Beware the Ides of March …
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 were sacred to Jupiter, the Romans’ supreme deity. The Flamen Dialis, Jupiter’s high priest, led the “Ides sheep” (ovis Idulius) in procession along the Via Sacra to the arx, where it was sacrificed.
In modern times, the Ides of March is best
known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar 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 William Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” The Roman biographer Suetonius identifies the “seer” as a haruspex named Spurinna.
Caesar’s death was a closing event in the crisis of the Roman Republic and triggered the civil war that would result in the rise to sole power of his adopted heir Octavian (later known as Augustus).Writing under Augustus, Ovid portrays the murder as a sacrilege, since Caesar was also the Pontifex Maximus of Rome and a priest of Vesta
Most of us know March for St. Patricks Day when the Chicago River is dyed green. On St. Patricks Day- everyone is Irish. Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. It says that he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he “found God”. The Declaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.
According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to
convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent many years evangelising in the northern half of Ireland and converted “thousands”. Patrick’s efforts against the druids were eventually turned into an allegory in which he drove “snakes” out of Ireland (Ireland never had any snakes). According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.
As an Irish kid growing up in Chicago, my ancestors worked both sides of the fence, Irish cops and Irish mob. “ERIN GO BRAGHLESS.” was a big joke with Irish boys referring to the well endowed Irish girls at our school.
I don’t drink Green Beer. Why ruin perfectly good beer? On St. Patricks Day I drink Old Style- the official beer of Chicago.
March is also the time of horrific snowstorms across the nation. Here are two headlines today:
1. The biggest storm of the season moves into California, bringing warnings of blizzards and mudslides
2. ‘Bomb cyclone’ forms as flood threat sparks ‘LIFE & DEATH’ warning
3. Severe winds leave more than 600,000 without power in DC area
March finds me well, it has warmed up again here in Scottsdale, AZ. after an unseasonably warm 86-degree’s in February, our temps hit freezing for about a week now back at 75-degree;s for a high. The Palm Trees snapped with the freezing temps causing a Brown Sage. Spring Training is in full swing and that means Cubs, Cubs, Cubs training at their replica Wrigley Field in Mesa, AZ.
This week I have been battling auto repairs and have found one honest reputable guy who owns a Mobile 1 and have been ripped off by Midway Chevrolet who charged me the hourly rate for a pressure test never completed. Basically, they out my $100,000 conversion van up in the air, let it drain all over the floor for an hour before charging me $138 and filling radiator back up with water. I would have refused to pay but as the porter has my van and keys what else could I do but pay?
Crooked dealers like Midway Chevrolet give everyone a black eye like the honest mechanic Dick who owns Mobile 1.
Trying to find time to get back to editing CURE and others but editing is time-consuming and finding the time these days is a rarity. Despite minimum wages being raised nationwide to $11 or $12 hour, when Walmart and other grocery chains continue to raise prices to match, well…. we’re pretty much back where we started when the minimum wage was $3.25 hour and a gallon of gas was 75-cents.
Here are some new book covers and hoping to get back to my regular writing schedule this summer.
See you in April