Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What exactly is an "Ide" anyway? Well, if you were an ancient Roman, an Ide referred to the appearance of a full moon.

But, on March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated and the " Ides of March" became more than just planetary observations.

The Ides became a warning to future leaders, Charles McNelis, an assistant professor of classics at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., explained to National Geographic .

Octavian, Caesar's heir who was also known as Imperator Caesar Augustus, "seems to have been aware of the problems of presenting himself as Caesar had. … The Ides became a lesson in political self-presentation," McNelis said to National Geographic
Historians say Julius Caesar's desire to be a dictator for life and to be worshiped as a deity did not sit well with many in Rome.

The Roman government during his day was run by a mix of a long-established republican government headed by two consuls with joint powers. There also were praetors, consuls and a body of citizens forming the Senate who proposed legislation. General people's assemblies approved legislation by vote.

A dictator was simply a temporary office established for use only during times of extreme civil unrest.
Julius Caesar had gone too far with his hunger for power, which lead to his death.

According to History.com , Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by more than 50 adversaries, including his trusted praetor, Marcus Junius Brutus.

The event marked a significant turning point in Rome.

"You can read in Cicero's letters from the months after the Ides of March. … He even says, 'The Ides changed everything,'" Josiah Osgood, an assistant professor of classics at Georgetown, told National Geographic .

Not only did the event change the tenor of politics in Rome, it also entered into our collective consciousness as one of William Shakespeare's most noted works, "The Life and Death of Julies Caesar."

It is here where the seer warns Caesar of impending bad luck with the now famous line, " Beware the Ides of March ."

And, as he lay dying on the senate floor, "et tu Brute?" or "You too, Brutus?"


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