HISTORY OF THE IDES OF MARCH
According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month except for March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th of the month. Something epochal occurred in 44 B.C.
Et tu, Brute?
On March 15, 44 B.C., the Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated after a seer had warned him that harm would befall him before the end of the Ides of March.
Contrary to popular belief, including William Shakespeare‘s play, 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 right).
Ides of March Senate Meeting Place
Rather, Caesar was assassinated near the statue of Pompey at the Theatrum Pompeium (pictured at left in the Largo di Torre Argentina in modern-day Rome), where the Senate used to meet at that time during the Roman Republic. This precinct is now a voluntary Cat Sanctuary (as you can see the white cat in the center of my photo.)
I counted over a dozen homeless cats. Local women regularly feed them. I was told they are fed spaghetti, but I don’t know. In the 20th century, they were fed tripe.
Marc Antony would have delivered his Shakespearean speech:
“Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears”
…from the Rostra of the Forum (pictured at right), directly across from the Curia.
Ides of March: Burial or Cremation
Dead bodies could not be kept inside the City, and Caesar was cremated in the Forum (at the location pictured on the left). Flowers are left there to this day.
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian