Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Thirteen - Beware The Ides of March


Beware the Ides of March.  In honor of this notable day in history, I'm listing 13 facts about The Ides of March. 

Caesar:  Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer:  Beware the ides of March.

Caesar:  What man is that?

Brutus:  A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15–19

1.  The Ides of March stands for March 15th.

2.  The word Ides comes from the Latin word Idus, which means 'half-division,' especially in relation to months.

3.  The term Ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, but the 13th for all other months.

4.  The Ides of March was a festival day dedicated to Mars, the Roman God of War.

5.  The Ides of March is best known for the day of Julius Cesar's murder in 44 B.C.

6.  Caesar was stabbed 23 times near a Pompey statue where the Roman Senate was meeting, by a group of conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius.

7.  Caesar had been warned by a soothsayer (see quote above from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar) - as well as a dream his wife had of his death - and he still chose to ignore the warnings/signs and go to the meeting.

8.  According to Plutarch, a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist, over 60 men co-conspired the assassination of Julius Caesar. 

9.  "Et tu, Brute?" is a Latin phrase often used to represent the last words Julius Caesar, spoken to the man he thought was his friend, Marcus Brutus, at the moment of his assassination.  It's loosely translated as:  "You too, Brutus?"  This appeared in Shakespeare's Julius Cesar (as:   "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar!") but it is not known if these were his actual last words.  It is hotly contested by historians. 

10.  "Et tu, Brute?" is now used in the western world to signify to the deepest and utmost betrayal. 

11.  The Ides of March is a term now synonymous with the Assassination of Julius Caesar.

12.  This painting is Mort de César by Vincenzo Camuccini (1798).  I was an art history minor, and once wrote a 5 page analysis on the symbolism of the colors and color theory in this painting in college.

13.  According to today is also Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, Buzzards Day,  Companies That Care Day, True Confessions Day, and World Consumer Rights Day. 


  1. Very cool TT!! I once said this to my husband and he looked at me and said "What?"
    "It's from Julius Ceasar".
    "Oh. I took the F on that one."
    I rolled my eyes. LOL!!!!

    1. LOL! That's awesome. I was the dork who was actually part of my high school's Elizabethan/Shakespeare club. I knew Julius Caesar intimately.

  2. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy T13!

  3. This year it falls in the middle of Mercury Retrograde. If that reverses things, does that mean instead of celebrating the god of war, we will celebrate peace?

  4. In the SCA we have an event called the Ides of March. The usual theme is Roman garb, but it's not about assassination. Just the usual feasting and fighting and fooling around.

  5. Although Shakespeare said "Et tu Brute," it's highly unlikely that's what Caesar actually said. According to Seutonius, he said "kai su, to tekon," which is Ancient Greek for "and you, my son." Brutus was almost adopted by Caesar at one point, and Caesar thought well on him. Plus, Seutonius lives around Caesar's time, so those words are probably much closer to the truth.

    And now I step off my Ancient Roman History soapbox.

    Sorry, I majored in the stuff. *grins*

    1. Yeah, that's why I said "represents" because there are so many theories about what was actually said. Many believe he saw Brutus' face and covered his face with his (sheet? cover? What's his toga called?) and said nothing at all. I've also read the 'kai su, to tekon' line before. As I said, hotly contested (people get really passionate about this), and while I love Shakespeare's work, I'm not fool enough to believe he did anything with historical accuracy in mind. lol.

  6. Man... I'd heard of the Ides of March but never knew the meaning...

    Thanks for posting this. I love learning new facts! :D

  7. "E tu" is maori for 'stand up' and, when spoken, sounds the same as "et tu".
    So, when I used the "Et tu Brute" phrase on my hubby, he wanted to know why I was calling him brute and why I wanted him to stand up.

  8. I've had several teachers say that around this time of the year their students grow restless. I never understood what they meant until I went and looked up the history behind it.

    1. I'm a teacher, and I tend to just call it spring fever...the students and teachers start to feel it around this time.