Brutus, in ancient Rome, a surname of the Junian gens. Lucius Junius Brutus, fl. 510 B.C., was the founder of the Roman republic. He feigned idiocy to escape death at the hands of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (see under Tarquin). Roman historians tell how he led the Romans in expelling the Tarquins after the rape of Lucrece, how he became one of the first praetors (there were no consuls), and how he executed his sons for plotting a Tarquinian restoration. Decimus Junius Brutus Gallaecus, fl. 138 B.C., consul, consolidated the province of Farther Spain and stopped the encroaching Lusitanian tribespeople. Marcus Junius Brutus, d. c.77 B.C., was a partisan of Lepidus (d. 77 B.C.) in the struggle with Catulus (d. 60 B.C.); Pompey had him murdered. His wife Servilia was the half sister of Cato the Younger. Their son was Marcus Junius Brutus, 85? B.C.-42 B.C. He and Caius Cassius Longinus (see under Cassius) were the principal assassins of Julius Caesar. He had sided with Pompey, but after the battle of Pharsalus, Caesar pardoned him, made him governor of Cisalpine Gaul (46 B.C.), and, in 44 B.C., urban praetor. Nevertheless, he joined Cassius in the plot against Caesar. After the murder of Caesar, Brutus went east and, in the republican cause, joined Cassius and held Macedonia with him. Late in 42 B.C., Octavian (later Augustus) and Antony arrived, and a battle was fought at Philippi. When it went against the republicans, Brutus committed suicide. Brutus' wife Portia was the daughter of Cato the Younger. Brutus had a contemporary reputation as a Stoic philosopher, and his admirers have regarded him as a second Cato, driven reluctantly to commit murder in order to save the republic. His detractors, on the other hand, have considered his friendship with the self-seeking Cassius as indicative of his true character. A lesser member of the conspiracy was Decimus Junius Brutus, d. 43 B.C., a partisan of Caesar against Pompey and a favorite of the dictator. Caesar gave him command in Gaul and appointed him to be his heir in case of Octavian's death. After Caesar's death, Brutus refused to surrender Cisalpine Gaul. In 43 B.C., Antony, to whom the senate had assigned the province, besieged Brutus at Mutina (modern Modena). He tried to escape and was killed.
Brutus, Dennis Vincent, 1924-2009, South African poet, b. Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). Brutus grew up in South Africa and received (1947) his B.A. from the Univ. of Fort Hare in Alice. He taught high school from 1948 until 1962, when as a result of his political activism, notably his protests against all-white South African sports, he was fired from his job and imprisoned (1963). In 1966 his works were banned, and he was sent into exile. His testimony concerning apartheid helped win support for the ban against South Africa's participation in the 1970 Olympic Games. Brutus emigrated (1971) to the United States and taught at several American universities, including Northwestern (1971-85) and Pittsburgh (1986-2009), where he was professor emeritus. Most of Brutus's restrained yet emotional, beautifully crafted, and deeply personal poetry reflects his prison experiences, his struggle for justice, and the agony of political exile. Remaining an activist, Brutus in his later years opposed the practices of various world financial organizations and called for action against global warming. Brutus's first published volume of poetry was Sirens, Knuckles, Boots (1963); his others include Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison (1969), A Simple Lust (1973), Stubborn Hope (1978), Salutes and Censures (1984), Airs and Tributes (1989), and Still the Sirens (1993).

See C. W. McLuckie and P. J. Colbert, ed., Critical Perspectives on Dennis Brutus (1995); A. Karim and L. Sustar, ed., Poetry & Protest: A Dennis Brutus Reader (2006); Dennis Brutus (National Public Radio recording, 1986).

Brutus, legendary founder of the British race: see Brut.
Brutus is a Roman cognomen used by several politicians of the Junii family, especially in the Roman Republic. The plural of Brutus is Bruti, and the vocative form is Brute, as immortalized in the quotation "Et tu, Brute?".

Ancient Romans with this name

Notable ancient Romans with this cognomen include:

Other people and things called Brutus

"Brutus Alcoholic Beverage": 2 oz Bacon infused Vodka, 8 oz Clamato Juice, 3 Black Olives. Served with ice cubes infused 3 drops of Worchester Sauce.

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