MAKING MY PEACE … with the Ides of March


Making My Peace … with the Ides of March 


The mere mention of the Ides of March sends shudders down my spine. There is no tangible reason for this; the basis of my dread is only the thought that history might repeat. It’s the word “Ides” that I fear.

In Roman times, the Ides of March – the 15th March – marked the deadline for settling debts. That’s still good advice.

The Ides of March was also the date, in 44 BC, that the Roman emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated during a Senate meeting. It was a major betrayal because the perpetrators were senators who stabbed him about 23 times. Up to 50-70 senators knew about the plot, led by Marcus Brutus – hence the famous Caesarean sentence “Et tu Brutus!” – “And you, Brutus!”

I’m currently in France and on this day in 1744 King Louis XV declared war on Britain. And 15 March 2011 marked the beginning of the civil war in Syria. Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis died in 1975, American jazz great Buddy Freeman in 1991, American pediatrician Dr Spock in 1998, and Jamaican musician Mikey Dread in 2008.

Of course, betrayal may not happen today. Just in case though, is there a positive poem about the Ides of March to rid the air of negativity? Is there an Ides of March chocolate to provide a ‘feel good’ piece of nourishment?

Throughout history there has been good news too on the Ides of March, and many celebrity births: American Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1933, American record producer Sly Stone in 1943, Nigerian author Ben Okri in 1959, British long jumper Joanne Wise in 1971, Kenyan runner Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich in 1982, and Salvadorian swimmer Golda Marcus in 1983.

Why focus on the negative? No reason, but the saying “Beware the Ides of March” keeps ringing in my ears. A seer warned Julius Caesar, but he did not listen. Perhaps, this is merely a cautionary tale, and no need to fear the word “Ides.”

Engaging my scientific brain, instead of my over-cautionary brain, I realise that the Ides is not a negative word, nor a negative occurrence every month of the year. Have you ever heard of the Ides of August or the Ides of November? No, Martina. That’s because the Ides does not fall on the 15th of every month in accordance with the Roman calendar – the Roman reckoning. It only occurs in March, May, July, and October. Four months every year – only 33% of the months. And only the Ides of March is remembered for its sinister plot.

Actually, there is a poem for remembering when the Ides occurs. It occurs 8 days after the Nones. The Nones is the seventh day of the months with 31 days (full months) or the fifth day of the months with 30 days (hollow months). So, the poem, or saying is:

March, July, October, May

The Nones are on the seventh day.

Therefore, when the Nones occur on the 7th of the month, the Ides also occurs on the 15th of the month (in other months, Ides occurs on the 13th!).

Who uses that old antiquated calendar term, the Ides, anyway? No one I know. So, really, there is no need to fear the word “Ides” Martina, even in March. I think.

Making my peace with the Ides of March, I learned the following:

  • Expect good news
  • Heed any words of caution
  • Focus on the positive in the day
  • Celebrate science, mathematics, and the logical brain.

Martina Nicolls: Rainy Day HealingMAKING MY PEACE


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