“Semper ubi sub ubi.” –Mr Lynch, my 7th grade Latin teacher
When I was in 7th grade I started taking Latin. Our Latin teacher’s name was Mr Lynch and he was one of those unforgettable teachers. Attentive. Engaged. Intelligent. He taught a subject that makes most people shudder and yawn and made it lively and interesting.
To this day I remember much more of what he taught me than seems possible thirty years later. I can conjugate the verb amare (“to love”), remember that “Nautam amat puella” means “The girl loves the sailor” and not “The sailor loves the girl” (that would be “Puellam amat nauta”), and translate the phrase “Semper ubi sub ubi” into a meaningful reminder for my young sons (“always where under where”).
And every March 15th I remember that this day is The Ides of March. Trouble is, I have completely forgotten what THAT means. So, on the heels of my Leap Day post, I thought I would find out.
Here’s the scoop:
The word Ides comes from the Latin word “Idus” and means “half division.” It was used widely in the time of the Roman calendar indicating the day that was approximately the middle of the month. The Ides of March was a festival day dedicated to Mars, the Roman god of war, and a military parade was usually held on this day.
The Ides of March is best known for being the date on which Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C. He was stabbed 23 times in the Roman Senate by a group of conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius, after being warned by a soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.”
Other historical events that happened on the Ides of March include: Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first trip to the Americas (1493); Maine became the 23rd U.S. state (1820); Czechoslovakia ceases to exist during World War II (1939); My Fair Lady premiered on Broadway (1956); During the fight for civil rights, President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to the Selma crisis, tells U.S. Congress “We shall overcome” while advocating the Voting Rights Act (1965); The first Internet domain name (symbolics.com) was registered (1985); and in 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as the first President of the Soviet Union.
The Ides of March is the birthday of: Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States (1767); Ruth Bader Ginsburg, American Supreme Court justice (1933); Dee Snider, lead singer of the band Twisted Sister (1955) and Eva Longoria, an American actress (1975).
This year March 15 is the 75th day of the year (because it is a leap year) and there are 291 days remaining until the end of the year. May you enjoy every one and have no reason to beware the Ides of March!
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