The Ides of March


Grace Emrick, Staff writer

“Et tu, Brute?” These famous last words, translating to “You, too, Brutus?” are known from the Shakespearean play depicting the life of dictator Julius Caesar as well as his assassination, famously known as the Ides of March. Often used in modern day society, the phrase “Beware the Ides of March” originates from the significant event that started a superstition in many cultures about the fifteenth of March. 

Before he became dictator, Julius Caesar was a successful military leader as well as an author. He expanded the Roman Republic to parts of Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and France. Caesar wrote several books, where he published one each year. These were known as “The Gallic Wars.” In his literature, he wrote about political views, theories, and his travels. Eventually, he formed an alliance with Pompey, a general, and Crassus, a politician. Together, they assumed control of the Roman Empire and were known as the First Triumvirate. However, after gaining much popularity and the complicated division of the group, Caesar declared himself Dictator for Life.

Once dictator, Julius Caesar started to become corrupt from his own power. Citizens of Rome feared him for being too ambitious. They knew he had aims to become an emperor, and change the government system. Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus both strongly believed Caesar was too powerful, and the death of him would restore the Roman Empire. On March fifteen, Julius Caesar attended a senate meeting at the Curia of Pompey. There, he was brutally stabbed to death 23 times by the 60 senate members led by Brutus and Cassius. Since then, that day has been known as the Ides of March.

William Shakespeare is famously known for writing plays, one of which is Julius Caesar. The play Julius Caesar depicts the dictator’s life, as well as his death (the Ides of March). Not only does this play a role in culture, but it is a significant reason why the event is so well known. “Et tu, Brute?” Translating to “You, too, Brutus?” (one of the many famous quotes from the play) were Julius Caesar’s last words, in which he realized one of his assassinators was Marcus Junius Brutus, his closest friend.