Idus Martiae

If you haven’t paid a visit to your local haruspex lately, now’s the time.

We present a brief examination of the assassination of Julis Ceasar as seen through the eyes of Plutarch, Cassius Dio, Suetonius, and Nicolaus of Damascus. This collection will come down May 12th, 2017

  • ides17web-accursed casca

    Accursed Casca

    5 out of 5

    It was Casca who gave him the first blow with his dagger, in the neck, not a mortal wound, nor even a deep one, for which he was too much confused, as was natural at the beginning of a deed of great daring; so that Caesar turned about, grasped the knife, and held it fast. At almost the same instant both cried out, the smitten man in Latin: “Accursed Casca, what does thou?”

    – Plutarch
    The shattered, splintering gasp of betrayal: ambergris, verbena, neroli, and a glint of razor-sharp elemi.

    Out of Stock
  • ides17web-blood bespattered

    Blood-Bespattered Locks of Gray

    Woe for the blood-bespattered locks of gray, alas for the rent robe, which you assumed, it seems, only that you might be slain in it!

    – Cassius Dio

    Ambergris and bay leaf, lemon peel and regal mandarin, white cedar and khus, grey oudh and star anise.

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  • ides17web-ill omen

    Ill Omen

    Shortly before his death, as he was told, the herds of horses which he had dedicated to the river Rubico  when he crossed it, and had let loose without a keeper, stubbornly refused to graze and wept copiously. Again, when he was offering sacrifice, the soothsayer Spurinna warned him to beware of danger, which would come not later than the ides of March. On the day before the ides of that month a little bird called the king-bird flew into the Hall of Pompey with a sprig of laurel, pursued by others of various kinds from the grove hard by, which tore it to pieces in the hall. In fact the very night before his murder he dreamt now that he was flying above the clouds, and now that he was clasping the hand of Jupiter; and his wife Calpurnia thought that the pediment of their house fell, and that her husband was stabbed in her arms; and on a sudden the door of the room flew open of its own accord.

    – Suetonius

    Dark portents writhing in a cloud of incense and a tangle of entrails: blood, red musk, black frankincense, and wet ropes of gleaming labdanum.

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  • ides17web-the bones of capys

    The Bones of Capys

    Now Caesar’s approaching murder was foretold to him by unmistakable signs. A few months before, when the settlers assigned to the colony at Capua by the Julian Law were demolishing some tombs of great antiquity, to build country houses, and plied their work with the greater vigor because as they rummaged about they found a quantity of vases of ancient workmanship, there was discovered in a tomb, which was said to be that of Capys, the founder of Capua, a bronze tablet, inscribed with Greek words and characters to this effect:

     

    Whenever the bones of Capys shall be discovered, it will come to pass that a descendant of his shall be slain at the hands of his kindred, and presently avenged at heavy cost to Italy.

    – Suetonius

     

    King mandarin, bronze tobacco, white sandalwood, and chamomile.

    Out of Stock
  • ides17web-the setting sun

    The Setting Sun

    The augurs brought forward the victims for him to make his final sacrifice before his entry into the Senate Room. It was manifest that the omens were unfavourable. The augurs substituted one animal after another in the attempt to secure a more auspicious forecast. Finally they said that the indications from the gods where unfavourable and that there was plainly some sort of curse hiding in the victims. In disgust, Caesar turned away toward the setting sun, and the augurs interpreted this action still more unfavourably.  The assassins were on hand and were pleased at all this.

    – Nicolaus of Damascus

    Darkness falling, shadows cast by prophesies unheeded: black oudh and amber.

    Out of Stock
  • ides17web-three and twenty

    Three and Twenty

    Caesar caught Casca’s arm and ran it through with his stylus, but as he tried to leap to his feet, he was stopped by another wound. When he saw that he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its lap to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this wise he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, “You too, my child?”

     

    All the conspirators made off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, until finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with one arm hanging down.

    – Suetonius

    Faithlessness and treachery; resignation in the face of the betrayals of those we hold most dear: smoky vetiver, myrrh, and labdanum with bleak agarwood and tobacco.

    Out of Stock