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D. Junius Brutus Albinus

Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus was a distant relative of Marcus Brutus. He was known as one of Caesar's "most intimate associates" and a friend of Mark Antony. Albinus had served under Caesar in both the Gallic Wars and the Civil War. He participated in the siege of Massilia (Marseilles) that held out against Caesar for months. He also commanded a Caesarian fleet.

Plutarch considered Albinus "of no great courage," but Albinus was a faithful and loyal supporter of Caesar. He was to be Consul in 42 BC along with Lucius Plancus. While awaiting the consulship Albinus was also to become Governor of Cisalpine Gaul when the post became available in the spring of 44 BC.

Albinus was approached by Cassius and Labeo to involve him in the conspiracy to murder Caesar. Albinus wanted to make sure Marcus Brutus was involved before agreeing to the plot. After meeting with Brutus he agreed. Both Brutus and Albinus received notification of a meeting of the Senate on March 15th and Albinus agreed to use an exhibition of his Gladiators after the meeting as protection in case things got out of hand after the murder had taken place. Caesar's retired legionaries were all around the city and none of the conspirators knew how they would react to Caesar's death.

At a dinner at the house of Marcus Lepidus on the night of March 14, 44 BC Caesar was in attendance along with Decimus Albinus. Towards the end of the night Caesar's secretary approached for him to sign some letters. As he was signing Albinus posed a philosophical question to him, "What sort of death is best?" Caesar answered, "A sudden one."

The next morning the Senate awaited Caesar to arrive. Caesar's wife Calpurnia and the auspices warned Caesar not to attend the meeting. When Caesar delayed the conspirator's sent Albinus to Caesar's house. Against Antony's council Albinus convinced Caesar to at least postpone the meeting in person.  Caesar then proceeded to the Theater of Pompey and was  murdered by the conspirators, Albinus being a key player in the conspiracy.  Shortly after the murder, Albinus went to take possession of his Province of Cisalpine Gaul which included three legions.  Antony tried to have the Senate remove this posting from Albinus but failed.  Albinus Legions were now the only military force between Antony and total domination of the Roman world.

Albinus used his legions in and around the alps, trying to subdue various tribes that had not yet submitted to Roman rule.  It is believed he did this to keep his troops active and away from Antony, who was encamped just south of Cisalpine Gaul and actively trying to buy their loyalty.  Antony continued to demand that Albinus hand over his province, which he refused.  By early winter claiming to be acting under the authority of the law of the Comitia, Antony invaded Cisalpine Gaul.

Albinus marched his legions down the Via Aemilia to the city of Mutina (Modena) which he fortified and prepared for a lengthy siege.  Antony surrounded the city and the long siege of Mutina began.  On January 1, 43 BC Antony was no longer Consul being replaced by Hirtius and Pansa.  The Senate heard a motion to declare Antony a public enemy but it did not pass. In a desperate attempt to ward off civil war it was agreed that a delegation be sent to Antony to inform him that the Senate had not approved his acquisition of Cisalpine Gaul and to thank Albinus and his troops for their loyalty.  This delegation was to be led by Piso (for Antony), Philippus (for Octavian) and Sulpicius (Albinus' brother).  Antony refused outright.  He declared that he would pursue Albinus and make him an example to all of Caesar's assassins.

The Senate declared a state of emergency and instructed Hirtius and Octavian to support Albinus with their legions, Pansa was to prepare new recruits to head north as soon as winter had subsided.  On April 13-14, Pansa, Octavian and Sulpicius were 12 miles away from Mutina when they were re-enforced by Hirtius Martia Legion and two senatorial cohorts.  Antony left two legions at Mutina and took two legions and his own Praetorian cohorts and cavalry to prevent the Senatorial army from meeting up with Albinus.

At first Antony forced the senatorial army to retreat, however as he was heading back towards Mutina Hirtius arrived with his two legions and charged.  Hirtius captured both Legionary eagles of Antony's 2nd and 35th legions as well as 60 sub unit standards.  Albinus fought his way out of Mutina and through Antony's encampment.  During the fighting Hirtius was killed and Pansa seriously wounded.  Pansa died shortly after and the rumor circulated that Octavian had paid off Pansa's physician to poison him. Once news arrived in Rome of Antony's defeat, the Senate finally declared Antony an enemy of the State.  Albinus now pursued Antony north with his legions and Pansa's units.

However Antony was down but not out.  Crossing over the alps he was met by the praetor Publius Ventidius who recruited 3 legions on Antony's behalf.  Marcus Lepidus then Governor of Nearer Spain and Narbon Gaul brought his 5 legions over to Antony.  Assinius Pollio now also changed sides and brought his two legions from Farther Spain over to Antony.  Lucius Munatius Plancus, governor of Transalpine Gaul was convinced by Pollio to go over to Antony's side.  Upon learning of this Albinus' army mutinied, some going to Antony, others leaving for Octavian.  Albinus was left with just 10 men.  He fled over the mountains in an attempt to join Brutus and Cassius in the east.  En route Albinus was captured by a Gallic chief named Camelus who sent messengers to Antony to determine what to do with him.  In reply Antony sent an execution squad to remove the head of Albinus.  Velleius would write 73 years later: "Thus he met his just deserts and paid the penalty of his treason to Gaius Caesar."

Coinage:

D. Junius Brutus Albinus
PIETAS
Head of Pietas right

ALBINVS BRVTI F
Clasped hands holding winged caduceus

3.1g

Rome
48 BC

Sear 427