- Iscariot: Chapter 1 – In which we meet Pontius Pilate and learn about an obscure Goddess.
- Iscariot: Chapter 2 – In which we meet Jesus of Nazareth, his brother James, Simon the Zealot, and Donny, one of King Herod’s slaves
- Iscariot: Chapter 3 – In which Judas splits a bottle of wine with Mary Magdalene, daughter in law of the almighty.
- Iscariot: Chapter 4 – In which we learn that Jesus is not scared of lightning. Also Kelsey, the formerly barren lady from Chapter 2, has become fertile and now it’s a whole thing.
- Iscariot: Chapter 5 – In which we learn that just because you have love for all things, doesn’t mean you can’t get annoyed by certain peoples antics.
- Iscariot: Chapter 6 – In which Menahem asks, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Menahem.”
- Iscariot: Chapter 7 – In which Pontius Pilate learns who King Herod is and what King Herod do.
- Iscariot: Chapter 8 – In which we meet Martha, wife of Judas, and she’s a delight.
- Iscariot: Chapter 9 – In which we meet the remaining apostles at the Passover feast.
- Iscariot: Chapter 10 – In which Pontius Pilate reminisces about the good ol’ days.
- Iscariot: Chapter 11 – In which there’s a bit of exposition until the angel Lucifer shows up and has a brief chat with Judas.
- Iscariot: Chapter 12 – In which we are made aware of the political situation in Rome.
- Iscariot: Chapter 13 – In which the Passion of the Devil.
- Iscariot: Chapter 14 – In which we meet the rice goddess Inari and a fox named Mrs. Noodles.
- Iscariot: Chapter 15 – In which Mary, Martha, and Kelsey meet a Behemoth and the story passes the Bechdel test.
- Iscariot: Chapter 16 – In which Judas and Jesus travel through India and learn about road building.
- Iscariot: Chapter 17 – In which (much like in Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8) there’s a wedding.
- Iscariot: Chapter 18 – In which crucifixion shmoosifixion. Jesus and Judas are back, baby!
- Iscariot: Chapter 19 – In which we extrapolate upon the Ascension a little bit.
- Iscariot: Chapter 20 – In which Judas and Mary have a pre dinner drink, and we leave them there.
You guys like Batman, right? Of course you do. He’s smart (Depending on the writer.) The ladies love him (Depending on the writer.) And he’s usually kind of a dick to everyone (Which I like but of course it depends on the writer.)
For those who aren’t aware, Batman was created in 1939. As of this gospel, he’s been around for over 75 years. He’s probably had ten thousand stories written about him. There have been hundreds of writers and artists all having a blast putting the dark knight through his paces. Unfortunately, all of these stories mean that there are a lot of continuity errors. For example, did Ace the Bat Hound die or retire? Whatever happened to the original Bat-Woman? Is she related to Bat-Girl? Why did Batman turn into a baby for a short while? Has Batman been married? Does he have children? A childhood friend we’ve never heard of?
Unfortunately there is more than one answer to each of these questions, so every once in a while D.C. Comics tries to solve all of the continuity errors by having a some sort of grand event which fixes everything. Crisis on Infinite Earths for example.
In an interesting coincidence, sometime between 590 and 600 AD, Pope Gregory the First more or less had the same problem as the writers at D.C. Comics. And as such, he chose to do the same thing that they had.
Saint Gregory was all, “Did Jesus come from Bethlehem or Nazareth? Was he visited by three kings or a couple of rabbis or neither? How many women went to the tomb with Mary Magdalene? Because in John she’s the only one, but in the rest of the gospels there’s like three women. (Two of whom are also named Mary.) How much time passed between the arrest of Jesus and the Crucifiction? Because in order for the resurrection to be on a Sunday, you need to have him die on a Friday and arrested a day or two before that. If that’s the case then how could he have a Passover supper? That would occur on a Saturday but that would make the resurrection occur on a Thursday and to that end, Passover isn’t anywhere near Easter. John is different from Mark which is different from Matthew which are all different from the non canon gospels etc.”
To help everything make sense, he edited everything into one testament. It was no easy task but he managed to construct a much more cohesive tale which…and this is key…was in line with the ideals of the church at the time. He was the one who decided what would be cannon and doctrine and what would become heretical or apocryphal. And there’s still continuity errors! But it’s better than it was. Point being, if any of this stuff happened, despite what anyone says. Nobody has any idea about the actual timing of these events. It’s crazy but it keeps the scholars employed.
That said, none of this is super relevant to this chapter in which there’s a fair bit of discussion about Roman orgies. Enjoy!
In which Pontius Pilate reminisces about the good ol’ days.
It was Monday. The very worst of all days unless it’s a three day holiday, in which case it’s one of the best of all days. Unfortunately this was not the type of Monday that was part of a three day holiday. This was a normal Monday. One which was filled with a slight hangover, some regret, and the lingering thought that the weekend had been far too short.
Prelate Pontius Pilate sipped his coffee. (Or rather the Roman version of coffee which was a kind of cheap but concentrated wine mixed with water which the Republic gave out with the grain dole. ((Which was a large amount of grain given to the male head of household each year to help keep Rome ticking along.)) The author is quite aware that Pontius Pilate didn’t drink actual coffee but the author, like so very many before him, ((Looking at you author of the King James version of the bible, widely regarded by scholars as the very worst translation of the bible in English)) is taking liberties with the story because he’s tired and there’s only so much research he cares to do regarding the breakfast habits of Romans living in Judea in the year thirty and I’m trying to make the story relatable. We good? Good.) Pontius sipped his coffee and sighed.
