‘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.

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Sunday Photo Fiction: Part Eight – Nineteen-Years Later


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.


 

A Mixed Bag

Sam peered at Tom, the brother he hadn’t seen in almost nineteen-years. “You look the same Tom, you’ve weathered the years better than me.”

Tom snorted. “We’re still nearly a mirror image of each other. We’re also in the same place we were nineteen-years-ago. How could you betray your own brother?”

“You were working for the Russian’s Tom with Garig. I had to shoot you, leave you in prison — it was my duty. But you didn’t die.”

Tom snickered. “You’d like to have me dead wouldn’t you? Things aren’t exactly as they seem Sam. Now where’s Chad?”

Both brothers heard the back exit door slam and the fire alarm go off shrilly. Tom pushed past Sam; he tackled Marrion and Chad.

Tom put a gun to Chad’s head and threw Marrion to Sam. He shoved Chad into a life boat which began descending.

“I’m not your son,” Chad said, his voice weak from blood-loss.” Someone shot my tattoo. I’m not a nuclear bomb anymore. Leave me alone.”

“Chad, I know you’re my nephew. It used to make me so angry that Sam shot me almost fatally and I went to prison.But I escaped and I’m here now to help you.”

“I didn’t realize how undercover Sam was nearly nineteen-years ago. He didn’t understand how deeply undercover I was and am.”

“Garig put that chip in your tattoo making you into a nuclear bomb. Garig’s the enemy, he always was; though he tried to make me appear to be.” Tom said.

“I don’t trust you. . . ” Chad muttered. He’d lost so much blood he was surprised he was awake. Tom put new gauze on Chad’s gunshot wound and wrapped bandages around his body, enclosing the wound securely.

“Here,” Uncle Tom said. He handed Chad a chain necklace of the family crest.”We’re a loyal family Chad. I would never betray my country, or my ancestors.”

“My friends are waiting Chad. My higher-ups will ensure Sam and Marrion get to where we’re going. Together we need to defeat Garig once and for all. I want to come home.”

Chad, as usual, found himself fading into unconsciousness.


Please read Part Seven Here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Writing 101: Fiction – Part 3 – After the Plane Crash #everydayinspiration


Today’s Writing 101 prompt is to write on a Tweet. Here’s the Tweet I chose: Twitter Quote


——-

Please read part 2 here.

——-

“I’m fine,” I tell Eric trapped in the shower. “Can I have a little privacy. I was only relaxing, the hot shower feels good on my body. I was dirty and sore.” 

“I can understand that,” Eric said. “I was scared you’d hurt yourself on the way to the bathroom. Aunt Tabitha said you were weak and hadn’t even sat up in bed yet.”

“I’m good,” I say awkwardly still trying to cover my nakedness. I don’t know why I bothered. Eric didn’t seem to care I was naked, only that I hadn’t hurt myself.

“Walking was fine, I managed. I couldn’t leave my hair in the state it was in any longer.” 

Eric chuckled and he opened a tall cupboard in the bathroom removing an oversized plush pale blue towel and a smaller towel as well. He hung them over the glass shower. I was happy the glass wasn’t completely see through due to the steam from the shower.

“Thanks,” I told Eric, grabbing both towels and immediately wrapping myself in the larger one. I arranged my dripping locks into a twist in the smaller towel.

Slowly, I opened up the shower door and slipped out. Eric was staring at me with bright jade green eyes. A half smile curved his lips when he took in my appearance.

“You seem better.The shower helped a great deal.” Eric surmised, ” Aunt Tabitha had an appointment in the city, so she couldn’t be here. Turns out it was a good day for her to be away since you have your strength back . . . Do you think you could tell me your name now?” 

I blushed for some reason, looking down at my feet. I needed a pedicure I thought before peering back at Eric. 

“I’m Ashlyn Howard,” I say shyly. I hold onto my towel with one hand and offer Eric my other hand. 

