Monday, April 6, 2009

The Entire Cohort

The phrase that struck me about the reading of the Passion this week is an odd little detail that I never paid attention to before now: Pilate assembled the entire Cohort to participate in Jesus' scourging and execution.
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. Mark 15:15-16
So how much is a cohort?

Following the restructure [of the Roman Army] by Gaius Marius (157 BC–January 13, 86 BC) the format was again changed so that the Century would be raised to its literal number of 100.

  • 1 Legion = 10 Cohorts

  • 1 Cohort = 6 centuriae

  • 1 Manipulus = 2 Centuria

  • 1 Centuria = 10 Contubernia

  • 1 Contubernia = 10 Soldiers

The fact that Pilate assembled the Cohort means that this was no minor whipping of the local boy, but rather a flogging of the first order and a particularly grisly execution: a public spectacle, meant to discourage any and all resistance.

They lined up at least 600 people for this event -- and those were just the soldiers. Remember that the next time you are "just a bystander"; you are still complicit in the event even (or especially) if you did nothing.

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