The bitter Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ – Part 8

The Crowning with Thorns.

No sooner did Sister Emmerich recommence the narrative of her visions on the Passion
than she again became extremely ill, oppressed with fever, and so tormented by violent
thirst that her tongue was perfectly parched and contracted; and on the Monday after Mid-
Lent Sunday, she was so exhausted that it was not without great difficulty, and after many
intervals of rest, that she narrated all which our Lord suffered in this crowning with thorns.
She was scarcely able to speak, because she herself felt every sensation which she described
in the following account:
Pilate harangued the populace many times during the time of the scourging of Jesus, but
they interrupted him once, and vociferated, ‘He shall be executed, even if we die for it.’
When Jesus was led into the guardhouse, they all cried out again, ‘Crucify him, crucify
After this there was silence for a time. Pilate occupied himself in giving different orders to
the soldiers, and the servants of the High Priests brought them some refreshments; after
which Pilate, whose superstitious tendencies made him uneasy in mind, went into the inner
part of his palace in order to consult his gods, and to offer them incense.
When the Blessed Virgin and the holy women had gathered up the blood of Jesus, with
which the pillar and the adjacent parts were saturated, they left the forum and went into a
neighbouring small house, the owner of which I do not know. John was not, I think, present
at the scourging of Jesus.
A gallery encircled the inner court of the guardhouse where our Lord was crowned with
thorns, and the doors were open. The cowardly ruffians, who were eagerly waiting to gratify
their cruelty by torturing and insulting our Lord, were about fifty in number, and the
greatest part slaves or servants of the jailers and soldiers. The mob gathered round the
building, but were soon displaced by a thousand Roman soldiers, who were drawn up in
good order and stationed there. Although forbidden to leave their ranks, these soldiers
nevertheless did their utmost by laughter and applause to incite the cruel executioners to
redouble their insults; and as public applause gives fresh energy to a comedian, so did their
words of encouragement increase tenfold the cruelty of these men.
In the middle of the court there stood the fragment of a pillar, and on it was placed a very
low stool which these cruel men maliciously covered with sharp flints and bits of broken
potsherds. Then they tore off the garments of Jesus, thereby reopening all his wounds; threw
over his shoulders an old scarlet mantle which barely reached his knees; dragged him to the
seat prepared, and pushed him roughly down upon it, having first placed the crown of
thorns upon his head. The crown of thorns was made of three branches plaited together, the
greatest part of the thorns being purposely turned inwards so as to pierce our Lord’s head.
Having first placed these twisted branches on his forehead, they tied them tightly together at
the back of his head, and no sooner was this accomplished to their satisfaction than they put
a large reed into his hand, doing all with derisive gravity as if they were really crowning him
king. They then seized the reed, and struck his head so violently that his eyes were filled
with blood; they knelt before him, derided him, spat in his face, and buffeted him, saying at
the same time, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they threw down his stool, pulled him up again
from the ground on which he had fallen, and reseated him with the greatest possible
It is quite impossible to describe the cruel outrages which were thought of and
perpetrated by these monsters under human form. The sufferings of Jesus from thirst,
caused by the fever which his wounds and sufferings had brought on, were intense.7 He
trembled all over, his flesh was torn piecemeal, his tongue contracted, and the only
refreshment he received was the blood which trickled from his head on to his parched lips.
This shameful scene was protracted a full half-hour, and the Roman soldiers continued
during the whole time to applaud and encourage the perpetration of still greater outrages.

Ecce Homo.

The cruel executioners then reconducted our Lord to Pilate’s palace, with the scarlet
cloak still thrown over his shoulders, the crown of thorns on his head, and the reed in his
fettered hands. He was perfectly unrecognisable, his eyes, mouth, and beard being covered
with blood, his body but one wound, and his back bowed down as that of an aged man,
while every limb trembled as he walked. When Pilate saw him standing at the entrance of
his tribunal, even he (hart-hearted as he usually was) started, and shuddered with horror and
compassion, whilst the barbarous priests and the populace, far from being moved to pity,
continued their insults and mockery. When Jesus had ascended the stairs, Pilate came
forward, the trumpet was sounded to announce that the governor was about to speak, and
he addressed the Chief Priests and the bystanders in the following words: ‘Behold, I bring him
forth to you, that you may know that I find no cause in him.’
