Friday, May 3, 2013

The Inscription by Pontius Pilate


Caesarea, Israel
New Testament Period
Pontius Pilate, (26-37 AD)
Limestone, inscribed
82.0 cm H, 65.0 cm W
Building Dedication
4 Lines of Writing (Latin)
Date of Discovery: 1961
Israel Museum (Jerusalem)
AE 1963 no. 104

It wasn't long ago when many scholars were questioning the actual existence 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 near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea."

It reads:

Line One: TIBERIEUM

Line Two: (PON)TIUS PILATU(S)

Line Three: (PRAEF) ECTUS IUDA (EAE)

This is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to Caesarea's theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It is interesting as well that there have been a few bronze coins found that were struck from 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate.

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