“Beware the Ides of March”

The Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martii) is the name of 15 March in the Roman calendar, probably referring to the day of the full moon. The term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other months.[1] The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other conspirators.

On his way to the Theatre of Pompey (where he would be assassinated), Caesar saw a seer who had foretold that harm would come to him not later than the Ides of March. Caesar joked, “Well, the Ides of March have come”, to which the seer replied “Ay, they have come, but they are not gone.”[2] This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned to “beware the Ides of March”.[3][4]

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, approx. 47 BC (an Early Tragedy)
by William Shakespeare
First written between the years 1600-01, first performed in 1623.

Act 1. Scene II

SCENE II. A public place.

Flourish. Enter CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS BRUTUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer
CAESAR
Calpurnia!

CASCA
Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.

CAESAR
Calpurnia!

CALPURNIA
Here, my lord.

CAESAR
Stand you directly in Antonius’ way,
When he doth run his course. Antonius!

ANTONY
Caesar, my lord?

CAESAR
Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.

ANTONY
I shall remember:
When Caesar says ‘do this,’ it is perform’d.

CAESAR
Set on; and leave no ceremony out.

Flourish

Soothsayer
Caesar!

CAESAR
Ha! who calls?

CASCA
Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

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.

CAESAR
Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR
What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Sennet. Exeunt all except BRUTUS and CASSIUS

CASSIUS
Will you go see the order of the course?

BRUTUS
Not I.

CASSIUS
I pray you, do.

BRUTUS
I am not gamesome: I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I’ll leave you.

CASSIUS
Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.

This entry was posted in Holiday Lore, Poetry on by .

About Amber Lotus Publishing

Amber Lotus Publishing is an independent publisher of mind body spirit themed calendars, greeting cards, journals, books, and wisdom decks. We create products that illuminate the sacred dimensions of everyday life — healthy lifestyles, mindfulness, and earth awareness. Sharing the diversity of world cultures and sacred traditions as well as the inspiration and beauty of the natural world is our passion.

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