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The Hausen Legend of Pontius Pilate

Since generations people in Hausen tell about a very strange legend which approximately goes in this way:

Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator of the bible, who condemned Jesus Christ to death, was born in Hausen. The first printed version of this legend first was published in 1855 and then again in 1865, the oral tradition certainly is older. Since this time in the middle of the 19th century also two houses in the little town were called the places of Pilate's birth, old houses, one of them with number 48 or another one with Nr. 73.

A farmer's son, Pilate showed great talents already as a boy and so he was sent to Nuremberg in order to learn the craft of a goldsmith. From here he went to the imperial court in Rome and finally became procurator of Palestine in Jerusalem. There he acquired so much wealth that he was able to build a great city near the town of his birth, Hausen, which he gave his name to. But in the moment, when he spoke the unjust judgement over Jesus Christ, the city sank into an abyss. Still today the region of Pilate's city is called "Pilodes". If someday Hausen will be as large that a cock can go into the region of Pilate's city without any problems, he will dig up the spire of the church and the city will rise again.

Many people already inquired for the reasons of this strange legend and many articles have been written about its backgrounds. But until now no one could find any satisfactory explanation or even the solution of its mystery. I was fascinated, too, by the legend already since my childhood, when I first heard of it at school. And so I gathered many information over the years. Now, the results of my inventory can be read in an extensive book with more than 400 pages, which comprehensively deals with the backgrounds and is able to explain how the legend has come to Hausen in the middle of the 19th century. The book was issued in November 2003 within a series of publications of the Fränkische-Schweiz-Verein, of course (for you maybe unfortunately) in German language.

Gerhard Batz:
Das Pilatus-Puzzle
Bestandsaufnahme und Hintergründe einer europäischen Sage in Franken.

(The Pilate Puzzle. Inventory and Backgrounds of an European Legend in Franconia)

With 7 maps and 40 pictures as well as with more than 100 original texts toward the legend of Pilate.
Vol. 18 within series II of the Fränkische-Schweiz-Verein publications,
416 pages, Palm & Enke Publishing House, Erlangen 2003.
ISBN 3-7896-0675-8, Price: € 12,90

The book has four parts that tell about the legend's way from the apocrypha to Hausen in Franconia.

Part I:
Von Sagen, Legenden und den Feinden Gottes oder: Wie die Pilatussage entstanden ist

(About tales, legends and God's enemies, or: How the Pilate legend came into being)

If you understand German, read the introducing chapter of this book in the German language.

Among others, the first part also contains the original German legend of Pilate's birth as written in a medieval manuscript from the second half of the 12th century, which the Hausen legend is based on (translation into English by the author).

At the time when the kings were educated in the free arts, it happened that a king named Tyrus, who originally came from Mainz, went hunting from a certain city, obviously called in a foreign language Berleich, in the region of the Babenberger. When dusk prevented the king from further hunting, he checked, because he was educated according to the customs of the kings of that time in the natural sciences from early youth on, the temperature of the air, measured the signs of the zodiac in the sky and regarding the transit of the stars, their positions, their influence and the temporal process with sharp-witted perception of the spirit and the eye. And in such a way he received as an unequivocal result of his investigation a clear message: If he would connect himself with a woman in this time, a descendant will come out of his loins, who will rule over many peoples, districts and islands, even over spacious land areas. Since he however was gone for hunting all too far from his wife into these areas, he ordered, to scan in a hurry the adjacent area if a woman suitable for the connection could be found. He rather wanted to unite himself with any woman than to let the great hope irretrievably disappear for this descendant. After the servants had quickly roamed across places of the adjacent area according to the order of the king, they supplied to the cravings of their lord, the daughter of a miller Atus, whose name was Pila. The king took her like his own wife. She, whose beauty was worthy of a king, became pregnant and gave birth to a boy, when the time of birth had come. The name of the king however was unknown to Pila, and because a son should be called according to the name acquired by his father, the mother gave him – from her own name Pila and the name of her father Atus – the name Pilatus. When three years had passed, the boy was sent to his father Tyrus. For Tyrus had asked Pila, while they were together, that she, regardless of whether the child was male or female, should send for him as he grew up. And so it happened.
(Original Latin text with a picture of the manuscript and the German translation, see "Das Pilatus-Puzzle", pp. 37-39)

Part II:
Teil II: Vom Pilatusspruch, einem Sagentext und vielen Theorien oder: Was in Forchheim und Hausen über Pilatus erzählt wird

(About a Pilate saying, a legend text and many theories, or: What is told about Pilate in Forchheim and Hausen)

Part III:
Von einem praedium, Prätorium und Predigten oder: Wie die Pilatussage nach Franken kam

(About a praedium, praetorium and sermons, or: How the Pilate legend has come to Franconia)

Part IV:
Von einer Mühle, einem Pfarrer und alten Mythen oder: Wie die Pilatussage ihre Heimat in Hausen fand

(About a mill, a parish priest and old myths, or: How the Pilate legend has found its home im Hausen)

Of course you can order this book by one of the following seller at the price of 12.90 €:

Municipality of Hausen
at any book retailer.

Of course I also would be glad to read your comments.
Gerhard Batz