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Ides of March

Ides of March

Julius Caesar’s Forgotten Assassin

On March 15, 44 B.C. It was a little after noon on the Ides of March, as ...read more

Beware the Ides of March. But Why?

You've probably of heard the soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare's play of the same name: “Beware the Ides of March.” Not only did Shakespeare’s words stick, they branded the phrase—and the date, March 15—with a dark and gloomy connotation. It’s likely ...read more

Ides of March &ndash

Beware the Ides of March, or at least, be aware of when “the Ides” even takes place (March 15). The word “Ides” is derived from the Latin word “idus,” which refers to the middle day of any month in the ancient Roman calendar. The Ides are specifically the fifteenth day of the months of March, May, July, or October, and the thirteenth day of the remaining months. The Ides were the designated days for settling debt each month in the Roman empire and generally included the seven days preceding the Ides for this purpose. No doubt debtors who could not pay their debts considered the Ides to be unlucky days as they were typically thrown into prison or forced into slavery.


Peterik wrote "Vehicle" as a tongue-in-cheek joke, having been initially inspired by anti-drug pamphlets passed out to high-schoolers. [1] He expanded on the song's genesis in a piece for The Wall Street Journal:

At the time, I was madly in love with this girl named Karen. I had a souped-up 1964 Plymouth Valiant, and she was always asking for rides. I drove her to modeling school every week. I was hoping flames would ignite—but they didn't. I came home one day, dejected, and thought: all I am is her vehicle. And I thought: Wow! Vehicle! I came up with this song, taught it to the band, and the next thing I knew, we were recording in a CBS studio. [2]

Peterik had an on-again/off-again relationship with the woman after the song came out, and they eventually wed. [3]

Fourteen seconds of the completed "Vehicle" master tape (primarily the guitar solo) was accidentally erased in the recording studio. The missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take.

I remember that kind of feeling of experimentation. I also remember 14 seconds of the master of "Vehicle" being erased! We were doing background vocals and suddenly 14 seconds were gone from the master. No way to retrieve it. The second engineer had hit the wrong button. We spent two hours thinking our career is over, because at this time we knew we had something. Luckily, there was a Take One. They inserted 14 seconds of Take One and I redid the vocals. And now I hear it every time. From the second "Great God in heaven" all the way up to the guitar solo—-when you hear how abrupt that first note of the solo sounds, that's an edit.

It rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of May 23, 1970, [4] behind "American Woman" by the Guess Who. [5] It was considered to be the fastest-selling single in Warner Bros. Records history at that time. [6]

Beware, the Ides of March

The assisination of dictator Julius Caesar made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history, as one of the events that marked the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.

Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate on the 15th March 44 B.C, by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to him no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, “The Ides of March are come”, implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied “Aye, Caesar but not gone.” This meeting is famously dramatised in Shakespeare’s play Julius Ceasar.

Did you know?

Although March (Martius) was the third month of the Julian calender, in the oldest Roman calendar it was the first month of the year.

What does Ides mean?

Ides means “halfway through the month”, and comes from an old Latin verb iduare, meaning “to divide.” It was the Roman term for the day that came in the middle of each month. The Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year. The Ides of each month was sacred to Jupiter, the Roman supreme deity.

If you are lucky enough to be in Rome on the Ides of March, the fabulous Gruppo Storico Romano reenact the assasination of Julius Cesear in front of a large crowd at Largo Argentina, aka the scene of the crime.


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Early days Edit

The Ides of March began in Berwyn, Illinois (a near western suburb of Chicago) on October 16, 1964, as a four-piece band called "The Shon-Dels." Their first record, "Like It Or Lump It," was released on their own "Epitome" record label in 1965.

In 1966, after changing their name to The Ides of March (a name suggested by bassist Bob Bergland after reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in high school), the band released their first single on Parrot Records, "You Wouldn't Listen." The song reached #7 on WLS Chicago on June 17, 1966 and #42 on the Hot 100 on 23-30 July 1966. This record and its follow-ups (all pre-"Vehicle") have been re-released on the Sundazed Records CD Ideology.

In early 1967, trumpeter Steve Daniels was added. He was succeeded in late 1969 by two horn players, John Larsen and Chuck Soumar, with Bergland often doubled up on tenor saxophone.

  • "You Wouldn't Listen" / "I'll Keep Searching" (Parrot 304) 1966 (reached #7 in Chicago)
  • "Roller Coaster" / "Things Aren't Always What They Seem" (Parrot 310) 1966 (reached #14 in Chicago)
  • "You Need Love" / "Sha-La-La-Lee" (Parrot 312) 1966
  • "My Foolish Pride" / "Give Your Mind Wings" (Parrot 321) 1967
  • "Hole in My Soul" / "Girls Don't Grow on Trees" (Parrot 326) 1967**

(** these are the only two tracks they recorded in stereo during the Parrot years)

Ray Herr, a folk singer who had been gigging with another local outfit, the Legends of Time, joined the Ides as alternate lead singer, (alongside Peterik), and rhythm guitarist. This allowed Peterik to concentrate on lead guitar. Herr first appeared on "Girls Don’t Grow on Trees" in 1967.

Like Columbia's The Cryan' Shames, they had local success in the Chicago area without much label support. Unlike the Cryan' Shames, who issued three albums on Columbia, Parrot never scheduled an album for the Ides of March.

Success Edit

Having secured a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1970 the band released the track "Vehicle," which allegedly became the fastest-selling single in Warner's history. [2] Fourteen seconds of the completed "Vehicle" master tape (primarily the guitar solo) were accidentally erased in the recording studio. The missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take.

The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the corresponding Cash Box listings. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc in November 1972. [3] The following album, Vehicle, reached #55 nationally.

The band toured extensively throughout 1970 in support of many top acts, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin. The Ides of March were also among the participants in the "Festival Express" train tour documented in a 2003 film, although they were not featured in the film.

During the summer of 1970, Ray Herr was forced to leave the Ides to investigate his status with the local draft board. He changed his name to Ray Scott and formed the short-lived group Orphanage before relocating to Nashville to pursue a career in country music.

In 1971 the band released their second album Common Bond. The featured single was "L.A. Goodbye". The song was at #1 on regional charts for five weeks, #2 on WCFL Chicago, #5 on WLS Chicago, but only #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1972 the band moved to RCA Records and released World Woven. At this point, the band departed from the "brass" sound (though one song featured a single trumpet) and the album produced no hit singles.

