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The Colosseum, attributed to Robert Eaton, c. 1855.
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Monumental Mistakes


Fitness instructor carves his girlfriend’s name into the Colosseum.

c. 1850:

Thompson of Sunderland makes his mark on Pompey’s pillar.


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That Fine-Sounding Language

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Current Issue


Volume XV, Number 1 | spring 2023


In The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov fictionalized the well-known New Testament scene in which the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate offers the Jewish people the choice to save either the rebel Barabbas or Jesus Christ from execution. Bulgakov’s Yeshua declares that “all power is violence over people” and that “a time will come when there will be no power of the Caesars.” Pilate is deeply moved by the prisoner’s “mad utopian talk” and finds “no grounds for indictment”; when the crowd chooses to free Barabbas, Pilate feels “incomprehensible anguish” and an escalating migraine at being forced to sentence Yeshua to death.

Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies.

—H.L. Mencken, 1925

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