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The Ides of March is madness
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler color mug

It’s March. Actually, its almost Not-March! But it’s one of the more important months of the year. Why?

March Madness of course! Basketball, basketball.

That’s not all. Beware the Ides of March!

You basketball fans ... You, yes you! Heads up! I bet you have forgotten about the “Ides” ... haven’t you?

What are Ides, you ask? And why should we be wary? The word comes from the Latin, “iduare,” and means “the middle.” Ides simply refers to the middle of the month. In Roman times it was known as the deadline for settling debts. In 44 B.C. it became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar, which made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history. This event marked the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

William Shakespeare made the event even more famous with his play, “Julius Caesar” in which a soothsayer warns the Roman leader to “beware the Ides of March.”

The Roman calendar was much different from ours. The Romans did not have a calendar marked by specific days as we do. Days were not numbered. In a 31-day month, the beginning of the month was called “Kalends” and the end of the month was “Nones.” The Kalends was day one, with days 2-6 being counted as simply, “before the Nones.” The Nones fell on day 7 with days 8-14 “before the Ides” and the 15th as the Ides. That’s it; Kaleids, Ides, and Nones. Afterward the days were counted as before the “Kalends” of the next month.

The middle of the month or Ides could be anywhere from the 13th to 15th day in the month. If you wanted to describe the 10th of the month you would say “5 days before the Ides.” 

At one time, March was the first month of the Roman year. The celebrating of the New Year would continue until about the middle of March, called the Ides. But later, March was placed third in the year as it is today.

It’s not a national holiday anywhere, but some people choose to celebrate with a toga party. No way am I going to wrap a sheet around my body and show myself to any person outside of our home. It’s bad enough when I hog the sheet in bed and wrap it around me as I lie there with my hair sticking straight up and the thing choking my neck.

OK. So no toga party for me. College students are doing it, I bet.

The Ides is a date marked with bloodshed. Lots of historical facts of wars and murders happened in the middle of March. For example, March 15, 1939: Adolf Hitler spurned the Munich agreement and invaded Czechoslovakia and sparked World War II.

Now, as for March Madness, it’s our modern Ides. Beware the Fogg, Bring the Doom! Defend and Dominate! Sic ‘Em! Dunkzilla!

Now we recognize the Ides as the beginning of the picks for the tournament. Since the bracket was decided on the 17th, we almost could call it the Ides. Then we move on to so many days before Kalends, which will be the start of the next month? Or will it be the Nones?

Oh well.

Let the madness begin!


Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at Visit her website