Pin It
Julius Caesar - Beware the Ides of March

If you happened to run into a soothsayer recently who cautioned you to 'Beware the Ides of March' go home (if you're not already there), get back in bed, and hide under the covers until tomorrow.  In the Shakespeare tragedy, Julius Caesar didn't heed the warning, and the next thing he knew Marcus Junius Brutus was stabbing him to death.  The real Julius Caesar died on the Ides of March.  He should have learned from Popeye the Sailor Man that it doesn't pay to have friends named Brutus!

It wasn't always a bad day.  In ancient times, Kalends, Nones and Ides referred to dates in relation to lunar phases.  'Ides' referred to the first full moon of any particular month, usually falling around the 13th, 14th, or 15th of the month.  But when Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC at the age of 55 the Ides of March became infamous.

It was bad enough that the Ides of March was his own personal worst day ever.  But there are other reasons the Ides is a day to beware of. In 1781 1,900 British troops, vastly outnumbered by 4,400 American troops tounced the colonists at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina.   In 1889 a cyclone destroyed three US war ships and three German ones in Samoa, killing 200 sailors.  In 1917 Czar Nicholas II abdicated on the Ides of March.  Just over a year later he and his family were executed by a firing squad.

Minnesota and North Dakota were devastated by a blizzard on the Ides of march in 1941, leaving 40 dead.  Two years earlier Hitler chose the Ides of march to invade Czechoslovakia.  On the same day in 1938 he took away Jews' right to vote. 

The Ed Sullivan show was cancelled by CBS on the Ides of March in 1971.  Oh noooo, Eddie... Topo steel loves you... Eddie, kiss me goodnight!"

The World Health Organization warned the world of an outbreak of SARs on the Ides of March  in 2003.  IOn the Ides of March in 1988 NASA announced the NASA reports that the ozone layer had been depleted three times faster than predicted over the Northern Hemisphere.  That same year the Saint Louis Cardinals moved to Phoenix.  You might say they chose the Ides to march.

In 2011 the Syrian Civil War began on... you guessed it!  The Ides of March.

It hasn't been all bad.  In 1493 Columbus triumphantly returned to Spain, and in 1820 Maine became a state.  On the Ides of March in 1869 the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the very first professional baseball team, and Rolls Royce was founded on the Ides of March in 1906.

And for those of us addicted to our phones and tablets, the very first domain name was registered for use on the World Wide Web (aka: www) - was the first.

Although, come to think of it there are many people -- mostly parents who can't get their kids eyes off the little screens -- who probably consider that another example of why the Ides of March has come to represent very bad luck indeed.

Pin It