Julius Caesar then and now

Happy belated Ides of March!

On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar failed to beware the Ides of March and was assassinated by members of the Roman Senate.

The charismatic, forceful, willful general had been given dictatorial power in the Roman republic by voters sick of ineffective politicians.  (Sound familiar?)  The Senators were trying to save the Republic by committing tyrannicide, but the ensuring civil war resulted in the rise of Caesar Augustus, the end of the republic, and the establishment of an empire.

Dominic Selwood has written an absolutely compelling account of Caesar’s assassination and the impact it had on the world.  The story of Julius Caesar is important to know, especially as our republic contemplates choosing a Caesar of our own.

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Beware the Ides of March

For the Romans, the 15th (or sometimes the 13th) of every month was called the “Ides,” marking the full moon.  Today is the Ides of March.

On this day in 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of Senators led by his friend Brutus, who was trying to preserve the Roman Republic by killing the man who was turning Rome into an empire.  The action only delayed briefly the fall of the republic.  (We tend to fixate on the fall of the Roman empire, but we need to worry more about parallels with the fall of the Roman republic.)

See Ides of March – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

So this Roman centurion goes into a bar and orders a martinus.  The bartender asks, “Do you mean a martini?”  The centurion says, “Look, if I wanted a double I’d tell you!”

Let us observe the Ides of March with Latin jokes, reasons why Latin should be taught in school, parallels with the transition from republic to empire, predictions of doom, or whatever else seems appropriate.