When the soothsayer told Julius Cesar "Beware, the Ides of March," he did not heed her warning, joking "Well, the Ides of March have come," to which she replied "Ay, they have come but they are not gone," according to Shakespeare. And it was on that day, March 15, 44 BC, that Cesar was stabbed to death by members of the Roman Senate including his old friend Marcus Junius Brutus.
But even before Cesar's assassination, the Ides of March–like the Ides of May, July and October–was celebrated by the Romans as the day of the month's first full moon, as well as the day they celebrated Mars, the God of war.
Today, the Ides of March is still remembered for that day so long ago, when the assassination of a great leader changed the world, according to Calvin Lawrence Jr. and Christina Caron with . And it is also celebrated as the spring equinox.
Modern observance continues with remembrance of the 1848 Hungarian revolution against the Hapsburg dynasty and a toga run in Rome to honor Cesar.
To celebrate the Ides of March, check our our video montage of Shakespeare plays in film.
- Alexandra Gekas, Associate Editor