The Capitoline Brutus is a bronze bust that is commonly believed to depict the ancient Roman consul Lucius Junius Brutus. Dating back to the late 4th to early 3rd centuries BC, but potentially as late as the 2nd century BC, it serves as an iconic piece of Roman art and an essential part of classical archaeology.
Junius Brutus, who played a pivotal role in history by overthrowing the last autocratic ruler and establishing the rule of the Senate, is honoured through this statue. Upon its discovery, it was carried at the end of a march and ceremonially placed on a pedestal before the Altar of the Fatherland. The statue bears a plaque that reads, “Rome was first governed by kings: / Junius Brutus gave it liberty and the Republic,” thereby linking its significance with the foundation of the Roman Republic.
The Capitoline Brutus has significance beyond its artistic value because its identification with Junius Brutus signifies an astute interpretation of the antiquarian culture. Despite the statue’s age and potential discrepancies in its dating, its historical value and impact remain evident in the present day.