Beware the Ides of March, Dude!
A soothsayer's warning to Julius Caesar overlooked Xena and Homer Simpson.
March 15, 2011— -- Roman dictator Julius Caesar may have been warned that deadly harm would befall him no later than March 15.
But the soothsayer who supposedly delivered the prophetic message couldn't possibly have foretold what he would inspire, including a "Simpsons" episode called "Homer the Great, an episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess," and a U.S. rock band from Berwyn, Ill., named the Ides of March.
Indeed, the supposed encounter that William Shakespeare so tragically depicted in his "Julius Caesar" ("Beware the ides of March") has become the stuff of popular culture.
Samantha Thompson, a librarian who manages the New York Public Library's 24-7 reference service, says about a dozen people regularly ask about the Ides of March at any given branch on March 15.
"It's an example of a famous, ominous prophesy when the world changed," she said. "This was one of the landmark points where Rome shifted from being a republic to being imperial."
The Ides of March is now considered the spring equinox, she says. In solar calendars, the Romans referred to the "ides" as either the 15th day of some months or 13th of the other months.