Later History of Pontius Pilate

Later History

Scripture reveals nothing more concerning Pontius Pilate, but the writings of Josephus reveal that Pilate’s fear of giving offense to Caesar did not save him from political disaster. Josephus records that there was a rebellion in the territory of the Samaritans. Pilate led his troops against them and defeated them completely and quenched the rebellion. The Samaritans complained to Vitellius, the new governor of Syria, and he sent Pontius Pilate to Rome to answer their accusations before the emperor. When he came to Rome he found Tiberius dead and Caius (Caligula) on the throne (36 A.D.).

Eusebius adds that not long afterward, Pilate was "wearied with misfortunes," and he killed himself. Regarding his death, there are various traditions. One records that he was banished to Vienna Allobrogum (Vienne on the Rhone), where a singular monument (a pyramid on a quadrangular base), fifty-two feet high is called Pontius Pilate's tomb.

Another tradition is that he sought to hide his sorrows on the mountain by the Lake of Lucerne, now called Mt. Pilatus. After spending years in remorse and despair rather than penitence, he plunged his body into the lake.

We learn from Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Eusebius, and others that Pilate made an official report to Tiberius of our Lord's trial and condemnation; and in a homily ascribed to Chrysostom, though marked as spurious by his Benedictine editors (Homilies 8, in Pasch., 8:968, D), certain hupomnemata (Acta, or Commentarii Pilati) are spoken of as well-known documents in common circulation. The Acta Pilati, now present in Greek, and two Latin epistles from him to the emperor, are certainly false.

Archaeology confirms the existence of Pontius Pilate and of his chronological placement. A. Frova, who conducted an Italian Archaeological Mission dig in the theater of Caesarea (1959-63) found a dedicatory inscription from Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, to the Emperor Tiberius.


Pontius Pilate
Return to Bible History Online

The Story of the Bible

© Bible History Online (

The main historical sources about the life of Pontius Pilate were:

- Josephus (75-94 A.D. approx.)

- The New Testament (50-100 A.D. approx.)

- Jewish and Christian Tradition

- Archaeology: inscriptions, coins, written text.

Bibliography on Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate by Wroe, 432 Pages, Pub. 2001

Pontius Pilate a Novel by Maier, 384 Pages


Pontius Pilate

Bible History Online

© Bible History Online (/)

Related Content