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History of the Ides of March


According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month with the exception of the months March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th.

Ides_Caesars_execution.jpgIt was on March 15, 44 B.C. that the Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated. Contrary to popular belief, including William Shakespeare, Caesar was not assassinated in the Capitol, meaning the Curia Hostilia or Senate House in the Roman Forum at the foot of the Capitoline Hill (pictured at top), but rather near the statue of Pompey at the Theatrum Pompeium (pictured at right in the Largo di Torre Argentina in modern day Rome), where the Senate used to meet at that time. This precinct is now a Cat Sanctuary (as you can see the cat in the center of my photo) where I counted over a dozen homeless cats. They are regularly fed by local women.

Marc Antony would have delivered his Shakespearean “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” speech from the Rostra of the Forum, directly across from the Curia (pictured at left).

Dead bodies could not be kept inside the City, and Caesar was cremated in the Forum (at the location pictured on the right).

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

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