The archers then led Jesus up to Pilate, that the people might again feast their cruel eyes
on him, in the state of degradation to which he was reduced. Terrible and heartrending,
indeed, was the spectacle he presented, and an exclamation of horror burst from the
multitude, followed by a dead silence, when he with difficulty raised his wounded head,
7 These meditations on the sufferings of Jesus filled Sister Emmerich with such feelings of compassion that she
begged of God to allow her to suffer as he had done. She instantly became feverish and parched with thirst,
and, by morning, was speechless from the contraction of her tongue and of her lips. She was in this state when
her friend came to her in the morning, and she looked like a victim which had just been sacrificed. Those
around succeeded, with some difficulty, in moistening her mouth with a little water, but it was long before she
could give any further details concerning her meditations on the Passion.
crowned as it was with thorns, and cast his exhausted glance on the excited throng. Pilate
exclaimed, as he pointed him out to the people; ‘Ecce homo! Behold the man!’ The hatred of
the High Priests and their followers was, if possible, increased at the sight of Jesus, and they
cried out, ‘Put him to death; crucify him.’ ‘Are you not content?’ said Pilate. ‘The
punishment he has received is, beyond question, sufficient to deprive him of all desire of
making himself king.’ But they cried out the more and the multitude joined in the cry,
‘Crucify him, crucify him!’ Pilate then sounded the trumpet to demand silence, and said:
‘Take you him and crucify him, for I find no cause in him.’ ‘We have a law, and according to that law
he ought to die,’ replied the priests, ‘because he made himself the Son of God.’ These words, ‘he
made himself the Son of God,’ revived the fears of Pilate; he took Jesus into another room, and
asked him; ‘Whence art thou?’ But Jesus made no answer. ‘Speakest thou not to me?’ said Pilate;
‘knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee?’ ‘Thou shouldst not have
any power against me,’ replied Jesus, ‘unless it were given thee from above; therefore he that hath
delivered me to thee hath the greater sin.’
The undecided, weak conduct of Pilate filled Claudia Procles with anxiety; she again sent
him the pledge, to remind him of his promise, but he only returned a vague, superstitious
answer, importing that he should leave the decision of the case to the gods. The enemies of
Jesus, the High Priests and the Pharisees, having heard of the efforts which were being made
by Claudia to save him, caused a report to be spread among the people, that the partisans of
our Lord had seduced her, that he would be released, and then join the Romans and bring
about the destruction of Jerusalem, and the extermination of the Jews.
Pilate was in such a state of indecision and uncertainty as to be perfectly beside himself;
he did not know what step to take next, and again addressed himself to the enemies of
Jesus, declaring that ‘he found no crime in him,’ but they demanded his death still more
clamorously. He then remembered the contradictory accusations which had been brought
against Jesus, the mysterious dreams of his wife, and the unaccountable impression which
the words of Jesus had made on himself, and therefore determined to question him again in
order thus to obtain some information which might enlighten him as to the course he ought
to pursue; he therefore returned to the Praetorium, went alone into a room, and sent for our
Saviour. He glanced at the mangled and bleeding Form before him, and exclaimed
inwardly: ‘Is it possible that he can be God?’ Then he turned to Jesus, and adjured him to
tell him if he was God, if he was that king who had been promised to the Jews, where his
kingdom was, and to what class of gods he belonged. I can only give the sense of the words
of Jesus, but they were solemn and severe. He told him ‘that his kingdom was not of this
world,’ and likewise spoke strongly of the many hidden crimes with which the conscience of
Pilate was defiled; warned him of the dreadful fate which would be his if he did not repent;
and finally declared that he himself, the Son of Man, would come at the last day, to
pronounce a just judgment upon him.
