Today In Pop Culture: I Only Have Ides For You

Published on March 15th, 2016 in: Today In Pop Culture |

By Jeffery X Martin


Odds are high that somebody will come up to you today at work and say, “Beware the Ides of March.” Yeah, that’s creepy, but if you wheel right around and ask, “What’s an Ide, Todd, and why are you in my cubicle?” they probably won’t have an answer for either question.

Simply put, for a day to be the Ides of any month, it’s usually when the full moon occurs. If you go by the Roman Calendar, which we don’t, it was the 13th day of the month, except for March, May, July, and October. In those months, the Ides was on the 15th. “Ides” is a singular term, by the way, because Latin.

Also: tonight, there’s only a half moon, so take that under advisement, Todd.

There was an annual military parade on the Ides of March, but that was about it. It wasn’t considered a day of bad luck. At least not until 44 BC, when the Dictator Julius Caesar had a terrible, horrible, no-good, bad day.

It’s not like he wasn’t warned. A soothsayer, while saying sooth, had told Caesar that something wicked was coming his way, either on or before the Ides of March. Caesar, being an emperor and, therefore, the embodiment of the gods on earth, chose to ignore the sooth. Meanwhile, Caesar decided to check out the show at the Theatre of Pompey.

He actually met the seer on the way there. Caesar, feeling especially flippant, told the psychic, “The Ides of March have come! And I’m going to the hardcore show to see my favorite band, Vexillum Nigrum.”

The soothsayer said, “The day’s not over yet, buddy.”

Soon after, Caesar was assassinated. He was stabbed 23 times by senators, gladiators, people he knew. One recounting of the event says over 60 people took part in the murder, which should give you an idea of Caesar’s popularity ratings at the time.

Before his death, Caesar had been messing around with the calendar, giving politicians the right to add days whenever they wanted. After that, the calendar was no longer an accurate representation of how the earth orbited around the sun. It was great for planning sudden vacations to Gaul, but lousy for science. The Julian calendar, however, was used up until the 18th century when it was replaced by the Gregorian calendar, which was mostly predicated on mystic chanting.

So if Todd sneaks up behind you to talk about the Ides of March, ask him if the entire accounting department is planning on stabbing you on your way to the break room to get some more lousy office coffee. That’s a threat, and you can march Todd’s happy ass right into HR. How’s that for turnabout being fair play, Todd?


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