Assassination as a political tool is as old as … well, as old as politics. By knife, gun and garrote, in dynastic fratricides, bloody palace intrigues and modern presidential killings, the murder of a head of state — whether by a lone wolf or a clan of executioners — sends a singular message: we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore. First thing on our agenda toward setting things right? A change in leadership, no ballot box required.
The Ideas of March, of course, is famous as the day in 44 BC on which Julius Caesar himself was assassinated by a group of Roman senators. Shakespeare immortalized the date with a phrase now recognized around the English-speaking world — “Beware the Ides of March” — although it’s likely that many of those who occasionally employ the phrase probably have no clue 1) who first uttered the line (it was a soothsayer in the Bard’s 1599 Tragedy of Julius Caesar) or 2) what it actually refers to. Nevertheless, on the Ides of March 2013, TIME recalls not only that long-ago assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar, but a series of other politically motivated murders that shook the world — and in some cases changed the course of history.