Yes, the ides of March are upon us! “Beware the ides of March,” is what they say. Actually Shakespeare said it. Certainly to beware the Ides of March was good advice for Julius Caesar back in the day, but for the rest of us I think it’s quite sufficient to just keep our wits about us and to be approximately equally careful at all times of the year. Why just March 15? Why should March 15 portend anything, and what are ides anyway?
Firstly: ides in Latin just means the middle of a month. Two thousand plus years ago, the Romans divided their months not into thirty numbered days, but into three reference points – and ides was the middle one. Back in the day, the Ides of March was New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day. The first full moon of spring announced the new year – replete with religious precessions through the streets of Rome and sacrifices of sheep! So definitely beware the ides of March if you happen to be a sheep. Otherwise, it should be cool.
And in the ides of March spirit, here’s another contribution to the St. James Infirmary Compendium, dedicated to the memory of the great Cab Calloway. Check out the unbelievable Cab Calloway’s U Tubes.