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The Ides of March - with Recipes

Updated on March 12, 2015
The Ides of March wasn't a happy day for Julius Caesar
The Ides of March wasn't a happy day for Julius Caesar | Source

Beware the Ides of March

What happened on the Ides of March?

In modern times we know this as the date Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BCE. Perhaps not the happiest of days in history but, regardless of the outcome of that particular day for Gaius Julius, it's a good enough time to raise a toast to the legacy left to us by the people of Ancient Rome.

A fun-filled way for children to learn about the history of Rome and an excellent time foran Ancient Roman meal.

Ides of March Dinner in 2015

This year, the Ides of March fall on Sunday, a good day to have a small lunch party in the afternoon. .

I'm a Sunday Lunch person but there's no way an Ides of March dinner is upstaging St Patrick's Day! I always have a special Sunday lunch near 17 March. In any case, the date doesn't really matter, Caesar won't mind.

This is a perfect opportunity for me to share my interest in Ancient Rome with the grandchildren.

Serve a Platter of simple nibblies

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Anchovies
  • Olives
  • Green salad leaves
  • Feta cheese
  • Dates
  • Grapes

Simple Dinner Table Accessories - Imperial Purple Table Cloth

LinenTablecloth 60 x 126-Inch Rectangular Polyester Tablecloth Purple
LinenTablecloth 60 x 126-Inch Rectangular Polyester Tablecloth Purple

The full purple in your tablecloth. How Ancient Roman can you get?

 

Serve a simple ancient lunch - Adults can have a glass of wine too

It's simple to make an Ancient Roman meal - here's some quick and easy menu items

  1. Pita bread with falafel, olives and feta cheese
  2. Chopped apples with yogurt and honey
  3. Cheesecake

Chicken drumsticks pretending to be Baked Dormouse
Chicken drumsticks pretending to be Baked Dormouse | Source

Ancient Roman style Chicken

Tell them it's dormouse

These chicken drumsticks are a very handy dish to prepare the day before.

Cover them with the marinade and pop them in the fridge.

After you've had them soaking in the fridge overnight, drop them on a tray and bake for about 30 minutes.

Tear a bit of parsley over the cooked drumsticks. Italian parsley of course

Cook Time

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: Marinate overnight then approx 30 minutes baking time

Serves: 8 Romans

Ingredients

  • 8 Chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika powder
  • tablespoon honey
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A little vegetable oil

Instructions for ancient Roman style chicken drumsticks

  1. Crush the cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle
  2. Put the flour in a plastic bag with the crushed cumin, bay leaves, caraway and paprika..
  3. Lightly dab some vegetable oil on the drumsticks Toss the drumsticks in the bag with the flour.
  4. Drop the honey into the bag. Give it a swirl around and leave the bag in the frig overnight so the flavours sink in.
  5. Place the drumsticks in a lightly oiled baking pan and bake for 20 - 30 mins, or until a skewer pushed into the thickest part releases only clear juice
Cast your vote for Ancient Roman style Chicken

Set an Ancient Roman Table

Imperial Purple Dinnerware

Modern version of Cecina
Modern version of Cecina | Source

Cecina - Chickpea Patties

Traditional Ancient Roman fare

From La Cucina Siciliana this is a modern version of Cecina. You can make these tasty vegetarian fritters easily enough and your dinner guests will thank you for it.

It's called Panelle these days and I found it first in a street market in Palermo. Fantastico!

I've been making my own ever since.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6 - 8 Romans

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil plus more to fill a deep pan no more than halfway full
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Caciocavallo cheese

Instructions

  1. Take a large pot, dissolve the chickpea flour in 2 cups water.
  2. Stir in 1/2 bunch chopped parsley, salt, extra-virgin olive oil, 1 sliced garlic clove and egg.
  3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and continue mixing until ingredients combine to form a thick paste.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the dough to cool.
  5. Place oil in large pan and heat
  6. With your palms, shape the chickpea flour dough into oval-shaped fritters, about 2 inches in length.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to gently drop spoonfuls of the fritters into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil.
  8. Working in batches of 6, fry the fritters until golden brown.
  9. Using the same spoon, remove the finished fritters to a serving plate
  10. Garnish with parsley and cheese
The Murder of Caesar
The Murder of Caesar | Source

What does 'Ides' mean?

Idus Martii

The term Idus Martii was used for the 15th day of the month of March.

The Roman calendar was originally based on the first three phases of the moon, with days counted backwards from lunar phases. They didn't have the concept of a week as we count time.

Kalends = New Moon (no moon to be seen)

Nones = 1st quarter moon

Ides = Full Moon (whole moon visible in the night sky)

The Ides of March was in the middle of March, the month dedicated to Mars, a festive day with a military parade. A wild day, with the full moon bringing high tides and the seas succumbing to chaos. A good choice for a day of murder.

