19. L. Junius
Brutus Damasippus, an active and unprincipled partizan of Marius.
The younger Marius, reduced to despair by the blockade of Praeneste (B. C. 82), came to the resolution that his greatest enemies should not survive him. Accordingly he managed to despatch a letter to L. Brutus, who was then praetor urbanus at Rome, desiring him to summon the senate upon some false pretext, and to procure the assassination of P. Antistius, of C. Papirius Carbo, L. Domitius, and Scaevola, the pontifex maximus.
The cruel and treacherous order was too well obeyed, and the dead bodies of the murdered senators were thrown unburied into the Tiber. (Appian, App. BC 1.88
; Vell. 2.26
In the same year L. Brutus made an ineffectual attempt to relieve Praeneste: the consul of Cn. Papirius Carbo, despairing of success, fled to Africa ; but L. Brutus, with others of his party, advanced towards Rome, and were defeated by Sulla. L. Brutus was taken prisoner in the battle, and was put to death by Sulla. (Appian, App. BC 1.92
; Sall. Cut.
51; Dio Cass. Frag.
135, p. 54, ed. Reimar.)
Some confusion has arisen from the circumstance that the subject of this article is sometimes spoken of with the cognomen Damasippus, and sometimes with that of Brutus. (Duker, ad Flor.
3.21. p. 685.)
He appears now as L. Damasippus, and now as Junius Brutus. Perhaps he was adopted by one of the Licinii, for the cognomen Damasippus belonged to the Licinian gens (Cic. Fam. 7.23
); and an adoptive name, in reference to the original name, was often alternative, not cumulative.
The same person may have been L. Junius Brutus and L. Licinius Damasippus.