What is the Ides of March and why should you beware it?

Why is everyone talking about this inauspicious day - and watching their backs?

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The Ides of March was the name in the Roman calendar for 15th March, the midpoint of the month, which was marked by various religious observances.

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It didn’t have any particularly sinister connotations until 44BC when Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was stabbed to death – 23 times, just to be sure – on that very day by a group of senators led by Brutus/Bruté.

This is what it looked like according to Italian master Vincenzo Camuccini…

This is what it looked like according to Carry On…

Yes, that’s where “Infamy Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!” comes from.

Here’s one you can recreate at home without quite so much mess…

And this is where it happened

The Ides of March was made even more notorious by Shakespeare’s account of the murder in his 1601 play Julius Caesar, in which a soothsayer famously warns the Emperor…

“Beware the Ides of March”

So it’s kind of like an upmarket Friday the 13th.

Caesar’s dying response to his traitorous friend in the play was “Et Tu Bruté?” or “You too, Brutus?” or…

Or…

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Now have a good Ides – but watch your back…