Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Ides of March

The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. It became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The death of Caesar made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history, as it marked the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.
According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The Ides of March are come", implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." Caesar's death was a closing event in the crisis of the Roman Republic, and triggered the civil war that would result in the rise to sole power of his adopted heir Octavian.
One of the most famous coins of all time is the EID MAR denarius issued by Brutus in 43/42 BC. Unfortunately for Brutus, the populace was very fond of Julius Caesar. Marcus Antonius (Marc Antony) took advantage and loudly condemned Brutus' actions. Brutus was forced to flee Rome with his soldiers. After several military encounters, Brutus's forces fell to Mark Antony and Octavian. Brutus committed suicide before he could be taken prisoner.
About 60 examples of Brutus's coin are estimated to exist in silver, with only one genuine example in gold. Silver specimens in fine condition have sold at auction for $120,000. Lower grade silver coins occasionally come on the market for around $50,000.

In 2011 a exceptional example fetched a record-shattering $546,250.