Amused, he carefully takes my smaller hand in his and shakes it gently. His hand is rough and as our eyes met, I feel a spark, a sensation between us I wasn’t expecting.

“I’m Eric, but you already knew that Ashlyn. We tried many times to find out your name in order to contact your family this week. But you were always so out of it. I couldn’t find your wallet or ID in your back pack.” 

“Yeah, I felt caught between waking up in this room feeling awful seeing your Aunt Tabitha watching me, and then I would dream again about my friend and the crash . ..” I explained. “I should try and get in touch with my family as soon as it’s possible.” 

Eric nodded.”There’s no wifi or internet out here I’m afraid. No cell towers or landline. I have a few satellite phones and that’s about it. We can call your parents after you’ve had a chance to change and rest. Do you have a boyfriend you want to call too, a husband?” 

“Um, no I’m single,” I say blushing. Eric smiles a at me. I feel comfortable around Eric I realize,  as if I weren’t standing outside the bathroom wrapped in towels. 

“I heard about the crash. It was in the news papers. I don’t know how you survived two weeks out in the wilderness. You lost a good bit of weight I think and you fainted on my doorstep from hunger and lack of sleep.” Eric explained.

” I remember. Your PA greeted me and I had nothing in me left. Is it true you manufactur hemp products and sell weed for medical usage?” 

Eric laughed. “Um, mostly that is what I do. I have a license to sell marajauna for medical purposes from the Canadian government. Our weed is top quality. So are the other products we sell made from hemp. A beauty line and some other things.”

 Eric changed the subject.” You need some clothes that fit. I had Aunt Tabitha order you some. She has some daughters about your age so she knew what to buy.” Eric remarked, opening a bleached wooden wardrobe filled with clothes.

“There’s bath stuff and cosmetics in the bathroom as you probably saw.” I gasped, noticing on the price tags of some of the clothes, that they were expensive. Hundreds of dollars and more. I wondered why Eric was being so nice to me.

I glanced at Eric, able to look my fill as he stared out the window for a moment. Eric was hot. Dark brown hair cut in the latest short style, mussed as he ran his hand through it. 

His jade green eyes were beguiling and a he had a wide smile made with sultry lips. His jaw was strong and angular and he seemed to have forgotten to shave today. 

Eric wore dark relaxed jeans, rips in the knees, and a fitted Lecoste golf shirt. Underneath, I knew he was built.

Eric noticed me checking him out and smiled at me. I flushed red and he laughed.”It’s good to meet you Ashyln. I was worried you would die, your fever and sickness were quite bad the doctor told us. It was lucky you found my place when you did.. . Do you need help changing into your clothes? Your wrist is sprained and I know you’re covered in bruises from the shower so . ..”

“You looked!” I accused Eric. He only grinned.

“You left the bathroom door open and the shower was glass. How could I not look?” 

” You could’ve pretended not to.”

“Don’t be embarrassed you’re beautiful. Even if you’re a bit skinny right now,” Eric said laughing. 

He was teasing me, trying to make light of the situation. I blushed at his praise peering up at him and for a moment my dark eyes caught his jade ones and locked in place. 

The air between us sizzled and Eric stepped towards me, brushing a long wet strand of my hair behind my ear. My breathing increased, my body ignited. Heat spread everywhere as Eric cupped my face and ran his thumbs over my cheeks. 

I could smell him, a light woodsy citrus scent and man, together overpowering my senses. His mouth hovered closer, I couldn’t breathe. His breathe was warm on my cheek his lips dropping a small kiss there before gently settling his on my mouth. Warm, explorative kisses, pressed against my lips and made me yearn for more. 

I bit Eric’s bottom lip, soothing it with my tongue and he dived in, claiming my mouth still gentle but with a need behind his kiss now, tangling his tongue with mine; teasing the roof of my mouth before sucking on my tongue. 

