Tag: Ides of March

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Kathryn Tempest, a Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Roehampton in London, UK, and author of Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome and Brutus: The Noble Conspirator. They discuss the historical, civic, and moral lessons political leaders, educators, and schoolchildren today can learn by studying the Roman Republic and the lives of key figures from that era such as Cicero and Brutus.

Dr. Tempest reviews the legacy of Cicero, the distinguished statesman and orator, whose timeless works, influenced by Greek philosophy, have endeared him to extraordinary leaders through the ages, from St. Augustine to Churchill. She contrasts Cicero’s adherence to limited constitutionalism with the worldview of his nemesis, the colossal dictator Julius Caesar. She also delves into the complex relationship between Caesar and the enigmatic Brutus, whom Shakespeare called “the noblest Roman of them all” for his role in Caesar’s assassination on the “Ides of March.” Dr. Tempest traces the influence of these events on Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke and Montesquieu, and concepts such as the mixed constitution and separation of powers that are so fundamental to the American founding. She concludes with a reading from her biography of Brutus.

Unexpected Gift on the Ides of March?

 

What unexpected gifts could we celebrate on the Ides of March? The day is best known for the assassination of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate by other Roman leaders. One of the leaders, Brutus, commemorated the assassination two years later with a coin remembering the Ides of March with two daggers and a common cap, a pileus.

The cap had become associated with the emancipation of slaves. It is still featured in some images of Lady Liberty. So, we could celebrate the unexpected gift of liberty, liberty won by literally striking down the tyrant. However, none of the conspirators covered themselves in glory as republican heroes, let along Heroes of the Roman Republic.

We cannot blame them, really. After all, the Roman Republic had bled out long before the blood of Caesar flowed over its ground. The Republic had committed slow suicide by a thousand self-cuts. Its institutions had become so corrupt and dysfunctional that they invited Julius Caesar to be dictator for life. In the years following his assassination, there was no uprising to restore the Republic. The Senate was contemptuous and contemptible in its corruption. The Roman people ended up being best served by the first emperor, Caesar Augustus, the adopted son and legal heir of Julius Caesar.

Beware the Ides of March

 

Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Ay, Caesar, but not gone.
— Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1.

The word ides is derived from the ancient Roman calendar and comes from the Latin idus, which, as Oxford explains it, means “a day falling roughly in the middle of each month (the 15th day of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th of other months) from which other dates were calculated.”

In the beginning of Shakespeare’s excellent play, Julius Caesar has this premonitory exchange with the soothsayer:

Member Post

 

So now that we know how the “Ides of March Primaries” (if Trump had lost all five states I doubt that’d be the Ricochet nom de journée) treated all of our candidates let’s get back to the math. To lighten up our usually dry analysis I’ll give you some musical numbers to help you through our think-piece. Of […]

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