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Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Thu, 15th Mar '07 11:44 PM


The WP was interesting, but not what I am here to write about. Actually I just finished eFiling my taxes (a month early!) and felt the need to celebrate!! And since it is exactly one month before they are due (although I thought I read somewhere that we had until April 17th this year), I started to dwell on the Ides of March.

So here's my real question...what are ides and why should we beware them? and why only in March??

SO, no fair looking, but what did you always (or used to) think that phrase meant?

I used to think it was the "eyes" of March and created a sort of personification for the idea that we were being watched at this time of year.

Geophile  (Level: 167.4 - Posts: 1545)
Fri, 16th Mar '07 12:31 AM

We are!

Aquamar  (Level: 186.0 - Posts: 925)
Fri, 16th Mar '07 1:44 AM

The 15th day of March, May, July, or October or the 13th day of any other month in the ancient Roman calendar. I'm not sure where the beware came from other than superstition.

Allena  (Level: 266.4 - Posts: 1409)
Fri, 16th Mar '07 2:11 AM

Please be prepared to accept the ides
The day when a Mother confides
Or when you wish to absolve
The questions you can't dissolve.

So up to the ides you course,
And follow meekly your force,
To keep the pretense above
All the sploofus that you love!!!

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Fri, 16th Mar '07 7:12 AM

The ides was the 15th day of the Roman months of March, May, July and October, marking the midpoint of the month. It fell on the 13th of the other months. The beware come from Suetonius's account of the murder of Caesar (later enhanced by Shakespeare) and refers to portents and prophecies which Caesar ignored to his permanent and utter chagrin.

Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Fri, 16th Mar '07 11:04 AM

I wanted more etymology of the word, so I looked it up and found that ides comes from the latin 'idus' which meant the 8th day after nones. Not knowing what nones was, I looked that up and find that it refers to the 9th day before the ides. (It also refers to the 9th hour of the day.)

This seems to be a mobius strip of logic in a never ending circle. You can't figure out when nones is without knowing when the ides occur, and you can't determine the ides without identifying nones!

And nothing about the word 'ides' infers (or implies) "middle of the month" and obviously the 13th is not the exact middle of any month.

The "beware" part I get as a portent of Caesars death on that day.

Missashlee  (Level: 125.6 - Posts: 543)
Fri, 16th Mar '07 11:36 AM


Here is a decent description of the Early Roman calendar courtesy of the Universit of Florida:

"This system harks back to the earlier Roman calendar based on the moon.

The start of the month would be announced by the priest who saw the first faint sliver of light in the New Moon's black disc. He would call out - calare in Latin - and that is the origin of the Latin word for the first of the month the Kalendae or the Kalends.

The next phase of the moon, the first quarter when it is exactly half a disc, were called the Nonae (usually Nones today) and the full moon was known as the Ides.

The waning half was not marked. But even by the seventh century BC these divisions were formalised. The Kalendae were always the first day of the month. The Ides were fixed as the fifteenth day of a 31-day month or the thirteenth day of any other. The period leading up to the Ides was fixed as eight days and so the Nonae had to be on either the fifth day of a short month or the seventh day of a long month."

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Fri, 16th Mar '07 12:24 PM

Good stuff. Thanks, Jeanne! So the ides marked the full moon at the middle of the lunar cycle, perhaps not the exact same as months. One can see how the full moon might seem a portentious time, Caesar or no.

Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Sat, 17th Mar '07 11:54 AM

Thank you so much! The moon cycle makes so much more sense then random calendar dates

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