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On this page: Pontius – Pontius Aufidianus – Pontius Cominius – Pontius Fregellanus – Pontius Lupus – Pontius Nigrinus – Pontius Paulinus – Pontius Pilatus



minor, was mentioned by Cicero in his work Da Fato. (Macrob. Sat. ii. 12, or Cic. Frag. p. 235, ed. Orelli.)

2. Detected in adultery, and dreadfully pu­nished by the husband, P. Cernius. (Val. Max. vi. 1. §13.)

3. T. pontius, a centurion possessing great bodily strength, mentioned by Cicero (de Senect. 10), is perhaps the same as the Pontius of whom Lucilius speaks (ap. Cic. de Fin. i. 3).

4. pontius, one of Caesar's soldiers, was taken prisoner by Scipio, the father-in-law of Pompey, but preferred death rather than deserting his old general. (Val. Max. iii. 8. § 7.)

5. pontius, one of the companions of Antony in his revels. (Cic. Phil. xiii. 2. § 3.)

PONTIUS, a deacon of the African Church, the tried friend and constant companion of Cyprian, drew up a narrative of the life and sufferings of the martyred bishop, which is styled an excellent pro­ duction (egregium volumen) by Jerome. If the piece extant under the name of Pontius, entitled De Vita et Passione S. Cypriani^ be genuine, it certainly does not merit such high commendation, since it is composed in an ambitious declamatory style, full of affectation and rhetorical ornaments. Perhaps the original work may have formed the basis of what we now possess, which has probabty been built up into its present form by the labour of various hands. It will be found attached to all the most important editions of Cyprian, and is con­ tained also in the Acta Primorum Martyrum of Ruinart, 4to. Paris, 1690, and fol. Amst. 1713. The Acta Pontii are preserved in the Miscellanea of Baluze, "8vo. Par. 1678, vol. ii. p. 124, and in the Acta Sanctorum under 8th March, the day marked as his festival in the Roman Martyrologies. (Hieron. de Viris III. 68 ; Schonemann, Bibl. Pa- trurn Lot. vol. i. c. iii. § 6.) [W. R.]

PONTIUS AUFIDIANUS, a Roman eques, killed his daughter when she had been guilty of a breach of chastitv. (Val. Max. vi. 1. § 3.)


PONTIUS FREGELLANUS, was deprived of his rank as senator, A. d. 36, as one of the agents of the notorious Albucilla in her adulteries. (Tac. Ann. vi. 48.)

PONTIUS, HERE'NNIUS, the father of C. Pontius, was an old man living at Caudium, when his son defeated the Roman army in the neigh­bourhood of that town in b. c. 321. The Samnites sent to ask his advice how they should avail them­selves of their extraordinary good fortune. The reply which he gave is related at length by Livy (ix. 1, 3 ; comp. Appian, Samn. iv. 3.) It would appear from Cicero (de Senect. 12), that there was a tradition which supposed Herennius Pontius and Archytas of Tarentum to have been friends ; and Niebuhr supposes that Nearchus had written a dialogue in which Archytas, the Samnite Pontius, and Plato, were speakers. (Hist, of Rome, vol. iii. note 373.)

C. PO'NTIUS, son of HERE'NNIUS, the general of the Samnites in b.c. 321, defeated the Roman army under the two consuls T. Veturius Calvinus and Sp. Postumius Albinus in one of the mountain passes in the neighbourhood of Caudium. The survivors, who were completely at the mercy of the Samnites, were dismissed unhurt by Pon­tius. They had to surrender their arms, and to pass under the yoke ; and as the price of their


deliverance, the consuls and the other commanders swore, in the name of the republic, to a humiliating peace. The Roman state however refused to ratify the treaty, and sent back the consuls and the other commanders to Pontius, who, however, refused to accept them. The name of Pontius does not occur again for nearly thirty years, but as Livy rarely mentions the names of the Samnite generals, it is not improbable that Pontius may have commanded them on many other occasions. At all events we find him again at the head of the Samnite forces in B. c. 292, in which year he defeated the Roman army under the command of the consul Q. Fabius Gurges. This disaster, when nothing but victory was expected, so greatly exasperated the people that Fabius would have been deprived of his imperium, had not his father, the celebrated Fabius Maximus, offered to serve as his legate during the remainder of the war. It was in the same year that the decisive battle was fought, which brought the war to a conclusion. The Samnites were en­tirely defeated, and Pontius was taken prisoner. In the triumph of the consul, Pontius was led in chains, and afterwards beheaded, an act which Niebuhr characterises as " the greatest stain in the Roman annals," and for which the plea of custom can be offered as the only palliation. (Liv. ix. 1, &c., Epit. xi. ; Appian, Samn. iv. &c. ; Cic. de Senect. 12, de Off. ii. 21 ; Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. iii. pp. 215, £c., 397, &c.)

M. PO'NTIUS LAELIA'NUS, consul a. d. 163 with Pastor.

PONTIUS LUPUS, a Roman eques, who continued to plead in the courts after he had lost his sight. (Val. Max. viii. 7. § 5.)


PONTIUS PAULINUS. [paulinus, p. 114.]

PONTIUS PILATUS, was the sixth procu­rator of Judaea, and the successor of Valerius Gratus. He held the office for ten years in the reign of Tiberius, and it was during his government that Christ taught, suffered, and died. By his tyran­nical conduct he excited an insurrection at Jerusalem, and at a later period commotions in Samaria also, which were not put down without the loss of life. The Samaritans complained of his conduct to Vitellius, the governor of Syria, who deprived him of his office, and sent him to Rome to answer be­fore the emperor the accusations that were brought against him. As Pilatus reached Rome shortly after the death of Tiberius, which took place on the 15th of March, A. d. 37, he was probably de­posed in the preceding year A. d. 36, and would therefore have entered upon his duties as procura­tor in A. d. 26. Eusebius states that Pilatus put an end to his own life at the commencement of the reign of Caligula, worn out by the many misfor­tunes he had experienced. (Tac. Ann. xv.44 ; Matthew, xxvii ; Mark, xv ; Luke, iii. 1, xxiii. ; John, xviii. xix.; Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 3. § l,&c., xviii. 4. § 1, &c., B. Jud. ii. 9. § 2 ; Euseb. H. E. ii. 7.) The early Christian writers refer frequently to an official report, made by Pilatus to the empe­ror Tiberius, of the condemnation and death of Christ. (Just. Mart. Apol. i. pp. 76, 84 ; Tertull. Apol. 5 ; Euseb. H. E. ii. 2 ; Oros. vii. 4 ; Chry-sost. Homil. VIII. in Pasch.) It is not at all impro­bable that such a report was made ; but considering, on the one hand, the frequency of forgeries in the early Christian Church, and on the other, that it was no

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