‘Beware the Ides of March:’ A History Beyond the Shakespearean Play ‘Julius Caesar’ #history #Englishliterature #amwriting


I thought that I almost missed it. Today is the Ides of March. I know St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, overtakes this day. But unless you’re into it a great deal, the Ides of March, isn’t a reason to drink green beer all day. Rickard’s Red or something along lose lines, might work better.


Credit: Someecards.com


The first time I learned about today was in grade ten in Mr. G’s English class. He was one of my favorite high school teachers. And a hilarious guy, who had no aversions to mocking his students. We made of fun mocked him and each other (in a friendly manner), in each class he taught in grade ten.

We also studied William Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar, where this vital passage appears early in the play:


Caesar:

Who is it in the press that calls on me?

I hear a tongue shriller than all the music

Cry “Caesar!” Speak, Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer:

Beware the ides of March.

Caesar:

What man is that?

Brutus:

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

(Julius Caesar Act I.ii. 15–19).


Later on, we learned these lines are foreshadowing Caesar’s death. According to enotes.com, on Shakespeare’s famous play, these lines occur during “Lupercalia, an ancient Roman religious holiday. Caesar, [a] Roman dictator,” is making his way “through the streets before an appearance” in front of “the ‘press’ (crowd).” From the busy streets, a soothsayer issues this famous warning. As well, Caesar, a “superstitious man,” does not take the “soothsayers” words without a great deal of worry and consideration.

As well, the ‘ides’ of March always occurs on the “15th,” but which day of the month the ‘ides'” occurs in each calendar month “depends on a complicated system of calculation.” It was “Caesar himself [who] established” the ‘Ides’ when he “instituted the Julian calendar, a precursor” of our modern calendar. Also, the “‘ides’ of January, for example, “always occurs on the”13th,” but the ‘ides’ of March, May, July and October” happen on the “15th” of these months.

“The [significance] of the ‘Ides of March’ for Caesar is that [it’s] the day [he’s] assassinated by a group of conspirators, including Brutus and Cassius. Despite numerous and improbable portents [foreshadowing and allusion] —the soothsayer’s warning” a “fearsome thundering,” along with Caesers’ “wife’s dreams of his murder,” and other signs, in Shakespeare’s play, mean Caesar can’t ignore the future he faces. Despite all this, he “ventures forth on the ides to meet his doom.”


Credit: Someecards.com


Also, the site History.com can provide us with more historical insight into this unusual day. Their staff write that “Gaius Julius Caesar,” was “stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by 60 conspirators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.”

Caesar, who was “born into the Julii, an ancient” but not “distinguished Roman aristocratic family, began his political career in 78 B.C. as a prosecutor for the anti-patrician Popular Party.” From there, “[he] achieved. . . influence in the party” through his “reformist ideas” and skills as an “orat[or].” He also “aided Roman imperial efforts by raising a private army to combat the king of Pontus in 74 B.C. ”

Caesar was [also] an ally of Pompey” who was the “recognized head of the Popular Party.” He “essentially took over this position after Pompey left Rome in 67 B.C.,” when Pompey chose to become commander of Roman forces in the east. As well, by “63 B.C., Caesar was elected pontifex maximus, or ‘high priest,” allegedly by heavy bribes. Two years later, he was made governor of Farther Spain and in 60 B.C., [he] returned to Rome,” with “ambitio[ns] for the office of consul. The consulship” was the “highest office in the Roman Republic, [and was] shared by two politicians on an annual basis.”

The “Consuls commanded the army, presided over the Senate by execut[ing the Senate’s] decrees, and represented the state in foreign affairs. Caesar formed a political alliance–the so-called ‘First Triumvirate’–with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus.” While the “majority of the Roman Senate, . . . opposed Caesar,” his “land reforms won him popularity” among Roman Citizen’s and, eventually, the Senate.


Credit: someecards.com


Also, in “58 B.C., Caesar was given four Roman legions in Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum.” He “demonstrated brilliant military talents as he expanded the Roman Empire and his reputation. Among other achievements, Caesar conquered all of Gaul, made the first Roman inroads into Britain, and won devoted supporters in his legions.” Nevertheless, Caesar’s “successes . . . aroused Pompey’s jealousy, leading to the collapse of their political alliance in 53 B.C.”

The Roman Senate supported Pompey and asked Caesar to give up his army, which [of course,] he refused to do.” As well, in “January [of] 49 B.C., Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon River from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy, . . . declaring war against Pompey and his forces. Caesar made early gains in the[ir] civil war, defeating Pompey’s army in Italy and Spain.”

However, he “was later forced into retreat in Greece. In August 48 B.C., with Pompey in pursuit, Caesar paused near Pharsalus, setting up camp at a strategic location. When Pompey’s senatorial forces fell upon Caesar’s smaller army, they were entirely routed, and Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was assassinated by an officer of the Egyptian king.” Thus, Caesar rose to power in the Roman Republic as a dictator and sole consul member.


Credit: Someecards.com


Finally, History.com notes that “Caesar was. . . appointed Roman consul and dictator, but before settling in[to] Rome, he traveled around the empire for several years [to] consolidat[e] his rule,” through military might and oration. “In 45 B.C., he returned to Rome and was made dictator [of Rome] for life.