Why we say "Beware the Ides of March"

From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

As Caesar walked through the city on his way to attend the Senate meeting, he was given advice.

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue shriller than all the music. Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March

A gang of brutal murderers fell on Julius Caesar
A gang of brutal murderers fell on Julius Caesar

On the Ides of March 44 BCE

On the Ides of March of 44 BCE Caesar was due to appear at a session of the Senate. Little did he realise a gang of murderers was waiting for him,

As he entered the Theatre of Pompey, a lovely building set in landscaped gardens full of fountains and statues, Julius could not know of the plot for his death.

The conspirators, with daggers in their togas and murder in their hearts, pushed up around Caesar.

He was stabbed 23 times.

It was an infamous and brutal act that brought the conspirators no joy. The result, unforeseen by the aristocratic assassins, was that Caesar's death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic

Who were the men who murdered Caesar?
Who were the men who murdered Caesar? | Source

Et tu, Brute?

And you too, Brutus?

These words Et tu, Brute are always portrayed as Caesar's last words. Did he say them? No one really knows but it's possible Caesar did say this when he realised his young friend and mentoree was one of the assassins.

Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger made his fortune in Cyprus, loaning money at exorbitant rates of interest. He returned to Rome a very rich man and, on becoming a Senator, aligned himself with the conservative faction, the Optimates.

The Optimates, the 'Best Men', considered themselves noble, men who were truly born to rule. They had no time for plebians, ordinary citizens, they continually derided the extension of citizenship and loathed Caesar for his popular power..

These Optimates were the men who murdered Caesar.

Torre Argentina - Caesar was murdered here

Torre Argentina - The Silver Tower
Torre Argentina - The Silver Tower | Source

Dress the part for Dinner

There's nothing like dressing up for dinner!

For an ancient Roman dinner you need, naturally, an ancient Roman costume. Most people think of a toga but not many people wore those, and they were only men. Rich men too.

There are some lovely comfortable clothes you can wear. Make some up yourself or get a specially-made costume.

© 2012 Susanna Duffy

There's no need to beware of my Guestbook

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 9 months ago from the short journey

      An interesting read today with temps dipping far and wide. Beware the Ides of March indeed! The menu/recipes are great and focusing them around a history lesson is a neat presentation. So much to learn from history. Too bad there is such neglect of its lessons in schools today. This would be a great hub for homeschoolers to use. Want to make the garbanzo patties soon–thanks!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 2 years ago from Central Florida

      The ides of March just reminds me that I only have a month left to finish my income taxes. Oh dear...

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Skip the anchovies and the dormouse but the rest sounds interesting.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 3 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I now know what's on the menu for next March!

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 3 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Julius Caesar was one of the first Shakespeare plays I remember going to see as a youngster and I remember the delivery of that line "E tu Brute" very well. The food looks delicious too.

    • profile image

      RomeFan 3 years ago

      I have heard of Ides of March before but I haven't seen a comprehensive detail about it in one setting. Thanks for sharing such a nice and informative lens. And oh, thanks for the recipe. I think I gotta try the ancient Roman style chicken.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 3 years ago from Royalton

      Happy Ides of March!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      Ah I now have a better understanding of Roman history and of the demise of Caesar. Enlightened as always by your works of wisdom.

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Makes me want to read Shakespeare all over again... now im old enough to appreciate it

    • robertred24 profile image

      robertred24 4 years ago

      If you walk in Rome through Via dei Fori Imperiali looking at the Augustus Forum you can see how these events are still visible in same way....

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 4 years ago

      I love Shakespeare but never took time to connect the Ides of March with Julius Caesar, thanks for a nice educational experience. Happy Ides...oh, that's right...it's Beware:-)

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

      I think (though you are always free to correct me if it's not so) that the Ides of March were also celebrated as the beginning of spring, so it's not such a bad date after all-except for Caesar maybe;)

    • cdcraftee profile image

      Christine Larsen 4 years ago from South Australia

      73 years ago the Ides of March represented a joyous occasion instead - a birth date! It's my hubby, Kanute's b/day, and soon we're off to have a celebratory lunch. Will try to beware of the bill...

      Like the lens Susanna

    • JohnMichael2 profile image

      JohnMichael2 5 years ago

      Alas ... I will be among the members of the Arlington Rotary Club at noon on the 15th ... I do hope they applaud my presentation.

    • Everyday-Miracles profile image

      Everyday-Miracles 5 years ago

      "Julius Caesar" is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. I love the use of language in the play and the interplay between Brutus and Anthony. Julius Caesar is an interesting historical figure to say the least! Great lens!

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 5 years ago

      I have always been fascinated with the caesar figure. I wasn't aware that the day of his murder was called Ides of March though so I learned something here :)

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting lens. Great idea to have a Roman lunch, and share your interest in Ancient Rome with the grandchildren.Thanks for sharing.