Pilate was half frightened and half angry at the words of Jesus; he returned to the
balcony, and again declared that he would release Jesus; but they cried out: ‘If thou release
this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.’
Others said that they would accuse him to the Emperor of having disturbed their festival;
that he must make up his mind at once, because they were obliged to be in the Temple by
ten o’clock at night. The cry, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ resounded on all sides; it re-echoed
even from the flat roofs of the houses near the forum, where many persons were assembled.
Pilate saw that all his efforts were vain, that he could make no impression on the infuriated
mob; their yells and imprecations were deafening, and he began to fear an insurrection.
Therefore he took water, and washed his hands before the people, saying, ‘I am innocent of
the blood of this just man; look you to it.’ A frightful and unanimous cry then came from the
dense multitude, who were assembled from all parts of Palestine, ‘His blood be upon us, and
upon our children.’

Reflections on the Visions.

Whenever, during my meditations on the Passion of our Lord, I imagine I hear that
frightful cry of the Jews, ‘His blood be upon us, and upon our children,’ visions of a wonderful
and terrible description display before my eyes at the same moment the effect of that solemn
curse. I fancy I see a gloomy sky covered with clouds, of the colour of blood, from which
issue fiery swords and darts, lowering over the vociferating multitude; and this curse, which
they have entailed upon themselves, appears to me to penetrate even to the very marrow of
their bones,—even to the unborn infants. They appear to me encompassed on all sides by
darkness; the words they utter take, in my eyes, the form of black flames, which recoil upon
them, penetrating the bodies of some, and only playing around others.
The last-mentioned were those who were converted after the death of Jesus, and who
were in considerable numbers, for neither Jesus nor Mary ever ceased praying, in the midst
of their sufferings, for the salvation of these miserable beings.
When, during visions of this kind, I turn my thoughts to the holy souls of Jesus and
Mary, and to those of the enemies of Christ, all that takes place within them is shown me
under various forms. I see numerous devils among the crowd, exciting and encouraging the
Jews, whispering in their ears, entering their mouths, inciting them still more against Jesus,
but nevertheless trembling at the sight of his ineffable love and heavenly patience.
Innumerable angels surrounded Jesus, Mary, and the small number of saints who were
there. The exterior of these angels denotes the office they fill; some represent consolation,
others prayer, or some of the works of mercy.
I likewise often see consolatory, and at other times menacing voices, under the
appearance of bright or coloured gleams of light, issuing from the mouths of these different
apparitions; and I see the feelings of their souls, their interior sufferings, and in a word, their
every thought, under the appearance of dark or bright rays. I then understand everything
perfectly, but it is impossible for me to give an explanation to others; besides which, I am so
ill, and so totally overcome by the grief which I feel for my own sins and for those of the
world, I am so overpowered by the sight of the sufferings of our Lord, that I can hardly
imagine how it is possible for me to relate events with the slightest coherency. Many of
these things, but more especially the apparitions of devils and of angels, which are related by
other persons who have had visions of the Passion of Jesus Christ, are fragments of
symbolical interior perceptions of this species, which vary according to the state of the soul
of the spectator. Hence the numerous contradictions, because many things are naturally
forgotten or omitted.
Sister Emmerich sometimes spoke on these subjects, either during the time of her visions
on the Passion, or before they commenced; but she more often refused to speak at all
concerning them, for fear of causing confusion in the visions. It is easy to see how difficult it
must have been for her, in the midst of such a variety of apparitions, to preserve any degree
of connection in her narrations. Who can therefore be surprised at finding some omissions
and confusion in her descriptions?

Jesus condemned to be crucified.

