March 15, 2009

Et tu Brute?

Beware the Ides of March truly applies to me today as my laptop sits there with its black screen daring me to reinstall Windows XP which Dell didn’t provide me with. So this Sunday morning my computer is my Brutus.

Since the soothsayer warned Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March” many of us connect the date with a bad omen or a sense of foreboding. Almost a Friday the 13th.

But in Roman times, the Ides of March was just a Latin way of saying “the 15th of March”.

The Roman calendar organized its months around three days, each of which served as a reference point for counting the other days:

  • Kalends (1st day of the month)
  • Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months)
  • Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months)

The remaining and unnamed days of the month were identified by counting backwards from the Kalends, Nones, or the Ides.

For instance, March 3 would be V Nones - 5 days before the Nones. So a Roman saying "Martius Quinque Nones" would be just as clear to other Romans as someone saying “March the 3rd."

Phew!! It's all Greek to me!


Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

huh I guess I never thought about what it meant! lol I guess I should have been paying more attention in High School English!! : )

giulia said...

Thanks for this, Hazel. So distracted that I forgot until I saw this...which is not good as my thesis was on...Julius Caesar:) Oh dear.

And buona fortuna with the computer. I feel your pain. Truly. Good Sunday.

xo, Susan

artslice said...

OK, thanks for clearing that up for me! :) hehe. I've often wondered what the true meaning of the Ides of March is, actually.
You have a lovely blog! Thanks for your kind words over at my blog... I've just 'followed' you. Be back soon!

Megan said...

Don't know if this will help? If not, leave him a comment. It's my brother's place, he's nice...

The Clever Pup said...

Megan, Thank you. That was very kind.

I've got a guy from a company called "Nerds on Site" paying a house call tomorrow. Hopefully he'll clear it all up.

sallymandy said...

Good luck with the computer, Hazel. Never fun when the screen goes blank.

Our daughter got a lesson about the Ides of March today from my husband, which he gives everyone every year regardless of whether we need it or not...:) I didn't know that about the mid points in the Greek month.