Julius Caesar is one of the major jewels in the Shakespearean crown. “Beware the Ides of March,” “Et Tu, Brute,” “Friends, Romans, Countrymen.” You all know them even if you haven’t read the play in decades or at all. It’s the “Christmas Carol” effect: a work has become so integrated into the collective media subconscious that few people have actually read the original work.
But what were Shakespeare’s original works? I mean, where did Shakespeare do his research? It’s not like he had Wikipedia during the Elizabethan Era. The Encyclopedia Britannia was a couple centuries off in the horizons. So old Will had to go to primary sources. No handy summaries for him. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has honored those works that informed and inspired Julius Caesar with perfumes that show how those historians used turns of phrase to express this historical event.
Accursed Casca is how Plutarch described the first senator to strike Caesar with a blade. Plutarch reported that Caesar turned to face Casca in shock and surprise since Casca’s family was once supporters of Caesar. You get a bright metallic scent of the dagger and the blood with ambergris, verbena, neroli, and razor-sharp elemi. Cassius Dio described the body of mighty Caesar having Blood-Bespattered Locks Of Gray instead of the crown he was thought to seek. Having fought so many battles against the enemies of Rome, he was brought down by his so-called colleagues. Ambergris and bay leaf, lemon peel and regal mandarin, white cedar and khus, grey oudh and star anise give a hint of coppery blood, the funeral pyre soon to come, and a melancholy of a great man taken down. Suetonius tells of how Rome seemed to be filled with Ill Omen before that fateful day. Warnings from soothsayers, dark dreams, and birds attacking each other should have been loud klaxons of danger. But Caesar, like many men of power and influence, simply cannot see that destiny could cut their life short. Pride go before the fall. Red musk, black frankincense, and gleaming labdanum symbolize the deed as much as the omens Rome witnessed.
There are more in this series, but I must write in haste. This series, like Caesar, will be buried on May 12th. But I believe the praise I have given would have pleased even Mark Anthony.