Vitellius, Lucitus

Vitellius, Lucitus the censor, father of the emperor, was made governor of Syria, at the expiration of his consulate, A.D. 35; and the same year, or the year following, he came to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover, and was very magnificently entertained. He released the city from a tax on fruits and committed to the care of the Jews the high-priest's habit, with the pontifical ornaments, which Herod and the Romans had kept till then in the Tower of Antonia. He deposed Joseph Caiaphas from the high-priesthood, and put in his place Jonathan, son of Ananus, but deprived him of his dignity two years afterwards, and conferred it on Theophilus, his brother (Josephus, Ant. 8:6). He was noted for his sycophancy and public intrigues (Dio Cass. 59, 27; Tacit. Annal. 6:32; 11:1-3; 12:5). See Smith, Dict. of Class. Biog. s.v.

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