Brutus Day is observed on the 15th of March, the Ides of March, to commemorate the betrayal of a loyal and trusted companion. Did you know that Marcus Junius Brutus led the plot to assassinate Julius Caesar? Brutus Day honors Brutus, a Roman general who rose to prominence during the reign of Caesar. Caesar had faith in his general and close ally, who performed an act that elevated him to the level of Judas Iscariot. Brutus Day serves as a reminder that traitors still exist in the modern world.
The background of Brutus Day
In ancient Rome, the events preceding the historical Ides of March, the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination, date back to 44 B.C. Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, a Roman commander, senator, and senior statesman, hatched the plot to kill Caesar. Longinus desired Caesar’s removal for a number of reasons, but preeminent among them was his fear of Caesar’s dangerous ambition: his desire to become the supreme ruler of the Roman empire. Despite his affluence and power, Cassius lacked the necessary influence and authority to carry out his plot. He and his small group approached Brutus for this reason.
In addition to being Caesar’s friend, Brutus was descended from a long line of Roman statesmen who attained the pinnacle of their political careers. All of these factors made Brutus the ideal candidate for ensuring the success of the conspiracy. Longinus convinced Brutus to join his cause through public humiliation and the influence of close friends. Caesar’s closest confidant, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, was subsequently recruited by Brutus. In February of 44 B.C., the three men began actively recruiting senators, men of renown, to join the conspiracy. These include Gaius Trebonius, Publius Casca, and Servius Sulpicius Galba. After several meetings and deliberations, the conspirators resolve to assassinate Caesar during the Ides of March senate session.
According to Plutarch, Caesar disregarded multiple warnings about his impending demise at the Senate on the Ides of March, including one from the seer Spurinna. Caesar did have last-minute doubts, so the conspirators sent Albinus to persuade him that everything was in order and that he would lose face if he failed to appear at the Senate House. This persuaded Caesar to change his mind, and Albinus murdered his devoted friend. This event marked Brutus Day’s first major act of treachery. After establishing themselves in the Senate, the conspirators surrounded Caesar and proceeded to stab him with the blades concealed in their togas. Caesar initially attempted to defend himself, but gave up upon observing his friend Brutus. This signified Brutus Day’s great act of betrayal.
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