[MR] The Ides of March

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 15 03:16:35 PDT 2024

Noble friends,

The 15th day of March is known as "The Ides of March", which as everybody
probably knows is when Julius Caesar was offed. The term entered common
usage thanks to a line in Shakespeare's play THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR
(1599), when a soothsayer warns the general to "Beware the Ides of March."
This puts the topic barely within our period of interest.

"Ides" refers to the day before the middle day of the month in the rather
complicated Roman calendar, which was the 15th day in "full months", or the
13th day in "hollow months". "Full months had 31 days, while "hollow
months" had 29. February was just as screwed up as it is today, even then
having "leap years" with an extra day or two just to straighten things out.
Sort of. Then things got worse as various emperors played with the calendar
by shifting days around to try and make the calendar match the
seasons, inserting days here and there, and even occasional extra "leap"

So calendar chaos remained until Pope Gregory XIII came up with our current
calendar in 1582 because Easter had gotten waaaay out of whack. Thus we
ended up with some even numbered months, which don't have a middle day, and
"ides" no longer has any real meaning.

As a coincidental aside, there was an Irish female saint popularly named
"Saint Ides" who was active in the 5th and 6th centuries. She is more
formally known as Saint Íta of Killeedy, and her popular name has no
relationship to any calendar.

If you really want to make your head spin, you can read about the Roman
calendar at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ides_(calendar) .

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆
Continuing a crusade to keep Merry Rose relevant and in business.

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