Friday, May 13, 2011

Beware the Ides of March...and May...and July!

Yesterday the kids and I had our weekly Socratic discussion on who else, but the man who went down in history because he did not Beware of the Ides of March! I had worked that in to one of our discussion questions. My son kept asking what the Ides of March were. I wouldn't tell him and he didn't find out until he read the last page in the last assigned book, the Will Durant book, Caesar and Christ. Today while discussing it, he again asked what it meant because he thought it meant "premonitions and warnings." I always thought it simply meant the 15th of March, but I didn't know the history behind it. Four years ago for Dialectic literature we had read The Ides of April, which was about a murder in Ancient Rome on April 15th. Our differing ideas led to some impromptu research.

We learned that the Romans used markers related to the moon to identify parts of the month. The Ides indicated the middle of the month. Therefore it would only relate to the 15th of the month when there were 31 days in the month. Months with less than 31 days, had the Ides fall on the 13th of the month.

Of course the Ides of March were made famous by William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which we will watch tonight!

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