Don’t you just hate the Ides of March? Don’t you hate it mostly because you can never exactly remember what it means?
You: Is it Ides today?
Well, it’s not today. And you might be wondering why we’re telling you about the Ides on the wrong day.
We just like posting on Mondays.
You: Ides seems plural. Is it more than one day?
Actually, yes and no. The Ides only occurs on one day out of the month but the exact date is different depending upon the date.
For the months of January, February, April, June, August, September, November, December the 13th is the Ides.
But for the months of March, May, July, and October the Ides falls on the 15th.
So to wrap up, the Ides of March is March 15th, 2 days ago. And that means it’s time to watch this favored clip.
The reason the Ides of March is so famous is that it was when Julius Caesar was stabbed by an angry mob of conspirators. It’s bad enough to be stabbed once, twice, three times a lady.
But imagine that times a group of older, land-owning gentlemen.
Anyway, what Gretchen Wieners is so hung up upon is that if you demand the devotion of everyone, like if you were angling at emperorship, you’re going to make enemies.
Our friend, Anat, has run into a similar situation. She gets the fame for her destruction. We concede she does it with style. Dressing in your enemies’ appendages is the haute couture of ancient fashion. Yet there’s someone with whom she should share the spotlight.
She comes from an obvious place: Egypt. Ugarit isn’t on many people’s maps.
Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of the sky, fertility, beauty, motherhood, and the earthly queen did her fair share of destruction.
Hathor’s rage was directed at humans, and this story may be a parallel to the Biblical flood myth. Ra, the father of the gods, overhears his mortal subjects talking smack about him and he decides to wipe them out.
He sends the Eye of Ra down as the goddess Hathor. When she sees the mortals, she just begins to slaughter them indiscriminately.
Ra’s heart softens and he suddenly regrets his judgment on humanity.
The problem is that once Hathor starts, she can’t stop.
“sent messengers, who ran swifter than the storm wind, unto Elephantine, so that they might obtain speedily many plants of virtue. These they brought back, and they were well ground and steeped with barley in vessels fill with the blood of mankind. So was beer made and seven thousand jars were filled with it.”
Chapter One of Egyptian Myth and Legend by Donald Mackenzie (1907)
The jars are poured out on the earth until it floods with beer and human blood. Hathor looks down at the deluge and is taken aback by her own reflection because she is so beautiful.
Then, as you do, she takes a big glug and once again, she can’t stop.
She gets drunk and, thankfully, she’s a happy drunk.
Her anger is abated. Humanity is safe.
The Ancient Egyptians celebrated Hathor by drinking large amounts of beer when the Nile flooded. If one is going to celebrate the Great Flood, why not do it with public drunkenness?
Why not do most things with public drunkenness? And if you’re feeling particularly spunky, mix that beer with the blood of those that have wronged either you or your family.
So move over Caesar, I mean, Regina George, I mean, Anat. Hathor will kill you! She will rip out your insides and kill you!
Until you offer her a drink. And then she’ll just let bygones be bygones. She’s a lot like us. So, before we kill you, you might want to hop over the bar and get us a drink.
Megan Miller is a classicist with a bent toward the macabre. She received her master’s from Oxford, but now tells as many monster stories as she can to the students in her university courses. To read more Ancient Correspondence, click here.