It had not been a good weekend. Pontius did not like being used and he knew that he was being used by Herod. He had decided to play along for a bit to see what would happen and was now regretting said decision.
On the day of the Passover, he told the majority of his men that they would be doing some standard military exercises and marched them down towards the temple with the idea that he could quietly arrest this Jesus fellow and have a brief chat with him. Maybe the guy would know why Herod was so up in arms. Maybe he could convince Jesus to leave the city for a spell until the mad king simmered down a bit. Maybe a few other things. None of that happened of course and now the Prelate was having to deal with what did happen. Pontius took another sip from his cup and rubbed his eyes before calling out to Marcus.
Marcus entered with a second cup for his master and placed it on the table along with a number of scrolls from Rome. Messages which had seemingly been dispatched half a year ago with various orders and musings from the Emperor. He decided he would take a break from thinking about the madness of the weekend and opted to complain about his boss instead.
“Forward thinking, Marcus,” he said.
“What’s that, sir?”
“Emperor Tiberius. They say that for the most part he’s forward thinking. A forward thinker who despite being so very modern, really likes crucifixion for even the slightest infraction.”
“Seems to be, sir. I tend to think of him as more conservative. I’ve heard stories about the parties his father used to have and he seems to have put a stop to those.”
“Step-father,” Pontius corrected him. “And those were nothing compared to what was going on when we still had a real Republic.”
A slight smile crept onto the Prelate’s face. “My uncle used to tell me tales,” he said. “You’d hide in shame if you knew about the things that they used to get up to.”
“Devara, the goddess of brooms is no stranger to sexuality sir,” Marcus replied. “When we’re not sweeping up, the rituals veer towards the tantric.”
“Really? You’ve never mentioned that.”
“Well if you think about the shape of a broom…”
“Ah. Right. Although, there are a lot of cock shaped things in this world.”
“Right you are, sir.”
“In any case, there was still fun to be had in Rome before Tiberius got all up in his own ass about the orgy pits. Then suddenly what is a normal expression of jovial exuberance among a few dozen consenting adults is frowned upon and before you know it you get transferred to the middle of gods damned desert with orders to nail half the population to trees if they step out of line.”
“Quite correct, sir,” Marcus replied. He didn’t know where his master was going with this, but knew better than to interrupt.
“And what harm was there, Marcus? What harm? You get a couple of willing women pregnant, sure, but they’re going to be ok. Citizenship and a place in the army for the boys when they’re old enough and a good life in general. I myself was a product of a Roman Centurion who spent a night in the pits. And I had a good life Marcus. A good station. Yet when I did what was in my very DNA, I get shipped off and hidden because the new emperor starts getting embarrassed about his own predilection for fornifilia?”
“What’s fornifilia?” Marcus asked.
“It’s that thing where you make servants pretend to be furniture. Like beds or chairs or tables and things. You know?”
“Not really, sir. Do you want to look at the scrolls?”
“Unless one of these says that I can come back to Rome, I don’t care. All they ever say is “Continue keeping the peace and kill anyone who even looks like they want to commit sedition. And you know me, Marcus. I want to do just that, but you have to draw a line somewhere about what is and isn’t actually sedition. And I’m starting to get a feeling. A theory if you like. That maybe the more people we crucify for minor crimes, the more civil unrest there is in general. Which in turn causes more people to actually want to overthrow the government. Because who wants to live in a country where if you make a mistake, you get tortured? Why would you live there, Marcus?”
“I wouldn’t want to, I guess? You’re kind of all over the place this morning, my master,” Marcus stated cautiously. Though he knew when the Prelate was in these sort of moods he never listened to anyone. He was just working through his own thoughts.
“Arresting Jesus could have been a simple affair but no. The guy had to run away. People saw us coming and started a riot. We’re allowed to march down there. It’s not like I went in the damned temple. Herod and the High Priest ask me to do something for them and they can’t control the damn populace and let me do it? We lost a soldier in all that madness. Poor Agrippa might lose the use of his leg. So now we’re down two people.”
“Perhaps it’ll blow over?”
“We can’t let it blow over now. I don’t know who that person in the crowd was who was shouting about arresting Jesus, but I swear if we find him, he’ll be the one up on the cross. Inciting a riot is something that I have zero tolerance for and everything would have been peaches and cream if that hadn’t happened. I’ll torture that guy good if I find him.”
“A little torture never hurt anyone, Master.”
“Exactly. Toughens you up and puts hair on your chest. But that’s neither here nor there. The problem we have right now and which I can’t figure out a solution to is why the hell this whole city wants the Jesus guy dead all of the sudden.”
“Do you think Herod is bribing people?”
“Oh you can be damned sure of that. I can’t prove it of course, and I wouldn’t be able to do much about even if I could. Killing this Nazareth fellow is going to set off some dominoes, Marcus. I feel it in my bile. Herod’s crazier than a loon but this is weird for even him. Did you know that one of Jesus’ students works for us? Matthew is his name. Tax collector. He seems to think we could install Jesus into Herod’s spot. And frankly, I agree. Dude seems like he’d be easier to deal with than the current fucking king. But this riot business has made things complicated. Herod made things complicated. The high priest is making things complicated. I don’t want to kill the guy, but not killing him will cause another riot. So what the hell do I do?”
“We have him in the cells. Would you like me to bring him up for a chat? That couldn’t hurt. Worst case scenario you tell him to his face that he has to die.”
“He’s not a soldier, Marcus.”
“True. Does it matter?”
“I suppose not. Bring him up. And thank you, Marcus.”
“Right away sir.” Marcus hurried out and made his way down to the basement to fetch his quarry.