In 1973 the Midnight Oil album was released. The band played its final show of their "first era" at Morton West High School in Berwyn that November.

Split Edit

Between 1973 and 1990, The Ides of March went on an extended hiatus, during which Jim Peterik co-founded [4] the band Survivor and co-wrote all of their platinum hits including "Eye of the Tiger," "The Search Is Over," "High on You" and "I Can't Hold Back".

He also began a career of writing collaborations which resulted in many platinum hits for other artists, most notably "Hold on Loosely," "Rockin' Into The Night," "Caught Up in You,""Fantasy Girl" and "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys" for .38 Special and "Heavy Metal" for Sammy Hagar.

Comeback Edit

In 1990 The Ides' home town of Berwyn offered to have the re-united group headline their "Summerfaire." The concert was attended by over 20,000 and the Ides returned to live performances. The following year they released their first new music since 1973, a four-song cassette EP entitled "Beware – The Ides of March". Trumpeter and backing vocalist Chuck Soumar is credited with being primarily responsible for reuniting the band.

In 1992 the album Ideology was released with re-recordings of "Vehicle", and "You Wouldn't Listen", plus new material.

In 1997 the five-track album "Age Before Beauty" was released, which included an instrumental of "Vehicle" and a new version of "Roller Coaster". And by 1998 the band wrote and released "Finally Next Year" to commemorate the Chicago Cubs' season. The song was included on a CD entitled The Cubs' Greatest Hits which was sold at all Major League ballparks. The song was used on many Cubs-themed radio and television programs.

Recent times Edit

By 2001, The Ides had expanded their schedule and returned to national touring. The band recorded a two-hour live performance for XM Satellite radio in Washington, D.C.. Also, "Vehicle" was used for an extensive national advertising campaign by General Motors.

A double live album, Beware: The Ides of March Live, captured their concert at the McAninch Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. This live set was released on Rhino Records in 2002. Handmade Records released Friendly Strangers, a double CD limited run set of the original Warner Bros. recordings.

In 2004 the Ides of March celebrated 40 years since their original formation, together with a series of multi-media shows emceed by Dick Biondi. The sold-out show at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois can be seen on the DVD, A Vehicle Through Time.

2005 saw "Vehicle" get further promotion when American Idol runner-up Bo Bice performed the song three times on the show. That same year, the Ides released their compilation CD, Ide Essentials. It included past hits ("Vehicle," and "You Wouldn't Listen") and versions of Survivor songs including "Eye of the Tiger", "High on You" and "Rebel Girl", as well as new material. It featured the new single "Come Dancing", and a re-release of the Ides' first recording "Like It or Lump It."

Up to date Edit

The Ides sang their Christmas carol "Sharing Christmas" to a capacity crowd at the 6 o'clock Mass at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral in 2005, at the request of the church's pastor, Father Dan Mayall. They sang along with Dick Biondi and have continued to perform at the cathedral's 6:00 Christmas Eve Mass since then. A total of four Christmas songs were recorded by them and appeared on the Sharing Christmas album copies were sold to raise funds for Holy Name Cathedral's Thursday Night Suppers.

In 2006 The Ides' first two albums, Vehicle and Common Bond, were nationally re-released on the Collector's Choice label. Sony BMG released Ides of March Extended Play nationally the album was culled from the band's live recordings.

In September 2010 the City of Berwyn, Illinois, dedicated Home Avenue between Riverside Drive and Cermak Road (the location of J. Sterling Morton High School West, the school most of the band members attended) to "Ides of March Way" in tribute of the band.

Ray Herr (born Raymond J. Herr, Jr. on September 24, 1947 in Arlington Heights, Illinois) died on March 29, 2011 in Hainesville, Illinois, from esophageal cancer at age 63. [5] [6] [7]

John Larson (born on November 6, 1949 in Elgin, Illinois) died on September 21, 2011 in Warsaw, Indiana, from cancer at the age of 61. [8] [9] [10]

Chuck Soumar quit the band in 2011 to pursue other interests.

In 2014 the Ides celebrated the 50th anniversary of the band. The original four members – Bergland, Borch, Millas and Peterik – are still playing together (after Peterik's hiatus to form Survivor). They have released a 50th anniversary career retrospective box set and a DVD called "Last Band Standing," and continue to write and record new music. At their anniversary concert on September 27, 2014, they received a citation from the State of Illinois honoring their achievement as well as their charity work (the band established a scholarship fund at their alma mater, Morton West High School in Berwyn, IL).

As of 2018, the band continues to tour, both by themselves and as part of the "Cornerstones Of Rock" series where they act as the house band for a variety of '60s-era Chicago-area bands. They are also in the writing stages for a brand-new album.

The real story behind the assassination of Julius Caesar

On Feb. 15, in the year 44 BC, Julius Caesar, the all-powerful ruler of Rome, visited a soothsayer named Spurinna, who “predicted the future by examining the internal organs of sacrificial animals,” among other omens.

“The Death of Caesar:
The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination”
by Barry Strauss
(Simon & Schuster)

As per the ritual, Caesar “sacrificed a bull,” and Spurinna “made the chilling announcement that the beast had no heart.”

Brave Caesar was “unmoved,” but Spurinna said that he feared Caesar’s life “might come to a bad end,” and warned the dictator that “his life would be in danger for the next 30 days.”

He did not say anything about the “Ides of March,” just one difference of many between the version of Caesar’s assassination presented by William Shakespeare and the likely truth, according to Cornell University history professor Barry Strauss’ new book, “The Death of Caesar.” Strauss pored through ancient texts to determine the truest possible version of the events surrounding the assassination of the legendary leader.

In 45 BC, Rome was emerging from five years of civil war and policy debates concerned the very nature of the Roman Republic. Caesar had just been declared Dictator for Ten Years by the Roman senate, and sought more.

He believed that the Republic was an entity whose time had come and gone, and that “only his genius offered the people of the empire peace and prosperity.” The Roman Senate, having grown comfortable with their own power, believed otherwise.

Caesar understood how to nurture the love of his people. His soldiers were well-paid, and he passed laws (over the Senate’s objections) helping the poor, including protecting them from abusive government officials.

