Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Ides have it

I took three years of Latin in high school, and my Latin teacher was a hoot: Mrs. DePue. She was tall, “old” (at least 50), full of glory and bluster, and now that I think about it, I think she looked like a vestal virgin in the Roman Forum! (I guess she wasn't THAT old.) She was quite statuesque and had a high blonde updo.

Latin class is where I first learned about the Ides of March. I always thought that because of the Shakespeare play in which Spurinna told Julius Caesar to “beware the Ides of March” that they meant something sinister in and of themselves.

Of course, Caesar ignored the warning, went to the Senate on March 15, and was assassinated by his colleagues. But the Ides only mean the middle, or the divIDE, of the month. We don’t use the term any more because months vary too much and have different middles now according to our calendar.

On NPR this morning, there was a great piece honoring the 2050th anniversary of Julius Caesar’s death. It was about CHEMISTRY. Apparently we all inhale in every breath one of the hundreds of trillions of molecules that Julius Caesar exhaled in his last breath! Talk about being united with all things! The chemist who was interviewed was completely serious and believes this wholeheartedly. Of course that means we inhale molecules that EVERY human who has ever lived exhaled in every breath!

It really makes you stop and think about "a world in a grain of sand" as William Blake wrote.

"Ancient of Days" by William Blake


dreamwalker said...

An interesting post. I know of the Ides of March from Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar. Always liked the sound of it, although the implication of impending disaster in the play did make it seem sinister.

Sharing everyone's breathe is the ultimate in recycling, and I like the sound of that :)

Ginnie said...

It's so funny, Ruth--I had a post in draft started for yesterday and then totally forgot about it till yours! I had to laugh out loud on that one and simply decided yours was better than sufficient for both of us! HA. (That damn Mercury Retrograde again, making me forget!)

I agree with DW about "recycling" the breath of the Universe. On some levels it could sound gross but on a Soul level, it's so very uniting. DUH! It tells me God knew what Godself was doing!!!

Mrs. M. said...

I vividly remember Barbara and Susan getting in a pretty heated argument regarding Latin. I was in the eighth grade and selecting courses for my first year of high school. G'pa and G'ma had come in for the weekend. G'ma thought I was making a HUGE mistake to not use two class hours and travel to another high school so I could study Latin. She felt the extra time taken during my school day would only serve me in my higher studies. She was quite upset with Susan for not "making me" take this class.

I, of course, thought she was nuts--being so much wiser at 13 than her 63! This is in the list of choices I wish I could make again. I understand the value of this language now as, coincidentally, my daughter will soon be 13 and mother 63.

Latin is not an option at any school in Sarasota except the military academy.....hmmm. :)

Ruth said...

Yes, sharing everyone's breath is amazing.

Shari, of course I took Latin because Mom wanted me to. She was right that it contributes to English in marvelous ways. But I'm afraid I needed her mind to really apply the Latin I learned, and mostly have forgotten! If I only remembered the vocab, I might actually find it useful!

Ruth said...

Oops, sorry, "Mrs. M." :)