For this week’s podcast review, I have chosen to write about an episode of Antiquitas that examines the Ides of March, which is today. The Ides of March is the infamous day in which Julius Caesar was assassinated. The Antiquitas podcast is hosted by Barry Strauss, who has written books about Roman history including Ten Caesars and The Death of Caesar. Dr. Francesco Galassi MD, a paleontologist, joined Strauss on this episode.
Strauss begins the episode by giving a summary of what happened on the Ides of March. He talks about how it is folklore that Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, had a bad feeling about the Ides of March and warned him to be careful. Thus, the quote “Be Wary of the Ides of March!” Strauss, however, describes how Calprunia was politically savvy and well connected. He states that there is good reason to believe that she did not just have a bad feeling on that day-she may have known senators were plotting against Caesar.
Dr. Francesso Galassi describes Caesar’s health. Though it is commonly believed Caesar suffered from epilepsy, Dr. Galassi talks about how Caesar may have suffered a series of mild strokes. Towards the end of Caesar’s life, he talks about historical documents that indicate Caesar was acting erratically and making rash decisions, which could have been another reason he was assassinated Additionally, Dr. Galassi talks about documents that describe Caesar lying prostrate on the floor and foaming from the mouth. He believes this evidence indicates he suffered mild strokes rather than epilepsy.
Strauss and Dr. Galassi talk a lot about the actual murder of Caesar. Strauss talks about documents that describe Caesar being stabbed somewhere between twenty-three and thirty times. Dr. Galassi examines how it is more likely that he was stabbed twenty-three times based on how crowded it became around Caesar with senators swarming him. Dr. Galassi also talks about how many of the stab wounds were superficial because of the crowd and how a few senators ended up stabbing each other. The fatal stab blows most likely came from a few senators rather than the whole group
This episode is fascinating and filled with in-depth details of The Ides of March. Information that I learned include Calpurnia’s political connections, the health of Caesar, and the gritty details of his death. For anyone who wants to learn more about the Ides of March, I highly recommend listening to this episode of Antiquitas. It is expertly put together, meticulously researched, and very interesting.
The Ides of March episode of Antiquitas can be listened to on Barry Strauss’ website. Antiquitas can be found on apps including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.