As many of you knows, I spent a good deal of time enlist in the Roman’s army. My best times there was with Juli Caesar when I was in the Tenth Legion what was always his favorite. Roman army was a very very discipline life. 1. Me tell you about one time I got Whipped.
This here come later on when Caligular was Caesar. 2. That one had sent Pilate as Govner over Palestine. (What had been MY OWN stomping grounds of “PHILISTINE” but things had change.) Me had rather cush job with Cohort stationed in JeruSalem. My duties was mainly ceremonial. We was there to ‘maintains security’ and to
Show presence of Imperial Rome in this here City. So, lots of
Standing arounds the big shots looking big and well armed and
Now this one particler weekend was the big Passover festival for the Jews. This was always big pain in neck for us Roman soldiers what has to provide extre security what with the big crowds what come into town which always drawed in the riff raff what likes to
Steal and rob off the pilgrims. Plus, amongst some of them Jews
Us Romans was none to poplar and always a few rag tag chesty fellers fomenting rebellion. “Down with Caesar!” them yell. Them
Like to have little midnite meetings and whisper about rebellions and the like. Then not knows nothing as we able to crush them well. (Me recommend you read this here history of Jewish Rebellion what happen aboaut thirty year later or so by man name
Josephus if you wants to know how that worked out. 3.
Anyways, Things get going good this here weekend when we is
Sent down for the security on the main road into JeruSalem. We was posted about one ever 100 cubits. Half folks comes in town and other half stand on side of road waving palm branches welcoming in all the pilgrims. Very happy festive parade like atmosphere. Us Soldiers was there mainly to make sure no knuckleheads get outta line and to keep an eye on the thieves and
Pick pockets what like to work a crowd. (We is dress in full regalia with Pikes with long shiny blades and ‘buckler’ type shields
As well as two foot clubs to knock heads with. )
That was first time me see this here one, Joshua Ben Joseph. 4. Sometime called “Jesus”. Very short man and not look too impressive. Him come in town with a few of his followers what
Is mobbed up behind him. First the mens and then the wimmens. They all happy and shiny people and look so ridiculous as all them
There is poor and wears raggedy poor ‘country’ clothes. This here
Joshua him riding on a little donkey and look ridiculous. Let me just say, as a Roman soldier, me had heard of this one and how some say him a ‘threat to Rome’ etc., When me see this one and his little rag tag crew me jes wanna laughs!
But not so fast Goliaths! Late that afternoon me and my buddies
Was lying around the Barracks having evening meals when is called out to rush to Temple. OMG! 5. When we gets there the action is all done! But you should seen the place. Turn out this
Here Joshua done come in there and raise hell! Him knock over
The little tables and booths set up by them what is selling pigeons and doves and chickens and the like in the Temple out yard and
Has driven them fellers outside of the Temple walls with a dad blasted WHIP!
Now, just like cops todays, we not take kindly
To any dad blasted what commits violence and use force. That reserve for US! So me think …this little dad blast whippersnapper!
INTERFERENCE WITH THE SWAG
Me need to explains. We not very upset them little booth operators is horsewhipped. But, we vEry upset their trade was stopped. Then as now us soldiers not get paid very good from Rome. But,
We is pretty much free to skim as much as we can from local populaces what we occupy. So, this here duty in Palestine was much prized for the skim we make on this here Passover. Them
Money boys in the temple is required to kick up a certain portion of every shekel them make to the Pharisee who kick over 2/3s of the take to the Captain of my Cohort. That 2/3 is distributed amongst us and thus we ‘supplement’ our incomes!
But this Joshua done ruin all that. And, mind you, this here
Passover festival biggest haul of the year as every Jew in the
Kingdom practically, come to Jeru Salem for that there. So we
Count on that extra swag quite dearly!
