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Chapter VII.—Pilate’s Suicide.

It is worthy of note that Pilate himself, who was governor in the time of our Saviour, is reported to have fallen into such misfortunes under Caius, whose times we are recording, that he was forced to become his own murderer and executioner; 323 and thus divine vengeance, as it seems, was not long in overtaking him. This is stated by those Greek historians who have recorded the Olympiads, together with the respective events which have taken place in each period. 324



Pilate’s downfall occurred in the following manner. A leader of the Samaritans had promised to disclose the sacred treasures which Moses was reported to have concealed upon Mt. Gerizim, and the Samaritans came together in great numbers from all quarters. Pilate, supposing the gathering to be with rebellious purpose, sent troops against them and defeated them with great slaughter. The Samaritans complained to Vitellius, governor of Syria, who sent Pilate to Rome (36 a.d.) to answer the charges brought against him. Upon reaching Rome he found Tiberius dead and Caius upon the throne. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to defend himself, and, according to tradition, was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where a monument is still shown as Pilate’s tomb. According to another tradition he committed suicide upon the mountain near Lake Lucerne, which bears his name.


Eusebius, unfortunately, does not mention his authority in this case, and the end of Pilate is recorded by no Greek historians known to us. We are unable, therefore, to form a judgment as to the trustworthiness of the account.

Next: Chapter VIII