These days, one’s biggest fear when wandering around the Largo Argentina area is stray cats and wayward trams. However, about 2,056 years ago, a certain fellow named Julius Caesar should have been a little more careful, as it was on this day all the way back in 44 BC, that the Dictator of the Roman Republic fell there at the hands of friendly assassins on his way to appear before a session of the Senate (and Obama thinks he gets a hostile reception).
The assassination, and its prediction, are famously immortalized in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as the title character is warned by a soothsayer to “Beware the Ides of March”. Back in the days of the Republic and their Roman calendar, the “ides” was a term used to refer to the middle of the month – it comes from the Latin word “Idus”, meaning “half division”, thus marking the halfway point of the month. To confuse things a bit further, the ides wasn’t always the 15th – it varied a bit depending on the month. March, however, was always the 15th, and was always a feast day dedicated to the war god Mars.
Needless to say, we can assume Caesar didn’t get his calendar wrong (“I thought the ides was the 17th this month!), but instead ignored the soothsayer’s warning and proceeded with his general business – addressing Senators, eating grapes, and wearing fancy robes (as I imagine him to do). As he approached the Senate, the conspiratorial group gathered round and rained blows upon him with their collection of toga-stashed knives (I always knew those folds were good for something).
Now that I’ve given you the history, if you’re looking for a way to celebrate this momentous/bloody occasion, you’re in luck! Today at 4:30, the Gruppo Storico Romano will be REENACTING THE ASSASSINATION OF CAESAR AT LARGO ARGENTINA. So you should probably go. I certainly will. If you’re more into interpretations than reenactments, you should hit up “The Eagle and the Snake” tonight at Trajan’s Market. The Compagnia di Storytelling will be presenting their take on the story of Casesar and Cleopatra at 7:15 and 9, for 10 euros.