The Ides Of March

Anyone who has studied Latin or has seen Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar knows of the Ides of March. It marks the day that the Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate. He had been warned by a fortune teller to “avoid the Ides of March”.

But what is Ides in the Roman calendar?

It marks the middle of each month when the full moon has risen. The Ides were traditionally observed with feasts and sacrifices. Moreover, as the Roman calendar began the year with March, the Ides of March marked the first full moon of the new year. As such, it was a day of great importance. It was also notable as the day for settling debts.

And so it was that the group of 60 Roman senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus who feared Caesar’s reforms would threaten the Roman Senate “settled their debt” by stabbing him to death.

So much for the history lesson.

Here is what the Ides of March is really about.

3 thoughts on “The Ides Of March”

  1. The line is “Beware the Ides of March!” Not “avoid”.

    There’s really no avoiding a day, but one can be more cautious on that day if forewarned. Which is what the soothsayer was trying for.

    Too bad Caesar, in his pride, failed to heed the warning.

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