The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0707 Tuesday, 16 March 2004
From: Rolland Banker <
Date: Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 19:23:43 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Wishing You a Belated Happy Ides of March
I found this at http://oxblog.blogspot.com/. I was "angling" in the
blogophere and came up with this "slimy jawed and tawny-finned catch" --
devour at your own risk.
Monday, March 15, 2004
Posted 9:37 AM by Patrick Belton
HAPPY IDES OF MARCH! The Roman calendar - as well as the Julian
calendar, and the idea also persisted to greater or lesser extents
through the Renaissance - revolved around three days in each month- the
Kalends (1st day of the month), the Nones (the 7th day in March, May,
July, and October; the 5th in the other months), and, of course, the
infamous Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th
in the other months). The remaining days of the month were designated by
backwards counting from the closest Kalends, Nones, or Ides - so
yesterday was Pridie (or II) Ides, Saturday was III Ides, Friday was IV
Ides, and so forth until Nones, March 7th. So happy Ides - and now you
have all sorts of other Roman calendrical days you can celebrate
throughout the year, too.
More importantly though, for present purposes, this sets up a bad joke.
[Warning! "Treacherous baited" Joke Ahead: Editorial Judgement by
It's a little known fact that Julius Caesar did not die from stab wounds
by Brutus, but, rather, was poisoned. During a sumptuous banquet which
they both attended on that fateful Ides of March, Brutus slipped some
poisonous hemlock leaves onto Julius' salad. (Thus making the world's
first Caesar's salad - no, that's not the joke, wait for it....)
When Julius slumped over into his salad, Brutus feigned concern and
asked, "My dear friend Julius, how many hemlock leaves have you eaten?"
To which Julius gasped in reply: "Ate two, Brute."
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