PILATE (Lat. Pontius Pitt:tits). The Roman Governor of the territory comprising Juda.a, Samaria, and a large part of Idunnea. which, after the deposition of Herod Archelaus in A.D. .6. became an Imperial province. His official title was procurator, and he resided in the pr;etorium at Caesarea. going up to Jerusalem at the season of national feasts. Ile possessed complete judicial authority except in cases of Roman citizens. Nvho had the right of appeal to Rome. hut many of these function- were dis charged by local courts. particularly by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem; death sentences were confirmed and executed by the procurator. Pilate's term of service in Palestine was long. from the appearance of John the Baptist. through the ministry of Jesus. and while the early Church was gaining its first converts (A.n. 26-36). The early years of his administration were marked by strained relations between himself and the Jews, whose intense religious convictions and national pride he failed to understand. He was thoroughly hated, and, in one instance at least, the people appealed successfully to the Emperor against him. Pilate is known chiefly from his connection with the trial and death of .Jesus of Nazareth. After the Sanhedrin had condemned -Jesus to death, they came to Pilate evidently expecting that he would ratify their decision without investigation. This, however, he
refused to do. The -Jews therefore presented charges of corrupt teaching. interference with tribute, and false claims of kingship against Jesus (Luke xxiii. 2), which brought him within the sphere of civil law. Pilate examined him privately and Jesus answered his questions frankly. As a result of the examination. Pilate was convinced that Jesus was politically harm less and Nvi.litql to save him, but he feared to do so by peremptory release. In the end popular clamor prevailed, and personal and political con siderations of a selfish nature outweighed Pilate's loyalty to the functions of a just judge. Pilate's rule in Juda-a ended by his being cited to appear in Rome to explain certain acts of cruelty. Thereafter he disappears from authentic history. There are many traditions concerning the end of his life. One of these is connected with Mount Pilatus, near Lucerne, Switzerland, in a lake on which his body is said to lie. Consult, besides the lives of Christ. and Sehfirer's History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (Eng. trans., Edinburgh, 1886-901, especially, G. A. Muller, Pontius I'ilatus der ffinfte Prokurator con. Judea (Stuttgart, 1888).