As sole Roman ruler, Caesar launched ambitious programs of reform within the empire. The most lasting of these was his establishment of the Julian calendar.” Except for “slight modifications” and certain “adjustment[s to the calendar] in the 16th century, [it] remains in use today.” Caesar also “planned new imperial expansions in central Europe and to the east.

In the midst of these vast “ambitions, Caesar “was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C., by a group of conspirators, who[m] believed . . . his death would lead to the restoration of the Roman Republic.” Nonetheless, “the result of the ‘Ides of March’ was to plunge Rome into a fresh round of civil wars,” including Caesar’s once powerful supporter from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra, Marc Anthony.

However, “Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew,” emerged as the “first Roman emperor, Augustus” Caesar. He “destroy[ed] the Roman Republic forever,” but did manage to bring the Romans into an age of peace called Pax Romana.

According to Wikipedia, what this age of peace meant was that, the Roman Empire expanded little and had to defend itself little against enemies, until the “Third Century.” Around this time, the Roman empire began its descent in power, especially, in Western Europe.


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: T-Rex For Real #flashfiction #amwriting


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.


Credit: Yinglan Z. 2017


For many months after watching Jurassic Park, Jacob had been terrified of the giant Tyrannosaurus-Rex before his dad presented him with Iggy, a stuffed T-Rex. Iggy fought T-Rex in Jacob’s nightmares so that he was no longer afraid of dinosaurs when his dad took him to Jurassic World, the new dinosaur theme park.

Unfortunately, mayhem broke out in the theme park and Jacob found himself wedged into a tiny space, crying and clinging to Iggy. Eventually, he snuck out of his hiding spot, running towards the boat dock where men from the army shouted, “Run faster.”

He trembled when he heard the T-Rex roar right behind him, covering him in slobber. Jacob had learned that a T-Rex could only eat you if you moved, so he stood completely still. When Iggy slipped to the ground Jacob thought his life was over. Instead, the T-Rex carefully picked up Iggy with his teeth and stomped off into the jungle.

Jacob woke up, swaddled in his dad’s arms, a helicopter taking them back to safety. He hoped that the T-Rex liked Iggy. Maybe the T-Rex was afraid of a bigger dinosaur? The thought had never occurred to him before.


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for The Purposeful Practitioner: Fiction – Her One #fiction #amwriting 


Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting FFftPP. 

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Credit: http://www.pixebay.com

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(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.) 

Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!” 

Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.” 

June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?” 

Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one. 

He had been since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after. 

Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her. 

—–

Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend. 

She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out. 

“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests. 

“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation. 

Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move. 

“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.” 

Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?” 

Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.” 

Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?” 

Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.” 

Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him. 

To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt. 

“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.” 

Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily

Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister. 

Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?” 

Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring. 

June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: The Dial on the Metal Desk #amwriting #fiction


Thank you to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW. Also, thank you to The Daily Prompt for the prompt words Rebuild and Understanding

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Nonnaci

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“What do you think it does?” Wallace asked Ed.

“I don’t know,” Ed said thoughtfully, ” It’s odd, don’t you think? A dial in the middle of a metal desk? There has to be a purpose for it.”

“I’m sure it has a purpose. I’m not sure we should be the ones finding out what the purpose is. Rivers was a bit crazy. He was in intelligence in the army during WWII. My Grandma Milly always said he had claimed to have uncovered something world changing.” Wallace remarked.

“I didn’t know Canada had spies in WWII?  But what I really want to understand what this dial does. Rivers died last May, and this desk in his old garage is the only furniture left in his entire home.”

“Fine!” Wallace said exasperated with Ed. He turned the dial on the desk fully around until in was in line with a red mark.

“Rivers probably thought his property would stay deserted. It was closed up the by health and safety shortly before he passed on,” Ed muttered, waiting for something to happen.

“Click! Click! Click!” The sounds were loud and ominous in the abandoned garage. The young men turned to each other eyes wide.The garage floor began to lower with Wallace and Ed standing on it. 

Beneath the garage, was the most terrifying and fascinating thing, Wallace and Ed had ever seen.

“We can’t tell anyone about this,” Wallace said afterward shaken.

“Agreed,” said Ed, “We need to hide it better. This information could force the entire world to rebuild.  

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©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers – The Castle Falls 


The walls of the castle were impenetrable, or so they thought. Kate was wearing the armour of one of the guards she found dead. She was ready to attack anyone who might steal her away.

The year was 1493 and another vassal had attacked her father when he had refused to cede to him. Kate’s father, Edward, was a proud but good man and it had long been known that he held the biggest slice of the King’s land and had the biggest army.

The other vassal Henry, had longed for Edwards land, army, fortune, and daughter. But Edward had refused knowing the terrible reputation Henry had, but they had underestimated him.

Kate hid amongst the shadows and when Henry came tramping into the castle to her bedroom she shot him through the heart, then escaped out the tunnels that only her family knew about. She met her father badly injured on the way. “We go to your cousin James’ stronghold” he rasped “there will be justice.”

Word Count: 165 words


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting!