Ides of March

March 15, 2013

Happy Ides of March Day or

“Beware the Ides of March”

What is the Ides of March and why is it so important? Well these are the two questions I had about this day. Thanks Wikipedia for saving me from ignorance.

Well the ides is the mid-point of every month…usually the 13 or the 15 depending on the full moon…obviously not our calendar. Essentially in early Roman time instead of numbering each day they counted back from a fixed point the Nones, Ides, and Kalends. Somewhat similar to the way we say 5 to the hour in telling time. The Ides of March was special to Romans because it was the day of a festival with general hedonistic revelry….the best type of revelry. It also seems to have involved dressing up an old man in goats skins and driving him out of the city with the baggage from the year before…a literal scapegoat.

We know this date because Shakespeare wrote about it and because Julius Cesar was assassinated this day. His assignation started the civil war that lead to Augustus (Octavian) being crowned the next ruler of Rome. Shakespeare made this day even more famous by having a soothsayer tell Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March” which he didn’t heed and then paid for with his life. 4 years later Augustus killed 300 hundred people that he blamed for Julius’ death…no word on whether any soothsayers whispered a warning to them or not.

A depiction of Julius' funeral....probably sometime after the 15th of March.

A depiction of Julius’ funeral….probably sometime after the 15th of March.

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