The diary of Thomas Platter documents the first recorded performance of Shakespeare's Roman tragedy in 1599. Platter, a Swiss tourist on vacation in London, wrote that he saw "in the straw-thatched house the tragedy of the first emperor, Julius Caesar, quite excellently acted by about fifteen persons." This production would have been one of the first at the Globe Theatre, built the same year. It appears that the play was not published during Shakespeare's lifetime, but it was included in the First Folio (1623), compiled by Shakespeare's fellow actors, Heminge and Condell.
Unlike many of Shakespeare's other dramas which suffered periods of unpopularity, Julius Caesar has remained a constant fixture of both British and post-independence American theatre. Eerily, in 1864, just a year before he assassinated Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth performed in a production of the play in New York, along with his brothers Edwin and the appropriately named Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. After he shot Lincoln, Booth apparently yelled out "Sic semper tyrannis" or "Thus ever to tyrants", the same phrase Brutus is said to have used as he murdered Caesar.
How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Julius Caesar General Introduction. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/juliuscaesar/juliuscaesarintro.html >.