Dennis Rodman
North Korea 2014 meets Rome AD 65
North Korea 2014 meets Rome AD 65

This week, as the Ides of March approaches — the March 15 anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar, a determined but ultimately fruitless attempt by Roman senators to stop their government from sliding toward dictatorship — the minds of some ancient historians may turn in a seemingly unlikely direction: toward modern North Korea. The dark and menacing regime of Kim Jong Un seems a long way off from the Augustan "Golden Age" of ancient Rome, an era that produced art and literature still admired today. The differences between the two societies are, of course, vast, but the parallels are nonetheless striking. In the century or so following Caesar's...