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Vienne pyramid and Pontius Pilate

The pyramid | Daniel CULSAN / CC-BY-SA
Gallo-Roman Legend Vienne pyramid

A strange pyramid

Rich in Roman monuments, Vienne will amaze you! The pyramid is a fine instance.

Isolated on its little roundabout, this 16 meters high building stands on a square portico pierced with 4 arches flanked by Corinthians columns at corners.

It used to be inside a huge Roman amphitheatre put up to the south, outside the city's ramparts in 2th century. An amphitheatre? Sure! Our pyramid stood up in middle of the spina, the central wall.

Pontius Pilate in Vienne?

An old tradition says the pyramid of Vienne was raised upon the grave of… Pontius Pilate!

In Catholic religion, he was the Roman judge who sentenced Jesus to death. After Jesus’ death, Pontius was exiled in Gaul by Roman emperor Caligula, in Vienne near Lyon.

The tradition says Pontius didn’t bare this exile and suicided himself by drowning himself in river Rhône. Inhabitants of Vienne offered him a giant tomb with his own money…

Vénérius from Vienne

In Vienne, we like legends! Another tradition says that, below the pyramid, they buried a man called Vénérius.

A great traveller coming from Africa and who founded the city of Vienne in 850 BC. That story was written by Adon, archbishop of Vienne in the 9th c.

And in the 17th c., Nicolas Chorier (a writer coming from the city) said Vénérius’ last remains were at the top of the pyramid, in a little box… Do you want to climb and check?

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!