You may or may not be familiar with the common saying, “Beware the Ides of March,” the phrase comes from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar as a warning to the dictator of his assassination on March 15th. When heroes in movies, books and television shows are faced with the Ides of March, it’s always a bad omen; but has its meaning changed to something less evil over the years?
The Origins of “The Ides of March”
The concept of the Ides of March was already around before the assassination of Emperor Julius Caesar. In ancient Rome, the Ides of March were equivalent to our March 15th. This date would line up with several religious observances on the Roman calendar. The Romans considered the Ides of March a deadline for settling debts.
The Truth Behind “Beware the Ides of March”
Many people’s knowledge of the Ides of March is based on William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. There are many differences between the play and the actual event. For example, an unknown Soothsayer never said “Beware the Ides of March”--that is solely from the play. In reality, the Soothsayer was an Etruscan named Spurinna who had said, “Beware the next 30 days” on February 15th. Another belief from the play is that Brutus was Caesar’s best friend and led the assassination plot, but no, neither of these are true. It is known that Decimus was actually most trusted by Caesar and had led the conspiracy.
To sum it up, the origin of the Ides of March is a known date for settling debts that Emperor Caesar had also died on. His death and the conspiracy surrounding it have been altered to get better remarks and draw in better audiences for the play. Shakespeare's play had become so well known at the time that many people's knowledge of the Ides of March in future generations, as stated, became based on the play and not the actual event.