When they were about to cross over from Asia, Brutus is said to have had a great sign. He was naturally wakeful, and by practice and self-restraint had reduced his hours of sleep to few, never lying down by day, and by night only when he could transact no business nor converse with any one, since all had gone to rest.
At this time, however, when the war was begun and he had in his hands the conduct of a life and death struggle, and was anxiously forecasting the future, he would first doze a little in the evening after eating, and then would spend the rest of the night on urgent business. But whenever he had fully met the demands of such business in shorter time, he would read a book until the third watch, at which hour the centurions and tribunes usually came to him.
Once, accordingly, when he was about to take his army across from Asia, it was very late at night, his tent was dimly lighted, and all the camp was wrapped in silence. Then, as he was meditating and reflecting, he thought he heard some one coming into the tent. He turned his eyes towards the entrance and beheld a strange and dreadful apparition, a monstrous and fearful shape standing silently by his side.
Plucking up courage to question it,
‘Who art thou,’ said he,
‘of gods or men, and what is thine errand with me?’ Then the phantom answered:
‘I am thy evil genius, Brutus, and thou shalt see me at Philippi.’ And Brutus, undisturbed, said:
‘I shall see thee.’