Strauss points to Caesar refusing the crown from Mark Antony at the Lupercalia Fertility Festival as the final straw that hurt the public and senatorial perception of him Getty Images

In time, though, his hunger for power made even longtime admirers squeamish. In early 44 BC, in tribute to Caesar’s recent military victories, the Senate proclaimed him Rome’s Dictator in Perpetuity, and there had long been talk that Caesar sought to be King, an unacceptable occurrence for many Romans. After the obsequious Senate declared that upon his death, Caesar would become “an official god of the Roman state,” the perception became that Caesar was too power-mad for comfort.

Several incidents followed, including one where Caesar was perceived to mock the senators just after they’d voted him honors, that hurt public and senatorial perception of Caesar.

Strauss sees one episode as the final straw. On Feb. 15, Romans enjoyed the annual Lupercalia Fertility Festival, where “after a sacrifice, priests wearing only loincloths ran around central Rome and touched bystanders, especially women, with goatskin straps.”

Caesar sat atop the Speaker’s Platform in the Roman Forum, an 11-foot-high stand he’d use to address his subjects. At one point, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), the chief priest of Rome and Caesar’s cousin and longtime compatriot, approached the platform with a crown and placed it on Caesar’s head, proclaiming, “The people give this to you though me.” As the stunned crowd stood silent, Caesar removed it, and “Antony tried again, only to get the same response.” Having rejected the crown, Caesar told the crowd, “Jupiter alone of the Romans is King.”

The reasons for Antony’s actions are unclear — he may have been trying to flatter Caesar, or perhaps convince him to give up his breathless quest for power — but many believed it a test engineered by Caesar himself to preview the people’s reactions should he be made king.

For many, this was the final proof they needed that Caesar’s ambition had turned dangerous. In the eyes of increasing numbers, Caesar had to be taken down.

Busts of Marcus Junius Brutus ( left, by Michelangelo, 1539) and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Strauss says the two enlisted the help of a third man to help carry out Caesar’s assassination. Getty Images (left)

Shakespeare cites two men, Gaius Cassius Longinus (Cassius) and Marcus Junius Brutus (Brutus), as having ignited the conspiracy against Caesar. Strauss says the bard was two-thirds correct.

Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus (Decimus) was a great general and a close friend of Caesar’s who rose in the ranks to become one of the most powerful men in Rome. But in a culture where the concept of “dignitas” — a complex term that meant not just dignity, but also worth, prestige and honor — was the “cherished ideal,” a life spent in Caesar’s shadow rendered Decimus uneasy.

Cassius, a general and senator, had several motives for wanting Caesar dead.

In addition to fearing his ambition, he had been passed over for several high-level positions and faced rumors that Caesar slept with his wife.

When Cassius began to seek out co-conspirators, he found that he could “manage the conspiracy but lacked the authority to lead it.”

Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus had Caesar’s full confidence and was the final piece in Cassius and Brutus’ plot. Wikipedia

For this, he needed Brutus, another high-level military man and politician who came from “one of the oldest families in the Republic,” and had just enough populist appeal to win over the people, thereby increasing the chances that the conspirators would survive the assassination.

As others warmed to Cassius’ conspiracy, they began a “public-relations campaign” to “persuade Brutus to act.” Graffiti began popping up in locations where Brutus worked, reading, “If only now you were Brutus,” “If only Brutus were alive,” “Brutus, wake up!” and “You aren’t really Brutus.”

This, combined with persuasion from Cassius and Brutus’ principled opposition to tyrants, drove Brutus against Caesar.

Decimus was the final piece of the puzzle, since, as “a close friend of Caesar’s,” he was the only one with the ruler’s full confidence.

(In Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar,” Strauss notes, Decimus is “misnamed as Decius” and shunted to a minor role.)

The soothsayer warns Caesar of the Ides of March. Caesar originally cancelled his appearance in the Senate on March 15th, but went after Decimus mocked his fears and said the senators would look at him as weak if he didn’t attend. Getty Images

The three recruited approximately 60 men to join them, including Caesar supporters who felt inadequately compensated for military victories and were angered by Caesar’s policy of clemency for conquered peoples, as “they wanted to see their former enemies humbled, not raised to equality.”

For security reasons, the conspirators met in small groups in people’s homes and forewent the usual conspiracy ritual of taking pledges over sacrificial animals. They had barely a month to act, as Caesar was leaving for the Parthian War on March 18 and would be surrounded by his army from then on.

They decided to kill Caesar in the Senate House. They felt it would be the safest place, since no weapons were allowed in the Senate, several senators were involved and Caesar’s other friends would not be there to protect him.

On March 15, Caesar was scheduled to attend a meeting in the Senate. The purpose was procedural business, but a rumor was spreading that there would be a proposal to crown Caesar king.
That morning, Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, woke from a nightmare that saw her husband murdered — probably a result of her recalling the soothsayer’s earlier warning — and begged Caesar not to attend the meeting.

He shared his wife’s bad feelings about the day, especially after telling Spurinna, “The Ides of March have come,” and having the soothsayer respond, “Aye, they have come but not gone.” (The infamous “Beware the Ides of March” was never actually spoken in that form.)

Caesar, fearing the omens, cancelled his appearance in the Senate. The conspirators, then, had to persuade him to change his mind. His close friend Decimus was chosen for the task.

In an ultimate act of betrayal, Decimus, who served Caesar closely for more than a decade and was well-rewarded for his efforts, met with Caesar at his home. He told the ruler that he “should not risk disappointing the Senate, or worse, seeming to insult or mock it.” He convinced the ruler that if he failed to show for the meeting, the senators would look upon him as “a tyrant or a weakling.” He also mocked the soothsayer and the visions of Caesar’s wife, saying, “Will someone of your stature pay attention to the dreams of a woman and the omens of foolish men?”

Decimus’ prodding worked. He had succeeded in luring his dear old friend to his death.

Inside the Senate House, at around noon, Caesar took a seat on his golden throne as his enemies took the stage, having snuck in daggers under their togas or in their slaves’ baskets.

Caesar’s assassins snuck in the daggers under their togas or inside their slaves baskets. Getty Images

“Some of the conspirators stood behind his chair,” Strauss writes, “while others gathered around him, as if they were going to pay their respects or bring some matter to his attention. They were really forming a perimeter.” Strauss says it’s likely that Caesar was initially surrounded by around 12 men, with more prepared to join a “second wave.”

