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Before The Battle Line

The Praetorium, or Pretorium, is the Latin version of the Greek word pronounced prai-tor-ion. The Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome) originally used the term for a general's tent in an army camp (see Roman Legions) but later it also referred to a military headquarters in a city where the Roman governor, or procurator, also often resided. The Bible variously refers to the Praetorium as the "common hall," the "governor's house," the "judgment hall," the "palace" and "Pilate's house."

It was there that Jesus Christ was taken before "the whole band" ("the whole battalion" as more clearly translated in the RSV) where He was beaten and mocked by the gutless cowards of the Roman military. They feared facing any enemy in a fair fight; anything less than 10 against 1 "superiority" against an enemy was often more than they could handle. The Roman troops, and their commanders, were, with few exceptions, just stupid thugs who any thinking and truly courageous opposing battle commander could quickly turn into thousands of piles of steaming hamburger in the early morning dew, as happened when the Romans faced the likes of Hermann who annihilated three full Roman legions under the command of Publius Quinctilius Varus in Germany's Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD (Jesus Christ was just entering His teenage years in the land of Israel at the time).

Before The Battalion

Roman Soldiers It was after His being rejected by His own people, a necessary element in the fulfillment of prophecy, that Pontius Pilate handed the Christ over to the entire band, or battalion, stationed in the Praetorium (battalion originated from a word meaning battle line; its numbers varied widely throughout history, but in the recent era was or is sometimes composed of about 600 troops, under the command of a major) where they gleefully tortured their bound prisoner:

"And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate."

"And Pilate asked Him, Art Thou the King of the Jews?"

"And He answering said unto him, Thou sayest it."

"And the chief priests accused Him of many things: but He answered nothing."

"And Pilate asked Him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against Thee."

"But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled."

"Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them."

"But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them."

"And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?"

"And they cried out again, Crucify Him."

"Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath He done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify Him."

"And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when He had scourged him, to be crucified."

"And the soldiers led Him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head, And began to salute Him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshipped Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him." (Mark 15:1-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: What is the origin of the term "emperor"?
See Emperor


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