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					Pilate in the apocrypha
Little enough is known about Pilate, but tradition has tried to fill the gap. A body of legend grew up around
the dramatic figure of Pontius Pilate, about whom the Christian faithful hungered to learn more than the
canonical Gospels revealed. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiae ii: 7) quotes some early apocryphal accounts
that he does not name, which already relate that Pilate fell under misfortunes in the reign of Caligula (37–
41), was exiled to Gaul and eventually committed suicide there in Vienne.

Other details come from less credible sources. His body, says the Mors Pilati ("Death of Pilate"), was
thrown first into the Tiber, but the waters were so disturbed by evil spirits that the body was taken to
Vienne and sunk in the Rhône: a monument at Vienne, called Pilate's tomb, is still to be seen. As the
waters of the Rhone likewise rejected Pilate's corpse, it was again removed and sunk in the lake
at Lausanne. The sequence was a simple way to harmonise conflicting local traditions.

The corpse's final disposition was in a deep and lonely mountain tarn, which, according to later tradition,
was on a mountain, still called Pilatus (actually pileatus or "cloud capped"), overlookingLucerne.
Every Good Friday, the body is said to reemerge from the waters and wash its hands.

There are many other legends about Pilate in the folklore of Germany, particularly about his birth,
according to which Pilate was born in the Franconian city of Forchheim or the small village ofHausen only
5 km away from it. His death was (unusually) dramatised in a medieval mystery play cycle from Cornwall,
the Cornish Ordinalia.

Pilate's role in the events leading to the crucifixion lent themselves to melodrama, even tragedy, and
Pilate often has a role in medieval mystery plays.
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In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Claudia Procula is commemorated as a saint, but not Pilate, because
in the Gospel accounts Claudia urged Pilate not to have anything to do with Jesus. In some Eastern
Orthodox traditions, Pilate committed suicide out of remorse for having sentenced Jesus to death.

In Switzerland, near Lucerne, is Mount Pilatus. An old tradition is that Pilate went here and was banished
to the mountain as a punishment for his crime against Christ.

The island of Ponza in the Bay of Naples, Italy, is believed to be named after Pontius Pilate; his family
built grottoes named after him.

				
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