Once the meeting was underway, Caesar, as per the plan, was approached by Tillius Cimber, a “hard-drinking scrapper” who “had Caesar’s favor,” and presented “a petition on behalf of his exiled brother.”

As he made his point, Cimber “disrespected Caesar by coming up to him with his hands out instead of keeping them humbly beneath his toga. Then, Cimber took hold of Caesar’s toga and held it so tightly that he kept Caesar from getting up.” Finally, Cimber “pulled the toga from Caesar’s shoulder.”

“Why, this is violence!” screamed the enraged leader, who understood all too quickly — and yet, too late — that the omens had been correct.

“As agreed on in advance,” writes Strauss, “pulling down Caesar’s toga was the signal to start the attack.”

Publius Servilius Casca, a friend of Caesar’s and an “experienced killer,” was given “the honor of the first blow.”

Casca swung his knife toward Caesar’s neck, but stabbed him in the chest instead, as Caesar was now thrashing to defend himself. He likely swatted Casca away, but the blows from others were coming too quickly.

Pulling Caesar’s toga was the signal to begin the attack. Getty Images

Casca’s brother, Gaius Casca, “delivered the second blow, which struck the dictator in the ribs,” and his other attackers descended, encircling Caesar and mutilating his body. Many of the key conspirators got shots in, with Cassius “plant[ing] a slanting blow across the face,” Decimus striking “deep under the ribs,” and Brutus, who himself received a slash across the hand from Cassius in the melee, likely connecting with Caesar’s thigh.

Strauss notes that throughout this, Caesar never cried out, “Et tu, Brute,” proclaiming the phrase a “Renaissance invention.”

It is believed that Gaius Casca’s blow was the fatal one, and that those who thrusted after stabbed Caesar’s dead body simply so they could proclaim their involvement. Caesar likely received 23 stab wounds and died within minutes.

The conspirators immediately hit the streets, seeking public support by denouncing Caesar as a tyrant and boasting of how they’d return Rome to glory as a Republic. So assured were they of obtaining this support that they walked “with their daggers drawn and their hands still bloody.”

But both the public and Caesar’s army were more divided than they’d hoped. Ultimately, Brutus and Cassius went into battle against Caesar supporters Mark Antony and Gaius Octavius (Octavian), with each side having anywhere from 50,000-100,000 men.

Antony captured Decimus, ordering his death, then soundly defeated Cassius’ forces. Cassius mistakenly thought Brutus had been beaten by then as well, and, believing all was lost, had one of his men decapitate him. Brutus, then seeing his own defeat as inevitable, killed himself.

Antony and Octavian divided Rome and its territories between them, and after Antony’s death, Octavian became Caesar Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire.

In time, Julius Caesar would be remembered not as power-hungry but as a great leader, with many Roman rulers after him taking on Caesar as a title. “The German ‘kaiser’ and the Russian ‘tsar,’ ” Strauss notes, “derive from Caesar.

“Far from condemning Caesar as a tyrant, people mourn him as a martyr. Caesar’s genius and his sympathy for the poor live on while his war against the Republic in favor of one-man rule . . . [is] forgotten.”

Ides of March Senate Meeting Place

Rather, Caesar was assassinated near the statue of Pompey at the Theatrum Pompeium (pictured at left in the Largo di Torre Argentina in modern-day Rome), where the Senate used to meet at that time during the Roman republic. This precinct is now a voluntary Cat Sanctuary (as you can see the white cat in the center of my photo.)

I counted over a dozen homeless cats. Local women regularly feed them. I was told they are fed spaghetti, but I don’t know. In the 20th century, they were fed tripe.

Marc Antony would have delivered his Shakespearean speech:

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears”

…from the Rostra of the Forum(pictured at right), directly across from the Curia.

Ides of March Marked Murder of Julius Caesar

Since the time of ancient Rome, people haven't given much thought to the Calends of April or the Nones of May. But the Ides of March still resonates today as a day of infamy, due to the murder of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.

Julius Caesar's bloody assassination on March 15, 44 B.C., forever marked March 15, or the Ides of March, as a day of infamy. It has fascinated scholars and writers ever since.

For ancient Romans living before that event, however, an ides was merely one of several common calendar terms used to mark monthly lunar events. The ides simply marked the appearance of the full moon.

But the Ides of March assumed a whole new identity after the events of 44 B.C. The phrase came to represent a specific day of abrupt change that set off a ripple of repercussions throughout Roman society and beyond.

Josiah Osgood, an assistant professor of classics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said: "You can read in Cicero's letters from the months after the Ides of March. … He even says, 'The Ides changed everything.'"

By the time of Caesar, Rome had a long-established republican government headed by two consuls with joint powers. Praetors were one step below consuls in the power chain and handled judicial matters. A body of citizens forming the Senate proposed legislation, which general people's assemblies then approved by vote. A special temporary office, that of dictator, was established for use only during times of extreme civil unrest.

The Romans had no love for kings. According to legend, they expelled their last one in 509 B.C. While Caesar had made pointed and public displays of turning down offers of kingship, he showed no reluctance to accept the office of "dictator for life" in February 44 B.C. According to Osgood, this action may have sealed his fate in the minds of his enemies. "We can see [now] that that was enough to get him killed," Osgood said.

Caesar had pushed the envelope for some time before his death. "Caesar was the first living Roman ever to appear on the coinage," Osgood said. Normally, the honor was reserved for deities. He notes that some historians suspect that Caesar might have been attempting to establish a cult in his honor in a move towards deification.

It is unclear if Caesar was aware of the plot to kill him on March 15 in 44 B.C. But Caesar was not oblivious to the mounting danger of a backlash, noted Charles McNelis, an assistant professor of classics and Osgood's colleague at Georgetown University.

The plot's conspirators, who termed themselves "the liberators," had to move quickly. "Caesar had plans to leave Rome on March 18th for a military campaign in Parthia, the region around modern-day Iraq. So the conspirators did not have much time," McNelis said. Whether or not Caesar was a true tyrant is debated still to this day. It is safe to say, however, that in the mind of Marcus Brutus, who helped mastermind the attack, the threat Caesar posed to the republican system was clear.

