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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware the Ides of March!



Today is March 15th, also called "The Ides of March." For many, this is akin to a few "Friday the Thirteenths" rolled together. The reason for the infamy of the day goes back to 44 BC, to the day when Julius Caesar was murdered.

In the old Roman Calendar, the Ides marked the middle of the calendar month—in March, May, July, and October, the Ides fell on the 15th. The day was sacred to Jupiter, but there was no ominous connotation to the Ides of March before 44 BC. According to Plutarch's Lives, a seer had told Caesar to "Beware the Ides of March," having foreseen the attack on Caesar. According to Plutarch, the story told by many was that Caesar saw the same seer on his way to meet the Senate at Pompey's Theater. Caesar mocked him by saying, "Well, the Ides of March are come," to which the seer replied "Aye, they are come, but they are not gone." And the rest, as they say, is history.

The details of Caesar's murder, of course, are well-known and passionately studied still today. But it is thanks to Shakespeare that we all know the line "Beware the Ides of March" and suppress a shudder on March 15th.


 CAESAR
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
What man is that?

BRUTUS
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR
What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

(Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene ii.)

 

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2 Comments:

Blogger SzélsőFa said...

Oh, dear,
those peaceful, celebrating people at the Heroes' Square, Budapest, Hungary are being beaten by the police again. The ides of March does not good for those who have a heart. And also the police uses that whatitsname gas that makes people cry and cough...
I'm so angry and sad.

March 15, 2007 3:05 PM  
Blogger Mophia said...

sounds like power tripping police at it again. for all of the 'freedom' in the USA that riot squad mentality goes down plenty often over here too.

March 15, 2007 11:37 PM  

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