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PONTIUS PILATE INSCRIPTION
Historical Archaeology » Archaeological Articles » Pontius Pilate Inscription

It wasn't long back when a lot of scholars were quizzical the real survival of a Roman Governor with the name Pontius Pilate, the procurator who ordered Jesus' crucifixion. In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre close to Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and unearthed this appealing limestone block. On the face is a tombstone inscription which is fraction of a bigger devotion to Tiberius Caesar which evidently tells that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea."

Pontius plate This is the only recognized happening of the name Pontius Pilate in any very old inscription. Visitors to Caesarea's theater today see a model; the unique is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It is appealing as well that there have been a small amount of bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate.

Who was Pontius Pilate?
Pontius Pilate's family name, Pontius, points out that he was of the clan of Pontii. It was one of the most well-known of the ancient Samnite names. The family name or cognomen Pilatus points out the familia or branch of the gens Pontius. The name is vague, although a few think it may have destined "armed with the pilum" (a spear or javelin). One appealing note is about a further man in Roman history bearing the name. Lucius Pontius Aquila was a pal of Cicero and one of the killers of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March (44 BC) when the would-be king was murdered.

The only information concerning Pontius Pilate is the new testimony and two Jewish writers: Josephus and Philo of Alexandria. By distant our utmost amount of information comes from the Jewish writer Flavius Josephus who serene his two great works, the Antiquities of the Jews and the Jewish War, towards the end of the first century. There are also more than a few "less reliable" ethnicity and myths. One early German legend tells that Pilate was an unlawful son of Tyrus, king of Mayence, who had Pilate taken to Rome as a captive. After he had in fact done a murder he was sent to Pontus, where he enrolled in the Roman Army and bear out himself by endearing many success in opposition to the barbarous tribes in the north.

Tacitus, when talking of the unkind punishments imposed by Nero upon the Christians, says us that Christ, from whom the name "Christian" was derived was put to demise when Tiberius was monarch by the procurator Pontius Pilate (Annals xv.44). Apart from this allusion and what is told us in the new testimony, all our facts of him is taken from two Jewish writers, Josephus the historian and Philo of Alexandria.



The first physical proof linking to Pilate was found in 1961, when a hunk of limestone was found in the Roman theatre at Caesarea Maritima, the capital of the prefecture of Iudaea, bearing a dented commitment by Pilate of a Tiberieum. This commitment mentions that he was [...] ECTVS IUDA [...] (typically read as praefectus iudaeae), that is, prefect/superintendent of Iudaea. The early governors of Iudaea were of prefect rank, the later were of procurator rank, starting with Cuspius Fadus in 44.

The inscription is at present housed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where its Inventory number is AE 1963 no. 104. Dated to 26-37, it was found in Caesarea (Israel) by a cluster led by Antonio Frova.

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