Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears


What's the origin of the phrase 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears'?

This quotation from Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s best-known lines. Mark Antony asks for the attention of the assembled ctowd as he delivers a eulogy in honour of the recently murdered Julius Caesar:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest =
For Brutus is an honourable man; S
o are they all, all honourable men.

Caesar had been assassinated by a group of conspirators led by Brutus. Brutus had previously delivered a speech in which he claimed that the murder had been done in the name of freedom. In a clever speech, Antony turned the mob against Brutus and the other assassins.

Trend of friends in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.