I fell against him and his hands smoothed down my body to my arms and back. When his hands brushed and massaged the sensitive skin and muscles around my neck I moaned completely giving into what was coming. Eric made my sore muscles feel so loose.

The smaller towel slipped from my hair as Eric’s fingers sorted through and grasped my long brown tresses. “God, you smell so good,” he rasped before kissing me harder, with more fervour. “It’s the jasmine,” I say between biting kisses.

 Eric’s hand lands on my hand holding in place my large towel. I was ready to let the towel drop. Sparks were creating an inferno inside of me kissing Eric.

It was then, Aunt Tabitha came in through the bedroom door, loudly, slamming it behind her. 

Eric and I sprung apart but it was clear what we’d been up to. Aunt Tabitha smirked. “Eric you’re needed downstairs.”

“What?” 

“There’s a phone call for you on one of the satallite phones. Your PA said you needed to take this one.”

“Now?” Eric stared at me, his jade eyes smouldering and his breathing fast. He shook his head, blinking. He gave me a final look and a small kiss on the cheek, before striding out the bedroom door.

I gazed at Aunt Tabitha, the woman who’d been caring for me and I was sure she could see my face was red. She only laughed at my embarrassment.

“It’s okay. Eric’s a handsome guy and you’re a beautiful women. He doesn’t see many beautiful women around here.” I flushed again, conscience I was still in my towel.

“I should get dressed,” I said, “I’m Ashlyn by the way.” 

“Ashlyn,” it suits you Aunt Tabitha remarked. “You know my name from when you were sick, you called out for me quite often. I’m happy to say you appear healthy. But you are quite thin since we brought you into the house even.”

“I’ll meet you in the kitchen downstairs in forty-five-minutes. The kitchen staff will have some filling food which won’t make you sick because you haven’t been eating much but soup.”

“Thanks Aunt Tabitha. I appreciate it. Eric said I could phone my parents too?” I asked.

“I’ll let Eric help you with that Ashlyn. I’m sure he’ll want to spend more time with you and I don’t want to interrupt. But he is my nephew, so be gentle with him. His past was a rough one.” I nodded smiling at Aunt Tabitha, trying to show I wouldn’t hurt Eric.

“I’m just in the room down the hall.” She said, ” You seem a great deal better having showered and um, having having been busy with my nephew, but don’t overdue it. You were pretty ill their for a week.” 

Aunt Tabitha left my room and I turned towards my new wardrobe, sorting through my it with appreciation. 

A thought came to me as I tried on a bright purple sundress, where was I exactly that there was no wifi, cell phone reception, or landlines? I had a few questions that needed answering.

——–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – Daddy’s a Peacock.


Jennifer was at the San Diego zoo with her nephew Hollister. Hollister was oohing and aahing at the animals he saw. “Look those are peacocks honey, aren’t they pretty?” Jennifer asks Hollister. He nods and says, “oooo nice.”

“That’s the boy peacock” Jennifer tells him pointing, “they always have bright blue and green feathers so the girl peacocks will notice them. The girl peacocks have white feathers. ” Hollister smiles.

” I think the boys are just showin’ off,” he says. “Like Daddy when he brings the red car with Monica. I like Monica she is so pretty, but not as pretty as Mommy,” Hollister spouts.

“When does Daddy bring Monica over?” Jennifer asks Hollister. He giggles.

“She is so funny. Monica comes over in the day when Daddy comes and gets me from playschool. I watch cartoons and play with my toys. Daddy says not to bother Monica. But I went to see them once…” Jennifer gasps but Hollister continues,”Daddy got mad and he was naked. Monica was naked too. Daddy said they were having grown-up time.”

Jennifer was so furious at her brother-in-law. Hollister pats Jennifer’s hand as if he can see how anxious she is. ” It’s okay Auntie, Daddy was just being a peacock .”

Jennifer sighs. “We’re going to have to tell Mommy this story Hollister.”

Peacock

Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting!