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Dictionary of Italian names and places found in the Holy Bible

Definitions from 1897 Matthew G. Easton's and 1901 William Smith's Bible Dictionaries.
Scripture links to the King James Bible (LDS version)


The name of the Roman cohort to which Cornelius belonged (Acts 10:1), so called probably because it consisted of men recruited in Italy.

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Bibliography Information: Easton, Matthew George "Entry for 'Italian Band'". "Easton's Bible Dictionary," 1897.


This word is used in the New Testament, (Acts 18:2; 27:1; Heb 13:24 in the usual sense of the period, i.e. in its true geographical sense, as denoting the whole natural peninsula between the Alps and the Straits of Messina.

(Localities other than Rome)

  • Appii Forum (Appius, Market of) (Market-place of Appius)

  • A well-known station on the Appian Way, the great road which led from Rome to the neighborhood of the Bay of Naples. (
    Acts 28:15) There is no difficulty in identifying the site with some ruins near Treponti. [THREE TAVERNS]

  • Puteoli (sulphurous springs)

  • The great landing-place of travelers to Italy from the Levant, and the harbor to which the Alexandrian corn-ships brought their cargoes. (
    Acts 27:13) The celebrated bay which is now the Bay of Naples was then called "Sinus Puteolanus." The city was at the northeastern angle of the bay. The name Puteoli arose from the strong mineral springs which are characteristic of the place. It was a favorite watering-place of the Romans its hot springs being considered efficacious for cure of various diseases. Here also ships usually discharged their passengers and cargoes, partly to avoid doubling the promontory of Circeium and partly because there was no commodious harbor nearer to Rome. Hence the ship in which Paul was conveyed from Melita landed the prisoners at this place, where the apostle stayed a week. (Acts 28:13,14) -- Whitney. The associations of Puteoli with historical personages are very numerous. Scipio sailed from this place to Spain; Cicero had a villa in the neighborhood; here Nero planned the murder of his mother; Vespasian gave to this city peculiar privileges; and here Adrian was buried. In the fifth century it was ravaged by both Alaric and Genseric, and it never afterward recovered its former eminence. It is now a fourth-rate Italian town, still retaining the name of Pozzuoli. The remains of Puteoli are worthy of mention. Among them are the aqueduct the reservoirs, portions (probably) of the baths the great amphitheatre and the building called the temple of Serapis. No Roman harbor has left as solid a memorial of itself as this one, at which St. Paul landed in Italy.

  • Rhegium (Breach)

  • An Italian town situated on the Bruttian coast, just at the southern entrance of the Straits of Messina. The name occurs in the account of St. Paul's voyage from Syracuse to Puteoli, after the shipwreck at Malta. (
    Acts 28:13) By a curious coincidence, the figures on its coin are the very "twin brothers" which gave the name to St. Paul's ship. It was originally a Greek colony; it was miserably destroyed by Dionysius of Syracuse. From Augustus it received advantages which combined with its geographical position in making it important throughout the duration of the Roman empire. The modern Reggio is a town of 10,000 inhabitants. Its distance across the straits from Messina is only about six miles.

  • Syracuse

  • The celebrated city on the eastern coast of Sicily. "The city in its splendor was the largest and richest that the Greeks possessed in any part of the world, being 22 miles in circumference." St. Paul arrived thither in an Alexandrian ship from Melita, on his voyage to Rome. (
    Acts 28:12) The site of Syracuse rendered it a convenient place for the African corn-ships to touch at, for the harbor was an excellent one, and the fountain Arethusa in the island furnished an unfailing supply of excellent water.

  • Three Taverns

  • A station on the Appian Road, along which St. Paul travelled from Puteoli to Rome. (
    Acts 28:15) The distances, reckoning southward from Rome are given as follows in the Antonine Itinerary: "to Aricia, 16 miles; to Three Taverns, 17 miles; to Appii Forum, 10 miles;" and, comparing this with what is still observed along the line of road, we have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that "Three Taverns" was near the modern Cisterna. Just at this point a road came in from Antium on the coast. There is no doubt that "Three Taverns" was a frequent meeting-place of travellers.

