Were You there?
All types were represented along the Via Dolorosa and on Golgotha as Christ was led to his execution and then crucified.
The morning sun had been up for some hours over the city of David. Already pilgrims and visitors were pouring in through the gates, mingling with merchants from the villages round about, with shepherds coming down from the hills, and the gnarled streets were crowded.
There were the aged, stooped with years, muttering to themselves as they pushed through the throngs, and there were children playing in the streets, calling to each other in shrill voices. There were men and women too, carrying burdens, baskets of vegetables, casks of wine, water bags. And there were tradesmen with their tools. Here a donkey stood sleepily beneath his burden in the sunlight. And there, under a narrow canopy, a merchant shouted his wares in a pavement stall.
It was not easy to make one's way through the crowd. But it was especially difficult for a procession that started out from the governor's palace. At its head rode a Roman centurion, disdainful and aloof, scorn for the like of child or cripple who might be in his way. His lips curled in thin lines of contempt as he watched through eyes the shouting, jeering crowd.
Before him went two legionnaires, clearing the crowd aside as best they could with curses and careless blows. The procession moved at a snail's pace. The soldiers tried to keep step, but it was evident that the centurion guards did not relish this routine task that came to them every now and then in the government of this troublesome province. The sunlight glanced on the spears and helmets of the soldiers. There was a rhythmic clanking of steel as their shields touched their belt buckles and the scabbards of their swords.
Between the two files of soldiers staggered three condemned men each carrying a heavy bar of wood with ...