Jesus of Nazareth was arrested in Gethsemane, which was a garden located on the outskirts of Jerusalem, during the night of 14 Nisan in 30 AD. He was taken to the high priest Caiaphas’ palace and he was judged there before the Sanhedrin. This assembly considered him a blasphemous person.
Jesus was appeared before Pontius Pilate the following morning. He was questioned and he was not found guilty. Thus, he was sent to the king Herod Antipas (Hasmonean palace). But the king did not want to punish Jesus, so he was sent to the Roman Procurator again.
Jesus would deal with two trials: a religious one (Jewish law) and a political one (Roman law). A political authority was requested to decide and pronounce sentence due to the coexistence of the two laws. Furthermore, it was considered as a criminal process. Pontius Pilate judged that Jesus did not deserve the death according to the Lex Iulia, so he decided to impose a punishment, the flagelatio. In addition, Romans teased and insulted the prisoner crowning him with thorns. Then, Pilate took Jesus before the crowd. The people asked for his crucifixion.
Pontius Pilate washed his hands in order to express his innocence, because he found himself forced to condemn Jesus. Thus, he conceded his placet to the death sentence asked by the Jewish people. Ibis ad crucem (you will be crucified).
Herod the Great’s palace was the residence of the Roman governor during his stay in Jerusalem. The trial against Jesus took place in this building (Praetorium), as well as the flagellation and the passing of the final sentence. Jesus would leave at noon from there, shouldering the horizontal log. He was dressed, barefoot and wearing a helmet or crown of thorns covering his head.
He would go down through tortuous, steep and slippery streets of the hillside where the Herod’s palace was located. He probably fell down many times. He crossed the inner wall through the Gennat gate and passed through a small bridge. He continued walking through a ravine that led to the Tyropoeon Valley and he climbed slightly towards the gate of Ephraim, also known as Judicial Gate, located in the western part of the city. There, Roman soldiers realised that it was impossible the prisoner was able to reach the Calvary due to his physical conditions. That is why a worker, who was there in that moment, helped Jesus.
This final stretch was out of the city in the direction to Emmaus and Jaffa. He would turn right in order to go to the Calvary, beside the mount al-Gareb, where three vertical wooden posts would have been put.
The Calvary was located in quarry on the outskirts of the city. This hill was useless for quarrying purposes. Model of Jerusalem in the first century. (Holy Land West Hotel. Jerusalem).
Giotto di Bondone, Christ before Caiaphas (1306)
Lucas Cranach, The crowning of thorns (1510)
Caravaggio, Flagellation (1607)
Antonio Ciseri, Ecce Homo (1871)
Jesus carrying the Cross, Sebastiano del Piombo (1516)
Map of the Way of the Cross (González Echegaray)