What are the Ides of March? The bad omen of the death of Julius Caesar

What are the Ides of March?  The bad omen of the death of Julius Caesar

The Romans were full of superstitions and rituals to call good omens. For example, they paid a lot of attention to the calendar. They considered, for example, that the ides were days to receive good news. The ides were on the 13th of each month, except for the months of March, May, July and October, which were celebrated on the 15th. Of all, there was a special month: March, dedicated to Mars, the god of war, it was also the first month of their ancient calendarbecause it was when spring began and the work in the fields. Therefore, it was a “new year” holiday according to the oldest tradition, before the Julian calendar. However, as fate would have it, the most important assassination in ancient history took place on the Ides of March.

The Ides of March were a festivity with a certain religious weight that was enthusiastically celebrated by the people: meals in the countryside, drinks and lots of fun. In the year 44. a. C., Julius Caesar enjoyed the prestige of military success. The campaigns in Gaul, in Egypt, in Pontus and in Africa had been successful. The victory parades of just two years earlier had been the most bombastic Rome had ever known.. Never seen a luxury like that. However, he could not imagine the conspiracy that was hatched against him. A group of more than sixty personalities and aristocrats of the time were maneuvering against him, among which were Cayo Casio, Marco Junio ​​Gross, Tenth June. They called themselves the Liberators because they opposed the enormous power that Julius Caesar was accumulating. They feared that he would become a tyrant.

According to the story collected by Plutarch, a seer warned Caesar that his life was in danger and that something terrible was going to happen to him on the Ides of March of that same year. When he arrived that March 15, they met again and the politician told him: ""Well, the Ides of March has arrived and nothing has happened." To which he replied: "Yes, but they are not finished yet". Within a few hours, the conspirators materialized their disastrous plan when Caesar was next to the statue of Pompey: Tilio Cimbro and Servilio Casca dealt him the first blows. César received 23 stab wounds inflicted by various senators led, it seems, by Marco Junio ​​Brutus. The latter was the son of Servilia, who had been one of Julius Caesar's lovers. For the literary legend the famous phrase: "You too, Brutus?, You too, my son?"which Caesar is said to have uttered as his life slipped away from him.

Plutarch does not collect these words, which could well be pure mythology. Apparently, he simply defended himself with his last breath. His assassination changed many things in the Empire while the prestige of the dead Caesar grew with the betrayal suffered. Those facts permeated popular culture and also literature. Shakespeare wrote his "Julius Caesar" in 1599, in which he already warned with his phrase. “Beware of the Ides of March!” (“Beware of the ides of March”) So you know: Beware of the Ides of March.