Hidden Meaning of a Conqueror’s Demise

Heather Sandefur

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Caesar. The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer. Ay, Caesar, but not gone.
These iconic lines of William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, are
spoken just before Caesar’s assassination at the hands of his friends and fellow Senators. In 44
B.C., it is recorded that a seer warned Caesar of the ides of March, more specifically March 15,
the first full moon of the Roman year (January and February were nameless months simply
labelled as ‘winter’). However, there is more meaning behind his death than what is gathered at
first glance.
March is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. March 23 was the Roman celebration
of Tubilistrium, a day of festivities celebrating Mars. This significance is not forgotten today
because, as Brandon Spektor wrote in his article, “16 Surprising Faces About the Month of
March”, it is “historically the perfect month for . . . warriors to resume warring.”
In the article “The Pentagon’s “Ides of March”: Best Month to Go to War”, Professor
Michel Chossudovsky writes, “Recent history confirms that, apart from Afghanistan (October
2011), all major US-NATO [United States North Atlantic Treaty Organization] led military
operations over a period of almost half a century . . . have been initiated in the month of March.”
For example:
• The Vietnam War (March 8, 1965)
• NATO War on Yugoslavia (March 24, 1999)
• The Iraq War (March 20, 2003)
• The Covert War on Syria (March 15, 2011)
• NATO’s “Humanitarian” R2P War on Libya
(March 19, 2011)
At least in the U.S., this historical tradition remains.
Thus, the hidden meaning in Caesar’s death is still applicable in today’s time as well as
his own. Not only was this great conqueror, war-lord, murdered in the very month his lifestyle
and political career exalted, his demise ushered in a new era (a new year as well as a new
Triumvirate). Shakespeare’s words serve to high-light this ironic coincidence. It is as if the lines
mentioned at the start of this article reiterate the old cliché: “This is only the beginning.”