But now the facts, which are guaranteed by non-Christian authors:
1. After the suppression of the uprising, probably in early summer of 36 CE, the council of the Samaritans sent a delegation to Vitellius in Antiochia. Pilate was accused of fighting against the revolt unjustly, with troops.
It was said that the people had not rebelled against the Romans, but fled the wrongful administration of Pilate, Josephus, Antiquities 18, 4, 2. Was the Jesus revolt only a citizen’s action group against Pilate, a sit-down demonstration on the holy mountain?
The Samaritans killed two birds with one stone. On the one hand they got Vitellius in the right mood for Samaria, for the situation was still tense and a penalty against their homeland not out of question; on the other hand they took a shot at Pilate in order to get rid of the unpopular governor.
2. The devotion address of the Samaritans suited Vitellius just fine. If a new ruler or governor took up office, usually the local dignitaries paid their respect to him.
The loyalty address was thus in line with to the usual custom. Vitellius had taken on the job given him by the emperor of bringing peace to the East using a carrot and a stick.