I’m glad I learnt Latin in my early schooldays, otherwise I’d be fixated, as Shakespeare was, on the Ides of March in his seminal play, Julius Caesar, and would ignore the other three months of the calendar that are mentioned in that age old mnemonic:
In March, July, October, May,
The Ides are on the fifteenth day,
The Nones the seventh: all other months besides
Have two days less for Nones and Ides.
Let’s explore, then, the extant literature or singular events – whate’er they may be – that signal the fifteenths of March, May, July, and October respectively.
First, March 15:
- 1917 Tsar Nicholas II, the last Russian Emperor abdicates and nominates his brother Grand Duke Michael to succeed him
Next, May 15:
- 1948 Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq invade Israel
The First Arab-Israeli War was initiated by Israel’s proclamation of independence on the day before the invasion. It lasted nearly 10 months and caused thousands of casualties on both sides.
- 1989 A small group of students initiates pro-democracy protest on Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
The death of reformer Hu Yaobang triggered the demonstrations, which grew in size and were brutally dispersed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June the 4th.
Then, July 15:
- 1099 City of Jerusalem is captured and plundered by Christian forces during the First Crusade
- 1795 “Marseillaise“ becomes the French national anthem
And finally, October 15:
- 1990 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wins Nobel Peace Prize
- 1993 Anti-apartheid activist and South African President Nelson Mandela
and South African President F.W. de Klerk awarded the Nobel Peace Prize———->
For the uninitiated, Nones, in the Roman calendar, is the ninth day before the Ides (both days included) – the 7th of March, May, July and October, and the 5th of the other months.
On This Day Website, Wikipedia