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Old 08-21-10   #1
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Default Ides of March and the Calendar

Just an old article that I though might still be enjoyable to read regardless of its age.

Ides of March Nearly at Hand
WASHINGTON—The Ides of Maroh are come.
Thus once a year, at spring's approach, the days of Julius Caesar's Rome rise from a half-forgotten calendar,

It Is not so strange that this ancient time of full moon, 15th day of the month of Martius, should be remembered as a turning point for the seasons, even though It was Caesar's assassination that gave It fame.

Long before Caesar's time, March was the first month of the year, the National Geographic Society says. Its "Calendar" first day of the month (whence the word "calendar"), came supposedly at, the vernal equinox,
now usually March 21. But so badly did the Roman calendar fit the seasons that only two years before Caesar died, March was arriving In midsummer.

That old calendar was based on, the moon. There were 12 lunar months—Martinus, Aprllis, Iunius, Quintills, Sextilis, September, October, November, December, Ianuarius, and Februarius. They added up to only 355 days. But the seasons, then as now, took 365 1/4 days.

Thus occasionally a 13th month had to be inserted. It followed the 23rd day of February which then was known as "terminalia." The priests of pre-Christian Rome's Pontifical College had authority to decide when the leap year occurred and they often juggled the calendar for political ends.

Finally In 46 B.C. Caesar took the advice of the Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes and abandoned the lunar year. To bring the months back to their proper place, he gave the changeover year grand total of three extra months. It was rightly dubbed "the year of confusion."

Even under the workable new Julian calendar that went into effect on January 1, 45 B. C, the months still had Calends, Ides, and Nones. In the longer months of 31 days, the Ides fell on the 15th; In others, on the 13th. The Nones occurred on the ninth day before the Ides.

Roman dates were calculated as so many days before the Calends, Nones, or Ides.

The Julian calendar has had significant changes only a few times since the days of Caesar. Its year actually was 11 minutes and 14 seconds too long for the true solar year that guides the seasons. Thus the calendar "clock" ran slow, and the spring equinox came earlier and earlier In March.
In 1582 Pope proposed dropping ten days to bring it back to March 21.

The Gregorian calendar was only gradually adopted—not until 1752 In England and its American colonies, where even then the legal year began on March 25— but it remains the western world's standard to this day.

In China, Polynesia, Bablyon and Egypt, the ancient names of the months signified cHanges of the seasons and work on the land. In the Roman calendar, however, only two of the months reflected the workings of Nature: Aprilis, the month of opening, when buds unfold and spring comes green in new leaves and Maius, for Maia, a Goddess of growth.

March, or Martius, was the month Of the God of War, Mars. By ancient tradition, it was Mars who fathered the twin foundlngs Romulus and Remus', who were raised by a wolf and eventually founded, the city by the Tiber.

Article: The Daily News Record, Harrisonburg Virginia.Thursday, March 10, 1955
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Old 09-19-12   #2
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Default Re: Ides of March and the Calendar

I think Shakespeare misquoted Caesar. What he really said was "Beware the march of ideas".

maybe . . . .
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Old 03-12-13   #3
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Default Re: Ides of March and the Calendar

The Ides of March... for those of you in the North, does this resonate at all?

Does anyone mark them in any way?

*apart from those of us who love Shakespeare! *
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