All Ides are Upon Us
One step closer to spring, this day marks several happier events in addition to that one bit of Roman unpleasantness for which the day is best known.
The month of March moves on, bringing ever more seasonal milestones and treats. We’re two weeks into meteorological spring, we’re hopefully adjusting nicely to having just set our clocks forward on hour, and now today, in the immediate wake of Pi Day, the Ides are upon us.
“Beware the Ides of March,” an oracle warned to Julius Caesar before his ill-fated visit to the Roman Senate where he met his demise at the hands of political enemies and former allies. and while the day did not quite turn out as planned for Caesar, lending to the date a permanent tint of caution and foreboding, its Roman origins are festive and celebratory. The months and days of the Roman Calendar were more closely tied to the lunar cycle than our modern calendar. The month Martius, which gave us the month name March, was named in honor of Mars, Roman god of war. The word ‘ides’ was used to designate the middle of the month and is believed to have origins in marking the full moons. in Roman Times, the Ides of March was a day of celebration of Mars, complete with military parades.
Today sees the occasion feted by the Rome chapter of the international social organization Hash House Harriers (“a drinking club with a running problem,” per their website) with a run to the site of Caesar’s assassination. Closer to home, the National Temple Hill Association holds an annual dinner on March 15 to mark the occasion of an attempted mutiny that ended more happily for its intended target: in 1783, George Washington quashed an uprising by Army officers upset over back pay.
Notable events that have taken place on March 15 include Maine’s becoming the nation’s 23rd state in 1820, the first registration of an Internet domain name, symbolics.com, which happened in 1985, and in 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was elected president of the former Soviet Union. it is also the birthday of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, reclusive funkster Sly Stone and Will.i.am.
Paining by Vincenzo Camuccini via Wikimedia Commons.
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