Beware the Ides of March

The Ides of March (March 15th) was the 74th day in the Roman calendar and was marked by several religious observances while also being a deadline for settling debts in ancient Rome. In 44BC this date also became notorious because it was when Julius Caesar was assassinated, an event which marked the turning point in Roman history.

Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. Apparently, Caesar had been warned by a seer that harm would come to him on the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey that day, he joked when passing by the seer that the Ides of March had come but his dire prophecy had not been fulfilled to which the seer replied, “Aye, they are come, but they are not yet gone.”

Many other events have happened throughout time on this auspicious date and not all have been as horrific as what happened to Caesar. The Ides of each month were sacred to Jupiter, the Roman’s supreme deity, and the Ides of March was also the occasion for the Feast of Anna Perenna, a goddess, when the festival was enthusiastically celebrated among the common people with picnics, drinking and much revelry.

Much later, however, some other thought-provoking events also occurred on the 15th of March, such as:

  1. On this date in 1493, explorer Christopher Columbus wrote a letter while on board the Nina about his travels to the New World. In his letter he described his impressions of lands and the people he met and confirmed he had taken possession of land in the name of Spain. This date became the point when Europe began its active colonization of the Americas.
  2. In 1770 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Spring Quartet in its original three-movements form on the 15th day of March while touring in Lombardy, the Duchy of Milan.
  3. In 1895, Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, the most famous opera singer of all time, made his stage debut on this date.
  4. In 1917 Tsar Nicholas 11 of Russia abdicated on this date following the February Revolution – but was later executed with his family and some servants.
  5. In 1972 on this date The Godfather premiered and became one of the most popular films of all time.
  6. In 1985 the world’s first internet domain was registered by the Symbolics Computer Corporation of Massachusetts as Today there are over 1 billion domains.
  7. In 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev became President of the Soviet Union and his economic and political reforms and advocacy for free speech, strengthened pro-democracy in other Eastern countries and ultimately led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War at that time.

    Certainly, some very remarkable events have occurred on his auspicious date throughout history, some good and some bad. So, maybe we should BEWARE today – just in case!