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Article contents

Pilate’s Wife?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 May 2015

J. Carington Smith*
Affiliation:
Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens

Extract

According to St. Matthew, Pontius Pilate had a wife; after a warning dream, she spoke out against her husband’s decision concerning Christ. The gospel does not mention her name, but a number of apocryphal writings, composed between the third and seventh centuries, give her the cognomen of Procia, under which name, and as the wife of Pilate, she is included in the calendars of the Greek Orthodox and Ethiopian Churches. The earliest source which adds the nomen Claudia to the cognomen Procla was available to St. Jerome, and so extant in the early fifth century — but versions of it surviving today are said to bear little relation to the one he referred to, and their authenticity is doubtful. The name Claudia Procia nevertheless attached itself to the legend, and under it Pilate’s wife has survived even into the fiction of this century.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Australasian Society for Classical Studies 1984

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References

1 Matth. 27:19.

2 Le René Mouterde, R.P.Sarcophages de Plomb Trouvés en Syrie’, SYRIA 10(1929), 23851CrossRefGoogle Scholar, hereinafter Mouterde. On the Claudia Procla legend, p. 238 and Ns. 1–2, p. 239 and Ns. 1–10, and p. 240 and Nos. 1–3.

3 KΛAYΔ/ΠPO/KΛA on the larger bracelet, and KΛAYΔ/IA ΠPO/KΛA on the smaller. Mouterde 245.

4 Mouterde 238.

5 Mouterde 249 and Ns. 3–5.

6 Loc. cit.

7 Mouterde 246.

8 There is no indication that the Claudia Procla in the Beirut grave was young — no bones are mentioned as being found.

9 Mouterde 240.

10 Carington Smith, J., ‘A Roman Chamber Tomb on the South-East Slopes of Monasteriaki Kephala, Knossos’, BSA 77 (1982), 255–93,Google Scholar hereinafter JCS. Date of tomb p. 268.

11 Mouterde 244 Pl. XLVI, 1 left, 4 top centre.

12 Mouterde loc. cit. Pl. XLVI 5 middle and bottom rows.

13 Isings, C., ‘Roman Glass from Dated Finds’ (Archaeologica Traiectina 2, Groningen and Djakarta 1957) Form 15, pp. 3234.Google Scholar

14 JCS 273–4 and Ns. 75–9, Fig. 4 (21), Pl. 37c, d, g.

15 Mouterde Pl. XLVI 4.

16 Mouterde Pl. XLVI 1 centre.

17 Mouterde 245.

18 JCS 266, 278, 281–2, Fig. 6 (60) Pl 40a, b.

19 JCS 281–2 and Ns. 113–16.

20 Mouterde Pl. XLVI 4.

21 JCS 282–3 Pl 40c.

22 Mouterde calls them situla handles, but they are too small for this.

23 Mouterde 245 Pl XLVI 4.

24 JCS 282–4 Nos. 82, 83, Fig. 6 (82) Pl 40c (82, 83).

25 JCS Fig. 6 (81), less clear in Pl. 41 a; the tongue of the lock plate is visible in the narrow rectangular opening (the slot for the hasp) to the left of the lock as illustrated.

26 JCS 283 and Ns. 119–26.

27 JCS 248 and N. 130, Pl. 41e.

28 JCS 286 and N. 139, Pl. 44 h –1.

29 Mouterde Pl. XLVI 4, bottom.

30 Mouterde 245 (Pl. XLVI 1 bottom row?).

31 JCS 289 and N. 178 PI. 42g, h.

32 Mouterde 246.

33 Mouterde 246.

34 Mouterde 246.

35 Mouterde 247.

36 Isings op. cit. (above note 13).

37 Mouterde 247.

38 Mouterde 247–8.

39 Mouterde 249 and N. 1.

40 Mouterde 240.

4l Enc. Brit.14 (1929) s.v. Pilate, Pontius.

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