Title of the governors who were appointed by Rome over Judea after the banishment of Archelaus in the year 6 C.E., and over the whole of Palestine after the defeat of Agrippa in the year 44. Though joined politically to Syria, Palestine had its own governor (Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 1, § 1; idem, "B. J." ii. 8, § 1). His official title was procurator, in Greek ἐπίτροπος; but Josephus sometimes designates him as ἔπαρχος ("Ant." xviii. 2, § 2; xix. 9, § 2; xx. 9, § 1; "B. J." vi. 5, § 3) and ἡγεμών ("Ant." xviii. 3, § 1). In the Greek text of the New Testament the termἡγεμών is used (Matt. xxvii. 2, 11, 14, 15, 21, 27; xxviii. 14; Luke iii. 1, xx. 20; Acts xxiii. 24, xxiv. 1, xxvi. 30); the Talmud and the Midrash likewise use (= ἡγεμών), but in reference to the legate of Syria only, and never the term "procurator."

Conditions of Administration.

Only those provinces which possessed a civilization of their own received their own procurators, as, for example, Egypt; or those having a semibarbarous population, such as Thrace. Procurators, in the proper sense of the term, could be selected only from the ranks of the knights. Only once was a freedman, Felix, appointed procurator of Judea.

The procurators of Judea had a military imperium with five fasces as symbols, and thus possessed the "jus gladii." They were, accordingly, as independent within their own provinces as was the legate of Syria. The latter, however, was invested with the right as well as the duty to interfere in Judean affairs in case of necessity, as did especially Caius Cestius Gallus. The legate had power even over the procurator's person. Thus, Vitellius deposed Pilate; and Quadratus sent Cumanus to Rome to render account to the emperor. Furthermore, the Jews could have preferred against Florus charges before the legate had not fear prevented them from taking this step ("B. J." ii. 14, § 3).


The procurator resided in Cæsarea, where he had his pretorium, a building which formerly was the palace of Herod (Acts xxiii. 35). Only on special occasions, particularly during the Jewish high festivals, did the procurator go to Jerusalem, where also he had a pretorium—again the palace of Herod—which at the same time was used as barracks ("Ant." xvii. 10, § 2; "B. J." ii. 3, §§ 1-4). In one instance a procurator, Cumanus, put an armed body of Samaritans into the field against the Jews (ib. xx. 6, § 1); not that he had the right to do so, but because the measure was dictated by the disturbed peace of the land. An exceptional measure was Pilate's order to carry the emperor's image with the flag of the troops, which out of regard for the religious sentiment of the Jews was not generally done in Palestine. As a rule, the procurators respected the peculiarities of the people placed in their charge. Troubles, however, were inevitable. At the very outset a revolt was threatened through the census of Quirinius. As the procurator came into the country as a stranger, he was not moved by the distress of a population foreign to him; and to this must be added the circumstance that the procurator's tenure of office was a brief one—only under Tiberius was the term extended. Nothing whatever bound the procurators to the native population; and even Tiberius Alexander, a born Jew, and Felix, who was married to the Jewish princess Drusilla, assumed an inimical attitude toward the people. A study of the Jewish law and the Jewish spirit, in a manner such as the Talmud reports of the legate Tineius Rufus, was not attempted by the procurators; only Marcus Antonius Julianus, who was procurator about the year 70, seems to have had a fair understanding of the Jews (see Schlatter, "Zur Topographie und Geschichte Palästinas," pp. 97-119). It was a dictate of prudence on the part of the procurators to have as little contact as possible with the Jews, unless their own personal interest, especially the desire for rapid enrichment, demanded a different attitude. The routine of business was left in the hands of the local municipalities. This was the case even in regard to judicial functions, over which, however, they retained the power of supervision, particularly in cases of capital punishment, in which their assent was necessary before the sentence could be carried into effect.

The procurators may be divided into two series: those preceding and those following the reign of Agrippa I. Those of the first series (6-41 C.E.) ruled over Judea alone, possessing, together with the legate, the power of supervision over the Temple, and the right to appoint and depose the high priest. Those of the second series (44-70) administered Samaria and Galilee, besides Judea. Tacitus' statement ("Annales," xii. 54) that Cumanus was procurator of Galilee only, is not confirmed by Josephus, who was better informed. In this period the supervision over the Temple and the high priests was exercised by Jewish princes of the Herodian dynasty. While the reader is referred to the special articles in The Jewish Encyclopedia on the several procurators, a condensed account of them, as well as of the legates who followed them, is here presented in the order of their succession. The first series of procurators includes the following:

