Julius Caesar Assassination: What Are the Ides of March? Beware the Ides of March Meaning

caesar assassination ides of march what is it beware the ides of march
People look at the head of a statue depicting Julius Caesar (100bc- 44bc) as they visit the the exhibition entitled 'the myth of Cleopatra' on April 9, 2014, at the Pinacotheque in Paris. Caesar was assassinated on March 15, known as the Ides of March. ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

While William Shakespeare is largely credited for popularizing the fear behind the Ides of March, the monthly marker dates back to well before the famous writer's time.

In Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, a fortune teller warned Caesar to "beware the Ides of March." Caesar was later killed on the Ides of March, as the fortune teller in the play predicted, however, the marker's origin had nothing to do with Caesar's death and everything to do with the day it happened.

What Is the Ides of March?

Simply put, the Ides of March is the 15th day of March. In accordance with the Roman calendar, there is also an Ides of February, Ides of April and Ides of every other month. Ides signaled the first full moon of the month, which History.com reported fell between the 13th and 15th of each month.

In the case of Caesar, March 15, 44 B.C. was the day he was assassinated. After entering a hall next to Pompey's Theater for a meeting, History.com reported a group of senators, including Marcus Brutus, stabbed him over 20 times.

Beware the Ides of March Meaning

"Beware the Ides of March," was a piece of advice a soothsayer twice gave Caesar. At the time, Caesar wasn't aware the statement was in reference to his looming demise, although it became clear at the end of the play.

While not everyone can quote the entirety of Shakespeare's play, many people know the line "beware the Ides of March" and some even put stock in the ominous notion of the day. However, there's no scientific evidence that the 15th of March is any more unlucky than any other day. Although, there have been a few other unfortunate occurrences on the Ides of March.

Other Deadly Events on the Ides of March

Caesar's death is arguably the most notable event to have occurred on March 15 over the years, but it's far from the only event in world history to have occurred on that day.

1889: Samoa Cyclone

In March 1889, America sent three warships to Apia, Samoa, amidst the civil war that was going on at the time. On March 15, a violent cyclone struck the islands, destroying the USS Trenton, USS Vandalia and USS Nipsic. By March 16, when the storm subsided, 51 American sailors were killed. An additional 150 German sailors aboard three warships were also killed, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

1917: Russian Tsar Nicholas II Abdicates Throne

Mounting tensions in Russia spelled trouble for then-Tsar Nicholas II. Considered to be a weak ruler, the people began to revolt against Nicholas's reign and he ultimately lost the support of the military and Duma, Russia's representative assembly. On March 15, 1917, the tsar abdicated on behalf of himself and his son, Alexei, who was heir to the throne.

While Nicholas wasn't killed immediately after his abdication, the tsar, his wife and five children were ultimately taken to Yekaterinburg, Russia, where they were placed on house arrested and executed in July 1918.

1939: Hitler invades Czechoslovakia

Former German Chancellor Adolf Hitler's army invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939, a violation of the Munich Pact, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. By the end of the war, an estimated 263,000 Jewish people who resided in Czechoslovakia were killed.

1941: Blizzard in North Dakota and Minnesota

On March 15, 1941, with little to no warning, a blizzard swept through North Dakota and northern Minnesota. In some areas, History.com reported temperatures dropped 20 degrees in less than 15 minutes and gusts reached up to 85 miles per hour. A total of 151 people were killed by the sudden and deadly change of weather.

1975: Julie Cunningham Disappears

Julie Cunningham, 26, disappeared on March 15, 1975, in Vail, Colorado. After leaving her apartment, serial killer Ted Bundy said he lured her into his vehicle by posing as an injured skier on crutches and asking her to help carry his ski boots. He said he knocked her unconscious, raped her and disposed of her body in a shallow grave near Rifle, Colorado, however, her body was never found.

2018: Pedestrian Bridge Collapse in Miami

The new Florida International University pedestrian bridge in Miami collapsed on March 15, 2018. One construction worker was killed and the collapse claimed the lives of an additional five people, who were in their cars below the bridge.