Mehercule! Coincidentally or not, I understand that Classical education has been in steep decline ever since my contemporaries and I constituted just about the last generation in a Scottish state school to tackle Hillard and Botting’s “Latin Unseens” (Junior Course).

Many years of what men call history have passed since then, and my recall of the history of Republic and Imperium has become hazy, and my grip on the Latin gerund infirm.

Nonetheless, I was startled to read that Pontius Pilate (“Celtic bell dating back to seventh century stolen from parish church”, The Herald, September 9) has been elevated to Emperor.

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It is possible, historically and dendrochronologically speaking, that he might have been born in the shadow of the Fortingall Yew; and let us hope that he was (or were? See- still inoculated with that grammar thing).

But he never did become an emperor of Rome. I believe that the summit of his career was to be the governor of Judea and Samaria from 26 to 36 CE, during which tenure, apparently, he frequently irritated his masters in Rome by his coarse way with local sensibilities.

It might have been some consolation to him to know that he would acquire a considerable posthumous reputation as a significant and ambivalent character in the drama of Christ’s persecution, and be immortalised by the writers of the gospels, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ann Wroe, and even Tim Rice.

Yours in a post-Imperial decline,

Lindsay McCullough,

27 Buckstone Shaw,

Edinburgh.