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    Bibliography Information: Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Italy,' 'Appii Forum,' 'Puteoli,' 'Rhegium,' 'Syracuse,' 'Three Taverns'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary," 1901.

    originary of and/or residing in Italy

    (Not including Peter Bar-Jona and Paul of Tarsus)

  • Amplias (Large)

  • A Christian at Rome. (Romans 16:8) (A.D. 55.)

  • Andronicus (Man-conqueror)

  • A Christian at Rome, saluted by St. Paul, (Romans 16:7) together with Junia.

  • Apelles (Called)

  • A Christian saluted by St. Paul in (Romans 16:10) Tradition makes him bishop of Smyrna or Heraclea. (A.D. 55.)

  • Aquila (An eagle)

  • A Jew whom St. Paul found at Corinth on his arrival from Athens. (Acts 18:2) (A.D. 52) He was a native of Pontus, but had fled with his wife Priscilla, from Rome, in consequence of an order of Claudius commanding all Jews to leave the city. He became acquainted with St. Paul, and they abode together, and wrought at their common trade of making the Cilician tent or hair-cloth. On the departure of the apostle from Corinth, a year and eight months after, Priscilla and Aquila accompanied him to Ephesus. There they remained and there they taught Apollos. At what time they became Christians is uncertain.

  • Aristpobulus (The best counsellor)

  • A resident at Rome, some of whose household are greeted in (Romans 16:10) Tradition makes him one of the 70 disciples and reports that he preached the gospel in Britain.

  • Asyncritus (Incomparable)

  • A Christian at Rome, saluted by St. Paul. (Romans 16:14)

  • Cornelius (Of a horn)

  • A Roman centurion of the Italian cohort stationed in Caesarea, (Acts 10:1) etc., a man full of good works and alms-deeds. With his household he was baptized by St. Peter, and thus Cornelius became the firstfruits of the Gentile world to Christ.

  • Epænetus (Praiseworthy)

  • A Christian at Rome, greeted by St. Paul in (Romans 16:5) and designated as his beloved and the first-fruit of Asia unto Christ.

  • Hermas (Mercury)

  • The name of a Christian resident at Rome to whom St. Paul sends greetings in his Epistle to the Romans. (Romans 16:14) (A.D. 55.) Irenaeus, Tertullian and Origen agree in attributing to him the work called The shepherd . It was never received into the canon, but yet was generally cited with respect only second to that which was paid to the authoritative books of the New Testament.

  • Hermes (Mercury)

  • A Christian mentioned in (Romans 16:14) According to tradition he was one of the seventy disciples, and afterward bishop of Dalmatia. (A.D. 55.)

  • Herodion

  • A relative of St. Paul, to whom he sends his salutation amongst the Christians of the Roman church. (Romans 16:11) (A.D. 55.)

  • Julia (Feminine of Julius)

  • A Christian woman at Rome, probably the wife of Philologus, in connection with whom she is saluted by St. Paul. (Romans 16:15) (A.D. 55.)

  • Junia (Belonging to Juno)

  • A Christian at Rome, mentioned by St. Paul as one of his kinsfolk and fellow prisoners, of note among the apostles, and in Christ before St. Paul. (Romans 16:7) (A.D. 55).

  • Mary

  • A Roman Christian who is greeted by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, (Romans 16:6) as having toiled hard for him.

  • Narcissus (Stupidity)

  • A dweller at Rome, (Romans 16:11) some members of whose household were known us Christians to St. Paul. Some have assumed the identity of this Narcissus with the secretary of the emperor Claudius; but this is quite uncertain.

  • Nereus (Lamp)

  • A Christian at Rome, saluted by St. Paul. (Romans 16:15) According to tradition he was beheaded at Terracina, probably in the reign of Nerva.

  • Olympas (Heavenly)

  • A Christian at Rome. (Romans 16:15) (A.D. 65.)

  • Patrobas (Paternal)

  • A Christian at Rome to whom St. Paul sends his salutation. (Romans 16:14) Like many other names mentioned in Romans 16 this was borne by at least one member of the emperorıs household. (Suetonius: Galba 20; Martial, Epigrams bk.ii, ep. 32). (A.D. 55.)