Pilate, who did not desire to know the truth, but was solely anxious to get out of the
difficulty without harm to himself, became more undecided than ever; his conscience
whispered—‘Jesus is innocent;’ his wife said, ‘he is holy;’ his superstitious feelings made
him fear that Jesus was the enemy of his gods; and his cowardice filled him with dread lest
Jesus, if he was a god, should wreak his vengeance upon his judge. He was both irritated
and alarmed at the last words of Jesus, and he made another attempt for his release; but the
Jews instantly threatened to lay an accusation against him before the Emperor. This menace
terrified him, and he determined to accede to their wishes, although firmly convinced in his
own mind of the innocence of Jesus, and perfectly conscious that by pronouncing sentence
of death upon him he should violate every law of justice, besides breaking the promise he
had made to his wife in the morning. Thus did he sacrifice Jesus to the enmity of the Jews,
and endeavour to stifle remorse by washing his hands before the people, saying, ‘I am
innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it.’ Vainly dost thou pronounce these words, O
Pilate! for his blood is on thy head likewise; thou canst not wash his blood from thy soul, as
thou dost from thy hands.
Those fearful words, ‘His blood be upon us and upon our children,’ had scarcely ceased to
resound, when Pilate commenced his preparations for passing sentence. He called for the
dress which he wore on state occasions, put a species of diadem, set in precious stones, on
his head, changed his mantle, and caused a staff to be carried before him. He was
surrounded with soldiers, preceded by officers belonging to the tribunal, and followed by
Scribes, who carried rolls of parchments and books used for inscribing names and dates.
One man walked in front, who carried the trumpet. The procession marched in this order
from Pilate’s palace to the forum, where an elevated seat, used on these particular
occasions, was placed opposite to the pillar where Jesus was scourged. This tribunal was
called Gabbatha; it was a kind of round terrace, ascended by means of staircases; on the top
was a seat for Pilate, and behind this seat a bench for those in minor offices, while a number
of soldiers were stationed round the terrace and upon the staircases. Many of the Pharisees
had left the palace and were gone to the Temple, so that Annas, Caiphas, and twenty-eight
priests alone followed the Roman governor on to the forum, and the two thieves were taken
there at the time that Pilate presented our Saviour to the people, saying: ‘Ecce homo!’
Our Lord was still clothed in his purple garment, his crown of thorns upon his head, and
his hands manacled, when the archers brought him up to the tribunal, and placed him
between the two malefactors. As soon as Pilate was seated, he again addressed the enemies
of Jesus, in these words, ‘Behold your King!’
But the cries of ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ resounded on all sides.
‘Shall I crucify your King?’ said Pilate.
‘We have no King but Caesar!’ responded the High Priests.
Pilate found it was utterly hopeless to say anything more, and therefore commenced his
preparations for passing sentence. The two thieves had received their sentence of crucifixion
some time before; but the High Priests had obtained a respite for them, in order that our
Lord might suffer the additional ignominy of being executed with two criminals of the most
infamous description. The crosses of the two thieves were by their sides; that intended fro
our Lord was not brought, because he was not as yet sentenced to death.
The Blessed Virgin, who had retired to some distance after the scourging of Jesus, again
approached to hear the sentence of death pronounced upon her Son and her God. Jesus
stood in the midst of the archers, at the foot of the staircase leading up to the tribunal. The
trumpet was sounded to demand silence, and then the cowardly, the base judge, in a
tremulous undecided voice, pronounced the sentence of death on the Just Man. The sight of
the cowardice and duplicity of this despicable being, who was nevertheless puffed up with
pride at his important position, almost overcame me, and the ferocious joy of the
executioners—the triumphant countenances of the High Priests, added to the deplorable
condition to which our loving Saviour was reduced, and the agonising grief of his beloved
Mother—still further increased my pain. I looked up again, and saw the cruel Jews almost
devouring their victim with their eyes, the soldiers standing coldly by, and multitudes of
horrible demons passing to and fro and mixing in the crowd. I felt that I ought to have been
in the place of Jesus, my beloved Spouse, for the sentence would not then have been unjust;
but I was so overcome with anguish, and my sufferings were so intense, that I cannot
exactly remember all that I did see. However, I will relate all as nearly as I can.
After a long preamble, which was composed principally of the most pompous and
exaggerated eulogy of the Emperor Tiberias, Pilate spoke of the accusations which had been
brought against Jesus by the High Priests. He said that they had condemned him to death
for having disturbed the public peace, and broken their laws by calling himself the Son of
God and King of the Jews; and that the people had unanimously demanded that their
decree should be carried out. Notwithstanding his oft repeated conviction of the innocence
of Jesus, this mean and worthless judge was not ashamed of saying that he likewise
considered their decision a just one, and that he should therefore pronounce sentence—
which he did in these words: ‘I condemn Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, to be
crucified;’ and he ordered the executioners to bring the cross. I think I remember likewise
that he took a long stick in his hands, broke it, and threw the fragments at the feet of Jesus.
On hearing these words of Pilate the Mother of Jesus became for a few moments totally
unconscious, for she was now certain that her beloved Son must die the most ignominious
and the most painful of all deaths. John and the holy women carried her away, to prevent
the heartless beings who surrounded them from adding crime to crime by jeering at her
grief; but no sooner did she revive a little than she begged to be taken again to each spot
which had been sanctified by the sufferings of her Son, in order to bedew them with her
tears; and thus did the Mother of our Lord, in the name of the Church, take possession of
those holy places.
Pilate then wrote down the sentence, and those who stood behind him copied it out three
times. The words which he wrote were quite different from those he had pronounced; I
could see plainly that his mind was dreadfully agitated—an angel of wrath appeared to
guide his hand. The substance of the written sentence was this: ‘I have been compelled, for
fear of an insurrection, to yield to the wishes of the High Priests, the Sanhedrin, and the
people, who tumultuously demanded the death of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they accused of
having disturbed the public peace, and also of having blasphemed and broken their laws. I
have given him up to them to be crucified, although their accusations appeared to be
groundless. I have done so for fear of their alleging to the Emperor that I encourage
insurrections, and cause dissatisfaction among the Jews by denying them the rights of
He then wrote the inscription for the cross, while his clerks copied out the sentence
several times, that these copies might be sent to distant parts of the country.
The High Priests were extremely dissatisfied at the words of the sentence, which they
said were not true; and they clamorously surrounded the tribunal to endeavour to persuade
him to alter the inscription; and not to put King of the Jews, but that he said, I am the King of the
Pilate was vexed, and answered impatiently, ‘What I have written I have written!’
They were likewise anxious that the cross of our Lord should not be higher than those of
the two thieves, but it was necessary for it to be so, because there would otherwise not have
been sufficient place for Pilate’s inscription; they therefore endeavoured to persuade him not
to have this obnoxious inscription put up at all. But Pilate was determined, and their words
made no impression upon him; the cross was therefore obliged to be lengthened by a fresh
bit of wood. Consequently the form of the cross was peculiar—the two arms stood out like
the branches of a tree growing from the stem, and the shape was very like that of the letter
Y, with the lower part lengthened so as to rise between the arms, which had been put on
separately, and were thinner than the body of the cross. A piece of wood was likewise nailed
at the bottom of the cross for the feet to rest upon.
During the time that Pilate was pronouncing the iniquitous sentence, I saw his wife,
Claudia Procles, send him back the pledge which he had given her, and in the evening she
left his palace and joined the friends of our Lord, who concealed her in a subterraneous
vault in the house of Lazarus at Jerusalem. Later in the same day, I likewise saw a friend of
our Lord engrave the words, Judex injustus, and the name of Claudia Procles, on a greenlooking
stone, which was behind the terrace called Gabbatha—this stone is still to be found
in the foundations of a church or house at Jerusalem, which stands on the spot formerly
called Gabbatha. Claudia Procles became a Christian, followed St. Paul, and became his
particular friend.
No sooner had Pilate pronounced sentence than Jesus was given up into the hands of the
archers, and the clothes which he had taken off in the court of Caiphas were brought for him
to put on again. I think some charitable persons had washed them, for they looked clean.
