History of the Ides of March: Who Should Beware?

Roman Senate

According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month with the exception of the months March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th of the month. Something epochal occurred in 44 B.C.

Et tu, Brute?

Curia

It was on March 15, 44 B.C. that the Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated after he had been warned by a seer that harm would befall him before the end of the Ides of March. Contrary to popular belief, including William Shakespeare, Caesar was not assassinated in the Capitol, meaning the Curia Hostilia or Senate House in the Roman Forum at the foot of the Capitoline Hill (pictured at top).

Senate Meeting Place

Pompey’s Theatre

Rather, Caesar was assassinated near the statue of Pompey at the Theatrum Pompeium(pictured at left in the Largo di Torre Argentinain modern day Rome), where the Senate used to meet at that time. This precinct is now a Cat Sanctuary (as you can see the white cat in the center of my photo.) I counted over a dozen homeless cats. They are regularly fed by local women. I was told they are fed spaghetti, but I don’t know.

Rostra

Marc Antony would have delivered his Shakespearean speech:

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears”

…from the Rostra of the Forum(pictured at right), directly across from the Curia.

Burial or Cremation

Dead bodies could not be kept inside the City, and Caesar was cremated in the Forum (at the location pictured on the left). Flowers are left there to this day.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
www.billpetro.com

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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