The Ides of March Brings Talks of Caesar, Shakespeare

By An Phung
|  Friday, Mar 15, 2013  |  Updated 2:51 PM EDT
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The Ides of March Brings Talks of Caesar, Shakespeare

A sketch of Julius Caesar.

Hot on the heels of Pi Day, the Ides of March is another day ripe for geeks who love history and Shakespeare.

For those who don't know, the Ides of March started as an innocuous term that refers to March 15 on the Roman calendar. The "ides" is simply the midpoint of the month.

The date was made infamous by the assassination of Julius Caesar who was stabbed to death by Brutus and Cassius at a senate meeting in 44 B.C. William Shakespeare coined the phrase "beware the Ides of March." It was uttered by a soothsayer in the play "Julius Caesar" to foreshadow the Roman leader's impending death at the hands of his colleagues.

Here is a fun crash course about Julius Caesar that answers the question "When, if ever, is it ok to stab someone 23 times?"

Since then, people around the world have found creative ways to observe the ominous day.

Time Magazine rounded up the 15 most notable assassinations in history with their Ides of March slideshow, while The Smithsonian provided 10 reasons to fear the Ides of March. Case in point: NASA reported of a growing hole in the ozone hovering over the North Pole in 1988, "The Ed Sullivan Show" was canceled in 1971 and the World Health Organization reported a growing number of SARS cases in 2003.

For some, the occasion served as a teaching moment. Students at Massachusetts' Taunton High School reenacted parts of the Shakespeare play for their fellow classmates in a tradition that started over 50 years ago, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette.

Caesar's dying breath has become a teaching tool in high school and college chemistry classes everywhere, according to NPR, who said that people today are still breathing in molecules from his last breath.

But the Ides of March is not all doom and gloom.

"Ides of March" was trending on Twitter early Friday with funny quips from celebrities like sex expert Dr. Ruth.

"The Ides of March were unlucky for Julius Caesar but here's hoping you get 'lucky' on this Ides," she tweeted.

Danbury, Conn. mayor Mark Boughton chimed in with "The Ides of March are upon u. Stay thirsty my friends."

And lastly, Caesar salad and bloody Caesar recipes from the web can help toga party revelers get in the spirit on this otherwise foreboding occasion.

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