Soon after the death of Sulla,1
his prophecies were fulfilled, and Lepidus tried to assume Sulla's powers. He took no circuitous route and used no pretence, but appeared at once in arms, stirring up anew and gathering about himself the remnants of faction, long enfeebled, which had escaped the hand of Sulla. His colleague, Catulus, to whom the incorrupt and sounder element in the senate and people attached themselves, was the greatest Roman of the time in the estimate set upon his wisdom and justice,
but was thought better adapted for political than military leadership. The situation itself, therefore demanded Pompey, who was not long in deciding what course to take. He took the side of the nobility, and was appointed commander of an army against Lepidus, who had already stirred up a large part of Italy and was employing Brutus to hold Cisalpine Gaul with an army.
Other opponents against whom Pompey came were easily mastered by him, but at Mutina, in Gaul, he lay a long while besieging Brutus. Meanwhile, Lepidus had made a hasty rush upon Rome, and sitting down before it, was demanding a second consulship, and terrifying the citizens with a vast throng of followers.
But their fear was dissipated by a letter brought from Pompey, announcing that he had brought the war to a close without a battle. For Brutus, whether he himself betrayed his army, or whether his army changed sides and betrayed him, put himself in the hands of Pompey, and receiving an escort of horsemen, retired to a little town upon the Po. Here, after a single day had passed, he was slain by Geminius, who was sent by Pompey to do the deed.
And Pompey was much blamed for this. For as soon as the army of Brutus changed sides, he wrote to the senate that Brutus had surrendered to him of his own accord; then he sent another letter denouncing the man after he had been put to death. The Brutus who, with Cassius, killed Caesar, was a son of this Brutus, a man who was like his father neither in his wars nor in his death, as is written in his Life.
As for Lepidus, moreover, as soon as he was expelled from Italy, he made his way over to Sardinia. There he fell sick and died of despondency, which was due, as we are told, not to the loss of his cause, but to his coming accidentally upon a writing from which he discovered that his wife was an adulteress.