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Beware the Ides of March! Julius Caesar and his dying words - in Greek

Blog | By Harry Mount | Oct 30, 2020

The murder of Julius Caesar by William Holmes Sullivan, c. 1888

A record £2.7m has been paid for a Roman coin showing Brutus, Julius Caesar’s assassin. Caesar was murdered on March 15, 44 BC. His last words weren't 'Et tu, Brute?', explains Harry Mount

Roman emperors spoke Greek. Julius Caesar's last words to Brutus weren't 'Et tu, Brute', but 'Kai su, technon' - Greek for 'You, too, my child?'

On the night before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, the vision that converted the Emperor Constantine to Christianity was of a cross with the words 'En touto nika' - Greek for 'Conquer in this sign'; not 'In hoc signo, vinces', the Latin for the same words, as is often wrongly said.

It was Greek – the language used by Pericles, Egyptian schoolchildren and Roman emperors – that dominated the ancient world for the longest spell.