Published: March 14, 2016

Roman statueWelcome to March! The best month of all. Because it’s my birthday month (obviously)!!   

Have you ever heard the famous saying for the middle of March—“Beware the Ides of March”—and wondered where it came from? Wonder no more because I was born in the middle of March, and I am currently taking a Roman Society Class (which hereby proclaims me as a genius on the subject).

Ever since Julius Caesar was told, “Beware the Ides of March”, before he was murdered on March 15th, the date and saying have continued to have a sense of foreboding. However, in Roman times, the “Ides of March” would just mean the middle of March—no “Beware” necessary. This is because the Roman calendar was centered around 3 dates in one month:

  • Kalends: The 1st day of the month
  • Nones: The 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months
  • Ides: The 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months

All the other days were identified by counting backwards from these days. All the questions you’ve always wanted to know—answered. You’re welcome.

If this sort of thing interests you, you will definitely want to take the Roman Society class I am in right now!

“Bread and Circuses” (CLASS1140) is currently teaching me facts about the Roman world, ranging from Augustus Caesar’s rule to the social habits of Pompeiians. I’m not a Classics major, but I am a Classics lover and I highly recommend that everyone take a Classics class in their college career.

Here’s an overview of the class from the syllabus: “Bread and Circuses surveys the major aspects of Roman civilization—one of the greatest and most powerful civilizations in history. Through extensive use of digital images and other media we will appreciate the many astounding achievements of the Romans in architecture, technology, literature and other areas. We will read from some of the masterpieces of Roman literature, and we even will handle actual Roman coins and learn how to decipher their imagery. Our goal is not just to admire the Romans from a distance but also to see them up close and understand them for who they really were—as human beings. What did they eat for dinner? What did they do for fun? Did they really invent concrete and the modern-day strip mall? Was their army really the most dominant military force in history? These and many, many other fascinating questions will be explored this semester.”

If that doesn’t get you excited, our final paper of the semester is on Gladiators, the sports megastars of the Roman world. How cool is that?! Everyone should take this class at CU-Boulder!

Days in March (Roman and Julian calendar…continued to use this confusing system into the Renaissance):

March 1: Kalends;
March 2: VI Nones;
March 3: V Nones;
March 4: IV Nones;
March 5: III Nones;
March 6: Pridie Nones (Latin for "on the day before");
March 7: Nones;
March 15: Ides




Harper Brown