In 77 BC Brutus was placed in command of the forces in Cisalpine Gaul following the death of Lucius Cornelius Sulla who had been dictator. He also placed in command at Mutina where he withstood the attacks from Pompey the Great for a while. For reasons unknown, he put himself and his troops in the power of Pompey, on the understanding that their lives should be spared. Nonetheless, Pompey ordered his death and forwarded to Rome the news of his surrender and execution. The senate blamed Pompey for the perfidious act. He is quoted by Cicero to have been well skilled in public and private law.