Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Ides of March

      Well Company, yesterday was the Ides of March, which is the coolest name for a day but no one seems to know what it means.  All I know is that Caeser was assassinated on the Ides of March and that Ides of March is the group that sings the song "Vehicle" which I like to sing at karaoke.
     Well, I was right.  Sort of.  First of all about the group.  And second of all that Julius Caeser was assassinated on this day in the year 44 B.C., and I am not going to say 44 BCE like all those politically correct losers who have nothing better to get on about, but we won't get into that here.  We should probably, however, take a look at why this date was so important to the Romans.
     "Ides" was the word used to describe the 15th day of the month in ancient Rome, but not ever month.  Just March, May, July, and October.  For some reason.  I am sure there is something that you can do with your knuckles in order to remember that, like you can do with the dates, but I don't know the trick myself.  Anyway, the reason that there were only ides in certain months I believe has to do with how the Romans figured their calendar, which was lunar and consisted of either hollow months with 29 days or full months which had 30.  But don't quote me on that because I am just not sure.
     What we do know is that on the Ides of March, May, July, and October there were celebrations, usually including a military parade and all dedicated to Mars, the Roman God for whom the planet is names, and the candy bar, and the month of March.  Strange how that works, isn't it?
     So yeah, that is the day, and why the ides of all those other months haven't survived is really sort of puzzling.  I would expect that it has a little bit to do with the holiday, as it were, being dedicated to Mars, and Mars being intertwined with March, etc, etc.  But I would have to believe that it has a lot more to do with Shakespeare.  See, when Julius Caeser was assassinated on the steps of the east portico of the Roman Senate on the Idea of March, it was a pretty big deal, and it marked the change in reality of ancient Rome, taking it from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.  And it made for pretty good drama too, what with the betrayal and conspiracy and the thwarted attemps by Mark Antony (not Mark Anthony, the Latin American singer, - Mark Antony the guy who banged Cleopatra) to prevent the assassination at the last minute.  So it is only natural that a creative guy like William Shakespeare would seize upon it.  In the play, Caesar is warned to "beware the Ides of March."  DING! DING! DING!  We have a winnner!  I am willing to bet all of Little Jeffy's paycheck that Shakespeare and Caesar are behind the Ides of March still being known.  Shakespeare will do that to a day.
     It doesn't hurt that some other semi-significant events happened on the Ides of March.  Nicholas II of Russia abdicated on that day in 1917, which is kind of a big deal because that is one of the events that led to Russia becoming a Communist nation, right at the height of World War I by the way.  No big deal though, right?  It's only a world changing event.  George Washington put down a mutiny by his officers in 1783 on this day, which is important too, because that came at an important time in the adolescence of our nation and it asserted his hold on the Army and nation, and allowed us to become what we eventually became.  So there must be something about the Ides of March.  And that was yesterday.  I hope that you made some history yesterday, Company.

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