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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The History of 'Beware the Ides of March'

Had it not been for Julius Caesar's death and a Shakespeare play, an ide would probably be most associated with its basic meaning, a full moon.

But alas, that isn't so.

On the date of the Roman calendar in 44 B.C. that corresponds with our March 15, the power-hungry Roman emperor was assassinated. Before that incident ancient Romans thought of an ide as simply one of several common calendar terms that marked monthly lunar events.

With the death of Julius Caesar, however, the phrase has since represented a specific day of abrupt change, one that forever changed Roman society and beyond, according to National Geographic .

"You can read in Cicero's letters from the months after the Ides of March. … He even says, 'The Ides changed everything,'" Josiah Osgood, an assistant professor of classics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., told the magazine in a 2004 article.


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