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We Beware 'Ides of March,' But Why? 

  • VOA News

This bust of Cesar, dated 49-46 B.C., was discovered in 2008 as part of an underwater archaeological exploration in the Rhone River near Arles in France.

On March 15, it is not uncommon to read or hear the phrase “Beware the Ides of March.”

Why?

Traditionally, the Ides of March marks the day Roman leader Julius Caesar was assassinated by members of the Roman Senate in 44 B.C.

Historical accounts say a psychic warned Caesar, who had named himself “Dictator for Life,” to beware the day.

Members of the Roman historical society "Gruppo Storico Romano" take part in a re-enactment of the "Ides of March", known also as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C., in downtown Rome, March 15, 2013.
Members of the Roman historical society "Gruppo Storico Romano" take part in a re-enactment of the "Ides of March", known also as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C., in downtown Rome, March 15, 2013.

Caesar failed to heed the warning, walking into the Senate only to be stabbed 23 times by about 60 conspirators.

Among the assassins was his closest friend, Marcus Brutus, who was immortalized by Caesar’s dying words “Et tu, Brute?”

But history does not appear to bear this out as fact. It is a widely debated subject among historians and dramatists alike.

The phrase, Latin for “and you, Brutus?” or “and you, too, Brutus?”, appears in Act III, Scene-I, of William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar.

The phrase has come to symbolize the ultimate betrayal by one’s closest friend.

Ides?

Ides refers to the ancient Roman calendar denoting the middle of the month (March 15). The Roman calendar was determined by the cycles of the moon, the middle of the month was when the full moon typically occurred.

Not only Caesar's demise

The Ides of March seems to be forever associated with Caesar’s assassination.

But check out this list from the Smithsonian on other newsworthy events that took place on the 15th of March.

And it's trending today on Twitter under the hashtag #idesOfMarch.

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