Beware the Ides of March

It’s not often I start a blog with warning from a Shakespearean soothsayer, but today I shall because today is the Ides of March – the 15th day of March. The day on which, in 44BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated by his Roman senators.  Apparently 60 senators took part in Caesar’s mass stabbing and over 20 wounds were inflicted on him.

Below are medieval images of Caesar’s murder.  I find it very interesting that in them, Caesar and his senators are depicted as Northern Renaissance wealthy merchants with their rich and ornate clothing, rather than toga and sandal-clad classical Romans.  Could Medieval sensibilities not cope with classical clothes?

Beware the Ides of March!


Royal 16 G VIII f.331v Murder of Caesar
Caesar being murdered from Bellum Gallicum (Les commentaires de Cesar), (France, N. (Lille) and Netherlands, S. (Bruges?), 1473-1476), shelfmark Royal 16 G VIII f.331v


Royal 16 G VIII f.389 Murder of Caesar
Murder of Caesar from Les anciennes hystoires rommaines, (Paris, France, Last quarter of the 14th century), shelfmark Royal 16 G VIII f.389


Royal 17 F II f.344 Murder of Caesar
Murder of Caesar from La grant hystoire Cesar, (Netherlands, S. (Bruges), 1479) shelfmark Royal 17 F II f.344


Royal 18 E V f.355v Murder of Caesar
Murder of Caesar from La grant hystoire Cesar, (Netherlands, S. (Bruges), 1479) shelfmark Royal 18 E V f.355v

I can’t resist quoting that immortal line spoken by the late great Kenneth Williams during the film ‘Carry on Cleo’…
Kenneth Williams in Carry on Cleo

Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

Notes
Images from the British Library’s collection of Medieval Manuscripts are marked as being Public Domain Images and therefore free of all copyright restrictions in accordance with the British Library’s Reuse Guidance Notes for the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.

You may also be interested in the following posts
Early modern images from the British Library

© Essex Voices Past 2013.

This entry was posted in Early-modern images, Medieval Manuscripts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Beware the Ides of March

  1. Unfamiliar with ‘Carry on Cleo,’ but your quote made me laugh out loud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *