Today is the Ides of March

As a girl my Latin classes always started with someone being required to write the Roman date on the blackboard, and we all learned to chant “in March, October, July, May the Nones fall on the 7th day. The Roman calendar was marked by the Nones which were usually the 5th of the month and the Ides which were usually the 13th. When the Nones were the 7th the Ides were the 15th.

In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March in front of the statue of Pompey the Great “which all the while ran blood”, and since then this ordinary day in the Roman calendar has acquired ominous overtones. In the words of the Sooth-sayer  “Beware the Ides of March”.


In 1917 on this inauspicious day Tsar Nicholas ll was forced to abdicate, and his fate was sealed when his first cousin, Britain’s George V, failed to send the required ships to carry the imperial family to safety in England. The Royal cousins, grandsons of Queen Victoria, were very close and there is an interesting photo of them side-by-side wearing each other’s uniform.Royal cousins change uniforms with George V in Russian uniform and the Tsar in British military splendor.


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