Who do people say that I am? A tyrant
who would not have hesitated to put to death
a rabble-rousing troublemaker? That I was.
I could be moved by those with great resolve
for did I not display that I could bend
at Caesarea? Many Jews were quite prepared
to die because my soldiers wore an image
of Caesar, now a God as well as man,
a god whom men created. So when came a man
who claimed to be the Son of God, I knew that he
would die for truth, although he did not answer
when asked, ‘What is that?’ I had asked in earnest
for, indeed, I did not know. I felt that, surely,
he could tell me. Even good men lie.
His friends did then, and later, when they said
they saw me weaken. There was no Jewish custom
that would release a murderer and thief
at any time of year. They must have thought
that my successors would have been less harsh
if Rome was shown to heed their superstition
and pander to it. Nor was I afraid
to send him to be scourged and nailed, not I!
My wife did dream that dream
wherein an angel told her that this man
was special. What do women know of men?
They play no part in influencing us
and I ignored her ravings. He was handsome;
perhaps that swayed her, that, or his charisma
for why should men and women both have followed
a man who went so willingly to his grave
when all he had to do was tell a lie?
I soon forgot him. Prefects have much business
to occupy them. Fake gods come and go
and so do men. My turn came, too, that day
when my own sword would end me. Strange how then
I saw this man again. He smiled and thanked me
for helping him to God, though God he was.
I never felt the pain. I fell and rose
for, in that moment, even I was saved.