What? You thought the Pharisee just not like that one cause him
Such a poplar religious leader? Them mad cause he cut into their
Now, I gots to tell you, my Captain, a feller name Pulchius, was quite a swell feller. He remind me of that guy in big movie Gone with Wind name of Red Butler. 6. Red always kinda scounderel type guy but somehow always know everything going on and doing perty good when the chips is down and all. Pulchius not as good looking as that there movie guy but many similarities thereto. (Him always like take me along for rough stuff cause Me was so
Much taller than all others and look kinda scary and all. We like
To drink and run around in the Tavernas and what nots …genrlly
Soldier type stuff.)
Anyways, Pulchius come in the barracks and say “suit up boys”
Gonna get us a little payback tonight. Him explain how him has
Been tipped off where this troublemaker Joshua Ben Joseph is camping and we can locates him that very night. (All us was pretty mad as we had COUNTED on that swag from the temple). So we
Load on the armor, get our spears and swords and a gang of us head over to “Garden of Gethesemane” what ain’t no kinda garden
Anyways. 7. It just a hillside where all the poor pilgrims come in for
Passover camp out if thems not go relations in the city to put them up or can’t afford the exorbant rates in the Inns. (what we got a kick back from too…as well as the boosted Tavern trade).
So we marches over there to the Garden and Pulchius say “Hold up”. He raise hand when we get to certain spot. Then this one pilgrim we see go over and give big KISS to this here one.
And Pulchius say “That’s it”. We go in to seize the one what got kissed.
We expecting a big fight from this one here as him so fierce and all
In the Temple and reportedly him no fan of Rome or Romans. Some of us draw our swords (not me) but this Joshua him just surrender. Very quiet he is.
Me think, “you poor nitwit, you not knows we gonna barbecue you”. But, we leads him off. Now all his friends goes to wailing and gnashing teeth. “not him” they say “Don’t take our Master!”
And they toss around considerable but Pulchius turn and give them a dead on look like he so good at and it freeze them there right UP!
Off we go with Joshua and toss him in the clink back at HQ.
Pulchius done sent a couple guards off to loot wine jugs from some
Pilgrims what is camping there which we also take back and so, that night we have us a merry time in the barracks. (Pulchius figgered they owe us since we lost out on the temple trade.)
A TRIP TO THE GOVNUR
Next morning, Pulchius wake me up. (Knocking on my head..which was plenty throbbing from copius wine me drink). He detail me and another guard what name me can’t recall today but what everybody call “the EAR” because him not have his left ear. It got cut off or chewed off in a fight we had sometime ago with some Syrian bandits.8.
So me, Pulchius and the Ear are taking this prisoner off to see
The Governor. On the way this here Joshua him not say very much. Me surprised he ask how we are doing. Him actuerlly very pleasant and me can tell right off a cut or two above the typical pilgrim what we usually knock around. In daylight and looking close up can tell him an outdoor kinda fella with strong arms and
Hands. Regular size. Even featured face but him have a way abouts him what is ever so slightly different. Me cannot say to this
Day what it was. He cooperate with us and you can tell him not at all interested in fighting us or giving us a hard way to go.
So we take him up to see ole Pontius Pilate (who was govnur as
Me mention before.) This here Pilate was a spindly little rat face guy. Just the sort to make it to a guvnor spot under Caligular. 9. (what was a total freak by todays standards and look like a balding Mick Jagger …to toss in a contempary reference). 10.
Me not too interested in court procedures and all but we stand around wait’s a long time while Pilate take his own sweet time. In come the Jew Pharissee what run the temple finally. They start to Jibber Jabber about all this bidness about how this one Joshua call himself “King” and “offend God” and how him, taken all around, just ain’t the sort of Good Jew what we wants to have coming in on Passover and ask Pilate to get rid of him. ‘Hang him High!” they demand. Pilate say, “Bring the prisoner here”. So, me and the Ear trot him up to the little throne what Pilate got set up.
Pilate start asking this one questions. “What’s your name?” “Where you from?” “Did you say this …do that?” All that sort of stuff they asks you in Court ever where in the world throughout the ages. 11. But now, Joshua, after a few questions he get silent. Him answer these questions in quiet voice. Not disrespectful…just quiet and his answers don’t make sense. You can see Ole Pilate, him not know what to do. Still, in the end, it pretty obvious that
Nobody can make a case against him. Nobody actually mention the actual crime what of defouling all the traders at the temple and
Messing up the action with the pilgrims. (That probly lead to areas them Pharissee just as soon not let get out in public …they had people like Mike Hutt around in them days too! 12.)
