The Ides of March !!??!! (wtf)
Many people are familiar with allusions to the murder of Julius Ceasar or to Shakespeare's take on the fate of the tyrant, but even the most well-read could find him/herself wondering where the basis for Ceasar's warning originated from.
Thanks to the website Holiday Insights:
When : March 15th
The Ides of March is the first day of the Roman New Year. It also marks the first day of spring in the Roman calendar.
On this day in history, Julius Caesar was warned by soothsayers to "beware of the Ides of March". Apparently, he did not heed the warning strongly enough as he was stabbed by Marcus Brutus on the Ides of March in 44 BC.
From the National Geographic news site:
For ancient Romans living before that event, however, an ides was merely one of several common calendar terms used to mark monthly lunar events. The ides simply marked the appearance of the full moon.
And according to ask.com:
You may know that the Ides of March -- the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated -- was the 15th of March, but that doesn't mean the Ides of a month was necessarily on the 15th.
The Roman calendar was originally based on the first three phases of the moon, with days counted, not according to a concept of week, but backwards from lunar phases. The new moon was the day of the Kalends, the moon's first quarter was the day of the Nones, and the Ides fell on the day of the full moon. The Kalends' section of the month was the longest, since it spanned two lunar phases, from the full to the new moon.When the Romans fixed the length of the months, they also fixed the date of the Ides. In March, May, July and October, which were (most of the) months with 31 days, the Ides was on the 15th. On other months, it was the 13th. The number of days in the Ides period remained the same, eight days, while the Nones period might have four or six and the Kalends' section had from 16-19 days. (http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/calendars/a/romcalterm.htm)
What does all this mean??!!??
Well, for those of you taking the CSAP this March 15, you have no need to beware the ides of March- just do your best. Besides, unlike Ceasar, our full moon isn't until the 19th...