Brutus's involvement in the murder is made tragic given his close affiliations with Caesar. His mother, Servilia, was one of Caesar's lovers. And although Brutus had fought against Caesar during Rome's recent civil war, he was spared from death and later promoted by Caesar to the office of praetor.

"Caesar had always … tried to cultivate talent that he saw in younger people," Osgood said. "And Brutus was no exception."

Brutus, however, was torn in his allegiance to Caesar, Osgood noted. Brutus's family had a tradition of rejecting authoritarian powers. Ancestor Junius Brutus was credited with throwing out the last king of Rome, Tarquin Superbus, in 509 B.C. Ahala, An ancestor of Marcus Brutus's mother, had killed another tyrant, Spurius Maelius. This lineage, coupled with a strong interest in the Greek idea of tyranicide, disposed Brutus to have little patience with perceived power grabbers.

The final blow came when his uncle Cato, a father figure to Brutus, killed himself after losing in a battle against Caesar in 46 B.C. Brutus may have felt shame over accepting Caesar's clemency and obligation to do Cato honor by continuing his quest to "save" the republic from Caesar, Osgood speculated.

It is this moral dilemma that has caused debate over whether or not Brutus should be branded a villain. Plutarch's Life of Brutus, Osgood noted, is quite sympathetic in comparison to surviving documents naming other enemies of Caesar and his successors.

Shakespeare later used Plutarch's Brutus as one of the bases for his play Julius Caesar,where Brutus is portrayed as a tragic hero and Caesar as an unequivocal tyrant. The poet Dante, however, took a different stance: Brutus, in killing the man who spared him, was doomed to the lowest levels of hell. "He's perceived not as a liberator but [as] somebody who threatened the stability of the political system," McNelis said.

Scholars disagree on just who was the on the side of "good." McNelis believes neither side is entirely in the clear. "We need to realize that we're dealing with very brutal and ruthless men on both sides."

In the end, the legacy of power Caesar established lived on through his heir Octavian, who later became Rome's first emperor, also known as Imperator Caesar Augustus. The Ides of March remained a pithy reminder to future rulers, according to McNelis. "Octavian seems to have been aware of the problems of presenting himself as Caesar had. … The Ides became a lesson in political self-presentation," he said.


Prehistoric lunar calendar Edit

The original Roman calendar is believed to have been an observational lunar calendar [1] whose months began from the first signs of a new crescent moon. Because a lunar cycle is about 29 + 1 ⁄ 2 days long, such months would have varied between 29 and 30 days . Twelve such months would have fallen 10 or 11 days short of the solar year without adjustment, such a year would have quickly rotated out of alignment with the seasons in the manner of the Islamic calendar. Given the seasonal aspects of the later calendar and its associated religious festivals, this was presumably avoided through some form of intercalation or the suspension of the calendar during winter.

Rome's 8-day week, the nundinal cycle, was shared with the Etruscans, who used it as the schedule of royal audiences. It was presumably a part of the early calendar and was credited in Roman legend variously to Romulus and Servius Tullius.

Legendary 10 month calendar Edit

The Romans themselves described their first organized year as one with ten fixed months, each of 30 or 31 days . [2] [3] Such a decimal division fitted general Roman practice. [4] The four 31 day months were called "full" (pleni) and the others "hollow" (cavi). [5] [6] Its 304 days made up exactly 38 nundinal cycles. The system is usually said to have left the remaining 50 odd days of the year as an unorganized "winter", although Licinius Macer's lost history apparently stated the earliest Roman calendar employed intercalation instead [7] [8] and Macrobius claims the 10 month calendar was allowed to shift until the summer and winter months were completely misplaced, at which time additional days belonging to no month were simply inserted into the calendar until it seemed things were restored to their proper place. [9] [10]

Later Roman writers credited this calendar to Romulus, [11] [12] their legendary first king and culture hero, although this was common with other practices and traditions whose origin had been lost to them. Some scholars doubt the existence of this calendar at all, as it is only attested in late Republican and Imperial sources and supported only by the misplaced names of the months from September to December. [13] Rüpke also finds the coincidence of the length of the supposed "Romulan" year with the length of the first ten months of the Julian calendar to be suspicious. [ clarification needed ] [13]

Calendar of Romulus
English Latin Meaning Length
in days
[2] [3]
March Mensis Martius Month of Mars 31
April Mensis Aprilis Month of Apru (Aphrodite) [14] 30 0
May Mensis Maius Month of Maia [15] 31
June Mensis Iunius Month of Juno 30
July Mensis Quintilis
Mensis Quinctilis [16]
Fifth Month 31
August Mensis Sextilis Sixth Month 30
September Mensis September Seventh Month 30
October Mensis October Eighth Month 31
November Mensis November Ninth Month 30
December Mensis December Tenth Month 30
length of the year: 304

Other traditions existed alongside this one, however. Plutarch's Parallel Lives recounts that Romulus's calendar had been solar but adhered to the general principle that the year should last for 360 days. Months were employed secondarily and haphazardly, with some counted as 20 days and others as 35 or more. [17] [18]

Republican calendar Edit

The Romans did not follow the usual Greek practice in alternating 29- and 30-day months and a 29- or 30-day intercalary month every other year. Instead, their 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 8th months [a] had 31 days each all the other months had 29 days except February, which had 28 days in common years, for a total of 355 days. The Roman intercalary month always had 27 days, but was placed within the month of February alternating between after the Terminalia on the 23rd (a.d. VII Kal. Mart.), and after the following day on the 24th the remaining days of February were replaced by the corresponding days of Mercedonius [19] (these last 6 or 7 days of February were actually named and counted inclusively in days before the calends of March and were traditionally part of the celebration for the new year). This seems to have arisen from Roman superstitions concerning the numbering and order of the months. [ citation needed ] The arrangement of the Roman calendar similarly seems to have arisen from Pythagorean superstitions concerning the luckiness of odd numbers. [20]

These Pythagorean-based changes to the Roman calendar were generally credited by the Romans to Numa Pompilius, Romulus's successor and the second of Rome's seven kings, [ citation needed ] as were the two new months of the calendar. [21] [22] [b] Most sources thought he had established intercalation with the rest of his calendar. [ citation needed ] Although Livy's Numa instituted a lunar calendar, the author claimed the king had instituted a 19-year system of intercalation equivalent to the Metonic cycle [23] centuries before its development by Babylonian and Greek astronomers. [c] Plutarch's account claims he ended the former chaos of the calendar by employing 12 months totaling 354 days—the length of the lunar and Greek years—and biennial intercalary months of 22 days. [17] [18]

