Pontius Pilate
Historical Figure
Nationality: Roman Empire
Date of Birth: Probably before AD 1
Date of Death: AD 37(?)
Cause of Death: Suicide (according to tradition)
Religion: Roman pantheon, allegedly converted later to Christianity
Occupation: Politician
Spouse: Claudia Procula
Political Office(s): Governor of Judaea
Turtledove Appearances:
"Shock and Awe"
POD: 30 CE
Type of Appearance: Direct (as "General Pontius")
Occupation: Soldier
Pontius Pilate (d. AD 37[?]) was governor, from AD 26 until 36, of the Roman Empire's Judaea Province in what is now Israel. He is best known as the man who, according to the canonical Christian Gospels, presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion, instigating the Passion. When Jesus refused to offer a defense, Pilate symbolically washed his hands to state that he was not responsible for any miscarriage of justice. Pilate's biography beyond his rule of Judaea is unknown, but has been supplied by tradition. Such stories include the detail that his wife's name was Claudia Procula, competing legends of his birthplace, and his conversion to Christianity and execution by order of Caligula. Pilate was recognized as a saint by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the sixth century.

Literary commentEdit

Characters in numerous Harry Turtledove timelines with a Point of Divergence after AD 30 make reference to Pontius Pilate, usually in metaphors relating to the hand-washing statement. These references rarely have any impact on the plot or offer insight to the setting.

Pontius Pilate in "Shock and Awe"Edit

General Pontius Pilate was sent with his legion to put down a Jewish uprising against the Roman Empire. The insurrection was led by a Chieftain who called himself the "Son of God". Both the Son and his right-hand man the Rock were captured after a fierce but short battle, and brought before the general. After the Son "forgave" Pilate, Pilate ordered both men crucified, with the Rock placed upside down. Pilate then calmly asked for a wash basin, as his hands were dirty.

See alsoEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Valerius Gratus
Roman Governor of Judaea
AD 26-36
Succeeded by