Wednesday, March 15, 2017

ASTRONOMY: Beware the Full Moon!

Filed Under: Astronomical Education - Some of ... The Rest of the Story... 


Day of Ides
Ides was originally the time of the full moon. Because a full moon comes halfway thru each lunation, its day was called Idus in Latin from an Etruscan word meaning "divide."

After Ides, the next new moon was expected to appear in from 15 to 17 days. Variations in the length of time before another new moon can be sighted is due to constantly changing positions of moon and Earth relative to the sun.[1]

IF months were originally determined by lunar cycles, "moons",[2]
  • AND in European traditions, the month starts when the young crescent moon becomes first visible at evening after conjunction with the Sun one or two days before that evening (AKA just after the "NEW" moon")
  • AND the middle of the month (governed by the Moon) is indicated as the Full Moon,
THEN it is safe to say that originally the "Ides" of any one particular month did not occur during the 15th or 13th of any solar calendar month but during each Full Moon itself!
THEREFORE, telling anyone to beware of the "ides of any month"[3] is to warn them about "things that may occur during a full moon!"

NOTE:  There's so much more to this than this shared level.  There's at least three more levels that go deeper and I share them during my Building Better Builders Workshops.  Can you imagine where I take this analysis next?  I can say that if the message were understood by Caesar and heeded, he might well have had an entirely different outcome.
Bro. John S. Nagy
[2] month (n.) Old English monað, from Proto-Germanic *menoth- (source also of Old Saxon manoth, Old Frisian monath, Middle Dutch manet, Dutch maand, Old High German manod, German Monat, Old Norse manaðr, Gothic menoþs "month"), related to *menon- "moon" (see moon (n.); the month was calculated from lunar phases). Its cognates mean only "month" in the Romance languages, but in Germanic generally continue to do double duty. Phrase a month of Sundays "a very long time" is from 1832 (roughly 7 and a half months, but never used literally).  (

[3] Soothsayer; "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" - Act I, Scene 2

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