Last Coin-------------------Next Coin

Rome - The Republic

Moneyer: Q. Servilius Caepio Brutus = M. Junius Brutus
Held Office: 54 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Obverse: Head of Libertas. "LIBERTAS" behind. 2/3? banker's marks.
Reverse: L. Junius Brutus (Consul in 509 BC) walking in procession (3rd from left) between two lictors, preceeded by an accensus. In exergue "BRVTVS"
Reference: RCVM 397, RSC Junia 31, RRC 433/1
Weight: 3.3 gms
Diameter: 19.2 mm
Comment: L. Iunius Brutus was famous for leading the coup d'etat overthrowing the last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, and for the creation of the Republic under two elected consuls.

Lictors were the 'guards' assigned to important magistrates. They carried 'fasces', a bundle of rods with an axe inserted, the origin of the modern word 'fascism'.

Accensus=Public officers who attended on several of the Roman magistrates. They summoned the people to the assemblies, and those who had lawsuits to court; they preserved order in the assemblies and the courts, and proclaimed the time of the day when it was the third hour, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour


Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio (85 BC-42 BC), known to history as simply Brutus, was one of Julius Caesar's assassins.

Brutus was the son of Marcus Junius Brutus and Servilia Caepionis, half-sister of Cato the younger and mistress of Julius Caesar. His father, Tribune of the Plebs in 83 B.C. supported Marcus Lepidus in a failed military coup and was executed by Pompey in 77 B.C. Brutus' uncle, Quintus Servilius Caepio adopted him in 59 B.C. when his name became Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus. In 58 B.C. he accompanied Cato on a mission to Cyprus. While there he loaned a large sum of money to the city of Salamis at a usurious rate.

Brutus was elected Questor in 53 B.C. and married Claudia, daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher (whose was the brother of Publius Clodius Pulcher). In the Senate Brutus aligned with the Optimates (the conservative faction) against the First Triumvirate of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Pompey, and Julius Caesar.

In 49 B.C., Caesar crossed the Rubicon and marched on Rome. All those opposed to him left Rome. Pompey was given charge of the army to resist Caesar, but choose to take it across the Adriatic to Greece. Brutus, abandoning his feud with Pompey, accompanied him. Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus. Brutus wrote an apologetic letter to Caesar, who immediately forgave him. Caesar accepted him into his inner circle and made him governor of Gaul when he left for Africa in pursuit of Cato and Metellus Scipio. After his defeat in 46 B.C., Cato had committed suicide. Brutus, unable to conceal his true allegiances wrote an eulogy to Cato, divorced Claudia and married Porcia, Cato's daughter.

Caesar had been made dictator for life and thus all power in the Republic was in his hands. Together with his friend and brother-in-law Cassius and others, Brutus started to conspire against Caesar. On the Ides (15th) of March, 44 B.C., a group of senators including Brutus murdered Caesar on the steps of Pompey's Theatre. Caesar was supposed to have uttered the words "Et tu, Brute" ("You, too, Brutus?").

The conspirators were denounced by Mark Antony and the Roman citizens turned against them. Brutus, Cassius and their fellow conspirators fled to the East and began raising an army.

Mark Antony with Octavianus (later the emperor Augustus), Caesar's adopted son, arrived with their armies in Greece in the summer of 42 B.C. In the first Battle of Philippi on October 3rd, Brutus defeated the army of Octavian but Anthony defeated Cassius. Cassius, thinking the battle completely lost, committed suicide. When the two sides met again on October 23rd, Brutus' army was completely demoralised and most of his soldiers fled. Realising he was defeated, Brutus killed himself.

Back to main page