The ruffians who surrounded Jesus untied his hands for his dress to be changed, and
roughly dragged off the scarlet mantle with which they had clothed him in mockery, thereby
reopening all his wounds; he put on his own linen under-garment with trembling hands, and
they threw his scapular over his shoulders. As the crown of thorns was too large and
prevented the seamless robe, which his Mother had made for him, from going over his head,
they pulled it off violently, heedless of the pain thus inflicted upon him. His white woollen
dress was next thrown over his shoulders, and then his wide belt and cloak. After this, they
again tied round his waist a ring covered with sharp iron points, and to it they fastened the
cords by which he was led, doing all with their usual brutal cruelty.
The two thieves were standing, one on the right and the other on the left of Jesus, with
their hands tied and a chain round their necks; they were covered with black and lived
marks, the effects of the scourging of the previous day. The demeanour of the one who was
afterwards converted was quiet and peaceable, while that of the other, on the contrary, was
rough and insolent, and he joined the archers in abusing and insulting Jesus, who looked
upon his two companions with love and compassion, and offered up his sufferings for their
salvation. The archers gathered together all the implements necessary for the crucifixions,
and prepared everything for the terrible and painful journey to Calvary.
Annas and Caiphas at last left off disputing with Pilate, and angrily retired, taking with
them the sheets of parchment on which the sentence was written; they went away in haste,
fearing that they should get to the Temple too late for the Paschal sacrifice. Thus did the
High Priests, unknowingly to themselves, leave the true Paschal Lamb. They went to a
temple made of stone, to immolate and to sacrifice that lamb which was but a symbol, and
they left the true Paschal Lamb, who was being led to the Altar of the Cross by the cruel
executioners; they were most careful not to contract exterior defilement, while their souls
were completely defiled by anger, hatred, and envy. They had said, ‘His blood be upon us and
upon our children!’ And by these words they had performed the ceremony, and had placed the
hand of the sacrificer upon the head of the Victim. Thus were the two paths formed—the
one leading to the altar belonging to the Jewish law, the other leading to the Altar of Grace:
Pilate, that proud and irresolute pagan, that slave of the world, who trembled in the
presence of the true God, and yet adored his false gods, took a middle path, and returned to
his palace.
The iniquitous sentence was given at about ten in the morning.

The Carrying of the Cross.

When Pilate left the tribunal a portion of the soldiers followed him, and were drawn up
in files before the palace; a few accompanying the criminals. Eight-and-twenty armed
Pharisees came to the forum on horseback, in order to accompany Jesus to the place of
execution, and among these were the six enemies of Jesus, who had assisted in arresting
him in the Garden of Olives. The archers led Jesus into the middle of the court, the slaves
threw down the cross at his feet, and the two arms were forthwith tied on to the centre
piece. Jesus knelt down by its side, encircled it with his sacred arms, and kissed it three
times, addressing, at the same time, a most touching prayer of thanksgiving to his Heavenly
Father for that work of redemption which he had begun. It was the custom among pagans
for the priest to embrace a new altar, and Jesus in like manner embraced his cross, that
august altar on which the bloody and expiatory sacrifice was about to be offered. The
archers soon made him rise, and then kneel down again, and almost without any assistance,
place the heavy cross on his right shoulder, supporting its great weight with his right hand. I
saw angels come to his assistance, otherwise he would have been unable even to raise it
from the ground. Whilst he was on his knees, and still praying, the executioners put the
arms of the crosses, which were a little curbed and not as yet fastened to the centre pieces,
on the backs of the two thieves, and tied their hands tightly to them. The middle parts of the
crosses were carried by slaves, as the transverse pieces were not to be fastened to them until
just before the time of execution. The trumpet sounded to announce the departure of Pilate’s
horsemen, and one of the Pharisees belonging to the escort came up to Jesus, who was still
kneeling, and said, ‘Rise, we have had a sufficiency of thy fine speeches; rise and set off.’
They pulled him roughly up, for he was totally unable to rise without assistance, and he
then felt upon his shoulders the weight of that cross which we must carry after him,
according to his true and holy command to follow him. Thus began that triumphant march
of the King of Kings, a march so ignominious on earth, and so glorious in heaven.
