In Roman times, the “Ides” of March was simply another name for March 15. According to the early Roman calendar, March, May, July and October fifteenth were all called “Ides”. In the other six months, the Ides fell on the thirteenth day of the month. (The Roman calendar was based on a 10-month year.)

When William Shakespeare wrote the play “Julius Caesar” in 1600, he used a Soothsayer to predict Caesar’s death in 44 BC. The Soothsayer calls out to Julius Caesar in a crowd on the street: “Caesar! Beware the Ides of March!”

Ever since the play was first seen in 1601, the Ides of March have taken on a sense of dark foreboding, of impending doom and gloom. Such is the power of really great writing. Here we are, over 400 years later, and our society still equates the Ides of March with death, destruction, and general bad news. Until then, it was just another day.

So there’s your history lesson for March 15: Just thought you’d want to know.