  • Philologus

  • A Christian at Rome to whom St. Paul sends his salutation. (Romans 16:15)

  • Phlegon (Burning)

  • A Christian at Rome whom St. Paul salutes. (Romans 16:14) (A.D.55.) Pseudo-Hippolytus makes him one of the seventy disciples and bishop of Marathon.

  • Persis (A Persian woman)

  • A Christian woman at Rome, (Romans 16:12) whom St. Paul salutes. (A.D. 55)

  • Prisca (Ancient)

  • Or Priscilla, (a diminutive from Prisca) the wife of Aquila. [AQUILA] To what has been said elsewhere under the head of AQUILA the following may be added: We find that the name of the wife is placed before that of the husband in (Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19) and (according to some of the best MSS.) in (Acts 18:26) Hence we should be disposed to conclude that Priscilla was the more energetic character of the two. In fact we may say that Priscilla is the example of what the married woman may do for the general service of the Church, in conjunction with home duties, as Phoebe is the type of the unmarried servant of the Church, or deaconess.

  • Rufus (Red)

  • Is mentioned in (Mark 15:21) as a son of Simon the Cyrenian. (Luke 23:26) (A.D. 29.) Again, in (Romans 16:13) the apostle Paul salutes a Rufus whom he designates as "elect in the Lord." This Rufus was probably identical with the one to whom Mark refers.

  • Stachys

  • A Christian at Rome, saluted by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans. (Romans 16:9) (A.D. 56)

  • Tertius (Third)

  • Probably a Roman, was the amanuensis of Paul in writing the Epistle to the Romans. (Romans 16:22) (A.D. 55.)

  • Theophilus (Friend of God)

  • The person to whom St. Luke inscribes his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1) From the honorable epithet applied to him in Luke 1:3 it has been argued with much probability that he was a person in high official position. All that can be conjectured with any degree of safety concerning him comes to this, that he was a Gentile of rank and consideration who came under the influence of St. Luke or under that of St. Paul at Rome, and was converted to the Christian faith.

  • Tryphena and Tryphosa (Luxurious)

  • Two Christian women at Rome, enumerated in the conclusion of St. Paulıs letter. (Romans 16:12) (A.D. 55.) They may have been sisters, but it is more likely that they were fellow deaconesses. We know nothing more of these two sister workers of the apostolic time.

  • Urbane (Of the city; polite)

  • The Greek form of the Latin Urbanus, as it is given in the Revised Version. He was a Christian disciple who is in the long list of those whom St. Paul salutes in writing to Rome. (Romans 16:9) (A.D. 55.)

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    Bibliography Information: Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Amplias,' 'Andronicus,' 'Apelles,' 'Aquila,' 'Aristobolus,' ',Asyncritus,' 'Cornelius,' 'Epænetus,' 'Hermas,' 'Hermes,' 'Herodion,' 'Julia,' 'Junia,' 'Mary,' 'Narcissus,' 'Nereus,' 'Olympas,' 'Patrobas,' 'Philologus,' 'Phlegon,' 'Persis,' 'Prisca,' 'Rufus,' 'Stachys,' 'Tertius,' 'Theophilus,' 'Tryphena and Tryphosa,' 'Urbane'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary," 1901.

    (His journeys to Rome, imprisonements and demise)

  • The voyage to Rome and shipwreck (Autumn, A.D. 60)
  • No formal trial of St. Paul had yet taken place. After a while arrangements were made to carry "Paul and certain other prisoners," in the custody of a centurion named Julius, into Italy; and amongst the company, whether by favor or from any other reason, we find the historian of the Acts, who in chapters 27 and 28 gives a graphic description of the voyage to Rome and the shipwreck on the Island of Melita or Malta. After a three-months stay in Malta the soldiers and their prisoners left in an Alexandria ship for Italy. They touched at Syracuse, where they stayed three days, and at Rhegium, from which place they were carried with a fair wind to Puteoli, where they left their ship and the sea. At Puteoli they found "brethren," for it was an important place and especially a chief port for the traffic between Alexandria and Rome; and by these brethren they were exhorted to stay a while with them. Permission seems to have been granted by the centurion; and whilst they were spending seven days at Puteoli news of the apostleıs arrival was sent to Rome. (Spring, A.D. 61.)

