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What Does The Ides Of March Mean? It's Not All About The Assassination Of Julius Caesar

15 March 2015, 12:00 pm EDT By Laura Rosenfeld Tech Times
  ( Edward Gooch | Getty Images )

Who knew March was so festive? First, we had Pi Day on March 14, and now the Ides of March follows right behind it today, March 15.

However, the Ides of March aren't really something to celebrate. In fact, people may even greet you on this day by saying, "Beware the Ides of March." That sure doesn't sound very joyous. So what are the Ides of March, and should you really be worried about them?

The Latin root of "ides" means "to divide," so ides basically just denotes the middle of the month. The Roman calendar designates the 15th as the ides of March, May, July and October, and the 13th day is the ides for all other months.

At the time the Roman calendar was created, the phases of the moon determined the dates, and the full moon usually fell on either the 13th or 15th day of the month, which was referred to as the ides. March was the first month in the Roman calendar, so the Ides of March marked the first full moon of the year.

(Photo : Bill Ingalls | NASA via Getty Images)

However, a calendar is not what made the Ides of March famous. That was the assassination of Julius Caesar on March 15 in 44 B.C. One of history's most famous murder plots was organized by Marcus Brutus, a young protege of Caesar's, and Cassius Longinus, one of Caesar's subordinates, as a way to put an end to the power-hungry "dictator for life." A new book called The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss also makes a case for the contribution of a third conspirator, Decimus Brutus. They convinced a group of Roman senators to help them carry out the assassination at Pompey's Theater.

This scene was made famous by William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. In the play, the Soothsayer, essentially a fortune teller, tells Caesar to "Beware the Ides of March." Of course, Caesar ignores the Soothsayer's warnings, and you know what happened next.

(Photo : Hulton Archive | Getty Images)

Since then, the Ides of March has come to be known as an unlucky day, similar to Friday the 13th. But is it really such a bad day? Well, apparently a lot of other bad things have happened on this date throughout history, including a cyclone that hit Samoa in 1889, the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show in 1971, according to Smithsonian.com. Beware the Ides of March indeed.

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