire. His name is derived from that of his birthplace, Damascus. He was born around 64 BC....

, Decimus Brutus was the third to strike Caesar, stabbing him in the side.

Consequences and Death

The assassins received an amnesty the next day, issued by the senate at the instigation of Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

, Caesar's fellow consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

. But the situation was not peaceful, Rome's population and Caesar's legionaries
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

 wanted to see the conspirators punished. The group decided to lie low and Decimus used his office of Praetor Peregrinus to stay away from Rome. The climate of reconciliation soon passed and slowly the conspirators were starting to feel the strain of the assassination. Thus, at the beginning of 43 BC, Decimus Brutus hurried to Gallia Cisalpina, the province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 assigned to him as pro-praetor, and started to levy his own troops. He was ordered by the Senate to surrender his province to Antony but refused. This was the act of provocation to which Antony was only too happy to respond. With his own political situation on the verge of disaster and himself declared public enemy, defeating Decimus Brutus was a way for Antony to regain his ascendancy and get control of the strategically important Italian Gaul.

In 43 BC Decimus Brutus occupied Mutina, laying in provisions for a protracted siege. Antony obliged him, and blockaded Decimus Brutus' forces, intent on starving them out.

Nevertheless, the consuls of the year, Aulus Hirtius
Aulus Hirtius
Aulus Hirtius was one of the consuls of the Roman Republic and a writer on military subjects.He was known to have been a legate of Julius Caesar's starting around 54 BC and served as an envoy to Pompey in 50. During the Roman Civil Wars he served in Spain, he might have been a tribune in 48, and...

 and Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus
Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus
Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus was consul of the Roman Republic in 43 BC. Although supporting Gaius Julius Caesar during the Civil War, he pushed for the restoration of the Republic upon Caesar’s death...

, marched northward to raise the siege. Guided by Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, the Senate was inclined to view Mark Antony as an enemy. Octavian
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, the nineteen-year-old heir of Caesar, and already raised to the rank of Propraetor, accompanied Gaius Pansa north. The first confrontation occurred on April 14 at the battle of Forum Gallorum
Battle of Forum Gallorum
The Battle of Forum Gallorum was fought near a village in northern Italy , on April 14, 43 BC, between the forces of Mark Antony and the legions of the Roman Republic under the overall command of consul Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus, aided by Aulus Hirtius and the untested Octavian...

, where Antony hoped to deal with his opponents piecemeal. Antony defeated the forces of Gaius Pansa and Octavian, which resulted in Pansa suffering mortal wounds; however, Antony was then defeated by a surprise attack from Hirtius. A second battle on 21 April at Mutina
Battle of Mutina
The Battle of Mutina was fought on April 21, 43 BC between the forces of Mark Antony and the forces of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus and Aulus Hirtius, who were providing aid to Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus.-Prelude:...

 resulted in a further defeat for Antony and Hirtius' death. Antony withdrew, unwilling to become the subject of a double circumvallation as Caesar had done to Vercingetorix at Alesia
-Places:France*Alesia , an ancient city in Gaul**Battle of Alesia*Alésia , a station in the Paris Métro*Rue d'Alésia, Paris*Le quartier Alésia, an unofficial district of Paris that mostly overlaps Petit-MontrougeUnited States...


With the siege raised, Decimus Brutus cautiously thanked Octavian, now commander of the legions that had rescued him, from the other side of the river. Octavian coldly indicated he had come to oppose Antony, not aid Caesar's murderers. Decimus Brutus was given the command to wage war against Antony, but many of his soldiers deserted to Octavian. His position deteriorating by the day, Decimus Brutus fled Italy, abandoning his legions. He attempted to reach Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

, where Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

 and Gaius Cassius Longinus
Gaius Cassius Longinus
Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.-Early life:...

 had stationed themselves but was executed en route by a Gallic chief loyal to Mark Antony, becoming the first of Caesar's assassins to be killed.

Several letters written by Decimus Brutus during the last two years of his life are preserved among Cicero's collected correspondence.

In literature

In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar (play)
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against...

, Decimus Brutus is mistakenly called "Decius".

In Allan Massie
Allan Massie
Allan Massie is a well-known Scottish journalist, sports writer and novelist.-Early life:Born in 1938 in Singapore, where his father was a rubber planter for Sime Darby, Massie spent his childhood in Aberdeenshire...

's 1993 book entitled Caesar, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus narrates his story and reason for joining in Caesar's assassination while being held captive by the Gallic chief.

Decimus Brutus is an important character in Caesar
Caesar (novel)
Caesar: Let the Dice Fly is the fifth historical novel in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series.-Plot summary:The novel opens in 54 BC, with Caesar in the middle of his epochal Gallic campaigns, having just invaded Britannia...

 and The October Horse
The October Horse (novel)
The October Horse is the sixth novel in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series.-Plot introduction:The book begins with Gaius Julius Caesar's Egyptian campaign in Alexandria, his final battles with the Republicans led by Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger, Titus Labienus and the brothers...

by Colleen McCullough
Colleen McCullough
Colleen McCullough-Robinson, , is an internationally acclaimed Australian author.-Life:McCullough was born in Wellington, in outback central west New South Wales, in 1937 to James and Laurie McCullough. Her mother was a New Zealander of part-Māori descent. During her childhood, her family moved...

. In these novels, he and Gaius Trebonius are portrayed as the real leaders of the assassination conspiracy.

In Conn Iggulden
Conn Iggulden
Conn Iggulden is a British author who mainly writes historical fiction. He also co-authored The Dangerous Book for Boys.-Background:...

's Emperor Series the historical figures of Decimus Brutus and Marcus Brutus are blended together into the one character named Marcus Brutus.

In Ben Kane
Ben Kane
Ben Kane, is a novelist, known for his novels in the historical fiction genre. He is best-known for The Forgotten Legion and Hannibal Enemy Of Rome which reached number 4 in the Sunday Times best seller list in 2009....

's books The Forgotten Legion, The Silver Eagle and Road To Rome, Decimus Brutus is shown as a fairly major character to the plot.
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