Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15th- The Ides of March (Ancient Rome)

“Beware the Ides of March”
-William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
The Ides of March is the traditional Roman calendar’s name for the 15th of March. However, the significance of the day is far more than simply a date. The Ides of March marks the day in 44 BCE when Julius Caesar was murdered by a conspiracy of Roman Senators led by Marcus Brutus who referred to themselves as “the liberators”. The conspirators convinced the public that by killing Caesar, they were freeing the Romans from a harsh dictator who was a threat to the established Roman Republic. Whether Caesar was a true tyrant has been analyzed frequently in literature and is still debated today. The most well known literary representation of the sequence of events is William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which Shakespeare depicts Caesar as an dominant oppressor and Brutus as a tragic hero. However, the poet Dante viewed Brutus as a traitor who is “doomed to the lowest levels of hell” for killing the man who spared him. 
In the end, it seems that Caesar’s legacy has lived on and that the Ides of March has served as a warning for future rulers to be careful in how they politically present themselves. I believe that this history shows the power in a group of people unified against a common cause and the danger in having too much control. 
The Italian artist Vincenzo Camuccini’s depiction of Julius Caesar’s murder on the Ides of March. 

1 comment: