Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March

Remember that from 10th Grade English? Do you know what it means? In literary terms, it has come bring a feeling of impending doom, that something bad is going to happen.
However, thanks to "Information, Please", I learned that it's something much, much more boring than that:

"The term Ides comes from the earliest Roman calendar, which is said to have been devised by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome. Whether it was Romulus or not, the inventor of this calendar had a penchant for complexity. 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, unnamed days of the month were identified by counting backwards from the Kalends, Nones, or the Ides. For example, March 3 would be V Nones—5 days before the Nones (the Roman method of counting days was inclusive; in other words, the Nones would be counted as one of the 5 days).

Days in March

March 1: Kalends; March 2: VI Nones; March 3: V Nones; March 4: IV Nones; March 5: III Nones; March 6: Pridie Nones (Latin for "on the day before"); March 7: Nones; March 15: Ides

Used in the first Roman calendar as well as in the Julian calendar (established by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C.E.) the confusing system of Kalends, Nones, and Ides continued to be used to varying degrees throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.

So, the Ides of March is just one of a dozen Ides that occur every month of the year. Kalends, the word from which calendar is derived, is another exotic-sounding term with a mundane meaning. Kalendrium means account book in Latin: Kalend, the first of the month, was in Roman times as it is now, the date on which bills are due."


Blogger thepowerguides said...

hhhmm well I must admit this year I have firmly believed the Ides Of March may well signify something more changing from a minor recession into a full blown world wide economic meltdown , we will see

PS thanks for the explanation and telling us what it really means


3/16/2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Wow - you're right! It WAS even more boring!

You're too funny!

3/17/2008 5:20 AM  

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