Pontius Pilate (/ˌpɒnᵗʃəs ˈpaɪlət / or /ˌpɒnti.əs ˈpaɪlət / Latin Pontius Pilatus, Greek Πόντιος Πιλᾶτος, Pontios Pīlātos) governed for eleven years as the fifth Roman prefect, or procurator, of the Roman province of Judea from AD 26–36. He is best known from the New Testament gospels concerning the trial of Jesus of Nazareth. Pilate is heavily criticized in the writings of Josephus Flavius and Philo of Alexandria who described him as a cruel and unpopular ruler. Pilate allegedly confiscated funds from the Temple treasury in order to construct a large aqueduct for Jerusalem, then mercilessly suppressed the protest in response. He was purportedly removed from office for supposedly being responsible for the massacre of the Samaritans. Pilate's historicity is confirmed from a fragmented artifact known as the Pilate Stone that dates to the Roman period, 26-36 CE. The Latin inscriptions gave his name PONTIVS PILATVS and title as prefect.
The only physical evidence that confirms the existence of Pilate, are the Latin inscriptions found on a limestone block of Pilate's tribute to Tiberius. The artifact, sometimes known as the Pilate Stone, was discovered in 1961 by an archeological team led by Antonio Frova. It was found as a reused block within a staircase of the Roman theater at Caesarea, the city that served as Rome’s administrative center in the province of Judea. Procurators were based in Caesarea and only visited Jerusalem on special occasions, or in times of unrest. The artifact is a fragment of the dedicatory inscriptions of a building, probably a temple, that was constructed possibly in honor of the emperor Tiberius, dating to 26-36 CE. The dedication states that Pilate was prefect of Judaea, read praefectus Iudaeae. The early governors of Judaea were of prefect rank, the later were of procurator rank, beginning with Cuspius Fadus in 44 CE. The artifact is currently housed in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, while a replica stands at Caesarea.
The remaining text read:
- …]S TIBERIVM
- …PON]TIVS PILATVS
- …PRAEF]ECTVS IVDA[EA]
- ↑ Olausson & Sangster. Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation, Oxford University Press, 2006
- ↑ Milinovich, Timothy M. Pronunciation Guide for the Lectionary, Liturgy Training Publications, 2010
- ↑ Jones, Daniel. Cambridge Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 2006
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2015, Pontius Pilate-Dedicatory Inscription
- ↑ Britannica Online: Pontius Pilate
- ↑ A.N. Sherwin-White, review of "A. Frova, L'iscrizione di Ponzio Pilato a Cesarea" in The Journal of Roman Studies, 54 (1964), p.258.
- ↑ Tacitus, Annals, 15.44
- ↑ 18.89. Antiquities of the Jews, 18.3.3 §63
- ↑ Jerry Vardaman, A New Inscription Which Mentions Pilate as 'Prefect' , Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 81, 1962. pp 70–71
- ↑ Craig A. Evans, Jesus and the ossuaries, Volume 44, Baylor University Press, 2003. pp 45–47
- ↑ Inventory number: AE 1963 no. 104