Tischendorf's Latin text, based on two fourteenth‐century manuscripts, is used for the summary and translation offered here. Like the Mors Pilati (q.v.) it is a medieval anti‐Jewish Latin creation and is thus only given summary treatment. The legend of the death of Pilate here is a development that is thought to have originated in Aquitaine. An Anglo‐Saxon version (of the eleventh century) exists.
Tischendorf, EA, pp. lxxxii–v, 471–86.
James, 159–60 (summary).
Migne, Dictionnaire, i, cols. 1169–78.
Erbetta, i.2, 388–96.
Moraldi, i. 736–47.
González‐Blanco, ii. 343–60.
de Santos Otero, 512–32.
C. W. Goodwin, The Anglo‐Saxon Legends of St Andrew and St Veronica (Cambridge, 1851).
E. Darley, Les Acta Salvatoris: Un évangile de la passion et de la resurrection et une mission apostolique en Aquitaine (Paris, 1913).
—Les actes du Sauveur, la lettre de Pilate, les missions de Volusien, de Nathan, la Vindicte: Leurs origines et leurs transformations (Paris, 1919).
There was a king Titus under Tiberius, in Aquitaine, in a city of Libia called Burgidalla. He had a cancer in his right nostril and his face was eaten away up to his eye.
There was also a Jew named Nathan, son of Naum, whom the Jews had sent to Tiberius to bear a treaty to him. Tiberius, too, was ill of fever and ulcers and had nine kinds of leprosy. Nathan's ship was driven ashore at Titus' city. Nathan was sent for and told his story. Titus asked if he knew any one who could cure him. Nathan said, ‘If you had been in Jerusalem lately there was a prophet called Emanuel’ (the miracles are enumerated, and the Passion, descent into hell, and resurrection described). Titus said, ‘Woe to you, Tiberius, in whose realm such things are done. I would have slain these Jews with my own hand for destroying my Lord.’ At this word the wound fell from his face and he was healed, and so were all the sick who were there. Titus cried out, confessing his belief in Christ, and made Nathan baptize him.
Then he sent for Vespasian to come with all his forces, and he came with 5,000 men, and said, ‘What do you want me for?’ ‘To destroy the enemies of Jesus.’ So they sailed off to Jerusalem. Archelaus in terror gave his kingdom to his son, and stabbed himself. The son allied himself with other kings and fortified Jerusalem, which was besieged seven years, till the inhabitants had to eat earth. At last they took counsel to surrender, and gave the keys to Titus and Vespasian. Some were slain, some crucified head downwards, or pierced with lances, sold, cast lots upon, and divided into four parts, and the rest sold at thirty for a penny.
Then they made search for the likeness of Jesus and found Veronica, who had it. Pilate they delivered to four quaternions of soldiers. (Veronica was the woman healed of the issue of blood. She abode with Titus and Vespasian till the emperor's kinsman Velosian came.)
A message was sent by Titus to Tiberius to send Velosian. He told him to go to Jerusalem and bring some one to heal him, to whom he might promise half the kingdom.
Velosian arrived after a year and seven days, and first found Joseph and Nicodemus. Joseph told of the burial, of his imprisonment, and his deliverance by Jesus.
Then Veronica came and told of her healing. Velosian arraigned and imprisoned Pilate. He then examined Veronica, who denied that she had the likeness. He threatened her with torture; at last she confessed that she had it in (or on) a linen cloth and adored it every day. She produced it. Velosian adored it, took it, put it in a gold cloth and locked it in a box, and embarked for Rome. Veronica left all she had and insisted on coming with him. They sailed up the Tiber to Rome, after a year's journey.
Tiberius heard of their arrival and summoned Velosian, who told him all the story at length, including the destruction of the Jews . . .
31. And they seized Pilate, and gave him up to me, and I put him in prison, to be guarded by four quaternions of soldiers in Damascus. 32. Then they made a search with great diligence to seek the portrait of the Lord; and they found a woman named Veronica who had the portrait of the Lord. 33. Then the emperor Tiberius said to Velosian, ‘How have you kept it?’ And he answered, ‘I have it in clean cloth of gold, rolled up in a shawl.’ And the emperor Tiberius said, ‘Bring it to me, and spread it before my face, that I may fall to the ground and bending my knees, may adore it on the ground.’ Then Velosian spread out his shawl with the cloth of gold on which the portrait of the Lord had been imprinted; and the emperor Tiberius saw it. And he immediately adored the image of the Lord with a pure heart, and his flesh was cleansed and became as the flesh of a little child. And all the blind, the lepers, the lame, the dumb, the deaf, and those possessed by various diseases, who were there present, were healed, and cured, and cleansed. 34. And the emperor Tiberius bowed his head and bent his knees, and pondered the words, ‘Blessed is the womb which bore you, and the breasts which you sucked’, 1 Luke 11: 27 . and he groaned to the Lord, saying with tears, ‘God of heaven and earth, do not permit me to sin, but confirm my soul and my body, and place me in your kingdom, because in your name do I always trust: free me from all evils, as you freed the three children from the furnace of blazing fire.’
35. Then the emperor Tiberius said to Velosian, ‘Velosian, have you seen any of those men who saw Christ?’ Velosian answered, ‘I have.’ He said, ‘Did you ask how they baptize those who believed in Christ?’ Velosian said, ‘Here, my lord, we have one of the disciples of Christ himself.’ Then he ordered Nathan to be summoned to come to him. Nathan therefore came and baptized him in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Immediately the emperor Tiberius, made whole from all his diseases, ascended upon his throne, and said, ‘Blessed are you, O Lord God Almighty, and worthy to be praised, who have freed me from the snare of death, and cleansed me from all my iniquities; because I have greatly sinned before you, O Lord my God, and I am not worthy to see your face.’ And then the emperor Tiberius was instructed in all the articles of the faith, fully, and with strong faith.