Often reviled (certainly by Dante) was Marcus Junius Brutus Minor, known to most as “Brutus” or more simply “Et tu Brute?” So why dedicate a holiday to this most heinous of individuals? This slayer of Kings and betrayer of friends? Why, my good people, because Brutus Day reminds us that even in this modern age, betrayal, subterfuge, and (metaphorical at least) back-stabbing is still alive and well.
History of Brutus Day
Let’s start by talking a little about the man, and how he became the world’s most famous betrayer second only to that slayer of messiahs. It is first important to understand that his history is plagued from intrigue straight from his birth. You see, though Caesar was only 15 at the time, there were rumors that it was Caesar who fathered Brutus, rather than Marcus Junius Brutus Major. This rumor was in part fueled by the questionable circumstances of his father’s death while participating in the Lepidian revolution. Quintus Servilius Caepio, his uncle, took over the responsibilities of raising him in 59 BC.
So how did he come into Caesar’s confidence and become so close a friend that his betrayal shocked his dear friend to the core? The explanation comes best, perhaps, at an examination of our own lives and experiences. Sometimes we know that those we call our friends are not, perhaps, the best of people. While we may adore them as our friend, their choices and actions as pertains to others we may not approve of. This is where Brutus found himself, a dear friend he could not counsel away from madness had to be put down for the good of the nation he ruled. It is this conundrum that casts questions on whether Brutus was hero, villain, martyr, or betrayer. Perhaps each in equal measure.
How to celebrate Brutus Day
Celebrating Brutus Day… Is such a day worthy of celebration? It only stands to cast yet more light on the dark seedy underbelly of the political arena. But perhaps it also prompts us to ruminate on the great game they play, the pull and tug of politics, the conflicts of loyalties and priorities, and the need to give and take on issues that may at turns enrage and exalt their constituents. Sometimes the road to the ends they promise isn’t a straight one, but twists and curves along a moral road.