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Morning Coffee V – The Ides of March and Tiramisu

Good Morning

Welcome to this week’s Morning Coffee, if you’re here and reading this, congratulations as you managed to survive the Ides of March on Tuesday. Although that doesn’t mean to say that you came through it unscathed; so get the coffee brewed and let the aroma begin to work its magic on your senses.

Let’s start with the Ideas of March; now I’m not one that believes in things such as omens, superstitions or numerological harbingers, but the Ides of March does stand out in my mind and holds a certain sense of foreboding; with as much thanks to Shakespeare as Julius Caesar.

The Ides of March

It all began on February 15th 44 BC in Rome at the great festival of Lupercalia, with the haruspex¹ Spurrina. Julius Caesar, at this time the Dictator of Rome, sacrificed a bull and upon later inspection Spurrina discovered that the bull had no heart, a bad omen and a certain sign of death.

The following day, the already anxious haruspex oversaw another sacrifice and this time the animal had a malformed liver, these two bad signs in the space of two days left only one option for Spurrina; he had to warn Caesar of the omens. Spurrina informed Caesar of the omens and that they meant his life was in peril for a period of 30 days, expiring on the 15th of March. Caesar dismissed the concerns proving to be rather skeptical of the prophecies of the haruspex, relying solely on the experience and logic gained from his lifetime of soldiering.

When the day finally arrived, both Julius Caesar and his wife had suffered from troubling dreams the night before, his wife feared for his life and begged him not to leave the house; again he dismissed the concerns and set about his business for the day. This day was of special significance in the Roman religious calendar and he had also called a meeting of the Senate.

Before heading to the meeting however, Caesar stopped at a friend’s house to offer a quick sacrifice, Spurrina was there and Caesar jokingly told the seer that his prophecies were off, in reply the seer informed Caesar that the day was not yet over. The sacrifices went ahead as planned, and again the animals’ organs were malformed; finally accepting the omens as bad, Caesar decided to get back home and cancel the meeting with the Senate.

Later that morning, Caesar’s friend and protege Decimus called round and persuaded him to attend the meeting in case it was seen as an insult to the Senate if he cancelled and didn’t turn up, Caesar agreed to go to the Senate and postpone the meeting in person.

In leaving his home, Caesar narrowly missed a slave that had turned up to warn him of a plot against his life; not just a prophecy or bad omen, a very real and premeditated plot to kill the Dictator of Rome. Shortly afterward, a man named Artemidorus of Cnidus managed to hand Caesar a scroll containing the details of the plot and the conspirators; but with this being a festival day, the crowds were so thick that Caesar didn’t get the chance to read it.

Before entering the meeting place, another unfavourable round of sacrifices were offered up, Caesar now feeling more than just troubled still allowed himself to be led into the meeting place by the hand of his friend Decimus, upon entering the space he ascended his golden throne.

In that moment, a group of Senators wielding daggers approached the dais and began to attack Caesar, stabbing him a total of 23 times and resulting in his death. Warned by not just the haruspex Spurrina but also by his wife, as well as his own troubled dreams; betrayed by his friends and dying still clutching the unread scroll that warned him of the plot, one could easily state that the Ides of March were a very bad day for Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome.

Julius Caesar-Ancient Rome-The Death of Julius Caesar-Assassination-Painting-Art-Oil Painting-Vincenzo Camuccini
Vincenzo Camuccini – The Death of Julius Caesar – 1804-05

Painting and Tiramisu

Regardless of how the week has been going so far however, today I have every intention of turning it back around and bringing in some positive energy. Today is the day that I crack open the oil paints again and get back to work on my Ruins Project. I’m also going to cook a Spaghetti Bolognese; and make a home-made Tiramisu which I’ve been meaning to do for a while; quite an Italian theme going on for the evening which isn’t much of a surprise as Italian food and culture appeals to me more than any other, as does the wine, in moderation of course.

With that in mind, I should have a new post for the Ruins project next week, I initially intended to publish posts on relevant artists in between posts showing my own work, but I’ve kind of glossed over that idea now as it requires more time being spent on writing about other artists than producing my own work.

I’m also still working on coming up with a better structure and theme for these Morning Coffee posts but equally it is nice to give myself permission to post once a week and waffle about nothing in particular; I know I’ve said it before but it really is quite liberating, formality is rather restrictive and I am an artist after all. 

Well that’s my coffee gone, I’m now caffeinated and ready to seize the day; I hope that wherever your day takes you it is productive, enjoyable and worthwhile, until next time take care and stay caffeinated!


[1] (In ancient Rome) a religious official who interpreted omens by inspecting the entrails of sacrificial animals. 

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