Thursday, March 15, 2007

Drinking on the Ides of March.

Robert Krulwich gave me a really good laugh on NPR's Morning Edition today.

"What if...on March the 15th, the Ides of March, the senators who killed Julius Caesar decided to throw a little party... just to celebrate the elimination of a potential dictator?

"One could imagine a gaggle of Roman senators down at their local watering hole ordering mugs of beer, or more likely, wine.

"Think of it as an Apres Slaying Party.

"Now imagine them a little tipsy, singing what Roman senators no doubt were singing 2,000 years ago: that old drinking ditty, "99 Bottles of Beer (or Wine) on the Wall."

"But remember, they were singing before the numbers we use — 26, 44, 58 — were invented. Our numbers are of Arabic derivation. Romans, we think, used numerals — like VII, IX, XVIII.

"So instead of "99 Bottles of Wine on the Wall," it would be:

XCIX Bottles of Wine on the Wall, XCIX Bottles of Wine,

And if one of those bottles should happen to fall,

That leaves XCVIII bottles of wine on the wall..."

Wait till they get from 89 to 88.

You have GOT to listen to it here.

To help you sing your own version, here's a Roman numerals converter.

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