Beware of the ides of March?

When the ardent fan of Shakespeare thinks about the month of March, the expression that immediately springs to mind is the famous line from Julius Caesar, beware of the ides of March. In the play, a soothsayer – someone who claims that he has the power to see into the future- warns the Emperor about the ides. Now while you and I may have rolled our eyes and scratched our head before finally asking, “Hey dude, what the hell are you talking about? What are ides?”, the great Caesar understood what the man was trying to tell him. In Roman calendar, the middle of the month was referred to as the ides; in this case, 15 March was the date the soothsayer had in mind. On this day, the Romans paid obeisance to the God of War, Mars, by having a military parade in his honour. The story goes that on 15 March, while he was on his way to the Theatre of Pompey, Caesar asked the soothsayer, in rather unshakespearian English, “Yo, soothsayer! Looks like you got your wires crossed, man. It’s the ides today, and I’m still standing.” To which the soothsayer replied: “Yup, you still standing, boss. But for how long? Whatche gotta remember, the ides ain’t gone yet. You know what they say Julius, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. So you just watch that pretty little backside of yours, you hear?” But unfortunately, Caesar didn’t watch his back; Brutus and company turned him into a pincushion by stabbing him 23 times.

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3 thoughts on “Beware of the ides of March?

  1. It looks as if the ancient Romans had a penchant for designating upcoming days in a month distinctly like calends, nones that refer to the first and ninth day before the ides ( around 7th) even as the definition of “ides” shifted to the 13th day of any other month other than March, May, July, or October !


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