Beware the Ides of March. But Why? - JSTOR Daily

Tuesday, March 15, 2022
author picture Mia Chevalier
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Beware the Ides of March! According to the Greek philosopher and biographer Plutarch‚ it is time to embark on a multiyear military campaign. On the day of the Ides of April‚ the poet‚ and philosopher Xenophon was killed by the Ides of March. The phrase beware the Ides of May was coined to warn the Roman emperor Julius Caesar to avoid a disastrous outcome. As a result‚ the soothsayer predicting a calamity failed to act. In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar‚ he was stabbed 23 times by members of the Roman Senate. The conspirators hoped that by executing the dictator‚ they could save the Roman Republic and prevent him from becoming the King of Rome. It was fitting that the assassination occurred on the Ides of March‚ a day on the Roman calendar that evokes the Ides of March. A soothsayer warned Julius Caesar not to take action against his enemies.

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He died on the eve of the Ides of March‚ in the year 44 BCE. This is an example of how the Ides of March can bring disaster to the lives of those who ignore the warning. And‚ in case you are curious‚ there's a soothsayer who has predicted that the Ides of January and February are the soothsayer's word.