Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March!

I'm sure by now you've all heard the famous March 15th expression, "Beware the Ides of March." In fact, many of you might even know that the saying came from Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, but do you know exactly what it means?

I didn't, and it bothered me, so I decided to do a little bit (really, just a little bit) of investigation.

The earliest Roman calendar was organized around the moon. A few prominent days were named: Kalends (the 1st day of the month), Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October, OR the 5th day in the other months), and Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October, or the 13th day in the other months).

So, really, Ides didn't have any more of a special meaning than Kalends or Nones. And it came every month.

Then, on March 15th 44BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated by Roman Senators who were concerned that he had too much power.

Then in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, a soothsayer says, "Beware the Ides of March" to Julius Caesar to warn him that this was going to be his assassination day.

Now, still, the soothsayer's warning gives today's date a sense of foreboding and impending danger.

If you're still interested, request a book or two on Julius Caesar.

(Information from InfoPlease and Dr. Robyn Silverman)


  1. Hi!
    Come check out my blog:
    OMG! i was JUST looking up julius caesar and readin about the 'ides of march'! :) weird.........

  2. awesome blog!!! i love it :)


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