  • First imprisonment of St. Paul at Rome (A.D. 61-63)
  • On their arrival at Rome the centurion delivered up his prisoners into the proper custody that of the praetorian prefect. Paul was at once treated with special consideration and was allowed to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him. He was now therefore free "to preach the gospel to them that were at Rome also;" and proceeded without delay to act upon his rule --"to the Jews first," But as of old, the reception of his message by the Jews was not favorable. He turned, therefore, again to the Gentiles, and for two years he dwelt in his own hired house. These are the last words of the Acts. But St. Paulıs career is not abruptly closed. Before he himself fades out of our sight in the twilight of ecclesiastical tradition, we have letters written by himself which contribute some particulars to his biography. Period of the later epistles. --To that imprisonment to which St. Luke has introduced us --the imprisonment which lasted for such a tedious time, though tempered by much indulgence --belongs the noble group of letters to Philemon, to the Colossians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians. The three former of these were written at one time, and sent by the same messengers. Whether that to the Philippians was written before or after these we cannot determine; but the tone of it seems to imply that a crisis was approaching, and therefore it is commonly regarded us the latest of the four. In this epistle St. Paul twice expresses a confident hope that before long he may be able to visit the Philippians in person. (Philippians 1:25; 2:24) Whether this hope was fulfilled or not has been the occasion of much controversy. According to the general opinion the apostle was liberated from imprisonment at the end of two years, having been acquitted by Nero A.D. 63, and left Rome soon after writing the letter to the Philippians. He spent some time in visits to Greece, Asia Minor and Spain, and during the latter part of this time wrote the letters (first epistles) to Timothy and Titus from Macedonia, A.D. 65. After these were written he was apprehended again and sent to Rome.

  • Second imprisonment at Rome (A.D. 65-67.)
  • The apostle appears now to have been treated not as an honorable state prisoner but as a felon, (2 Timothy 2:9) but he was allowed to write the second letter to Timothy, A.D. 67. For what remains we have the concurrent testimony of ecclesiastical antiquity that he was beheaded at Rome, by Nero in the great persecutions of the Christians by that emperor, A.D. 67 or 68.

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    Bibliography Information: Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Paul'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary," 1901.


  • Cæsar

  • Always in the New Testament the Roman emperor, the sovereign of Judea. (John 19:12,15; Acts 17:7)

  • Felix (Happy)

  • A Roman procurator of Judea appointed by the emperor Claudius in A.D. 53. He ruled the province in a mean, cruel and profligate manner. His period of office was full of troubles and seditions. St. Paul was brought before Felix in Caesarea. He was remanded to prison, and kept there two years in hopes of extorting money from him. (Acts 24:26,27) At the end of that time Porcius Festus [FESTUS, PORCIUS] was appointed to supersede Felix, who, on his return to Rome, was accused by the Jews in Caesarea, and would have suffered the penalty due to his atrocities had not his brother Pallas prevailed with the emperor Nero to spare him. This was probably about A.D. 60. The wife of Felix was Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa I., who was his third wife and whom he persuaded to leave her husband and marry him.

  • Festus (Festival)

  • Porcius Festus, successor of Felix as procurator of Judea, (Acts 24:27) sent by Nero probably in the autumn of A.D. 60. A few weeks after Festus reached his province he heard the cause of St. Paul, who had been left a prisoner by Felix, in the presence of Herod Agrippa II and Bernice his sister, (Acts 25:11,12) Judea was in the same disturbed state during the procuratorship of Festus which had prevailed through that of his predecessor. He died probably in the summer of A.D. 60, having ruled the province less than two years.

  • Julius (Soft-haired)

  • The centurion of "Augustusı band," to whose charge St. Paul was delivered when he was sent prisoner from Caesarea to Rome. (Acts 27:1,3) (A.D. 60.)

