Beware the Ides of March

2017-03-08 06:05

DESPITE the implication of danger associated with the saying, “Beware the Ides of March”, the saying was purely an invention of Shakespeares in his play Julius Caesar. The notion of the Ides, March 15, being a dangerous date was claimed fictionally by the soothsayer to warn Caesar of his death.

The Roman calendar had three reference points - Kalends (first day of the month), Nones the seventh day in March, May, July and October and Ides, the 15th day in March, May, July and October.

Mad As A March Hare

What does it mean if someone says to you, “You are as mad as a March hare,” pointing out that your behaviour is not normal and bizarre.

The saying originated several hundred of years ago when hares, whose breeding season begins in March (in the northern hemisphere) would behave erratically. During the winter months hares are quiet and docile, but at the breeding season are said to become agitated and excited. Probably the most well known use of this idiom is in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland published in 1865. In chapter V11 Alice and the Cheshire Cat talk: “By-the-bye, what became of the baby?” said the Cat. “I’d nearly forgotten to ask.”

“It turned into a pig,” Alice quietly said, just as if it had come back in a natural way.

“I thought it would,” said the Cat, and vanished again.

Alice waited a little, half expecting to see it again, but it did not appear, and after a minute or two she walked on in the direction in which the March Hare was said to live. “I’ve seen hatters before,” she said to herself, “the March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won’t be raving mad - at least not so mad as it was in March.”

As she said this she looked up, and there was the Cat again, sitting on a branch of a tree.

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