ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Ides of March: What the heck is it anyway?

Updated on March 15, 2012
Source

Beware the Ides of March

"Beware the Ides of March," is great information, especially if you happen to be an ancient Roman dictator. But exactly what are ides anyway, and how do you avoid them?

The word "ides," which rhymes with "hides," is in fact singular. According to the Roman calendar, the ides was the day of the full moon. It corresponded to the 13th day in many months, but the 15th of March, May, July, and October.

The ancient Romans didn't think there was nearly anything particularly inauspicious regarding the Ides of March, or the ides of any additional month for that matter. The day was generally a celebration for honoring the divine being of the month, Mars, by having a military parade. Yet in 44 BC, March 15 stood out as a specifically bad day for a minimum of one ancient Roman: Julius Caesar.

According to Plutarch's Parallel Lives, Caesar watched a soothsayer who had foretold that great peril might fall on him no later on than the Ides of March. As the dictator was en route to the Senate-House, where this individual would meet his unfortunate end, the man watched the soothsayer and stated, "Well, the Ides of March are come."

"Aye, they are come," reacted the seer, "yet they are not gone."

The scene is famously repeated in Act 3, scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar."

Yet was Caesar truly assassinated on this day? The traditional record acknowledges that the poor guy perished on the 15th day of Martius, yet, in the last years of his life Caesar set about screwing around with the Roman calendar, which, since politicians had the authority to add days by fiat, had actually fallen out of sync with the earth's actual orbit around the sun.

The Julian Calendar was first carried out in 45 BC and went on to be in extensive use until the 18th century, when it was supplanted by the Gregorian Calendar. However in the very early days of the Julian Calendar, the leap year cycle was not yet stabilized. Therefore most scholars think that the actual date of Caesar's assassination is most likely March 14, 44 BC.

The Julian Calendar assumed that the solar year lasted just 365.25 days, providing a leap year every 4 years. This was very close, yet it was in fact too long by just 11 minutes. This included about 3 days every four centuries, gradually pushing Western civilization from the natural sun cycle. The Gregorian Calendar, first proposed in 1582, sought to balance out the drift. As nations adopted it, they had to advance their calendars 10 or 11 days.

But back in 44 BC, the Julian Calendar was most likely 3 whole days behind the Gregorian Calendar. So, if you're inclined to commemorate the anniversary of Caesar's assassination, and if you get tangled up in these kinds of details, you'll need to hang around until March 11 of next year.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)