M. JUNIUS BRUTUS, an eminent Roman jurist, who, judging from his praenomen and the time in which he is said to have lived. was probably a son of No. 12.
He is mentioned by Pomponius (Dig. 1
. tit. 2. s. 39), along with P. Mucius and Manilius, as one of the three founders of civil law; and it may be inferred from Pomponius, that though he was praetor, he never attained the rank of consul.
The passage of Pomponius, according to the reading which has been suggested, is as follows: --Post hos fuerunt P. Mucius et Manilius et Brutus
[vulg. et Brutus et Manilius], qui fundaverunt jus civile. Ex his P. Mucius etiam decem libellos reliquit, septem Manilius, Brutus tres
[vulg. Brutus septem, Manilius tres]. Illi duo consulares fuerunt, Brutus praetorius, P. autem Mucius etiam pontifex maximnus.
The transposition of the names Brutus and Manilius makes the clause Illi duo consulares fuerunt, Brutus praetorius,
consistent with the former part of the sentence.
It also makes the testimony of Pomponius consistent with that of Cicero, who reports, on the authority of Scaevola, that Brutus left no more than three genuine books de jure civil.
That more, however, was attributed to Brutus than he really wrote may be inferred from the particularity of Cicero's statement. Brutus is frequently referred to as a high authority on points of law in ancient classical and legal authors (e. g.
compare Cic. de Fin.
1.4, and Dig. 7
. tit. 1. s. 68, pr.; again, compare Cic. Fam. 7.22
, and Gel. 17.7
In the books of Brutus are contained some of the responsa
which he gave to clients, and he and Cato are censured by Cicero for publishing the actual names of the persons, male and female, who consulted them, as if, in law, there were anything in a name. (De Orat.
2.32.) From the fragments we possess (de Orat.
2.55), Brutus certainly appears to enter into unlawyer-like details, giving us the very names of the villas where he happened to be. Whether Servius Sulpicius commented upon Brutus is a much disputed question. Ulpian (Dig. 14
. tit. 3. s. 5.1) cites Servius libro primo ad Brutums,
and Pomponius (Dig. 1
. tit. 2. s. 2.44) asserts that Servius duos libros ad Brutum perquam brevissimos ad Edictum subscriptos reliquit.
It is commonly supposed that Servius, instead of commenting on the work of the jurisconsult, dedicated his short notes on the Edict to M. Junius Brutus, the assassin of Julius Caesar, or else to the father of the so-called tyrannicide. (Zimmern, R. R. G.
§ 75; Majansius, vol. i. pp. 127-140.)