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The Ides of March

March 15, 2012 @ 14:10 By: gordon Category: General

In March, July, October, May
The Ides fall on the fifteenth day
The Nones the seventh; all besides
Have two days less for Nones and Ides.

That’s a handy poem to help you remember when the Ides fall, that I first mentioned in my 2008 entry about the Ides of March.

As you may know, the Ides of March was the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated by his enemies in the Pompeii Theatre in 44 BC. Included in the group of assassins was his friend, Brutus Albinus, which led Shakespeare to has Caesar utter the words “Et tu, Brute?” as he lay dying. Other possibly more reliable reports have him saying either “καὶ σύ, τέκνον?” (Greek for “You too, child?”) or nothing at all.

In any event, Julius Caesar’s death had been foretold by an Etruscan haruspex (a soothsayer or astrologer) named Titus Vestricius Spurinna who predicted at the beginning of March that some danger would befall him no later than the Ides of March. The morning of the 15th, Caesar bumped into Titus Spurinna and said “The Ides of March are come”, to which Spurinna replied “Yes, they are come, but they are not past.”

As it turned out, the haruspex had the last laugh.

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