The ancient feast of the god Lupercus, Lupercalia was an annual three day festival that ran from February 13 – 15 each year. It was intended to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. It is the ancient predecessor of the Christian festival of St Valentine, which is now better known as the more secular Valentine’s Day.
According to Shakespeare, when Julius Caesar attended this particular one, he was offered the crown of a monarch three times and refused it on each of those times. Nonetheless, the reason why he was stabbed to death a month later was apparently his limitless ambition.
Whether you know him best as Jim Kirk, Denny Crane or TJ Hooker, it’s highly unlikely that you’ve never heard of Wild Bill Shatner. But did you know he’s Canadian? And Jewish?
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Shatner has two sisters, and has been acting since 1954, when he first performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. He would go on to become one of the most well-known faces in television history and fan favourite actor. In recent years, his growing willingness to laugh at himself has brought him new fans and won back some of the ones he pissed off in his infamous 1986 appearance on Saturday Night Live (in which he advised fans to “get a life” – it was meant as a joke, but it cut too close to the bone for many).
Shakespeare’s verion might be better known, but the best historical account of the death of Big Julie was written by imperial biographer (and obsequious toady) Seutonius. It is from Suetonius that we have Caesar’s famous last words (asking Brutus ‘even you, my child?’, which Shakespeare rendered as ‘et tu, Brute?’) – although curiously, Seutonius himself reports those words as claimed by others, and for himself believes that Caesar said nothing.
This is somewhat hard to believe, given that Seutonius also recounts that Caesar was attacked by 60 or more men, and received a total of 23 stab wounds from his assailants – it appears that the proximate cause of death was loss of blood. (Fun fact: Caesar’s autopsy report is the earliest one to have survived to the present day.) In a larger sense, the cause of the death of Gaius Julius Caesar was political ambition – his own, and that of others.