The Ides of March recently passed. I normally take this as an occasion to re-read Shakespeare’s masterpiece Julius Caesar, or Plutarch’s Life of Caesar, which Shakespeare used heavily to inform his play.
This year, however, I thought I’d spend a little time writing about why an event that happened so long ago looms so large for me around this time of year.
March 15 is a day laden with meaning to me not only because, of course, of the inherent drama of the events that transpired on that date in 44 BC — the assassination of Julius Caesar by a conspiracy of 60 senators — but because it leads me to reflect on what might have been.
What might have been if Caesar had listened to his wife Calpurnia’s dire misgivings the night of March 14 and stayed away from the senate-house?
What might have been if Brutus and Cassius, who both accepted Caesar’s pardon for fighting against him in the Civil War and were generously entrusted with high office in his regime, didn’t turn on the man who had spared them in an act forever immortalized as symbols of treachery later writers like Dante and Shakespeare?