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Posted at 09:31 AM ET, 03/15/2012

Beware the Ides of March?

It’s an ominous day in ancient history: The ides of March, or the day of Julius Caesar’s back-stabbing assassination. And though that event happened many centuries ago — 44 B.C., to be precise — the day has taken on a superstitious aura, much like Friday the 13th. “Beware the Ides of March,” said the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” and we’ve heeded those words ever since.
Et tu?

Before Caesar’s assassination, the word ”Ides” was just a calendar term to mark the full moon. But after he was murdered by a group of conspirators led by Marcus Brutus, the day took on its new, portentous meaning — a day when prophecies of doom are realized.Will today be that kind of a day?

A look at the Post’s homepage could support the theory that Bad Things Happen Today: The Taliban has suspended peace talks with the U.S., the Republican primary is becoming a full-out brawl, the situation in Syria is only getting worse, and HBO canceled the racetrack drama “Luck” after a third horse died on the set.

But bad things happen every day — we just notice them more on days of heightened superstition, like the Ides of March and Friday the 13th.

“People will come to believe a date is ‘bad’ or unlucky and will focus on anything that goes wrong on that day,” wrote Benjamin Radford of LiveScience. “In that way, it becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: You assume you're going to have a bad day, and so you do.”

So, don’t worry about the Ides of March. Unless you’re Ryan Gosling, of course.

By  |  09:31 AM ET, 03/15/2012

Tags:  Ides of March, Superstition

 
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