PONTIUS PILATE, procurator of Judaea and. Samaria, governed from AD26-36. His term of office was marked by many disturbances and he was finally sent to Rome to answer certain charges laid against him: but the Emperor. Tiberius, died before
his case could be heard.
What facts we know of his rule would suggest that he was not ill-intentioned but that he failed (like so many other Roman administrators in Palestine) to understand and respect the prejudices of the Jews.
The Gospels in describing the trial aims reveal a tendency to exonerate Pilate of the chief responsibility and to lay the blame upon the Jews he was endeavouring to placate.
John even represents Pilate as acknowledging the kingship of Jesus. But the fact remains that Pilate did order the Crucifixion of Jesus. Nothing is known for certain of Pilate's later history, but legend was busy with his
name and later activities. "
The Emperor who followed Tiberius was the extraordinary Caliguli (37-41 AD) who may have dealt with the Pilate case. Caligula was so called because when he was with the army us a boy, he wore a military sandal called caliga which had no upper leather and was only used by the common soldier. His cruelty and excesses almost amounted to madness. If he had to judge Pilate's case, the ex-procurator, could expect no mercy from him.
One tradition has it that Pontius Pilate's later life was so full of misfortune (well might it he under. Caligula) that he committed suicide at Rome. His body was thrown into the Tiber, but evil spirits so disturbed the water that it was retrieved and taken to Vienne, where it was cast into the
Rhone, eventually coining to rest
ill the recesses of a lake on Mount Hiatus.
Another legend is that he committed suicide to avoid the sentence of death passed on him by Tiberius because of his having ordered the Crucifixion of
Christ. His wife is given as
Claudia Procula or Procla, and by some she has been identified with the Claudia of I I Tim. iv, 21: there is a story that they both
became penitent and died peaceably in the true faith.
In the Coptic Church Pilate is regarded as a martyr, and his feast day is June 25. His wilt:.
Procla has been canonised in the Greek Church.
Mount Pilatus is in Switzerland and lies between the canton of Lucerne and Unterwalden. It is so called because during westerl■ winds it is covered with a while "cap" of cloud (Latin "pileatus". covered with "pileus", or felt cap).
The similarity of the name gave rise to a fabled connection with Pilate. One tradition is that Pilate was banished to Gaul by Tiberius and threw himself into the lake near the summit of this. mountain.
where he appears annually. Whoever sees the ghost runs the legend will die before the year is out.
The Acts of Pilate is an apocryphal work,. probably of the 4th century, recounting the trial. death and Resurrection of Christ. In combination with another treatise on the "Descent of Chrirt into Hades", the two are kno us the "Gospel of Nicodetnus". I think these legendary facts give impetus to the speculation that has proceeded since those early days of Pilate's procurship. of his subsequent probable
hislory and shows the keen interest in his later life.
Rev A. M. Dutton