Today is the Ides of March and I’m thinking, are youuuuuuuuuu kidding? I mean, how much worse can things get? Still, we can’t just let the Ides of March come and go without noticing, can we?
In the interest of humor, something we BADLY need right now, I offer a reprint of last year’s Ides of March post–after which we can return to our regularly scheduled misery.
In Rome, The Ides of March referred to March 15, a day of celebration dedicated to the Roman god of war, Mars (not to be confused with the candy bar). You might say that the Ides of March celebration was the Festivus For The Rest Of Us.
There is one day that ingrained the words “Ides of March” forever in the minds of lovers of Shakespeare. The Ides of March was made famous for eternity in Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2, when the Soothsayer warned Caesar that March 15 would not turn out to be a very safe day for him.
Julius Caesar should have listened.
Ha! who calls?
Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Set him before me; let me see his face.
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.
What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.
Beware the ides of March.
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.
Now for those of you who have a Shakespearian mental block, basically what went on there was: Caesar was hanging out with a typically Rowdy Roman crowd with his lackeys all around him, when he heard a voice shouting his name above the crowd. So Caesar takes note and Casca tells everybody around them to shut the hell up. Now the Soothsayer is able to do what Soothsayers do: Soothsay.
Now, a Soothsayer in those days was someone who predicted things and foretold the future. They were kind of like the crackpots who constantly predict the end of the world, only Soothsayers were usually accurate. They never actually had names. They were always just The Soothsayer. So The Soothsayer warned Caesar to beware of March 15.
Caesar wants to know who the guy with the mouth is and Brutus tells him it’s a Soothsayer giving him a warning. Anyways, Caesar wants to see him up close and personal because he wants to make sure he heard right. So the Soothsayer tells him again to Beware of The Ides of March. And then Caesar does what every arrogant person in power does when he hears something he doesn’t want to hear: He calls the guy a crackpot and they move on.
We all know how well that worked out for him.
And look how well it worked out for the world of fine art:
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