By means of ropes, which the executioners had fastened to the foot of the cross, two
archers supported it to prevent its getting entangled in anything, and four other soldiers took
hold of the ropes, which they had fastened to Jesus underneath his clothes. The sight of our
dear Lord trembling beneath his burden, reminded me forcibly of Isaac, when he carried the
wood destined for his own sacrifice up the mountains. The trumpet of Pilate was sounded as
the signal for departure, for he himself intended to go to Calvary at the head of a
detachment of soldiers, to prevent the possibility of an insurrection. He was on horseback,
in armour, surrounded by officers and a body of cavalry, and followed by about three
hundred of the infantry, who came from the frontiers of Italy and Switzerland. The
procession was headed by a trumpeter, who sounded his trumpet at every corner and
proclaimed the sentence. A number of women and children walked behind the procession
with ropes, nails, wedges, and baskets filled with different articles, in their hands; others,
who were stronger, carried poles, ladders, and the centre pieces of the crosses of the two
thieves, and some of the Pharisees followed on horseback. A boy who had charge of the
inscription which Pilate had written for the cross, likewise carried the crown of thorns
(which had been taken off the head of Jesus) at the end of a long stick, but he did not appear
to be wicked and hard-hearted like the rest. Next I beheld our Blessed Saviour and
Redeemer—his bare feet swollen and bleeding—his back bent as though he were about to
sink under the heavy weight of the cross, and his whole body covered with wounds and
blood. He appeared to be half fainting from exhaustion (having had neither refreshment or
sleep since the supper of the previous night), weak from loss of blood, and parched with
thirst produced by fever and pain. He supported the cross on his right shoulder with his right
hand, the left hung almost powerless at his side, but he endeavoured now and then to hold
up his long garment to prevent his bleeding feet from getting entangled in it. The four
archers who held the cords which were fastened round his waist, walked at some distance
from him, the two in front pulled him on, and the two behind dragged him back, so that he
could not get on at all without the greatest difficulty. His hands were cut by the cords with
which they had been bound; his face bloody and disfigured; his hair and beard saturated
with blood; the weight of the cross and of his chains combined to press and make the
woollen dress cleave to his wounds, and reopen them: derisive and heartless words alone
were addressed to him, but he continued to pray for his persecutors, and his countenance
bore an expression of combined love and resignation. Many soldiers under arms walked by
the side of the procession, and after Jesus came the two thieves, who were likewise led, the
arms of their crosses, separate from the middle, being placed upon their backs, and their
hands tied tightly to the two ends. They were clothed in large aprons, with a sort of
sleeveless scapular which covered the upper part of their bodies, and they had straw caps
upon their heads. The good thief was calm, but the other was, on the contrary furious, and
never ceased cursing and swearing. The rear of the procession was brought up by the
remainder of the Pharisees on horseback, who rode to and fro to keep order. Pilate and his
courtiers were at a certain distance behind; he was in the midst of his officers clad in
armour, preceded by a squadron of cavalry, and followed by three hundred foot soldiers; he
crossed the forum, and then entered one of the principal streets, for he was marching
through the town in order to prevent any insurrection among the people.
Jesus was conducted by a narrow back street, that the procession might not
inconvenience the persons who were going to the Temple, and likewise in order that Pilate
and his band might have the whole principal street entirely to themselves. The crowd had
dispersed and started in different directions almost immediately after the reading of the
sentence, and the greatest part of the Jews either returned to their own houses, or to the
Temple, to hasten their preparations for sacrificing the Paschal lamb; but a certain number
were still hurrying on in disorder to see the melancholy procession pass; the Roman soldiers
prevented all persons from joining the procession, therefore the most curious were obliged
to go round by back streets, or to quicken their steps so as to reach Calvary before Jesus.
The street through which they led Jesus was both narrow and dirty; he suffered much in
passing through it, because the archers were close and harassed him. Persons stood on the
roofs of the houses, and at the windows, and insulted him with opprobrious language; the
slaves who were working in the streets threw filth and mud at him; even the children,
incited by his enemies, had filled their pinafores with sharp stones, which they throw down
before their doors as he passed, that he might be obliged to walk over them.