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COPONIUS:

First procurator of Judea, about 6 C.E. He was, like the procurators that succeeded him, of knightly rank, and "had the power of life and death" (Josephus, "B. J." ii. 8, § 1; "Ant." xviii. 1, § 1). During his administration occurred the revolt of Judas the Galilean ("B. J." l.c.), the cause of which was not so much the personality of Coponius as the introduction of Roman soldiers. Moreover, owing to the reconstruction of the province of Judea then in progress, the census was being taken by Quirinus, which was a further cause of offense. In Coponius' term of office this incident occurred: During the Passover festival, when the doors of the Temple were opened at midnight, it happened that some Samaritans entered by the first door, and scattered human bones along the colonnade of the sanctuary. Shortly after this event Coponius was recalled to Rome, and replaced by Marcus Ambibulus ("Ant." xviii. 2, § 2). Probably it is on account of this occurrence that one door of the Temple bore the name of "door of Coponius" (Mid. i. 3; compare the reading in Parḥi 16a, ed. Edelman). Regarding the personal attitude of Coponius toward the Jews nothing definite is known.

Bibliography:
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 487;
  • Schlatter, Zur Topogr.und Gesch. Palästinas, p. 206;
  • Krauss, Lehnwörter, ii. 537.
G. S. Kr.
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