A Latin Poem for the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

25 years ago today – it was a Thursday –, I came home from school, in that idyllic world that was Hamburg-Harburg (Heimfeld), I chucked my school bag into a corner, and I started watching Knight Rider (’cause, as I am sure you know, all Germans back then were bizarrely obsessed with everything David Hasselhoff – or not…).

My viewing pleasures got crudely interrupted by the most bizarre press conference that I have ever seen.

One day later, after school on Friday and after a long drive, I was back in my home town of Berlin, celebrating, with my father and my grandmothers, the truly unbelievable and unimaginable things that had just started to happen – crossing a border repeatedly which previously I could only pass at gunpoint.

I had great hopes back then – hopes of a better, more peaceful world, a world that would finally come to its senses.

Having a look at the world today – well, let us just say: there is significant room for improvement…

To commemorate the quarter of a century that has since passed, and in the best tradition of the eclectic creativity that, in its reliance on other poetic sources, has spawned many a poem in the collection of the Carmina Latina Epigraphica, here is a little poem, versified especially for today – inscribed on a wall and everything:

Carmen Epigraphicum Berolinense (a P. K. fictum).

Carmen Epigraphicum Berolinense (a P. K. fictum).

Admiror paries te non populos docuisse

uitandas faciles ad fera bella manus.

I am amazed, wall, that you have not taught the people

that one must eschew those hands

that are easily given to fighting savage wars.

About Peter Kruschwitz

Berliner. Classicist. Scatterbrain.
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4 Responses to A Latin Poem for the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

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  2. Peter Keegan says:

    Many thanks for the timely fiction, Peter. The astonishment to which your splendid reconstitution of the well-known Pompeian graffito (CIL IV 1904, 1906, 2461, 2487) refers is, of course, shared by many. I was reminded of the modern inscription noticed by a reporter for Yank magazine while touring some fortifications at Verdun at the end of World War Two:

    Austin White, Chicago, Ill. 1918
    Austin White, Chicago, Ill. 1945

    This is the last time I want to write my name here.


  3. That’s fantastic – thank you for that, Peter! Love it!


  4. Michael von Albrecht says:

    Rectissime dixisti. Tamen miror ubique terrarum cotidie nova bella nasci.
    Quod ne fiat, discipulos nostros Latine doceamus.


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