The Ides of March on the Roman calendar fell on March 15. It was marked by several religious rituals but it also went down in history as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated. The death of Caesar in 44 BC was a turning point in Roman history, as it marked the change from the period in history known as the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.

Julius Caesar was known as a great general and politician. But, he also was a man of letters, excelling at Latin prose. Many writers have tried to capture the brilliance of his personality through drama, fiction or non-fiction but rarely done so successfully. But the few who did created evergreen classics.

This year, on March 15, we are not here to praise Caesar, but to bring a few of the best-written works about him.

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Now, who doesn’t know the phrase “Et tu, Brute?” But did you know that this was the last line uttered by Caesar in William Shakespeare’s tragedy? Caesar’s assassination and then the subsequent speech by Mark Antony (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him) is one of the most famous drama scenes in English literature. A hauntingly beautiful play by the Bard, the political thriller is complex, compelling and profound. Not just Caesar, you get a catch on what happens in the minds of characters such as Mark Antony, Calpurnia and Brutus. An advice – the best way to understand this play would be to act it out. What are you waiting for? Go grab a copy, then!

The Gates of Rome

Under the backdrop of bloodshed, slaves, glory and decadence, Conn Iggulden brings to us the tale of two friends – Julius Caesar and Marcus Junius Brutus. A masterful historical fiction, the difference between the boys is vividly portrayed — one born to pure privilege and the other to poverty. They are trained in combat to deal with a nation bordering on war and violence. But, the friends are forced to lead separate paths. Will it be the same as the meet again is something the author focuses on. The thin line between historical fiction and facts is ever present as the boys take different routes. The breathtaking journey is a must-read for children and adults alike.

Julius Caesar’s Goat

Enough with the serious stories of politics, violence and glory. This book by Dick King-Smith is about how Caesar comes across a goat who can speak. The goat is as smelly as it can get, due to which soldiers make it march ahead of the army. The smell was so brutal that all the enemies ran away, unable to bear with it. Extremely loyal, the animal butts Caesar’s killers also. Funny, imaginative and full of facts as well, this book’s characters, especially the goat named Butter, stay with you for long. The book is full of funny illustrations by Harry Horse, which gives it a finishing touch. Read and laugh!