So Pilate finally render judgment and say…”This not a matter of Roman law! This is a matter for local jurisdiction. Take him to
The court of King Herod !”
Well you should a seen them Pharissee. They look like the
Sand all done gone out of ‘em. See, Herod was a wicked and crazy old bastard who was just about as likely to string them up for
Bothering him on the weekend as to hang this pilgrim! But, anyways they got no choice now…so off we march to Herod!
They never put this in the big Book which tell the official story of this…but the fact is when we get over to Herods he already start in drinking and was all drunked up with a load on. Well, the Pharissee start in nattering about, ‘coming back at a more convenient time’ and all that there kinda weasely talk. But Pulchius, him not the kind of guy what is going to waste any more time on this sort of thing than absolutely necessary. He wants to get the job done and get back to the barracks. (Me think he had a date that night with a gal what he’d spotted come in from one of the little villages out in the hills.)
Now apparently the word had done got out that we was traipsing this Joshua all over JeruSalem trying to get some officeral to hang him. So when Pulchius start in telling the King what all big allegations against him were…all the sudden, up pops some voices protesting! There at the court is a handful of Joshua’s supporters from the day/night before. They is squawking! I cain’t make head nor tale out of their protests …neither can the Ear.
King Herod hold up his hand. Orders the chief Pharisee priest to
“Spill it!” So out again come all these claims about claiming he’s king, saying this and that what was apparently against some high
And mighty rules them Pharisees done had. Herod listen to this
Here for a little while. You can see he’s bored.
Then, this one little priest step out, weasel looking little fellow. Him say, “My Lord, he does MAGIC”. Herods eye lights up. “Explain yourself!”
“My Lord, he claims to heal the sick… cast out evil spirits
…he even claims to raise the dead” (and here some in the room starts to snicker).
“But don’t take MY word for it” says the weasel, “ask his
Own followers who have taken the time to come here for his sake”
So Herod turn to look at these here who have suddenly fallen
Silent. “What about” Herod bellows. “Does he heal the sick?”
They is all quiet as can be. Nobody says a word.
“Hang him!” says Herod. 13.
Now I am glad to say that I was not one of them what had the rotten task of crucifying this one. After going back to Pilate who endorsed the ruling of the local king I ask Pulchius if he let me off duty. Him know I got no taste for exercutions anyway and I had done start to like this feller and see how rotten he was treated by all. But, sad to say, in my three thousand year I have to say that Such goings on is not too uncommon. But, I found I don’t have to Be involved in such ..at least most of the time.
But Pulchius laugh at me too. Him say, “Ok big guy but if you Get out of this your gonna have to pull graveyard shift”
“What you mean” says I.
“I mean somebody has to guard the corpse of this poor pilgrim after he’s dead. They don’t want nobody stealing his
Body and claiming he ‘magically’ arose and the like. I am putting
You and the Ear on guard duty…at Midnight!”
Well…that was a low blow indeed as me HATE working 3rd shift as all know very very well.
Has thou ever done 3rd shift Security Guard Duty? It a very boring job. 14. First off…there not many whats is up and about at midnights. And, one can do pretty well from 12 to about 3 am. But, peoples, let me tell you when it get to be 4 am the night gets Very very still. It a very weird time of day. And maybe its cause you is spose to be sleeping…or maybe its when all the night creatures start to settle down and is quiet and BEFORE the day Creatures start to stir but the world is very strange at that time of The morning. Now imagines you in a Graveyard when all this happening Guarding a dad blasted grave! Me can tell you it a spooky thing and me nots recommend it. Me and the Ear work it like this. First, I stand at grave and him walk the perimeter. Then him stand at grave and me walk the perimeter. And so on. All night long. Sometime we take a little break and stand and talk but, we is Roman Soldiers and there a set way to do things. Fail to do them and you gets no MERCY from Centurion what lead the Cohort.
