Beware the Ides of March (at least MMLIV years ago)

What does the month of July, a surgical birthing procedure, a yummy cheesy salad, and a Kaiser roll all have in common? They are all named after history’s most famous dictator, Julius Caesar. March 15 (or the Ides, the middle of a month) marks the 2054th anniversary of his fabled assassination in the portico of the Theatre of Pompey in Rome. Being stabbed twenty-three times by rivals who were within the standing political structure would commonly lead to the trivialization of any leader’s accomplishments, yet Caesar’s legacy was forever entrenched within the Western Tradition when his successor and adopted son Octavian (known as Augustus Caesar) transformed the mighty Roman Republic by becoming its first emperor.

While most have been taught that Caesar’s assassination was the result of a group of conspirators rebelling against their leader’s declaration of dictatorship, current studies speculate that Caesar had actually manipulated his political enemies into killing him. New evidence suggests that Caesar was slowly becoming debilitated by epilepsy. Living in a society intolerant of disabilities, Caesar knew that the only way to ensure his eternal fame was to be a martyr for his cause. He had planned for Rome’s imperial future by grooming a young Octavian for the position he would later hold for forty-one years. It seems that some individuals are so sly that their motives can hide from historians for millennia while their legacies are concurrently lauded in texts and classrooms.

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