Today is March 15th, which means the “Ides of March” are upon us.
In the original Roman calendar, March was the first month of the year. The Romans celebrated from the first of March through the Ides, as these days were essentially New Year’s celebrations. The Ides of March was a date on the Roman calendar (Idus Martias), which corresponds with our date of March 15. It was a fateful date.
In 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated at the foot of a statue of Pompey, where the Senate was meeting. Caesar had been given the advice to not attend the Senate meeting, but went into the theater of Pompey to attend the Senate meeting anyway. Because of Shakespeare’s adaptation of Julius Caesar, particularly the assassination and the soothsayer’s exchange with Caesar, the Ides of March now signifies a fateful day.
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
Last week I was perusing Pinterest, and I found this clever graphic about Shakespeare’s tragedies by Caitlin S Griffin. In honor of the Ides of March, we share this graphic which simplifies all of the deaths that happen in Shakespeare’s tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Titus Andronicus, Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, and A Winter’s Tale.
Do you feel superstitious about the Ides of March? Which Shakespeare play is your favorite?