Taking a Stab at Honoring History

Each year, Loyola’s Classics students celebrate the Ides of March (March 15) by stabbing Julius Caesar on the Quad.

“Hit the brakes… THEY’RE STABBING PEOPLE ON THE QUAD?!”

Well, not quite. We reenact scenes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in an attempt to remember this major turning point in Roman sociopolitical history, while also reaching out to the larger Loyola community.

Let me make very clear that no one gets stabbed during this reenactment (although there was a bruised knee this year).

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Celebrating the Ides has become an annual tradition. Each March, the Classics Club organizes this reenactment with varying degrees of creative direction and success in execution.

Some years are more heavily acted. We tackle different scenes from Shakespeare’s play, trying to pay homage both to Caesar and the Bard. Other years, it’s a little more informal. This year we only reenacted the main scene, but we added our own flair with signs and a box-Caesar (pictured below). Each year, we do things differently, so students look forward to getting to share this iconic event with the rest of the campus.

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So what did this year’s performance entail?

Well, we had to move locations from Maryland circle to the patio in front of the Humanities Building, due to the installation of an art exhibit on campus, the River of Recyclables, taking place the same day. We trudged on.

Some of us got up early to paint signs, warning people about this ominous days and displaying Caesar’s last words. (And no, they might not be “Et tu, Brute?” According to Suetonius, a Roman historian in the late first to early second century A.D., Caesar’s last words might have been “καὶ σὺ, τέκνον?” which translates to ‘And you, child?’. But yeah, basically the same sentiment. Caesar was betrayed by one of his closest friends, and he was hurt, emotionally and physically.)

When we got to the Quad, a couple of our friends wandered over, wondering what we were doing. It’s not often that you see a group of Classics students congregated outside, particularly with props and costumes.

We shouted at students passing by, “Beware the Ides of March!” Two of the Classics professors came out to support us and ended up watching our performance, helping us shout at the end, “Liberty! Freedom! Enfranchisement!”

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While you may be more familiar with the Ides of March from the iconic scene from Mean Girls, that doesn’t mean that you won’t continue to see Classics students reenacting this infamous event every March 15.

It’s a favorite of Classicists everywhere.

And though you survived the Ides this year, remember for 2017: “Beware the Ides of March!”

Watch your back. Literally.

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