Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor
The battle of Philippi had decided nothing, as one general on each side had been victorious.
Cæsar and Antony would willingly have fought again without delay, for they were finding it always more difficult to provide food for their armies.
But Brutus seemed loth to take the field, and for fourteen days his soldiers vainly begged him to lead them against the enemy. Their persistence at length forced him to yield, and he placed himself at their head and advanced against the foe.
A desperate struggle followed, and while the division led by Brutus was again victorious, the main body of the army was scattered and put to flight.
As Brutus himself fled with a few friends, a band of horsemen followed him, determined if possible to capture him and bring him alive to Antony.
With Brutus was his comrade Lucilius, and he, seeing what the horsemen wished, determined that he would save his friend although he himself should perish in the attempt.
As the enemy drew near, Lucilius, apparently unnoticed by Brutus, dropped behind, and when the horsemen seized him, he let them believe that they had indeed captured Brutus. So in great good temper the horsemen carried Lucilius to Antony. He, hearing that Brutus was a prisoner, was mightily pleased, and ordered him to be brought before him.
The prisoner no sooner saw Antony than he said without any trace of fear, 'Be assured, Antony, that no enemy has taken or ever shall take Brutus alive. . . . As for me, I am come hither by a cheat that I put upon your soldiers, and am ready . . . to suffer any severities you will inflict.'
But Antony turned to the crestfallen horsemen and said, 'You have brought me better booty than you sought. For indeed I am uncertain how I should have used Brutus if you had brought him alive, but of this I am sure, it is better to have such men as Lucilius our friends than our enemies.' From that day Antony and Lucilius were friends.
Brutus meanwhile had ridden on until he reached a little stream, and here, sheltered by steep cliffs he sat down to rest. His heart was sad, for many of his friends were slain. He murmured the long list of their names, sighing heavily as he did so.
Here, sheltered by steep cliffs, he sat down to rest.
Hour after hour passed, and his people grew anxious lest the enemy should overtake them, and they urged Brutus to fly.
'Yes indeed we must fly,' answered the stricken general, 'but not with our feet, but with our hands.' Then he went aside with only his friend Strato, and flinging himself upon the point of his sword, he died.
Antony, when he found the dead body of Brutus, ordered it to be covered with a beautiful purple mantle of his own.
A soldier, too full of greed to show reverence to the dead, dared to steal the mantle. Antony did not rest until the thief was discovered and put to death.