The Everyday Lore Project

15 March 2020 – The Ides of March

15 March 2020 – The Ides of March

Today I’ve been bewaring the Ides of March. Ides are actually just middle of the month days in the old Roman calendar that were often used for various celebrations. For two thirds of the year, the Ides fall on the 13th, but in May, July, October and most famously, March, it’s the 15th

The Ides of March were once seen as a deadline for settling debts. But mostly, it’s known as the day Julius Caesar met his sticky end in 44BCE. It’s said that JC was told to Beware the Ides of March not by Shakespeare, but by a haruspex, someone who practices haruspicy, the art of divination through sacrificial entrails. 

Despite the cat shitting by the front door this morning, I was not about to try my hand at haruspicy. Instead I looked at another form of daily divination: horoscopes. Given my Dad, a film critic, was regularly subbed in to do horoscopes on his various publications whenever the actual astrologer went on holiday, I’ve never really held much truck with them. Except for birthday horoscopes in the Evening Standard, or year to come horoscopes in Cosmo, or Russell Grant being fired out of a canon on Strictly. Nope, no truck. 

Needing something easy today, I went for the top three results on Google. The first informed me I was going to be involved in a lot of group activities today. Really? The second told me to chill out. Fair play. And the third told me that everyone else looks like a neon sign. To which I have no snappy comeback. It’s no wonder that JC felt dubious about his fate today. But despite my own horoscopic doubts, the Ides of March does give me the excuse to return to one of the best gags ever written. And yes, this is the hill I’m willing to die on. Over to the wonderful Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar in Carry On Cleo:

They’re trying to infiltrate the blinds and the grow bag is bulging….

The Onion Update
Nothing to report. Yet.


Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.