  • Coponius (6 or 7-9 C.E.). During his administration the revolt of Judas the Galilean occurred (Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 1, § 1; idem, "B. J." li. 8, § 1).
  • Marcus Ambibulus (9-12). Ἀμβίβουλος is the correct reading in "Ant." xviii. 2, § 2, according to ed. Niese; the older editions have Ἀμβίβουχος, which was usually read "Ambivius."
  • Annius Rufus (c. 12-15). During his term of office Augustus died (Aug. 19, 14); and this is the only basis on which to compute the tenure of office of the first three procurators, of whose administration Josephus ("Ant." l.c.) reports almost nothing.
  • Valerius Gratus (15-26). He was the first procurator who arbitrarily appointed and deposed the high priests (ib.).
  • Pontius Pilate 26-36). As Josephus expressly states (ib. 4, § 2), he was deposed before the first appearance of Vitellius in Jerusalem, namely, in the spring of 36 (comp. ib. 4, § 3 with 5, § 3).
  • Marcellus (36-37). A friend of Vitellius (ib. 4, § 2), who appointed him after sending Pilate to Rome to render account. It may be assumed, however, that Marcellus was not really a procurator of Judea, but only a subordinate official of Vitellius. Indeed, this is the only instance where Josephus, in designating the office of Marcellus, uses the expression ἐπιμελητής = "overseer." No official act of Marcellus is reported.
  • Marullus (37-41).

The procurators of the second series are:

