Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Beware the Ides of March

Latin expert FatherZ explains to you what are the "ides of March".

nglish “Ides” is from Latin Idus (always plural feminine) comes probably from Etruscan iduo, “to divide”, and thus it indicates that we are roughly at mid-month.  However, there is a Sanskrit root indu which is “moon”, hence, the Idus are when the Roman thought the full moon ought to be (whether it was full or not, apparently).
You students of Latin need to know that in Latin the names of months are actually adjectives.  In Latin we say that today is “the March-ian (month’s) Ides” or Idus Martiae (mensis).  But in Latin we also conceive that the whole date is a single word or term.  Thus, if we were going to put off something until, exempli gratia, 18 March we would say “differimus aliquid in ante diem xv Kal. April.
he goes on to discuss how Caesar was rebuilding the Senate building, what does the Phyringian cap mean, and why priests wear yamulkas Zuchetto caps.

There are lots of opinions about what would have happened if Caesar had not been killed. He was a "populist" and manipulated the crowds, so I once heard a lecture insisting he was a protosocialist. Well, not quite. One often overlooked item was that Cleopatra had followed him to Rome (with their kid) and her plans were to marry him, join Egypt to Rome and become king(s) of the world.

Remember: Augustus Caesar (Octavian) was only a grand nephew, and the only "son" of Caesar that was acknowledged was Cleo's son (although rumors that he "was every man's wife and every woman's husband" suggests he had other kids around, possibly including Brutus, one of the assassins).

Where Cleo miscalculated was that she misunderstood Rome. Under Roman law, kings were taboo and Cleo's son would not be accepted because he had a wife. And unlike Egypt, where the Pharoah was the law and above popular opinion, in Rome they still took these things seriously.

Then there is the Parthian issue, and many wonder if Caesar had declared martial law like other dictators had in the past would he have been able to kill his assasins before they killed him?

One of Caesar's problems was that he showed mercy to his enemies. (Octavian agreed with Machavelli: Kill them ruthlessly during the fight, then show mercy to make you seem nice).

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