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The Ides of March Biography


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Genres: Historical Fiction


''The Ides of March'' is an epistolary novel by Thornton Wilder that was published in 1948. It is, in the author's words, 'a fantasia on certain events and persons of the last days of the Roman republic... Historical reconstruction is not among the primary aims of this work'. The novel deals with the characters and events leading to, and culminating in, the assassination of Julius Caesar.

The novel is divided into four books, each of which starts earlier and ends later than the previous book.

Catullus' poems and the closing section by Suetonius are the only documents of the book which are not imagined; however, many of the events are historical, such as Cleopatra's visit to Rome.

Though the novel describes events leading up to Caesar's assassination on 15th March 44 BC a number of earlier events are described as if they were contemporary. These include the transfer of the violation of the mysteries of the Bona Dea by Publius Clodius and the subsequent divorce of Caesar's second wife Pompeia from December 62 BC to December 45 BC. In addition many of the characters featured in the novel had died by 44 BC, including M. Porcius Cato (in 46 BC), Catullus (in ca 54 BC), Julia Marcia (in 69 BC) and Clodius (in 52 BC).