Not even Pulchius can step in and save your hide. So me an Ear is diligent.
Now the grave what we is guarding is down in this little culvert
What have a large stone what has done been rolled over in front of it. The grave belong to this rich guy what was a follower of the dead pilgrim preacher. 15. As a matter of fact, me and the Ear had Helped put that dad blast stone in place and it not going nowhere
..or so we thinks. Now on the third day, me come back from walking the perimeter and the Ear, him all excited.
“What the matter Ear?” I say.
Him say “I don’t know. But something happened down
At the grave.” “What” says I. But him not able to say what happen. We go down the culvert and look at the grave. The dad blast stone is moved! I canst believe my eyes. “Who come down here Ear?” Him protest that NOBODY done got by him.
“You musta falls asleep Ear!” me bellows. Me mad…and really annoyed because we gots the simplest mission Pulchius done give out and we blew it!
We poke around a little bit but can’t see nothing since it
Still dark and all. But can see the body of the pilgrim is done gone.
Me can’t figgers it out. We sits there and trys to figger this here out for abouts an hour. Then the sunlight dawn start to come on
And now we starts to talk about what the Centurion gonna do to us
For punishment. We is discussing this here when these three
Jewish gals come along. We know after they come and see
It’ll soon be all the news. So we figger we’d best just head back
To HQ and tell what happened. That’s what we did. That’s how I wind up getting horse whipped. (that a regular type punishment for a soldier what mess up in Roman army.) I’d seen it done many and many a time. 16. But it was one and only time it happen to me.
Notes on the text by Editor:
1. Goliath has mentioned many times that he served as an infantryman in Roman Legions.
Apparently, Under Julius Caesar he saw action throughout Gaul and during the civil war in the 10th and 20th Legions. Goliath’s training as a warrior would have made him skilled in the use of the pike and sword.
2. “Caligular” Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was the third Roman Emperor. (Augustus, Tiberious were his grandfather and uncle, respectively. He was nicknamed Caligula “Little Boot” due to his childhood affinity for dressing up as a Roman soldier. He was, or went mad as emperor. He was assassinated in 41 A.D.
3. Josephus. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Rome (66–70 A.D.)
The rebellion ended with the Jewish rebels being slaughtered and the city of Jerusalem being
devestated and the famed Temple destroyed.
4. “Jesus” is a transliteration, occurring in a number of languages and based on the Latin Iesus, of the Greek (Iesoûs), itself a Hellenisation of the Hebrew (Yehošua‘, Joshua)
5. OMG! “Oh my god!”
6. “Red Butler” Goliath is referring to “Rhett Butler” as portrayed by Clark Gable
7. Garden of Gethsemane. is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem most famous as the place where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before Jesus’ crucifixion.
8. “The Ear” According to the Gospel of Matthew a “slave of the high priest” had his
ear cut off when Jesus was captured. It is not clear if Goliath is referring to this ‘slave’
or not. In another gospel, Jesus heals the cut ear.
9. This is wrong. Pilate would have been appointed Governor under Caligula’s predecessor
Tiberius. While Tiberius’s court had become rotten by this time, his administration of the
Empire was considered quite good.
10. Mick Jagger. A contemporay musician and performer. Amongst his famous songs is
‘Sympathy for the Devil’ which includes these lyrics
“And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate”
11. Courtrooms. It is speculated that the author has a legal background.
12. Mike Hutt Poster on CCC who goes by name Not Super But Honest Mike, or NSHBM.
He revels in delving into suspected corruption of local politics.
13. “Hang ‘em” In the Roman era, crucifixion in which the victim is hung on a cross
was a common means of execution of criminals.
14. Third shift security guard. It is speculated that the author actually worked as a
security guard for “Andy Frain” security services I Louisville Kentucky in the early
15. Joseph of Arimethea. He was a wealthy follower of Jesus.
16. Corporal punishment, including whipping or flogging was a common punishment
for Roman soldiers found guilty of dereliction of duty. Both Goliath and ‘the Ear’ would
have been punished severely for such an obvious breach of their duty to guard the tomb.