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Brutus, Lucius Junius

Brutus, Lucius Junius, a partly historical, partly legendary, character of Roman history, in the sixth century B.C. He was bitterly opposed to the rule of the Tarquins, as Tarquinius Superbus had put his elder brother to death and had seized his property, and Brutus himself had only escaped death by feigning to be an idiot, whence his name - "The Stupid." When Lucretia was outraged by Sextus Tarquinius and killed herself, Brutus threw aside his feigned idiocy and put himself at the head of the popular movement which drove the Tarquins from Rome. He was one of the first two consuls, then called praetors, and during his tenure of office he sentenced to death his two sons who had had a share in a conspiracy for a restoration of the kings, and watched their execution, thus becoming the example and model for all stern fathers. He fell in single combat with Aruns in the battle that arose from the attempt of the Etruscans to restore the Tarquins. The matrons of Rome mourned for a year "the avenger of woman's honour," and a statue in the Capitol was decreed to him.