Julius Caesar (1599)
- First official record: mentioned in Thomas Platter the Younger's Diary on 21 September 1599.
- First published: First Folio (1623), as The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar.
- First recorded performance: in his diary on 21 September 1599, Thomas Platter records "I went with my party across the water; in the straw-thatched house we saw the tragedy of the first Emperor Julius Caesar, very pleasingly performed, with approximately fifteen characters." This is almost universally accepted as a reference to a performance of Julius Caesar at the recently opened Globe Theatre.
- Evidence: obviously, the play was completed by September 1599, and may have been composed specifically as the opening play for the new theatre. Other pieces of evidence also serve to link it to 1599. For example, the play's absence from Palladis Tamia suggests it had not been performed by September 1598. Furthermore, an apparent indebtedness to John Davies' Nosce teipsum at 1.2.51-58 and another to Samuel Daniels' Musophilus at 3.1.111-116 help situate the play in 1599. Musophilus was entered into the Stationers Register on 9 January of that year, and Nosce teipsum on 14 April. Both were published for the first time in 1599, fixing 1599 as the terminus post quem. Two allusions to the play in Jonson's Every Man Out Of His Humour, registered on 8 April 1600, fix 1600 as the latest possible date of composition. Additionally, textual analysis has connected the play closely to Henry V, which was definitely written in 1599. In the fifth-act prologue of Henry V, the Chorus refers to "antique Rome," "plebeians" and "conqu'ring Caesar" (5.0.26-28), suggesting Shakespeare may already have had his mind on his next play. Metrically, Caesar is closest to Henry V, and a colloquialism-in-verse test places it between Henry V and As You Like It.