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!