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The Ides of March
What are the Ides of March?
In the ancient Roman calendar, each of the 12 months of the year
had what was called an "ides." In March, May, July and
October, the "ides" fell on the 15th day. In every other
month, the "ides" fell on the 13th. The word "ides"
is derived from the Latin: "to divide."
"ides" were originally meant to mark the full moon - but
since solar based calendar months and lunar based months are of
different lengths, the "ides" quickly lost their original
intent and purpose.
for the ominous warning, "Beware the Ides of March," it
originated with the Roman ruler, Julius Caesar, who was assassinated
on the Ides of March - March 15, 44 B.C.E. (Old Style).
you've heard the ominous warning, then it's most likely due to William
Shakespeare and his famous play, Julius Caesar. The warning
was made famous in Shakespeare's play, when an unidentified soothsayer
tells Caesar, who is on his way to the Senate (and his death), "Beware
the ides of March." Caesar replies, "He is a dreamer;
let us leave him. Pass."
Soothsayer Was The Roman Astrologer Spurinna
According to historical writer C.J.S. Thompson, M.B.E., Ph.D., in
The Mystery and Romance of Astrology, 1929, the unidentified
soothsayer from Shakespeare's play was a Roman astrologer by the
name of Spurinna.
to Thompson - and confirmed in Plutarch's account of the story written
in 75 A.D. and Suetonius in 110 A.D. - it was sometime prior to
the fateful day of March 15 that Spurinna had first given Caesar
the famous warning to "beware of the Ides of March."
The astrologer, Spurinna, had previously warned Caesar that on "the
Ides of March," he would be in great danger. If, however, Julius
Caesar took care on that one day - then all would be well.
This ominous prediction by the astrologer Spurinna shouldn't have
come as too much of a shock and/or revelation for Caesar. It was
no secret to anyone, including Caesar, that he'd been making some
pretty serious political enemies in recent times,
seemingly precise timing of the prediction, the Ides of March, was
likely based on the fact that Julius Caesar had plans to next attend
the Roman Senate on March 15 and then leave Rome on March 18th for
a military campaign, leaving all of his many political enemies far
According to Plutarch's account, Caesar had previously made the
wise decision to stay within the safety of his bedroom chambers
on the 15th of March. However, Caesar's "friend" Decimus
(Albinus) Brutus (not Marcus Brutus) managed to convince him that
the astrologer's warnings were nothing more than superstitious foolishness.
Julius Caesar decided to attend the Senate on the 15th of March.
On his way to the Senate, Caesar "accidentally" met up
with the astrologer. Upon seeing Spurinna, Caesar confidently informed
the astrologer: "The Ides of March are come."
reportedly replied, "Yes, they are come, but they are not past."
that day - on March 15, 44 B.C.E (Old Style) - Caesar's enemies
assassinated him in the Pompey theater, at the foot of Pompey's
statue, where the Roman Senate was meeting that day in the temple
An alternative (albeit dubious) theory, as to why Caesar might have
"seemingly" ignored the ominous warning of the astrologer
Spurinna, is that perhaps Julius Caesar got the dates of the warning
mixed up. In March, May, July and October, the "ides"
fell on the 15th day. In every other month, the "ides"
fell on the 13th. He may have been thinking that the Ides of March
fell on the 13th rather than the 15th.
this theory, forgetful Caesar would have been very careful and stayed
home on the 13th of March, but on the 15th of March his guard was
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