According to Livy's Periochae, the beginning of the consular year changed from March to January 1 in 153 BC to respond to a rebellion in Hispania. [25] Plutarch believed Numa was responsible for placing January and February first in the calendar [17] [18] Ovid states January began as the first month and February the last, with its present order owing to the Decemvirs. [26] [27] W. Warde Fowler believed the Roman priests continued to treat January and February as the last months of the calendar throughout the Republican period. [28]

According to the later writers Censorinus and Macrobius, to correct the mismatch of the correspondence between months and seasons due to the excess of one day of the Roman average year over the solar year, the insertion of the intercalary month was modified according to the scheme: common year (355 days), leap year with 22-day Mercedonius (377 days), common year, leap year with 23-day Mercedonius (378 days), and so on for the first 16 years of a 24-year cycle. In the last 8 years, the intercalation took place with the month of Mercedonius only 22 days, except the last intercalation which did not happen. Hence, there would be a typical common year followed by a leap year of 377 days for the next 6 years and the remaining 2 years would sequentially be common years. The result of this twenty-four-year pattern was of great precision for the time: 365.25 days, as shown by the following calculation:

The consuls' terms of office were not always a modern calendar year, but ordinary consuls were elected or appointed annually. The traditional list of Roman consuls used by the Romans to date their years began in 509 BC. [31]

Flavian reform Edit

Gnaeus Flavius, a secretary (scriba) to censor App. Claudius Caecus, introduced a series of reforms in 304 BC. [32] Their exact nature is uncertain, although he is thought to have begun the custom of publishing the calendar in advance of the month, depriving the priests of some of their power but allowing for a more consistent calendar for official business. [33]

Julian reform Edit

Julius Caesar, following his victory in his civil war and in his role as pontifex maximus, ordered a reformation of the calendar in 46 BC. This was undertaken by a group of scholars apparently including the Alexandrian Sosigenes [34] and the Roman M. Flavius. [35] [30] Its main lines involved the insertion of ten additional days throughout the calendar and regular intercalation of a single leap day every fourth year to bring the Roman calendar into close agreement with the solar year. The year 46 BC was the last of the old system and included 3 intercalary months, the first inserted in February and two more—Intercalaris Prior and Posterior—before the kalends of December.

Later reforms Edit

After Caesar's assassination, Mark Antony had Caesar's birth month Quintilis renamed July (Iulius) in his honor. After Antony's defeat at Actium, Augustus assumed control of Rome and, finding the priests had (owing to their inclusive counting) been intercalating every third year instead of every fourth, suspended the addition of leap days to the calendar for one or two decades until its proper position had been restored. See Julian calendar: Leap year error. In 8 BC, the plebiscite Lex Pacuvia de Mense Augusto renamed Sextilis August (Augustus) in his honor. [36] [37] [30] [d]

In large part, this calendar continued unchanged under the Roman Empire. (Egyptians used the related Alexandrian calendar, which Augustus had adapted from their wandering ancient calendar to maintain its alignment with Rome's.) A few emperors altered the names of the months after themselves or their family, but such changes were abandoned by their successors. Diocletian began the 15-year indiction cycles beginning from the AD 297 census [31] these became the required format for official dating under Justinian. Constantine formally established the 7-day week by making Sunday an official holiday in 321. [ citation needed ] Consular dating became obsolete following the abandonment of appointing nonimperial consuls in AD 541. [31] The Roman method of numbering the days of the month never became widespread in the Hellenized eastern provinces and was eventually abandoned by the Byzantine Empire in its calendar.

Roman dates were counted inclusively forward to the next one of three principal days within each month: [38]

  • Kalends (Kalendae or Kal.), the 1st day of each month [38]
  • Nones (Nonae or Non.), the 7th day of full months [39] and 5th day of hollow ones, [38] 8 days—"nine" by Roman reckoning—before the Ides in every month
  • Ides (Idus, variously Eid. or Id.), the 15th day of full months [39] and the 13th day of hollow ones, [38] one day earlier than the middle of each month.

These are thought to reflect a prehistoric lunar calendar, with the kalends proclaimed after the sighting of the first sliver of the new crescent moon a day or two after the new moon, the nones occurring on the day of the first-quarter moon, and the ides on the day of the full moon. The kalends of each month were sacred to Juno and the ides to Jupiter. [40] [41] The day before each was known as its eve (pridie) the day after each (postridie) was considered particularly unlucky.

The days of the month were expressed in early Latin using the ablative of time, denoting points in time, in the contracted form "the 6th December Kalends" (VI Kalendas Decembres). [39] In classical Latin, this use continued for the three principal days of the month [42] but other days were idiomatically expressed in the accusative case, which usually expressed a duration of time, and took the form "6th day before the December Kalends" (ante diem VI Kalendas Decembres). This anomaly may have followed the treatment of days in Greek, [43] reflecting the increasing use of such date phrases as an absolute phrase able to function as the object of another preposition, [39] or simply originated in a mistaken agreement of dies with the preposition ante once it moved to the beginning of the expression. [39] In late Latin, this idiom was sometimes abandoned in favor of again using the ablative of time.

The kalends were the day for payment of debts and the account books (kalendaria) kept for them gave English its word calendar. The public Roman calendars were the fasti, which designated the religious and legal character of each month's days. The Romans marked each day of such calendars with the letters: [44]

  • F (fastus, "permissible") on days when it was legal to initiate action in the courts of civil law (dies fasti, "allowed days")
  • C (comitialis) on fasti days during which the Roman people could hold assemblies (dies comitiales)
  • N (nefastus) on days when political and judicial activities were prohibited (dies nefasti)
  • NP (uncertain) [e] on public holidays (feriae)
  • QRCF (uncertain) [f] on days when the "king" (rex sacrorum) could convene an assembly
  • EN (endotercissus, an archaic form of intercissus, "halved") on days when most political and religious activities were prohibited in the morning and evening due to sacrifices being prepared or offered but were acceptable for a period in the middle of the day

Each day was also marked by a letter from A to H to indicate its place within the nundinal cycle of market days.

