Cæs. Ha! Who calls?
Casca. Bid every noise be still: peace yet again! [Music ceases]
Cæs. Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Cæsar.’ Speak; Cæsar is turn’d to hear.
Sooth. Beware the ides of March.
Cæs. What man is that?
Bru. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Cæs. Set him before me; let me see his face.
Cas. Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Cæsar.
Cæs. What sayst thou to me now? Speak once again.
Sooth. Beware the ides of March. – JC I.ii.12-20
The Ides of March? ‘In the ancient Roman calendar the 15th of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th of the other months; always eight days after the Nones’ – Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable p. 583
However obscure the Ides have become in our own day, in previous ages it was an ominous date. Plutarch, in The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, reveals the foreboding origins of 03/15 – ‘One finds it also related by many that a soothsayer bade him prepare for some great danger on the Ides of March. When this day was come, Caesar, as he went to the senate,met this soothsayer, and said to him by way of the raillery , “The Ides of March are come,” who answered him calmly, “Yes, they are come, but they are not past.” Plutarch p. 601
What did the Soothsayer foresee? Both Plutarch and Shakespeare offer interesting accounts of that particular day of 44 B.C. Visit your local Library for more information.