The heavens opened in Brisbane this afternoon after months of drought. Is it coincidence that today is the Ides of March (the midpoint of the month), a day sacred to the Roman god Jupiter, god of sky and thunder?
The Ides of March is best known for Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44BC. and Shakespeare’s famous quotation. Although the date proved unlucky for Caesar, its original significance was as a day by which to settle outstanding debts. The delicious irony of the Senate settling its debt with Caesar doesn’t go unnoticed, just as the carelessness, or arrogance, of Caesar beggars belief. Plutach notes that Caesar was warned his demise would occur no later than the Ides of March, yet Caesar believed himself invincible. On his way to the Senate that fateful day, Caesar saw fit to mock the seer who made the prophecy by saying, “The Ides of March are come.” The seer’s reply: “Aye, Caesar, but not yet gone.” If only he’d paid heed…
Four years later the day also proved unlucky for the followers of Lucius Antonius (Mark Antony’s brother). Caesar’s successor, Octavian, executed 300 senators and knights under Lucius’ command to avenge Julius’ death and to consecrate the altar to the newly deified Julius.
The ides used to line up with the full moon, and in the lunar calendar of early roman times the Ides of March occured alongside the first full moon of the new year. This year the quarter moon falls on the ides, and the full moon in March is on the 20/21st. Let’s hope this means we have no need to “beware the Ides” this year. To be on the safe side, I’m dedicating this post to Jupiter.