Lneins Jnnins Brutus, a Roman patriot, lived about 500 B. C. According to the commonly received story, his mother was the sister of Tarquin the Proud, the last king of Rome, and he feigned imbecility to escape the harsh treatment which his father and brothers had received. He accompanied Tarquin's sons on a mission to Delphi, and when the oracle declared that the one who first kissed his mother should rule in Rome after Tarquin, he, on landing in Italy, affected to stumble and kissed the ground, the common mother of all. After the rape of Lucretia he threw off the pretence of imbecility, plucked the dagger from the dying woman's breast, incited her kinsmen to revenge, and led an insurrection which drove the king from the city and put an end to the monarchy. He and Collatinus, the husband of Lucretia, were chosen consuls. His two sons, Titus and Tiberius, taking part in a conspiracy for the restoration of the kings, were tried before him, and he condemned them to be scourged and beheaded, and saw the sentence carried into effect.

The adherents of Tarquin came against Rome with a force of Etruscans, and in repelling the attack Brutus was killed by Aruns, son of Tarquin. A public funeral was decreed, the women wore mourning for a year, and according to Plutarch a brazen statue with a drawn sword in the hand was raised to his memory. The inconsistencies and improbabilities of the story as related by Livy have been pointed out by Niebuhr.