The Ides of March and Other Dates to Beware

By | February 15, 2019

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Painting depicting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Source: (

Some days are just born bad. Not really, but there are some days of the year which have gained a reputation for being unlucky. The most notorious of these is Friday the 13th, despite the lack of historical tragedies to justify its reputation. However, there are a few days which seem to attract disaster a bit more often than others.

The Ides of March

The only date to come close to rivaling Friday the 13th’s notoriety is the Ides of March, which falls between the 13th and 15th of the month. Anyone who read Williams Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar knows that this was the day, specifically March 15, 44 B.C., on which the Roman dictator was murdered by a group of conspirators, one of whom was his close friend. The play is based on a real event and Caesar was warned by a soothsayer to “Beware the Ides of March,” though these may not have been his exact words. However, the soothsayer was speaking specifically to Julius Caesar, not condemning the day itself. Nevertheless, the day has achieved a legacy of ill fortune, immortalized in movies such as the 2011 film The Ides of March as well as in Thornton Wilder’s novel of the same name. It has also appeared in several television shows and is always represented as a day to fear.

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Czar Nicholas and his daughters. Source: (

However, the Ides of March was not always a day to beware. It was originally a day of celebration as it signified the new year. At least it did until Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar and January became the first month of the year. However, Caesar’s assassination was only the first tragedy to occur on the Ides of March. The day also lays claim to a raid on southern England in 1360, a cyclone in 1889 which wrecked six warships and killed 200 sailors, the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in 1917, and a blizzard in 1941 which killed more than sixty people. However, there are several dates which have seen even more tragedy and yet failed to gain such a reputation.