"Cave idus martias - beware of the Ides of March!" The seer Spurinna gave this advice to the dictator Caius Iulius Caesar shortly before the fateful date.

In the Roman calendar (fasti), the days were not numbered from 1 to 31 as we are used to, but rather three fixed dates in the month were counted towards or away from each other: the calendae, the idae and the nonae. The Idae / Iden formed the centre of the month, which fell on the 15th in March, May, July and October, otherwise on the 13th.

For the Idae of March 44 BC, several authors document a series of several bad omens (Cic., De Div 1, 119; Suet, Iul 81, 3), which the dictator perpetuo (ruler for life) did not believe. Even a terrible nightmare of his wife Calpurina did not persuade him to avoid the senate session in the Curia of Pompeius. One of the issues discussed at this senate meeting was Caesar's right to wear a diadem. After the session, Caesar was killed by 23 dagger thrusts from numerous senators led by M. Iunius Brutus and C. Cassius Longinus. The reasons for this are still not entirely clear today - in addition to the preservation of the Republic, some of the 60 senators involved were probably also driven by personal motives.

After Caesar's death on the Ides of March, the date became synonymous with disaster and misfortune.

© NÖ Landessammlungen

© Landessammlungen NÖ, Archäologischer Park Carnuntum (Photo: N. Gail)

Lenght 24,7cm
Width 4,4cm
Diameter hole 0,2cm
Weight 128,5g

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