Beware the Ides of March
March 15, 2023, 5:26 a.m. by Karuwaki Speaks ( 172 views)
Shakespeare dramatically warned, ‘Beware the Ides of March “through the clairvoyant in his play “Julius Caesar’. Arrogance bordering on megalomania made Caesar contemptuously ignore the clairvoyant’s warning and in doing so, sealed his blood-soaked fate.
March 15: The day that strikes fear in the hearts of superstitious people as the Ides of March has had a history of unfortunate events, although almost every month has an “ides”. (An ides refers to days that land in the middle of the month, which in months with 31 days means March 15).
Did the death of Caesar curse the day (it was known as the deadline for settling debts in Roman times), or was it just Shakespeare’s mastery of language that forever darkened an otherwise normal box on the calendar?
If you look through history, you can certainly find enough horrible things that happened on March 15. Hitler ignored the Munich Pact and invaded parts of Czechoslovakia kill on March 15, 1939, leading to WWII; more than 200 sailors killed were in the waters of Apia, Samoa, on March 15, 1889; Czar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, abdicated the throne, ending a royal dynasty that had lasted 304 years, and ushering in the Bolshevik era; WHO issued a health alert on 15 March 2003 about the deadly SARS virus; Syrian Civil War began on March 15, 2011.
But, the Ides could still be good! Some smile-worthy events were the first flight of a seaplane glider (1930), the opening of the first American blood bank (1937 in Chicago), the publishing of the first Billboard album chart (1945) and the patenting of the escalator (1892.
In the end, it all depends on how we want to view this historically infamous day – or any day for that matter! For if we see it as a day that is burdened by negative events, that is likely what it will become. However, if we see the ides of March as a day of hope and promise for a better tomorrow, that is likely what it will be instead. It's all up to us
But, did you ever wonder what happened to the place/spot where Julius Caesar was murdered and the ‘Ides of March’ became immortalized by William Shakespeare?
The Curia of Pompey is infamous for being the site where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on the ides of March in 44 BCE.
During Julius Caesar's reign, the Roman senators temporarily met in the Curia of Pompey, after their usual Curia on the Comitium burned down in 52 BCE. Caesar took on the task of building a new senate house that was to be named after himself, but building the Curia Julia took time, so the senate temporarily moved to the Curia Pompeiana was a part of Pompey the Great’s massive public theatre. Pompey, once Rome’s most accomplished general had, notably, been defeated by Caesar in a civil war in 48 B.C. before being murdered in Egypt by Caesar’s allies. Caesar met his own brutal death at the base of the Curia of Pompey. The senators who killed him thought murdering Caesar was the only way to preserve the republic, but the murder ultimately led to the republic's collapse. Julius Caesar’s killers attempted to thwart a dictator. They inadvertently created an emperor. The assassination set off events leading to Julius Caesar’s great nephew, Octavian, becoming Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome. He completed work on the Curia Julia and moved the senate back to its traditional home but the senate became an imperial rubber stamp in the centuries that followed.
The Curia of Pompey was walled up and possibly set on fire just 11 years after its opening. A latrine was later built on the site. The Curia was buried under more recent construction as Rome expanded. Covered over by the expanding city of Rome, the Curia of Pompey was lost to history till around 1920, when the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini razed parts of modern Rome to unearth ancient historical monuments leading to the unearthing of it.
The remains of the structure, the former Curia of Pompey became visible in an area of Rome called “Largo di Torre Argentina”. The crumbling ruins in the Largo di Torre Argentina were fenced off to the public But, it soon became home to dozens of stray feral cats and converted to a "feral cat sanctuary". A non-profit shelter takes care of the animals. In true feline fashion, they exhibit their irreverence for whatever petty human affairs may have transpired here in ancient times.
However, in 2019, Rome’s mayor announced that the fashion house Bulgari, would fund the restoration work and secure the ruins, building walkways through the site and installing public restrooms. It was opened to the public in 2021.
The other good news is that the cats were not disturbed and the historic feline colony is otherwise protected by the laws of the State and the Municipality!
‘There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats’! ( Albert Swchweitzer)