Saturday, March 15, 2008

3-15-08: The Ides of March

I'm a bit of a history buff in some manner. So, after a big Pi Day celebration, and before St. Patrick's Day, I like to take notice of another important date: the Ides of March.

Whether or not Caesar was really assassinated on the Ides of March is up to some debate, though I don't know why. The date really isn't that important. What is important is how the term has taken on such a strange doomsday connotation.

It all started with Shakespear's play Julius Caesar, and the phrase "Beware the Ides of March" has come to be the age-old catch phrase for alarmists and Armageddon people. It's strange how one date has taken on such an odd meaning. I would be few people know when Caesar's birth day is. I have absolutely no idea. But I do know the day he died. Isn't that odd? Sure, there are many who remember the date of the JFK assassination and Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, but it's not like those days have taken on a doomsday stigma. Why is this? Is it simply because of the convenient location of the day in the middle of March?

The even stranger part is that the Ides of March is always right before the start of Spring. You'd think the doomsday date would be somewhere around Halloween or some time in late Autumn, right before Winter. Why before Spring? Who thinks of death and destruction when the snow melts and it gets nicer outside? I don't get it.

Now, there is some clarification to make: the Ides of March is simply a part of a phrase warning some one of impending doom. It's not a doomsday, per say. But there are people out there who treat it as such, since there really isn't another date in the calendar that has a similar history to it. "Beware the Ides of March" is usually said when things are looking bad for a person or an organization, or even a country. But why March...? Couldn't we find some other day in history where somebody important was killed, closer to Winter? Come on, people. We can do better.

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