Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Reviewing The Ides Of March

Beware The Ides Of March

Julius Caesar
The famous line spoken to Julius Caesar by the seer, warning him to beware of the 15th day in March as harm was to come to him. It is said that as that infamous day was approaching its end, Julius saw the seer in the market and remarked that the day was almost over and nothing had happened. "Ahh, but the day is not gone," retorted the seer. Julius Caesar went on to the Senate of Rome and met with his death on that day, the Ides of March. 

During that time in our history, March in the Roman calendar was actually the first month of the year. The ides occurred in every month around the middle, usually the 13th except for the months of March, May, July and October. The Romans used the ides, whether in March or any month, as a reference point of determining days of the month. They did not count the days consecutively like we do now, but instead counted back from three points of interest. The Nones occurred around the 5th or 7th day depending on the length of the month in question, the Ides (13th or 15th) and the Kalends which was the first of the following month. Golly, it sure would have been difficult to quickly know what day it was! 

If you are a history buff, you know that on the 15th of March in the year of 44 B.C Julius Caesar was assassinated by of group of some 60 people led by Brutus and Cassius. This event led to a civil war, the end of the Roman Republic and the rise to power of Octavian who would later be known as Augustus Caesar. You can read the facts in a history book, you can see the play by William Shakespeare or read a book by a multitude of authors to find out more. 

One of my favorites about the man, Julius Caesar and the events that led up to that fateful day in March is The Ides of March: A Novel by Thornton Wilder. The book was first published in 1948 but is still fascinating to read today. It is a novel so much of the story is based on Wilder's interpretation of letters and historical facts about the ruler of the Roman Republic. What I like about it is that it gives us a possible insight of the man and the ruler. The book allows us to see this historical figure as a human being with strengths and weaknesses that we all have in our souls.

If you like to read historical fiction and are interested in the era of time that the Romans ruled much of the world, I think you will like this book. I believe it is a good read for the month of March.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

5 comments:

  1. The story of Rome, the Roman Empire, and the Caesars is so interesting and, of course, Julius Caesar stands out, especially around the 15th of March. It's amazing to learn how much was contributed by the Romans (I'm particularly enthralled by the aqueduct system and the way it was built). I'm just glad that we didn't keep the confusing parts of their calendar system! Thanks for the book recommendation, Bev!

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  2. The story of Rome, the Roman Empire, and the Caesars is so interesting and, of course, Julius Caesar stands out, especially around the 15th of March. It's amazing to learn how much was contributed by the Romans (I'm particularly enthralled by the aqueduct system and the way it was built). I'm just glad that we didn't keep the confusing parts of their calendar system! Thanks for the book recommendation, Bev!

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  3. We have several history buffs in our family and I am always searching for a gift idea. I very much appreciate this book review and recommendation. I, myself, found reading about the Roman calendar quite interesting. I've always thought the assassination of Julius Caesar was quite sad, especially since he was betrayed & murdered by friends.

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  4. I will have to take a look at this book! It sounds like something I would enjoy and my other half too!. Thanks Bev, for a great review...

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  5. It sounds like an interesting book. My friends and I always used to greet each other with that quote on March 15 when I was in high school. You did, though, with your explanation of ides wreck my fun of warning people about the ides of April. Now I see that the ides of April would not be on the 15th.

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