Ides of March

Beware the Ides of March. March 15, 44 BC.

“Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear, Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come.” Julius Caesar (Act II, Scene 2, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare)   By 44 BC Gaius Julius Caesar was the most famous and controversial man in Rome. A populist political star and great writer, he excelled in the military realm as well, pulling off a lightning conquest of Gaul – roughly, France and Belgium – as well as invading Britain and Germany (58–50 BC). When his enemies, the old guard in the Senate, removed him from command, Caesar invaded Italy. He went on to total victory in a civil war (49–45 BC) that ranged across the Mediterranean. ...

Leap Year – February 29

One of the most well-known events of ancient Rome occurred on March 15, 44 BC – the assassination of Julius Caesar. But, what is the “Ides of March” of which Caesar was warned by a seer to beware? The Roman calendar didn’t mark dates numerically as we do today. Instead, they had three fixed points in each month and worked their way backwards from those three points. The three points were the Nones, Ides and Kalends. The original Roman calendar, the Calendar of Romulus, was said to have been made by the founder of Rome in 753 BC. This calendar consisted of 10 months of either 30 or 31 days, equaling 304 days, with the remainder of days in winter unassigned to any month and called the “intercalary month”. The ten months and their origins were Martius (Mars the god), Aprilis (Virilis the godd...

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