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written by Sam Greenspan

A 1865 painting from Karl Theodor von Piloty titled "Murder of Caesar"

March 15th is a notorious day. Is that reputation deserved? What bad things happened on the ides of March? Here are some of the worst events concerning that date.

Two years ago, I posted a list of 11 Wonderful Things That Have Happened On the Ides of March. This year, I’m doing the follow-up (which, logically, should’ve come first).

If you’re not an English teacher, Shakespeare aficionado, trivia person, or a fan of forgettable George Clooney movies, the Ides of March is March 15th — and is kind of a once-a-year Friday the 13th.

The Ides of March became infamous thanks to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Caesar is warned by a soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” Well, March 15th rolled around, he neglected to beware of packs of knife-wielding acquaintances and was stabbed to death.

Since then, people become wary on the ides of March and are on the lookout for disasters or potential tragedies like a skunk farting near the vent of an aircondition.

Worst events that show what happened on the ides of March.

The Ides of March is supposed to be a cursed day… but I had to dig a bit to come up with the 11 items for this list.

Here are 11 very bad things that have happened on the Ides of March. Check ’em out…

1 | March 15, 44 B.C.: Julius Caesar is killed

Obviously. There wouldn’t be an Ides of March if it wasn’t for Caesar. He’s kind of the Lou Gehrig’s disease of this date.

But the way he died actually gave this date infamy. There was a soothsayer. March 15 was a religious significance as well as the deadline for settling debts in Rome. People around him had knives. Caesar, the powerful Roman leader, was brutally stabbed to death by a group of conspirators.

I wonder if this is how the Romans settle their debts either discreetly or blatantly.

2 | March 15, 1781: At the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina, 1,900 British troops defeat 4,400 American troops

There’s a reason you don’t hear about battles like the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in history class. Completely shatters the narrative of America being the scrappy, outmanned — yet non-defeatable — underdog. The Ides of March are all about ruining narratives.

Except, perhaps, Shakespeare’s narrative. The Ides of March kinda helped him get his over big.

A historical sign about the Battle of the Guilford Courthouse that says, "Important Battle fo the revolution between armies of Greene and Cornwallis. U.S. Military Park.
A historical sign about the Battle of the Guilford Courthouse. Image: MarmadukePercy via Wikimedia Commons.

3 | March 15, 1917: Tsar Nicholas II abdicates the Russian throne

This marked the Bolsheviks taking over. And once Nikolai Volkoff, Boris Zhukov and the rest of the Bolsheviks were in there, butchering the national anthem, defeating the British Bulldogs, and advocating communism — well, that was the end of Russia as they knew it.

Consult your copy of the 1997 animated film Anastasia or WWF Coliseum Home Videos from the late ’80s and early ’90s for more information.

4 | March 15, 1938: Hitler takes away the Jews’ right to vote

You can’t make a “worst of this day in history” list without including something about Hitler. It’s like writing a story about the rise of female comedy and not mentioning Tina Fey, Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling. I don’t want the police to revoke my “cliche” card.

I wonder if the companies that collaborated with the Nazis also took advantage of this event and started grabbing Jewish properties for cheap.

5 | March 15, 1941: Blizzard kills 150 in North Dakota and Minnesota

The storm began on March 14 and continued through the morning of March 15 so it’s possible that some of those casualties started on the former date. But we’re all about the bad things that have happened on the ides of March so let’s put the numbers on that date.

Anyway, was this the inspiration for the Minnesota-based Dairy Queen corporation’s creation of the Blizzard? History says… no, absolutely not. I’m not so sure. I ask questions.

6 | March 15, 1971: The Ed Sullivan Show is cancelled

You’d THINK this was a good thing. Without rock and roll music on television to corrupt the American youth, this should’ve ushered in an era of chaste obedience.

Unfortunately, by this time, the youth had already discovered doing drugs and banging each other… so all this did was end a cultural institution.

1964 back and white photo of The Dave Clark Five (five young men) with Ed Sullivan at the center from an appearance on Sullivan's show.
1964 photo of The Dave Clark Five with Ed Sullivan from an appearance on Sullivan’s Show. Image: Epic Records via Wikimedia Commons.

7 | March 15, 1988: The St. Louis Cardinals move to Phoenix

This ended the old school era of different sports teams in the same city having the same nickname. It also led to the end of football in Los Angeles when, six years later, the Rams just couldn’t resist the glitz and glamour of St. Louis.

8 | March 15, 1998: Titanic overtakes Star Wars as the highest grossing film in U.S. history

The Star Wars legacy and mystique has faded over the years… but this still shouldn’t have happened. Titanic just goosed the box office because everyone had to see it twice — once to experience it, and a second time so you could fully analyze whether there was room for both of them on that piece of driftwood.

(Spoiler alert: There was. Spoiler alert two: The old woman’s necklace was eventually recovered by some dude and given to Britney Spears.)

9 | March 15, 2003: The World Health Organization announces SARS

Remember SARS? It had a little bit of everything we fear — mysterious symptoms, mysterious origins, mysterious deaths, Chinese conspiracy theories, and a vague acronym. Some even thought that it was the plague foreshadowing the end of the world!

It ended up killing 775 people worldwide (and four in the U.S.) Less deadly than AIDS or SIDS, arguably equally deadly to KISS.

SARS virus under the electron microscope that looks like a sphere but with small tentacles surrounding it.
SARS virus under the electron microscope. Image: CDC.

10 | March 15, 2011: Nate Dogg dies

Nate Dogg, the legendary canine rapper extraordinaire known for his smooth bark and catchy howls, died at the age of 41.

I wonder if that gang of hos is still waiting for him over there on the curb?

11 | March 15, 2013: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone hits theaters

My choices came down to this or the start of the British-Tibetan War of 1888. I stand by my decision.