Monday, March 18, 2013
The Ides of March
Ever wonder where that saying comes from? Or what it means?
Well dear fellow poetry readers today we are diverting from a standard poetry review and are going to talk about The Ides of March instead and when we are done you will forever know what it means.
Then you can dazzle your friends with your exquisite knowledge of minutiae!
Actually, we are not veering to far afield from our stated purpose here because Shakespeare did use this line in his play "Julius Caesar" and I am afraid I would have to give Shakespeare an excellent review as a poet and that would be so predictably boring wouldn't it?
So here we go....
Seems the Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st) of the following month.
So never mind remembering all of that, lets just take the thought that "Ides" meant the middle of the month ok? OK!
the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julias Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus (of Et tu, Brute? fame, but we will have to cover that at another time) and Cassius, were involved.
A a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, from whence comes the line when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."
The Death of Caesar (1798) by Vincenzo Camuccini
So there is my over simplified explanation for this saying we all hear around this time of year.
See you back here soon for another poetry review and as always keep reading and creating your own poetry!
Info source: Wickipedia