St. Thomas the Apostle school is also closed on Wednesday March 15.
Beware the Ides of March. But Why?
“Beware the ides of March” was famously scribbled by William Shakespeare in his play “Julius Caesar” as the ominous warning given by a soothsayer to the soon-to-be ex-Roman emperor as he made his way to the Capitol that fateful day in 44 BC. And although good old Bill probably thought it was far from a throwaway line, even the great poet and playwright could not have imagined the life it’s taken on the 500 years since.
Not only did Shakespeare’s words stick, they branded the phrase with a dark and gloomy connotation that will forever make people uncomfortable. It’s probable that many people who use the phrase today don’t know it’s true origin. In fact, just about every pop culture reference to the Ides—save for those appearing in actual history-based books, movies or television specials—makes it seem like the day itself is cursed.
But the Ides of March actually has a non-threatening origin story. Kalends, Nones and Ides were ancient markers used to reference dates in relation to lunar phases. Ides simply referred to the first full moon of a given month, which usually fell between the 13th and 15th. In fact, the Ides of March once signified the new year, which meant celebrations and rejoicing.
Yet, when heroes in movies, books and television shows are faced with the Ides of March, it’s always a bad omen and is never good news. Several television shows have had episodes named “The Ides of March.” And it’s never good news.
In 1995 alone, the Ides-related episode of “Party of Five” was based around a cocaine-related death and featured a near-incident involving drunk driving. “Xena: Warrior Princess” had its protagonist facing threats from an ominous vision that showed her and her travel partner, Gabrielle, put to death by crucifixion. And Homer Simpson’s rise to power within the ancient secret society known as the Stonecutters in The Simpsons episode “Homer the Great” leads to his self-proclamation as a God. In warning him of his inevitable downfall, Lisa plays the part of the soothsayer, quoting “beware the Ides of March.” Homer simply says “No,” and laughs it off (much like Caesar did in the play) but, like Caesar, he soon experiences a swift undoing.
In 2011, Columbia Pictures released a movie with the title about an idealistic campaign staffer (Ryan Gosling) who gets a harsh lesson in dirty politics while working for an up-and-coming presidential candidate (George Clooney). The movie involves quite a bit of figurative backstabbing, but it’s a pretty clear allegory for the death of Caesar. Again, death and destruction loom.
Did the death of Caesar curse the day, or was it just Shakespeare’s mastery of language that forever darkened an otherwise normal box on the calendar? If you look through history, you can certainly find enough horrible things that happened on March 15, but is it a case of life imitating art? Or art imitating life?
Perhaps it was Julius Caesar himself (and not the famous dramatist) who caused all the drama. After all, he’s the one who uprooted Rome’s New Year celebration from their traditional March 15 date to January…just two years before he was betrayed and butchered by members of the Roman senate.
Should Theresa May trigger or beware the Ides of March?
Theresa May will soon have the full legal authority to trigger Article 50, but she is not in an indecent haste to use that authority.
Number 10 keeps its cards close to its chest.
Westminster watchers had seen the Three Brexiteers rolled out on to the Sunday political shows, heard the Irish PM speculate on a trigger this week, and decided that today was the day.
It was never the plan.
David Davis has been saying to anyone who wants to listen that the most important thing is not to interrupt the EU parade in Rome on 25 March celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.
The Dutch election also created some difficulty for timing.
In any event, it is difficult to see the upside to triggering early, though some Cabinet ministers wanted it.
Going early merely shortens an already tight timetable to seal an exit deal and a new trade deal too.
In the meantime, the PM will have to deal with the result of a vote at Holyrood on Section 30 of the Scotland Act seeking a new independence referendum.
This is a conscious effort from Nicola Sturgeon to entwine the Brexit process with Scottish independence and seek to turn the 45% into 50%+ by offering an opt out from what she calls "Tory Hard Brexit".
So, the week after next, within days of the Article 50 trigger, Theresa May will also have to decide on blocking a Scottish independence referendum or at the very least finding an elegant method to delay it.
Beware the Ides of March.
But, there are consequences if Article 50 is not triggered until the last week of March.
The European Union is now highly unlikely to be able to hold its EU27 response summit sketching out the negotiating mandate for the European Commission's Michel Barnier until late April or even early May.
This is right in the middle of the French Presidential elections, which could in fact push the summit back to mid May.
Indeed, what is the point of having President Hollande decide the French position among the EU27?
And though the moment of history is undoubted, it is also a moment of lucidity too.
Mrs May will seek a quick deal on reciprocal rights for EU citizens, but the carve up of assets and the bill for liabilities will be painful processes.
And the result of the Article 50 process is most commonly understood as handing over control of the negotiating process to Brussels.
Having come this far, an extra fortnight's wait represents minimal additional disruption to the process.
Finally, this will now start in earnest later this month.