Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.
Caesar: What man is that?
Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Caesar: Set him before me; let me see his face.
Today in 44 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar, Rome’s most popular politician and military general turned dictator was murdered by those he trusted the most. To echo the immortal words of sixteenth century playwright, William Shakespeare in his play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (purportedly written in 1599): “Beware the ides of March.” Slain by a mob led by two chief conspirators, Brutus and Cassius, it is said that Caesar was stabbed by as many as 60 people. His death would bring an end to an epoch, the Roman Republic and result in the establishment of the Roman Empire.
The Ides of March
According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides was often used to denote the middle of a month (13th to the 15th). In addition, it traditionally corresponds with the full moon. The other two portions of the month are nones (about the 5th to the 7th) and kalends (1st of the month), respectfully. The ides held particular significance because they were sacred to the chief ruler of the Roman gods, Jupiter.
Featured Image: Murder of Caesar, 1865. Karl Theodor von Piloty.
Image: Arles Burst, year unknown. Artist unknown. Discovered in the Rhône river near Arles in September or October of 2007, it is believed to be a realistic likeness of Julius Caesar.