The Ides Of March: The History Surrounding March 15 Including The Assassination of Julius Caesar

on March 15 2013 11:37 AM

The ides of March is a popular saying and another name for March 15. The phrase became synonymous with the assassination of Julius Caesar and popularized in William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.”

“Beware the Ides of March” was uttered by a soothsayer to Julius Caesar, dictator of the Roman Republic, as a warning of potential danger. The ominous phrase bore fruit when Julius Caesar was assassinated as part of a larger conspiracy involving eight Roman senators, including Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, on March 15, 44 B.C. Another phrase stemming from the assassination of Julius Caesar -- “Et tu, Brute?” -- is credited to Shakespeare’s play, although it was a popular saying during the Bard’s life.

There are plenty of events that led to the assassination of Julius Caesar. The Roman Republic did not want another king and while Julius Caesar publicly rebuked offers of kingship, Caesar did accept the “dictator for life,” notes Dr. Josiah Osgood, a scholar from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Osgood notes that the dictator title, as well as appearing on Roman currency, the only living person to do so, provided enough friction with the Senate that ultimately led to the assassination plot, reports National Geographic.

Before the Ides of March became synonymous with the assassination of Julius Caesar, Romans used Ides to mark the full moon, reports National Geographic. The Ides also helped marked the middle of the month, notes The Huffington Post. The Ides of March was also a festival celebrating the goddess Anna Perenna. During the Festival of Anna Perenna, it was a jubilant affair with drunken revelry and plenty of celebration.

The Ides of March has become synonymous with the assassination of Julius Caesar and, as expected, has become trending topic of Twitter on March 15.