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Ides of March

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History, Facts and Information about Ides of March

What was the significance, origin and history of the Ides of March? When was the Ides of March? What happened on the Ides of March? Who said "Beware the Ides of March!"? The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and information about Ides of March.

Who said "Beware the Ides of March"?
Most of us have heard of the quote but where did it originate? Who said "Beware the Ides of March"?. The quote comes from Julius Caesar, the play by William Shakespeare. The famous quote occurs in the dialogue of the play Julius Caesar as follows - Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 1519. A Soothsayer therefore utters the immortal lines. A soothsayer was someone who made predictions of the future.

Caesar:
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.


Soothsayer:
Beware the ides of March.

Caesar:
What man is that?

Brutus:
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

The Significance of the Ides of March
The significance of the Ides of March is detailed in the history of Julius Caesar from the Life of Julius Caesar by Plutarch. The soothsayer warns Caesar to beware the Ides of March but the warning is ignored and on this day Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of conspirators, including Brutus and Cassius.

History and Origin of the Ides of March
The history and origin of the Ides of March relate to the way that Roman months were divided. The Roman months were divided into three parts called kalends, nones and ides:

  • The Kalendae (Kalends) was the first day of the month, from which the word "calendar" is derived
  • The Nonae (Nones) - thought to have originally been the day of the half moon
  • The Idus (Ides) - thought to have originally been the day of the full moon. The word ides comes from Latin, meaning "half division" (of a month).

What Date was the Ides of March?
The date of the Ides of March was the the fifteenth (15th). The day of the month that the ides fell on was dependent on the complicated system of calculation in the Julian calendar which Julius Caesar himself established. The Roman months were divided into three parts called kalends, nones and ides. A table detailing the dates of the Kalends, Nones, and Ides are detailed in the information provided in the following articles:

Julian Calendar

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Roman Life

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