Conclusion and consequences Civil wars and the end of the Republic
At Brutus’ insistence the conspirators killed only Caesar. Mark Antony threw off his senator’s toga to escape, not realising that he was not in danger, mingling with the crowd as the senators fled in panic. No one seems to have had much idea of what was going to happen next. Slowly and cautiously, apparently realising that there were not gangs of supporters bent on revolution and pillage, the Senate went back to the Capitol and spoke to the conspirators. The value of Brutus’ reputation to the conspirators was now proved, for the vast majority of the senators were ready to listen to him. The more distinguished members, including Cicero, stood with the conspirators, signifying their support and after a few hours even Antony and Lepidus, Caesar’s most important subordinates, appeared to be reconciled to the deed. The reaction of the population as a whole was less certain, for Caesar had always been popular with the poorer citizens, and there was some open protest when Brutus made a public speech explaining their motives.