March 15, 2023 – Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March, the notorious date of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC. The Romans didn’t use the same calendar system that we do now. Their months were divided into 3 groups of days which related to lunar phases. The Kalends were at the beginning of the month, the Ides fell in the middle, and the Nones were between them. The Ides referred to the first new moon in a month, which was on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. Back to Caesar, he had declared himself dictator for life, which didn’t sit well with many other politicians. The animosity came to a head on March 15, 44 BC when a group of conspirators stabbed Caesar to death at a meeting of the Senate.  Caease was apparently warned about his fate on this day by a fortune teller. This was famously dramatized by William Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar with the line “Beware the Ides of the March”. Today, you can visit the site where Caesar was killed. It’s Rome’s oldest open-air square, and in recent years it’s been restored with a $1.1 million project. It’s also home to a cat sanctuary with around 150 cats. Learn more here.