Valerius Gratus was the Roman Prefect of Iudaea province under Tiberius from 15 to 26 AD. He succeeded Annius Rufus and was replaced by Pontius Pilate. The government of Gratus is chiefly remarkable for the frequent changes he made in the appointment of the high-priesthood. He deposed Ananus, and substituted Ishmael ben Fabus, then Eleazar, son of Arianus, then Simon, son of Camith, and lastly Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Ananus.
In popular culture
In the book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and its derived films, Gratus is almost killed by a tile which is accidentally dropped by Judah Ben-Hur, which prompts all subsequent events of the story. In the novel Gratus is portrayed as a corrupt governor who acted against the Jews by removing the rightful head priest of the Temple, Hannas, and replacing him with a Roman puppet, Ishmael.
- Antiquities of the Jews xviii. 2. §2.
- Josephus - Antiq. xviii. 6. § 5.
- Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
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