  • Cuspius Fadus (44 to c. 46). Claudius appointed him to prevent the Syrian legate Vibius Marsus, who was ill-disposed toward the Jews, from mistreating them ("Ant." xix. 9, § 2). This goes to show that in time of peace the procurator was independent of the Syrian legate.
  • Tiberius Alexander (46-48). He was sent by the emperor, in the belief that a born Jew would be welcome to the Jews.
  • Ventidius Cumanus (48-52). His appointment is mentioned in "Ant." xx. 5, § 2. During his administration popular uprisings occurred, and the legate of Syria. Ummidius Quadratus, removed him on the urgent petition of the Jews.
  • Felix (52-60). He was appointed by the emperor at the desire of the high priest Jonathan ("B. J." ii. 12, § 6), which distinctly proves that the central government in Rome was conciliatory toward the Jews, and that the procurators were responsible for the prevailing animosities. Felix was called upon to sit in judgment on the apostle Paul.
  • Porcius Festus (60-62). A fairly just man ("Ant." xx. 8, § 9; "B. J." ii. 14, § 1), who could not, however, remedy the faults of his predecessors. He was prominent in the proceedings against Paul. Festus died while in office. Until the arrival ofthe new procurator, the high priest Ananus, son of Annas, exercised a certain power.
  • Albinus (62-64). Notorious through his extortions.
  • Gessius Florus (64-66). A contemptible ruler, under whom a revolt of the Jews took place. In consequence of the war, the procurator's office could be filled either not at all or only de jure, as by Vespasian. The important distinction now arose that the governor held the rank of senator, and was selected, for a time, from among the pretors, and afterward (probably from Hadrian's time) from the consular ranks. He had under him a procurator; such, e.g., was L. Laberius Maximus, under Bassus. After the Bar Kokba war there remained in Judea, besides the Tenth legion ("Fretensis"), the Sixth legion ("Ferrata"), and of course, as previously, several auxiliary troops. Only "legati Augusti pro prætore" were qualified to be commanders of this army. The dependence on Syria now ceased in the natural course of events.
  • (Owing to the lack of sources the succession of the governors at this period can not be stated with precision. In Schürer's list, for example, the above-mentioned Antonius Julianus is not included, while Cerialis, who certainly took part in the campaign against the Jews, is nowhere referred to as procurator.)
  • L. Laberius Maximus (c. 71). Lucilius Bassus, who is mentioned together with him in Josephus ("B. J." vii. 6, § 6), was one of the generals of Titus, and conqueror of the fortresses Herodium and Machærus, but not then governor. About a year later, however, he became governor. He died during his term of office (ib. vii. 8, § 1).
  • Flavius Silva. Successor to Bassus (ib.).
  • M. Salvidenus (c. 80). His date is proved by a Palestinian coin of Titus (Madden, "Coins of the Jews," p. 218).
  • Cn. Pompeius Longinus. Mentioned in a military brevet issued by Domitian, dated 86 ("C. I. L." iii. 857, "Diploma," xiv.; comp. Darmesteter in "R. E. J." i. 37-41).
  • Atticus (107). Referred to as ὑπατικός = "consularis," in two fragments of the church historian Hegesippus, contained in Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." iii. 32, §§ 3, 6 (comp. Preuschen, "Antilegomena," pp. 76, 77, Giessen, 1901; Eusebius, "Chronicles," ed. Schöne, ii. 162).
  • Q. Pompeius Falco (c. 107-110). Known through the letters of Pliny the Younger. One inscription ("C. I. L." x., No. 6321) calls him legate of the province (Judea), and of the Tenth legion ("Fretensis"), while another ("Journal of Hellenic Studies," 1890, p. 253) designates him even more distinctly "leg . . . provinciæ Judææ consularis"; that is, ὑπατικος, as in the case of Atticus. The title ὑπατικος is, however, frequently used in rabbinical writings also (see Krauss, "Lehnwörter," s.v.).
  • Tiberianus. The Byzantine chronicler Johannes Malalas (ed. Dindorf, p. 273) speaks of him as governor of the first province of Palestine (ἡγεμὼν του πρώτου Παλαιστίνων ἔθνους), in connection with the sojourn of Hadrian in Antioch (114). A similar notice may be found in Johannes Antiochenus (In Müller, "Fragmenta Historicorum Græcorum," iv. 580, No. 111) and in Suldas, s.v. Τραἴανός. The designation "Palestina prima," which came into use in the middle of the fourth century, gives a historical character to this notice. These authors use a later designation for the earlier period.
  • Lusius Quietus (c. 117). After suppressing the uprising of the Jews in Mesopotamia, he was appointed governor of Judea (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." iv. 2, § 5). Dio Cassius states that he administered Palestine subsequently to the consulate (lxviii. 32, ὑπατευσαι). Here again there was a legate with a consular rank. Aside from references to the "War of Quietus," he is mentioned in rabbinical sources under the name of "Hegemon Kyntos" (see Krauss in "R. E. J." xxx. 40, xxxii. 46; Jastrow, "Dict." p. 13a; Schürer, "Gesch." 3d ed., i. 649; Schlatter, in his "Zur Topographie und Geschichte Palästinas," p. 402). No governor of this name, nor indeed of a similar name, is mentioned in other source.
  • Tineius Rufus. Many sources, including rabbinical ones, have made him familiar as governor during the Bar Kokba uprising.
  • Julius Severus. Celebrated general, who suppressed the Bar Kokba uprising (135). He is designated in an inscription ("C. I. L." iii., No. 2830) as "legatus pro prætore provinciæ Judææ."
  • Cl[audius] Pater[nus], Clement[ianus]. According to an inscription (ib. iii., No. 5776), "proc[urator] Aug[usti] provincia[e] Jud[ææ] v[ices] a[gens] l[egati]"; that is, a procurator replacing the legate who either was recalled or had died. The date of Claudius' term of office is not known, so that he can not be properly placed in the order of succession. It appears, however, from the terms of the inscription that the office of procurator could alternate with that of legate.
  • (After the Bar Kokba war the Jews ceased to be a political power, and the sources yield scarcely any information whatever. The Jews revolted also under Antoninus Pius, who subdued them through his governors ["præsides"] and legates (Capitolinus, "Antoninus Pius," § 5], namely, the legates of Syria. Beginning with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Judea was again closely attached to Syria. In this period may perhaps be placed M. Cornelius "M. fil. Gal. Nigrinus" ["C. I. L." No. 3783]).
  • Attidius Cornelianus. According to a Gerasa inscription ("C. I. G." No. 4661; comp. Add. iii. 1183), and one of Damascus (ib. iii. 129), he was a legate of Syria (160-162). A son of his, or perhaps he himself, was a member of a Syrian priestly caste (see "Prosopographia Imperii Romani," i. 178, Nos. 1116, 1117; "C. I. L." Supplement, No. 14,387d).
  • Avidius Cassius. A Syrian by birth, he was, according to the testimony of several inscriptions, legate of Syria from about 164 to about 171 (Volcatius Gallicanus, "Vita Avidii," §§ 5, 6). In 175 he caused himself to be proclaimed emperor by the army under his command, and was recognized as such, especially in Egypt (Wilcken, "Ostraka," No. 939). He was attacked by Marcus Aurelius, and, after a reign of three years, was killed in Syria (Dio Cassius, lxxi. 27; "Prosopographia Imperii Romani," i. 186, No. 1165). It is unlikely that Jews took part in his revolt (Grätz, "Gesch." iv.³ 207).
  • Martius Verus. (Dio Cassius, lxxi. 29.)
  • Flavius Boethus (after 171). Governor of Syria under Marcus Aurelius; died in office.
  • C. Erucius Clarus. Successor of the preceding. (Inscription in Waddington, "Inscriptions Grecques et Latines de la Syrie." No. 1842a, Paris, 1870.)
  • Ulplus Arabianus (c. 196). Governor under Severus ("C. I. G." No. 4151).
  • Bassianus Caracalla. Afterward emperor; he was probably legate of Syria under his father, Septimius Severus (c. 200), and most likely had to wage war against the Jews; for, according to an obscure notice (Spartian, "Vita Severi," § 16), he won a battle in Syria, and the Senate granted him a "Jewish triumph."
  • Timesitheus (Misitheus). "Proconsul prov. Syriæ Palestinæ." He is perhaps identical with the "præfectus prætorio" of the same name under Gordian (Marquardt, "Römische Staatsverwaltung." i. 261, No. 3; perhaps also in Jewish sources; see Krauss in "J. Q. R." xiv. 366; "Rhein. Museum," 1903, p. 627).
  • D. Velius Fidus. "Legatus pro prætore Syriæ," according to an inscription ("C. I. L." No. 14,387c; comp. ib., supplementary vol. iii., Berlin, 1902). His time and character are entirely unknown. A certain D. Velius Fidus was in 155 a pontifex ("Prosopographia Imperii Romani," iii. 392, No. 225). If the legate was his grandson, then he may be placed after 200.
  • M. Junius Maximus. Legate of the Tenth legion ("Fretensis"), according to a fragmentary inscription found on the road near Jericho (see Germer-Durand in "Revue Biblique," 1895, p. 69; "C. I. L." No. 13,597, in supplementary vol. iii. 2222). The reading is uncertain; and his position and term of office are not known.
  • Achæus. Governor under Gallienus (Eusebius, l.c. vii. 15).
  • Flavianus (c. 303). Referred to in Eusebius ("De Martyribus Palæstinæ Prœmium," p. 260, in the reign of Valens).
  • Urbanus (304). Governor under Diocletian (ib. § 3).
  • Firmilianus (c. 308). (Ib. §§ 8, 9, 11.)
  • Calpurnius Atilianus. "Legatus provinc. Syriæ Palæstinæ," according to a military brevet in "C. I. L." iii., No. cix.; see supplement. His character and term of office are doubtful. The Calpurnius Atilianus who was consul in 135 was hardly identical with him ("Prosopographia," etc., i. 275, No. 198).
  • Ursicinus (351-354). Legate of Gallus; he is frequently mentioned in rabbinical sources.
  • Alypius of Antioch (363). He was appointed by Emperor Julian as overseer of the buildings in Jerusalem, the governors of Syria and Palestine being instructed to support film (Ammianus Marcellinus, xxxiii. 1; comp. Grätz, "Gesch." 3d ed., iv. 343).
  • Hesychius. A consul; he was on unfriendly terms with the patriarch Gamaliel V., whose documents he stole. On this account he was sentenced to death by Emperor Theodosius the Great (Jerome, "Epistola ad Pammachium"; comp. Grätz, l.c. iv. 356, 450; "R. E. J." xlvi. 230).

