Thoughts, Ideas, Observations

"Bensozia" is a 16th-century Italian dialect word that means "the good society."  This web site was established back in 2001 by me, John Bedell, in hopes of creating, online, my idea of good fellowship:  the friendly but challenging discussion of ethics, politics, the arts, history, anthropology, metaphysics, the vagaries of life, and whatever else generates intelligent and wide-ranging conversation. Alas, my bulletin board was killed by spambots, leaving a hole in my online that has still not been filled. 

If you are looking for a way to publish your ideas, I welcome essays on any subject, tales of personal experiences, reviews of books, movies, exhibits, or just about anything else, short stories, credes, manifestos, statements of principles, platforms of new political parties, denunciations of abuses, notes scribbled on envelopes, and what have you. 

The categories established here are for convenience and need not be seen as any sort of limit; others can be added as needed.  Thoughts is intended for personal essays; Ideas for philosophical stuff; Arts for book and movie reviews and anything people have to say about painting, sculpture, tattooing, and the like; Politics for that charade they carry on in Washington, Brussels, and similar places; History for the discussion of historical and other academic topics; Observations for reports on things we notice around us; On the Dead for things we notice in reading about the past.  The Commonplace Book holds excerpts from the paper commonplace books I have been keeping for nearly 20 years now, where I write down things I read that strike my fancy.  The Florilegium ("collection of flowers") holds long sections of poems whose authors have been dead for more than 75 years and snippets of poetry that might still be under copyright.  On the Links page we can post links to other sites that strike our interest.  For the time being there is still vast amounts of space on the site, and as long as we stick to text we aren't likely to run out, so I would be willing to set up separate pages for any of my friends who want one.

I will claim no copyright on anything others want to post here.  Feel free to share any of my words with anyone you like, but if you clip any text from here, please identify the source ( and the author.


Reaching Us

Personal notes for me can be sent to, and business communications to  For the time being I am the sole editor, and we don't have any business, so "john" and "editors" are different names for to the same entity.   I hope eventually to share the editing duties, though, so you might as well get used to the distinction now.


The Editor

John Bedell is an archaeologist, historian, amateur writer and would-be pundit who lives in Maryland with his wife and five children and works in Washington D.C. For more details see the bensozia blog.



The Gripping Beasts that now adorn our first page were created by Bradley W. Schenk.

The backgrounds to some of the table columns are panels designed by Karen Nicholas.


A Motto

"Let us be friends without jealousy, and courteous without pride."

--Jean Froissart