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The Ides of March: The assassination of Julius Caesar and how it changed the world

The Death of CaesarThe Death of Caesar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caesar's death paved the way for the Roman empire after a bloody cycle of civil wars, and secured him the hallowed immortality he always craved

At the great festival of Lupercalia on the 15th of February 44 B.C., he was a worried man. While priests were running around the Palatine Hill hitting women with thongs to make them fertile, Spurinna was chewing over a terrible omen. 

The bull that Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome, had sacrificed earlier that day had no heart. Spurinna knew it was a terrible sign: a sure portent of death. 

The following day, the haruspex oversaw another sacrifice in the hope it would give cause for optimism, but it was just as bad: the animal had a malformed liver. There was nothing for it but to tell Caesar. 

In grave tones, Spurinna warned the dictator that his life would be in danger for a period of 30 days, which would expire on the 15th of March. Caesar dismissed the concerns. Although in his scramble for political power he had been made the chief priest of Rome (Pontifex Maximus), he was a campaign soldier by trade, and not bothered by the divinatory handwringing of seers like Spurinna. 

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