Latest news and conversation around the news from Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley.
BloggersSarah Armaghan Nik Bonopartis John Dyer Meghan E. Murphy Timothy O'Connor Matt Sartwell Kenneth Schachter Jillian Sederholm Christian Wade Thomas Zambito Ryan Chatelain Mae Cheng Karl de Vries Nirmal Mitra
Ides of March: How Shakespeare popularized Julius Caesar's death date
Today is March 15, a date also known as “the Ides of March," and associated with the murder of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE.
Caesar, dictator of the Roman Empire, was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate. His assassination was planned by as many as 60 conspirators led by senators Brutus and Cassius. Caesar's life and death was chronicled by Greek storyteller Plutarch, but it was another scribe who popularized the association of the ancient emperor with today's date.
“Beware the Ides of March,” a soothsayer cautions Caesar in William Shakespeare’s play by that name -- alluding to his approaching death. The phrase has become one of the Bard's most popular quotes and one that comes up on this date every year.
But, why Ides?
Roman months in those days were arranged around three days: The Kalends (the 1st), the Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months), and the Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months).
The Ides were just the usual way of saying March 15. The notion of the Ides being a dangerous date was purely an invention of Shakespeare's because March 15 wasn’t particularly associated with death before 1601.
However, thanks to the Bard of Avon, the date has become associated in the world’s conscience with betrayal and political ruin, and inspired a George Clooney film.