Amoeba’s Lorica: Pilate’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Pilate and wife

While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a message: “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man (Jesus of Nazareth). I’ve just been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about him.” – Matthew 27: 19 (The Message)

CAESAREA, Province of Judea. Ides of April, in the reign of Emperor Tiberius the 18th year. Prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilatus[sic], has returned to the seat of Roman government in the province, and to his home, after spending the Jewish Passover on duty in Jerusalem, overseeing the festivals. His welcome is … well …

Claudia Procula, uxor Pontii Pilati (“wife of Pontius Pilatus”):Well?!?

Pilatus: “Well what?!? Don’t tell me we’re having water problems again? I’ve already raided the Jerusalem temple treasury once so we could get a decent water supply into this Jupiter-forsaken Hades hole. I’ll do it again, too, as many times as we need to get as many aqueducts as we need in here. But only if we need it!”

Procula: “My husband, you have water on the brain! As usual. What did you do about that prophet from Galilee?

Pilatus:Which one?? There are more prophets per stadium in this province than there are people capable of earning an honest denarius. I half expect a legion of them to come riding into this capital on sandworms, any day now!”

Procula: “On what?!?

Pilatus: “As if you’re the only Roman in Judea who has weird dreams.”

Procula:Then you know exactly who I’m talking about! This Yaysue. I sent you a message about it, and the messenger returned safely so I know you got it. What did you do with him?!

PilatusFried him, of course! When I left Jerusalem, his crucified body was already two days rotting in those damned rockholes they use for tombs. The chief priests wanted him dead, and after that fracas over the shields in the temple, I’m not about to go against their wishes, not until I’m good and ready. I don’t need any of their rabble making trouble for either the Emperor or me, and I need for Tiberius to have enough time to forget about that shield episode before I go after their leaders again, get them to have the vestige of a clue about what ‘respect for Rome’ means. You know as well as I do that we need to make a success of this posting …”

Procula:By Juno, you never listen to a word I say! I sent word that you needed to keep that man safe, or we’d both regret it. You’d better hope he stays in that rockhole, or this posting is toast and so are you! Pie lot!

Pilatus: “What did you call me …?”

Procula: “‘Pie lot.’ P I L A T E. Pie lot. Though you’ll be lucky if anyone will let a judicial murderer and failed administrator guide a boat, never mind fly a plane.”

Pilatus:Fly? A what?!?

Procula: “Or maybe you’d prefer to be known throughout history as the clown with the cream pie in his face.”

Pilatus: “What are you raving about, woman? And have you totally forgotten your grammar? The name is Pilatus. ‘Pilate‘ is the vocative case. And it’s pronounced ‘pee laht eh‘. So much for your cream pies. Whatever they are.”

Procula: “So you’d rather be known as a latté drink they’d never dream of selling at Starbucks? And have a chain of exercise parlors actually pronounce it correctly so as to avoid any association with you? Not to mention the crazy questions you’ll be getting about what kind of musical instrument you keep in a vocative case?”

Pilatus: “Right. I spend two weeks trying to survive in a city full of religious lunatics, and I come home to my very own head case.”

Procula: “Not tonight, buster.”

Pilatus: “Fine. I’ll raid the slave quarters. Again. But I’ll be keeping my eye on you. And so help me, if I get any more reports about this Susan B. Anthony fantasy you keep spreading around …!”

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