According to the "Notitia Dignitatum," an official register which was drawn up c. 400 (ed. Boecking, Bonn, 1839-53), Palestine was, so far as military matters were concerned, under a "dux." At this time, however, the country was so dismembered that one part was under the "dux Syriæ," another under the "dux Phœnices," and another under the "dux Arabiæ," whose names, however, are notknown (see Krauss in Berliner's "Magazin," xix. 227, xx. 105). In 513 there were Byzantine imperial troops in Jerusalem under the "dux Olympius" (Clinton, "Fasti Romani," ii. 557b). The administrative conditions of this period form an object of controversy among scholars. The synopsis given above follows the chronology of Mommsen, who places the division of Syria, Phenicia, and Palestine at about 395-399 (Marquardt, l.c. 1st ed., i. 268). According to Marquardt, Hadrian had already contemplated the division of Syria; and it was carried out by Septimius Severus before 198 (ib. 265). In 535, as appears from the contemporaneous work of Hierocles, there are mentioned: "Palæstina Prima," under a consul; "Palæstina Secunda," under a "præses," and "Palæstina Salutaris" (Jerome, "Quæstiones in Genesin," xxi. 30; see Nöldeke in "Hermes," 1876, x. 164). With so many "præsides" it is no wonder that this new term found entrance into rabbinical writings also (Krauss, "Lehnwörter," ii. 483); but even more frequently is the term "dux" mentioned. With the conquest of Palestine by the Arabs that country enters upon a new era.

  • Gerlach, Die Römischen Statthalter in Syrien und Judœa, in Zeitschrift für Lutherische Theologie, 1869;
  • Kellner, in Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie, 1888;
  • Grätz, in Monatsschrift, 1877, p. 401 (comp. his Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 724);
  • Rohden, De Palœstina et Arabia Provinciis Romanis, Berlin, 1885;
  • Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung, 1st ed. (from which the quotations have been taken), pp. 261-266; 2d ed., pp. 411, 419 et seq.;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d and 4th ed., i. 454-507, 564-585, 642-649, and the extensive literature there given;
  • Edershelm, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, i. 182, London, 1884;
  • Borghesi, Œuvres, iv. 160.
D. S. Kr.