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Elijah Bailey
Elijah Bailey

The Ides Of March

Ambition seduces and power corrupts in a nerve-wracking thriller from Academy Award nominated director George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck). Idealistic campaign worker Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) has sworn to give all for Governor Mike Morris (Clooney), a wild card presidential candidate whose groundbreaking ideas could change the political landscape. However, a brutal Ohio primary threatens to test Morris' integrity. Stephen gets trapped in the down-and-dirty battle and finds himself caught up in a scandal where the only path to survival is to play both sides. The all-star cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

The Ides of March

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In the interview, we said the "ides" was "the 15th of the month and it really is the middle of the month." In fact, in the ancient Roman calendar the "ides" refers to the 15th day of March, May, July, or October or the 13th day of the other months.

The movie really reveals no new information. Now that campaign managers shuffle between cable news shows and write their own books, few secrets stay in smoke-filled rooms (and besides, hardly anyone smokes anymore). There isn't the feeling, as there was with "Primary Colors" or "Nixon," that we might be getting the inside story on actual candidates. "The Ides of March" is more about the nature of modern media politics, and younger players who are strangers to idealism.

The word "ides," which rhymes with "hides," is actually singular. According to the Roman calendar, the ides was the day of the full moon. It corresponded to the 13th day in most months, but the 15th of March, May, July, and October.

The ancient Romans didn't think there was anything particularly inauspicious about the Ides of March, or the ides of any other month for that matter. The day was usually an occasion for honoring the deity of the month, Mars, by having a military parade. But in 44 BC, March 15 stood out as an especially bad day for at least one ancient Roman: Julius Caesar.

The Julian Calendar, was first implemented in 45 BC and continued to be in widespread use until the 18th century, when it was supplanted by the Gregorian Calendar. But in the early days of the Julian Calendar, the leap year cycle was not yet stabilized. Thus most scholars think that the actual date of Caesar's assassination is probably March 14, 44 BC.

The Ides of March is a period that has its roots during Roman times. The Roman calendar used the Ides (Id) to indicate the start of the full moon of the month, generally the 13th or 15th of the month on the Roman calendar. March 15th today, or the ides of March on the Roman calendar, would have been the first full moon of the year. At that time, March would have been the first month of the ten-month-long Roman calendar and not necessarily a date marking a period of bad luck.

On the Roman calendar, March 15 was called the "Iides of March." The term "Iides" was used to describe the 13th or 15th day of each month, depending on the number of days in that month. Our word "calendar" comes from the Latin word "kalends." In Latin, a "kalendarium" is an account book and kalends, the first day of the month, is the day many bills are due to be paid.

The Ides of each month were associated with the Roman god Jupiter and there may have been feasts and Holy Weeks during the ides at different periods in the Roman empire. The Ides were also the time every month when debts had to be settled. 041b061a72


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