The nundinae were the market days which formed a kind of weekend in Rome, Italy, and some other parts of Roman territory. By Roman inclusive counting, they were reckoned as "ninth days" although they actually occurred every eighth day. Because the republican and Julian years were not evenly divisible into eight-day periods, Roman calendars included a column giving every day of the year a nundinal letter from A to H marking its place in the cycle of market days. Each year, the letter used for the markets would shift 2–5 letters along the cycle. As a day when the city swelled with rural plebeians, they were overseen by the aediles and took on an important role in Roman legislation, which was supposed to be announced for three nundinal weeks (between 17 and 24 days ) in advance of its coming to a vote. The patricians and their clients sometimes exploited this fact as a kind of filibuster, since the tribunes of the plebs were required to wait another three-week period if their proposals could not receive a vote before dusk on the day they were introduced. Superstitions arose concerning the bad luck that followed a nundinae on the nones of a month or, later, on the first day of January. Intercalation was supposedly used to avoid such coincidences, even after the Julian reform of the calendar.

The 7-day week began to be observed in Italy in the early imperial period, [46] as practitioners and converts to eastern religions introduced Hellenistic and Babylonian astrology, the Jewish Saturday sabbath, and the Christian Lord's Day. The system was originally used for private worship and astrology but had replaced the nundinal week by the time Constantine made Sunday (dies Solis) an official day of rest in AD 321. The hebdomadal week was also reckoned as a cycle of letters from A to G these were adapted for Christian use as the dominical letters.

The names of Roman months originally functioned as adjectives (e.g., the January kalends occur in the January month) before being treated as substantive nouns in their own right (e.g., the kalends of January occur in January). Some of their etymologies are well-established: January and March honor the gods Janus [47] and Mars [48] July and August honor Julius Caesar [49] and his successor, the emperor Augustus [50] and the months Quintilis, [51] Sextilis, [52] September, [53] October, [54] November, [55] and December [56] are archaic adjectives formed from the ordinal numbers from 5 to 10 , their position in the calendar when it began around the spring equinox in March. [53] Others are uncertain. February may derive from the Februa festival or its eponymous februa ("purifications, expiatory offerings"), whose name may be either Sabine or preserve an archaic word for sulphuric. [57] April may relate to the Etruscan goddess Apru or the verb aperire ("to open"). [ citation needed ] May and June may honor Maia [58] and Juno [59] or derive from archaic terms for "senior" and "junior". A few emperors attempted to add themselves to the calendar after Augustus, but without enduring success.

In classical Latin, the days of each month were usually reckoned as: [42]

Dates after the ides count forward to the kalends of the next month and are expressed as such. For example, March 19 was expressed as "the 14th day before the April Kalends" (a.d. XIV Kal. Apr.), without a mention of March itself. The day after a kalends, nones, or ides was also often expressed as the "day after" (postridie) owing to their special status as particularly unlucky "black days".

The anomalous status of the new 31-day months under the Julian calendar was an effect of Caesar's desire to avoid affecting the festivals tied to the nones and ides of various months. However, because the dates at the ends of the month all counted forward to the next kalends, they were all shifted by one or two days by the change. This created confusion with regard to certain anniversaries. For instance, Augustus's birthday on the 23rd day of September was a.d. VIII Kal. Oct. in the old calendar but a.d. IX Kal. Oct. under the new system. The ambiguity caused honorary festivals to be held on either or both dates.

The Republican calendar only had 355 days, which meant that it would quickly unsynchronize from the solar year, causing, for example, agricultural festivals to occur out of season. The Roman solution to this problem was to periodically lengthen the calendar by adding extra days within February. February was broken into two parts, each with an odd number of days. The first part ended with the Terminalia on the 23rd (a.d. VII Kal. Mart.), which was considered the end of the religious year the five remaining days beginning with the Regifugium on the 24th (a.d. VI Kal. Mart.) formed the second part and the intercalary month Mercedonius was inserted between them. In such years, the days between the ides and the Regifugium were counted down to either the Intercalary Kalends or to the Terminalia. The intercalary month counted down to nones and ides on its 5th and 13th day in the manner of the other short months. The remaining days of the month counted down towards the March Kalends, so that the end of Mercedonius and the second part of February were indistinguishable to the Romans, one ending on a.d. VII Kal. Mart. and the other picking up at a.d. VI Kal. Mart. and bearing the normal festivals of such dates.

Apparently because of the confusion of these changes or uncertainty as to whether an intercalary month would be ordered, dates after the February ides are attested as sometimes counting down towards the Quirinalia (Feb. 17), the Feralia (Feb. 21), or the Terminalia (Feb. 23) [60] rather than the intercalary or March kalends.

The third-century writer Censorinus says:

When it was thought necessary to add (every two years) an intercalary month of 22 or 23 days , so that the civil year should correspond to the natural (solar) year, this intercalation was in preference made in February, between the Terminalia [23rd] and Regifugium [24th]. [61]

The fifth-century writer Macrobius says that the Romans intercalated 22 and 23 days in alternate years (Saturnalia, 1.13.12) the intercalation was placed after 23 February and the remaining five days of February followed (Saturnalia, 1.13.15). To avoid the nones falling on a nundine, where necessary an intercalary day was inserted "in the middle of the Terminalia, where they placed the intercalary month". [62]

This is historically correct. In 167 BC Intercalaris began on the day after 23 February [63] and in 170 BC it began on the second day after 23 February. [64] Varro, writing in the first century BC, says "the twelfth month was February, and when intercalations take place the five last days of this month are removed." [65] Since all the days after the Ides of Intercalaris were counted down to the beginning of March Intercalaris had either 27 days (making 377 for the year) or 28 (making 378 for the year).

There is another theory which says that in intercalary years February had 23 or 24 days and Intercalaris had 27. No date is offered for the Regifugium in 378-day years. [66] Macrobius describes a further refinement whereby, in one 8-year period within a 24-year cycle, there were only three intercalary years, each of 377 days. This refinement brings the calendar back in line with the seasons, and averages the length of the year to 365.25 days over 24 years.

