Brutus, Cassius, and other conspirators planned to assassinate Caesar. During their deliberations Cassius wanted Marc Antony to be assassinated because of his relationship to Caesar but Brutus objected to this, terming such a move to be contrary to what they expected to achieve by killing Caesar. After Caesar’s death, Brutus gives a public speech trying to explain their reasons for assassinating Caesar but Marc Antony uses the same platform to accuse the conspirators. This forces Brutus and the other conspirators to flee from the public and start a civil war.
Marc Antony joins forces with Octavius in order to wage war against the conspirators who were planning the same. The two forces meet at the battle at Philippi where Brutus and Cassius agree to commit suicide in case they lose the battle. Cassius mistakenly asks his servant to kill him believing they had lost the battle leaving Brutus to engage in the final confrontation where his forces are defeated. Brutus asks Strato to kill him but he only holds the sword so Brutus can run into it.
Brutus dies and the civil war is over but Octavius and Antony praise Brutus and ask that he is honored and all burial rites performed accordingly. They agree to this because according to them he is the only conspirator who actually participated in Caesar’s assassination because he loved Rome more, the rest were just envious of Caesar.
Defeated at Philippi, Brutus prepares to fall upon his sword, but feels that he will have more glory than Antony and Octavius as their victory may well cause the downfall of Roman freedom. After Brutus dies by having his man Strato hold his sword for him to run into in Act V of Julius Caesar, Antony and Octavius enter with their troops. Octavius says that he will take into his service all the soldiers of Brutus.
Then, Antony delivers a stirring and most respectful elegy:
This was the noblest Roman of them all.
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar....(5.5)
Antony goes on to state that only Brutus did, indeed, love Rome more and in his "honest thought" acted nobly. Brutus, Marc Antony declares, was noble and Nature would stand up and tell all, "This was a man!"
Octavius orders that Brutus's body be treated with honor and respect and that all the rites of burial be accorded him. Further, he adds that "Most like a soldier order honorably"; that is, Brutus be treated with honor.