Ides, an ancient calendrical measurement used by the Romans to compute time according to the lunar cycle, referred to the first full moon of a given ‘month’. In the earliest examples of the Roman calendar, the Ides of March marked the first full moon of the new year. The occasion was celebrated with the Festival of Anna Perenna, goddess of the ring or circle, thus alluding to annual revolution, as the Latin reading of her name ‘per annum’ or ‘for each year’ suggests.
In its contemporary context, the Ides of March has become more directly associated with ominous connotations of tragedy and deceit. On the Ides (15th) of March in 44 BC, Julius Caesar, dictator of the Roman Republic, was assassinated by three conspiring members of the Senate. Shakespeare’s dramatization of this event circulates itself in popular culture as protagonists are warned to “beware the Ides of March.”
These conflicting, dual significations of the single date congregate in an allusion to repentance. In the order of evolution, change is a processing and adaptation of the past. In Roman tradition, the Ides of March was an emblematic deadline for the settling of debts. Advance is an acceptance of permutation. To move forward, we must acknowledge that progress is nonviable without an embrace of difference.