Beware the Ides of March! Why, you ask? On March 15 (“ides” roughly corresponds to 15) in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated by his BFF and 60 other of his closest friends. Harsh, right? He was the leader of Rome, and was killed by 60 senators at a senate meeting because, as far as history knows, they thought he had the potential to turn into a dictator. His death has become so legendary that “Brutus,” the name of his best friend who betrayed him, has become synonymous for “traitor.” Meanwhile Caesar got so famous that Shakespeare famously immortalized his life and death in a play (that’s when you know you’ve made it). And that play is where the common phrase “et tu, Brute” (you too, Brutus) comes from. Caesar says it when he sees Brutus about to stab him! The Romans were a crazy bunch.
Why Ides of March is Important
A. It’s an amazing piece of history
There are two sides to every story, and Julius Caesar’s assassination is a prime example. According to Brutus and his fellow senators, Caesar was going to become a dictator and they had to protect the republic. In their heads, they believed they were right. However, we’re sure if Caesar could have defended himself, he would say that he was never going to become a dictator and was killed for no reason. Who’s right? That’s up to you to decide; we’ll never get a definitive answer!
B. It inspired a scene in Mean Girls
We’re sure you’ve seen Tina Fey’s classic movie. If not, drop everything you’re doing and watch it right now. Without the Ides of March, we would have never gotten to enjoy one of the funniest scenes in the movie. Gretchen passionately defends Brutus’s murder of Caesar, saying that maybe Brutus just wanted to share a little bit of the power. You go, Glen Coco.
C. ...and a Shakespeare play
More importantly (sorry Tina, we love you), the Ides of March helped inspire a beautiful Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar. It commemorates Julius Caesar’s life and does a great job trying to show both Caesar and Brutus’s side of the argument. Caesar’s life may have ended early, but he gets to live on forever in literature.
How to Observe Ides of March
1. Read Julius Caesar
You’ve always been telling yourself you’re going to start reading some classic literature. So why not pick up Shakespeare’s classic play? You’ll get to learn a little bit more about The Ides of March without being put to sleep by a history book. And you’ll achieve your culture goals!
2. Have a Roman snack party
Get together with a few of your closest friends and dish up some classic Roman snacks. We’re talking apples, figs, and grapes. Go crazy with olives, cheese, and bread. It’s a great excuse to see all your friends while still staying light on the calories.
3. Get politically active
When it comes down to it, the Ides of March was basically a huge argument about politics. Is there any political issue that you feel extremely passionate about? Contact your local government official or start an email-sending campaign with your friends. In honor of Julius Caesar, you should exercise your right to participate in politics.
5 Reasons To Fear The Ides Of March
1. It's when Julius Caesar was murdered
How the Ides got their bad rap: in 44 B.C. a group of assassins stabbed Julius Caesar to death in front of the Senate.
2. It's when the Communists seized Russia
On the Ides of March, 1917, Czar Nicholas abdicated from the Russian throne, ushering in a reign of Bolshevik terror.
3. It's when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia
1939 saw the Nazis ramp up aggression against their central European neighbors, including the fledgling state of Czechoslovakia.
4. It's when the rainiest day ever occurred
March 15th, 1952, saw the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in a 24 hour period: 73.62 inches over the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion.
5. It's when Ed Sullivan show got cancelled
Perhaps the most tragic entry on our list, the Ed Sullivan show's cancellation was announced on March 15th, 1971, ending a 23 year long reign.