More biblical characters

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Banga is Pilate's faithful dog. To him he could freely complain about the hemicrania which tortured him. Banga loved and respected his boss as the most powerful man in the world, the ruler of all men, thanks to whom the dog considered himself a privileged, lofty and special being. He wanted to comfort his master and face the misery together with him. So he stayed with him for 2.000 years, and rush along down the path of moonlight with him later.

The nickname of Bulgakov's second wife Lyubov Yevgenyevna Belozerskaya (1895-1987) was Lyubanga. She was the one who brought animals into the writer's life. In 1928 Bulgakov made a drawing which he had dedicated to Lyubanga - on the top is written to Banga. it shows their домовой [domovoy] or house spirit which they had called Rogash, who runs off with a 5 carat ring.

Banga and Pilate inspired the rock band Pearl Jam to the song Pilate.

Click here to read more about Pilate and to listen to the song

Banga also inspired the American rock legend Patti Smith to the song Banga.

Click here to read more about Banga and to listen to the song


According to Bulgakov's Pilate, Bar-Rabban had allowed himself to call directly for rebellion, and he had also killed a guard during the attempt to arrest him. Consequently, according to the procurator, Bar-Rabban is incomparably more dangerous than Ha-Nozri.

Bar-Rabban comes from the Aramaic Bar-abbâ, it means son of the father. If he existed historically, he would probably have been a member of the sicarii, a militant jewish liberation movement which wanted to drive away the Roman oppressors from Judea by force.

In the Matthew gospel is said that Barabbas' first name was Jesus. Mattheus 27:16 - At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. This has led to a theory that the people, in fact, wanted to set free Jesus of Nazareth. In Jewish prayers God was often addressed to as Abba, and Bar-abbâ would thus mean son of God. Advocates of this theory suppose that the Jewish crowd at Pilate's palace asked for the liberation of Jesus, the son of God. According to this theory, anti-Semitic christians would have re-written the story in such way that the Jewish were to blame for Christ's crucifixion, by letting them plead for the liberation of a murderer.


In chapter 26, in the night of Yeshua Ha-Nozri's burial, Aphranius goes to a carpet shop in the Greek street and goes to the small square courtyard. «Niza!» he called softly, and a young woman without a veil appeared on the terrace. «Are you alone?», he asked softly in Greek. «Yes,» the woman on the terrace whispered, «my husband left for Caesarea in the morning. But the serving-woman is at home».

They spent very little time together, certainly no more than five minutes, and we don't know what's been said. After Aphranius has left, Niza hurries to the Lower City. There she meets a handsome young man who's leaving the palace of the high priest Kaifa. It's Judas of Kiriath. She doesn't want to tell him where she's going to, which disappoints him: «But why?... We had it all arranged... I wanted to come to you, you said you'd be home all evening...» «Go to the olive estate», Niza whispers, «I'll go ahead». But when Judas arrives at the meeting place, instead of Niza, two men with a knife and one with a hood are waiting for him. The first two kill him. The third one rides back to the palace of Herod the Great...

Niza is portrayed in a a shroud of mystery. Is she a double agent? She presumably is. She is, for sure, Judas' mistress, and maybe Aphranius' mistress as well. Probably, who knows? Anyway, it was not just for the money that Judas was prepared to help to frame Yeshua...

Pilate's wife

Matthew is the only evangelist mentioning Pilate's wife in the gospel. The other three don't talk about her. In Matthew 27:19 is written that Pilate's wife sends her domestic servant Myriam to him, asking to save Jesus, because she had dreamed of him. Matthew 27:19 - «When he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent to him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream, because of him».

But her name is never mentioned. And, as it often is the case with stories: we get to know a lot more of her in the following centuries. In mediaeval stories, certainly in the resulting mystery plays, she gets a more defined role. From the 4th century on she also gets a name: Claudia Procula. According to christian tradition she would become, after Pilate's death, a prominent figure among those devoting themselves to the spreading of the words of Jezus of Nazareth, commonly referred to as «the good tidings».


Mark, nicknamed Ratslayer is the centurion of the first century. A head taller than the tallest soldier of the legion and so broad in the shoulders that he completely blocked out the still-low sun. His face was disfigured because his nose had once been smashed by a blow from a Germanic club in the battle of Isdistavizo in the Valley of the Virgins. When he takes a prisoner apart the latter becomes very obedient and says: «I understand. Don't beat me». According to Yeshua he's a good man who has become cruel and hard since the good people disfigured him. «If I could speak with him, I'm sure he'd change sharply», he says.

On Bald Mountain Ratslayer is leading the soldiers who are supposed to preserve order during the execution. He's not playing an important role there. But he's always around when Pilate needs him, one word is enough to make him coming. One gesture makes him disappear again. He expresses himself barely, but he's capable to accomplish his mission for as long as it needs, indefatigable and under the most difficult conditions.

Bulgakov calls him Марк Крысобой [Mark Krisovoy]. крыса [krysa] is rat and бой [boy] means fight. In the English translations he's called Muribellum (Glenny, 1967) or Ratslayer (Pevear and Volokhonsky, 1997). Muribellum means Mousefighter. It was a Roman nickname for fearful and pusillanimous soldiers. Muribellum is meant ironically, because Mark Ratslayer was not a coward at all.

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