Pontius Pilate

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Pontius Pilate was the fifth Roman procurator of Judea, appointed to that office by Tiberius in AD 26. His term lasted ten years. Pilate was in residence in Jerusalem during Passover when Jesus was arrested and put on trial, and it was he who pronounced the sentence of death.

All four Gospels state that he did not think that Jesus was guilty, and that he sought to free Him. A lot is known of Pilate, not only from the New Testament, but also from famous chroniclers of that period, Philo and Josephus. Philo describes him as "a man of inflexible disposition, harsh and obdurate," and he is further characterized as a person of cruel, selfish and malicious intent.

Pilate was ordered to return to Rome to answer for his brutal handling of a crowd of Samaritan pilgrims at Mount Gerizim. Caligula banished Pilate to Vienne in Gaul, where he died in AD 41. A stone was found in the theater at Caesarea during an excavation in the 1960's, that bears a dedicatory inscription by Pontius Pilate procurator of Judea, in honor of the emperor Tiberius Caesar.

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