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PONTIUS PILATE

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 603 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PONTIUS PILATE, the Roman governor of Judaea under whom Jesus Christ suffered crucifixion. Of equestrian rank, his name Pontius suggests a Samnite origin, and his cognomen in the gospels, pileatus (if derived from the pileus or cap of liberty), descent from a freedman. In any case he came in A.U. 26 from the household of Tiberius, through the influence hold where it narrows towards the bows, the fore-peak, or towards the stern, the after-peak, for the top corner of a sail extended by a gaff, or for the projecting end of the gaff itself, and for a pointed or conical top of a hill or mountain. The name of the high table-land district in Derbyshire is not to be connected with this word, but probably retains the name of an old English demon, Peac (see PEAK, THE). PIKE-PERCH (Lucioperca), fresh-water fishes closely allied to the perch, but with strong canine teeth standing between the smaller teeth of the jaws and palate. They resemble the pike in their elongate body and head, and they are also most dangerous enemies to other fresh-water fishes, though they compensate for their destructiveness by the excellent flavour of their flesh. In Europe two species occur, the more celebrated being the " Zander " of North Germany or " Schiel " of the Danube (Lucioperca sandra); strange to say, it is absent in the system of the Rhine. It prefers the quiet waters of large rivers and clear deep lakes, in which it reaches a weight of 25 lb or 30 lb. The second (Lucioperca wolgensis) is limited to rivers in southern Russia and Hungary. In North America several pike-perches have been described, but in the most recent works only two are distinguished, viz. Lucioperca americana, which grows to a weight of 20 lb, and the much smaller Lucioperca canadensis; both are abundant in the Canadian lakes and upper Mississippi, and the latter also in the Ohio. PIKE'S PEAK, a famous peak of the Rampart range of the Rocky Mountains in El Paso county, Colorado, U.S.A., about 6 m. W. of Colorado Springs. Though surpassed in altitude (14,r08 ft.) by many summits in the state, no other is so well known. The commanding appearance of the peak is very fine. To the south are Cameron Cone (1o,685 ft.), Mt Sachett, Mt Bald (13,974), Mt Rosa (11,427), and Mt Cheyenne (9407). From the summit the magnificent Sangre de Cristo range is in the foreground, while on a clear day not only its southernmost summit, Blanca Peak (14,390 ft.) is visible, but also the Spanish Peaks (12,708 and 13,623 ft.) Too m. to the south, and Long's Peak too m. to the north, and between them Mt Lincoln, Gray's Peak and other giants. At the base of the mountain are Manitou. and Colorado Springs, whence tourists can make the ascent of the peak (in summer safe and relatively simple) on horseback or by a cog-railway, 8.75 M. long (opened in 1891), which makes a total ascent of 8roo ft. (maximum gradient unwillingly ascended the bema (in this case a portable judgment-seat, brought for the day outside the Praetorium), and in such words as Ibis ad crucem" delivered Him to be crucified." Pilate's place in the Christian tragedy, and perhaps also in the Creed, stimulated legend about him in two directions, equally unhistorical. The Gospel of Nicodemus, written by a Christian (possibly as early, Tischendorf thought, as the middle of the 2nd century), repeats the trial in a dull and diluted way; but adds not only alleged evidence of the Resurrection, but the splendid vision of the descensus ad inferos—the whole professing to be recorded in the Acta Pilati or official records of the governor. The Epistola Pilati gives Pilate's supposed account to Tiberius of the Resurrection; and the Paradosis Pilati relates how Tiberius condemned him and his wife Procla or Procula, both Christian converts. All this culminates in Pilate being canonized in the Abyssinian Church (June 25), and his wife in the Greek (Oct. 27). On the other hand the Mors Pilati tells how when condemned by the emperor he committed suicide; and his body, thrown first into the Tiber and then the Rhone, disturbed both waters, and was driven north into " Losania," where it was plunged in the gulf near Lucerne and below Mt Pilatus (originally no- doubt Pileatus or cloud-capped), from whence it is raised every Good Friday to sit and wash unavailing hands. The earlier Pilate literature, to the extent of to treatises, chiefly of the 17th and 18th centuries, is enumerated in G. A. Muller s Pontius Pilatus der fiinfte Prokurator von Jud¢a (Stuttgart, 1888). See in loco in the following English or translated histories of the life or time of Jesus, Theodor Keim, E. Schiirer, A. Edersheim, J. P. Lange, Bernhard Weiss and F. W. Farrar; Expositor (1884) p. 107 and (1900) p. 59; also H. Peter," Pontius Pilatus, der romische Landpfleger in Judaa," in Neue Jahrb. f. d. kl Altertum (1907). Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, in his Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (1873), p. 87, starts the question, " Was Pilate right in crucifying Christ : " his somewhat paradoxical answer is criticised in The Trial of Jesus Christ, a legal monograph, by A. Taylor Innes (1899). (A. T. I.)
End of Article: PONTIUS PILATE
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