Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Michael Brownstein writes


The eyes of twilight are never the Ides of March
nor are they a bright drizzle, early May,
nor rainbows populating the Rockies, late December,
strings of blue light across fields of snow,
And when the sky sneezed, the air caught fire.
Image result for winter rain paintings
The Winter Rain -- Chu Van

1 comment:

  1. The Romans did not number the days of their months from the 1st day but, rather, they counted back from 3 fixed points, either the Nones (the 5th or 7th day, depending on how many days the month had), the Kalends (the 1st day of the next month), or the Ides (the approximate middle of the month; in most months it was on the 13th day, but in March, April, May, July, and October it was on the 15th). Every Ides was sacred to Jupiter, their chief deity. In addition, the Idus Martiae (Ides of March), the 1st full moon of the year, was also the Feast of Anna Perenna, a goddess of the year ("annus") that concluded the new year ceremonies. The day was enthusiastically celebrated with picnics, revelry, and fornication, and people asked that Anna bestow as many more years to them as they could drink cups of wine at the festival. Anna was the sister of Dido and Pygmalion, from whom she was forced to flee; she drowned in the Numicus river but was transformed into a river nymph. In order to make love with Mars (for whom the mont was named), she impersonated Minerva -- an event which was the basis of many bawdy jokes and songs at her festival. The Sacrum Mamurio ("Rite for Mamurius") was also held on that day to mark the transition from one year to the next, in which an old man wearing animal skins was ritually beaten with sticks that had been stripped of their bark (Mamurius Veturius ["old Mars"] was the craftsman who made the 11 ritual shields that hung in the temple of Mars, identical to the sacred ancile that fell from the sky as a pledge of Roma's destiny to rule the world. His name was also related to the Latin word for "memory.") Later the Ides began a week of festivals celebrating Cybele (whom the Romans regarded as a Trojan goddess and thus as an ancestral deity) and her youthful consort Attis, who died and was resurrected. The Ides of March was the deadline for settling debts, and thus was chosen by senators who regarded Gaius Iulius Caesar as a usurper as the day they would assassinate him in 44 BCE.


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