Sunday, 18 March 2012

...About the Ides of March

We hear it at least once a year and depending on your high school English curriculum you might even know a little bit more about it. The Ides of March. I sorta knew a little bit about it mainly through indirect sources. I knew it meant the middle of the month and Julius Caesar was killed on that day. Turns out the "Ides" means a bit more than that.

You knew it was coming.
Julius Caesar shouldn't need much of an introduction. He was a Roman dictator and military tactician who conquered most of Europe. He was popular with many and hated by many. At the time of his death Rome had temporarily suspended the Republic for a Dictatorship. Caesar wanted the dictatorship permanent and keep the power all to himself. Some agreed, but most didn't. 60 roman senators led by Brutus planned his killing and did so in 44 BC. Ironically all the usurping led to the dictatorship lasting longer and causing more strife. "Beware the Ides of March" is a line from the play Julius Caesar by Bill Shakespeare. It was a warning to Julius who promptly dismissed it as hogwash.
You should have listened to that crazy guy.
Why is it called "Ides"? The Latin root for the word means 'divide', hence the middle of the month. At the time the Roman calendar was used and the Ides fell on the 15th of March, May, July, and October (all having 31 days). It fell on the 13th of the month the rest of the time (all having 30 days). The Ides usually was when any debts were due. Any loan payments or bill had to be paid. I have no clue if the murder taking place on the Ides was on purpose or not.

Nothing like a calm Roman funeral

And that is what I learned today.

-I forget. it was a couple of days ago.

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