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The Tragedy of Julius Cæsar” was first published in the 1623 Folio edition of the Shake-speare plays, there being no evidence existing to show with any certainty when it was composed. In 1598 Francis Meres gave a list in his “ Palladis Tamia of thirteen of the Shake-speare plays then in existence, but the “ Julius Cæsar” was not one of them. Three years later Weever published a book entitled “The Mirror of Martyrs,” in which we find the following lines :
“The many-headed multitude were drawn,
His virtues, who but Brutus then was vicious." It is not unreasonable to infer that these lines were suggested by Mark Antony's speech in Act III., Scene 2, of the “Julius Cæsar.” If so, we may conjecturally assign the composition of this great tragedy to between 1598 and 1601.
The play was first given to the world in the Folio of 1623. The text, as there printed, is the only authoritative one in existence; but it was thought in this case advisable to use the modern adaptation as to spelling, punctuation, and text, with the exception of various errors which have been pointed out and corrected.