The Greek term prai·toʹri·on (from Lat., praetorium) designates the official residence of the Roman governors. In the governor’s palace at Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate questioned Christ Jesus, and in its courtyard, Roman soldiers mocked him. (Mr 15:16; Joh 18:28, 33; 19:9) Some have identified the governor’s palace with the Tower of Antonia, but others suggest that it was probably the palace built by Herod the Great. The following reasons have been presented in support of the latter view: (1) According to the first-century Jewish philosopher Philo (The Embassy to Gaius, XXXIX, 306), Herod’s palace was called “the house of the governors,” and it was there that Governor Pilate hung shields in honor of Tiberius Caesar. (2) The Jewish historian Josephus reports that the procurator Gessius Florus took up his quarters there. (The Jewish War, II, 301 [xiv, 8]) (3) Herod’s palace in Caesarea served as the governor’s palace in that city.—Ac 23:33-35.
The palace of Herod at Jerusalem was situated in the NW corner of the upper city, that is, of the southern part of the city. According to Josephus’ description, it was surrounded by a 30-cubit-high (13 m; 44 ft) wall equipped with evenly spaced towers. Within the walls there were porticoes, courts, and groves of trees. The rooms were luxuriously furnished with gold, silver, and marble objects. There were bedchambers for a hundred guests.—Jewish Antiquities, XV, 318 (ix, 3); The Jewish War, V, 173-182 (iv, 4).