Art Inspiration: Gaius Iulius Caesar – Beware the Ides of March


“Beware the ides of March.” Shakespeare Julius Caesar Act 1, Scene 2

Those of you familiar with Shakespeare know a soothsayer spoke these infamous words to Caesar. The “ides of March” falls on the fifteenth day of March and its around this date (March 15 -17 44BCE) that 60 conspirators, including his close friend Brutus, assassinated Caesar.  This marks an important date in the Roman world, the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. 

This incident was the last act of the civil war between Gaius Iulius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus where Caesar defeated Pompey. After his much scare tactics and debate, the senate relented to Caesar’s request/demand to become dictator for life.  The senators did not like the idea of a dictator for life, they preferred the consul system of service of only two years, therefore they conspired to kill Caesar and they got his close friend Brutus to agree.  Once they got Caesar alone in the senate, they ambushed him and repeatedly stabbed him to death.  Even as he lay dying the famous lines of Shakespeare has Caesar saying, “Et tu Brute?” meaning “Even you Brutus?” 
The lines in Shakespeare shows that after you have achieved all you want through arrogance and hubris, your closest friend will even turn on you and stab you in the back. 
I have always enjoyed studying the ancient world and Roman society is a particular favorite of mine.  When you add Shakespeare and it is a match made in heaven.  Yet these scenes are of particular importance to me because it is a warning to not have a large head.  That you have to be careful not to show hubris (Excessive Pride), and I try not to.
For you see I am a firm believer that we need to study the past so that we can learn for it and not make the same mistakes. I have been stabbed in the back on different occasions and Caesar’s surprise at Brutus was mine when I realized at who betrayed me.  I have learned my lessons yet I continue to trust people. In the end I cannot change who I am and I cannot not be friendly with people.  Yet this “Ides of March” is a reminder why I befriend only a few people and why I am careful of others. To that end I took pen and paper and began drawing. This “Ides of March” inspired me to create Gaius Iulius Caesar or in fact redraw his likeness from a statue I have seen. I hope you enjoy it and keep in mine that those how fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.
Gauis Iulius Caesar

Gauis Iulius Caesar


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