The Pontifex Maximus determined when an intercalary month was to be inserted. On average, this happened in alternate years. The system of aligning the year through intercalary months broke down at least twice: the first time was during and after the Second Punic War. It led to the reform of the 191 BC Acilian Law on Intercalation, the details of which are unclear, but it appears to have successfully regulated intercalation for over a century. The second breakdown was in the middle of the first century BC and may have been related to the increasingly chaotic and adversarial nature of Roman politics at the time. The position of Pontifex Maximus was not a full-time job it was held by a member of the Roman elite, who would almost invariably be involved in the machinations of Roman politics. Because the term of office of elected Roman magistrates was defined in terms of a Roman calendar year, a Pontifex Maximus would have reason to lengthen a year in which he or his allies were in power or shorten a year in which his political opponents held office.

As mentioned above, Rome's legendary 10-month calendar notionally lasted for 304 days but was usually thought to make up the rest of the solar year during an unorganized winter period. The unattested but almost certain lunar year and the pre-Julian civil year were 354 or 355 days long, with the difference from the solar year more or less corrected by an irregular intercalary month. The Julian year was 365 days long, with a leap day doubled in length every fourth year, almost equivalent to the present Gregorian system.

The calendar era before and under the Roman kings is uncertain but dating by regnal years was common in antiquity. Under the Roman Republic, from 509 BC, years were most commonly described in terms of their reigning ordinary consuls. [31] (Temporary and honorary consuls were sometimes elected or appointed but were not used in dating.) [31] Consular lists were displayed on the public calendars. After the institution of the Roman Empire, regnal dates based on the emperors' terms in office became more common. Some historians of the later republic and early imperial eras dated from the legendary founding of the city of Rome (ab urbe condita or AVC ). [31] Varro's date for this was 753 BC but other writers used different dates, varying by several decades. [ citation needed ] Such dating was, however, never widespread. After the consuls waned in importance, most Roman dating was regnal [68] or followed Diocletian's 15-year Indiction tax cycle. [31] These cycles were not distinguished, however, so that "year 2 of the indiction" may refer to any of 298, 313, 328, &c. [31] The Orthodox subjects of the Byzantine Empire used various Christian eras, including those based on Diocletian's persecutions, Christ's incarnation, and the supposed age of the world.

The Romans did not have records of their early calendars but, like modern historians, assumed the year originally began in March on the basis of the names of the months following June. The consul M. Fulvius Nobilior (r. 189 BC) wrote a commentary on the calendar at the Temple of Hercules Musarum that claimed January had been named for Janus because the god faced both ways, [69] [ where? ] suggesting it had been instituted as a first month. [ citation needed ] It was, however, usually said to have been instituted along with February, whose nature and festivals suggest it had originally been considered the last month of the year. The consuls' term of office—and thus the order of the years under the republic—seems to have changed several times. Their inaugurations were finally moved to 1 January (Kal. Ian.) in 153 BC to allow Q. Fulvius Nobilior to attack Segeda in Spain during the Celtiberian Wars, before which they had occurred on 15 March (Eid. Mart.). [70] There is reason to believe the inauguration date had been 1 May during the 3rd century BC until 222 BC [ citation needed ] and Livy mentions earlier inaugurations on 15 May (Eid. Mai.), 1 July (Kal. Qui.), 1 August (Kal. Sex.), 1 October (Kal. Oct.), and 15 December (Eid. Dec.). [71] [ where? ] Under the Julian calendar, the year began on 1 January but years of the Indiction cycle began on 1 September.

In addition to Egypt's separate calendar, some provinces maintained their records using a local era. [31] Africa dated its records sequentially from 39 BC [68] Spain from AD 38. [ citation needed ] This dating system continued as the Spanish era used in medieval Spain. [ citation needed ]

The continuity of names from the Roman to the Gregorian calendar can lead to the mistaken belief that Roman dates correspond to Julian or Gregorian ones. In fact, the essentially complete list of Roman consuls allows general certainty of years back to the establishment of the republic but the uncertainty as to the end of lunar dating and the irregularity of Roman intercalation means that dates which can be independently verified are invariably weeks to months outside of their "proper" place. Two astronomical events dated by Livy show the calendar 4 months out of alignment with the Julian date in 190 BC and 2 months out of alignment in 168 BC. Thus, "the year of the consulship of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Publius Licinius Crassus" (usually given as "205 BC") actually began on 15 March 205 BC and ended on 14 March 204 BC according to the Roman calendar but may have begun as early as November or December 206 BC owing to its misalignment. Even following the establishment of the Julian calendar, the leap years were not applied correctly by the Roman priests, meaning dates are a few days out of their "proper" place until a few decades into Augustus's reign.

The Ides of March: Festival on Via Flaminia

Anna Perenna’s two names both refer to the year: anna meaning ‘to live through a year’, while perenna means ‘last many years’ - the two words are still seen in the English words annual and perennial. As her concern seems to be cycles of renewal and connecting the past to the present, the festival of Anna Perenna was full of contradictions such as old and new as well as death and rebirth. The month of March itself was believed to be the first month of the year. It was a time when springtime was in full bloom and newness was all around. Therefore, the celebration would have marked the first full moon in the year in the old lunar Roman calendar.

The Death of Caesar by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1859 to 1867) ( Public Domain )

On the evening of the 15th of March, people would camp out at the first milestone on the Via Flaminia , Anna Perenna’s sacred grove of fruit trees by the banks of the Tiber. This same sacred grove was also famous for its tombs and cemeteries. The people would picnic merrily into the night. They would feast, dance, sing and celebrate with wine, toasting to health and long life. In Saturnalia 1.12.6 , Macrobius related that public and private offerings were made to Anna Perenna ut annare perannareque commode liccat (‘that the circle of the year may be completed happily’). As it was believed that one would live as many years as the cups of wine one could drink, it was of course traditional to get extremely drunk. Ovid goes further and dramatically describes the festival as the people celebrating this ancient goddess with sexual and verbal freedom

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Martini Fisher is a Mythographer and author of many books, including"Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture ” | Check outMartiniFisher.com

Top Image: Suicide of Dido, a representation of Dido being rescued by her sister Anna, later identified with the Roman goddess Anna Perenna, by Guercino, 1625, ( Martitadu.96 / CC BY-SA 4.0)


Martini Fisher comes from a family of history and culture buffs. She graduated from Macquarie University, Australia, with a degree in Ancient History. Although her interest in history is diverse, Martini is especially interested in mythologies, folklores and ancient funerary. Read More

Watch the video: Vehicle - Leonid u0026 Friends The Ides of March cover (December 2021).