  • Quirinius

  • Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, legate (governor) of Syria during Jesus' birth. (Luke 2:2)

  • Pilate (Armed with a spear)

  • Pontius. Pontius Pilate was the sixth Roman procurator of Judea, and under him our Lord worked, suffered and died, as we learn not only from Scripture, but from Tacitus (Ann. xv. 44). was appointed A.D. 25-6, in the twelfth year of Tiberius. His arbitrary administration nearly drove the Jews to insurrection on two or three occasions. One of his first acts was to remove the headquarters of the army from Caesarea to Jerusalem. The soldiers of course took with them their standards, bearing the image of the emperor, into the holy city. No previous governor had ventured on such an outrage. The people poured down in crowds to Caesarea, where the procurator was then residing, and besought him to remove the images. After five days of discussion he gave the signal to some concealed soldiers to surround the petitioners and put them to death unless they ceased to trouble him; but this only strengthened their determination, and they declared themselves ready rather to submit to death than forego their resistance to aa idolatrous innovation. Pilate then yielded, and the standards were by his orders brought down to Caesarea. His slaughter of certain Galileans, (Luke 13:1) led to some remarks from our Lord on the connection between sin and calamity. It must have occurred at some feast at Jerusalem, in the outer court of the temple. It was the custom for the procurators to reside at Jerusalem during the great feasts, to preserve order, and accordingly, at the time of our Lordıs last Passover, Pilate was occupying his official residence in Herodıs palace. The history of his condemnation of our Lord is familiar to all. We learn from Josephus that Pilateıs anxiety to avoid giving offence to Caesar did not save him from political disaster. The Samaritans were unquiet and rebellious Pilate led his troops against them, and defeated them enough. The Samaritans complained to Vitellius, then president of Syria, and he sent Pilate to Rome to answer their accusations before the emperor. When he reached it he found Tiberius dead and Caius (Caligula) on the throne A,D, 36. Eusebius adds that soon afterward "wearied with misfortunes," he killed himself. As to the scene of his death there are various traditions. One is that he was banished to Vienna Allobrogum (Vienne on the Rhone), where a singular monument--a pyramid on a quadrangular base, 52 feet high--is called Pontius Pilate"s tomb, An other is that he sought to hide his sorrows on the mountain by the lake of Lucerne, now called Mount Pilatus; and there) after spending years in its recesses, in remorse and despair rather than penitence, plunged into the dismal lake which occupies its summit.

  • Tertullus (Diminutive from Tertius)

  • "A certain orator," (Acts 24:1) who was retained by the high priest and Sanhedrin to accuse the apostle Paul at Caesarea before the Roman procurator Antonius Felix. He evidently belonged to the class of professional orators. We may infer that Tertullus was of Roman, or at all events of Italian, origin. (A.D. 55.)

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    Bibliography Information: Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Cæsar,' 'Felix,' 'Festus,' 'Julius,' 'Pilate''Tertullus'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary," 1901.
    Easton, Matthew George "Entry for 'Quirinius'". "Easton's Bible Dictionary," 1897.


    1. The first historic mention of Rome in the Bible is in 1 Maccabeans 1:10, about the year 161 B.C. in the year 65 B.C., when Syria was made a Roman province by Pompey, the Jews were still governed by one of the Asmonaean princes. The next year Pompey himself marched an army into Judea and took Jerusalem. From this time the Jews were practically under the government of Rome. Finally, Antipater's son Herod the Great was made king by Antony's interest, B.C. 40, and confirmed in the kingdom by Augustus, B.C. 30. The Jews, however, were all this time tributaries of Rome, and their princes in reality were Roman procurators, On the banishment of Archelaus, A.D. 6, Judea became a mere appendage of the province of Syria, and was governed by a Roman procurator, who resided at Caesarea. Such were the relations of the Jewish people to the Roman government at the time when the New Testament history begins.
    2. Extent of the empire .--Cicero's description of the Greek states and colonies as a "fringe on the skirts of barbarism" has been well applied to the Roman dominions before the conquests of Pompey and Caesar. The Roman empire was still confined to a narrow strip encircling the Mediterranean Sea. Pompey added Asia Minor and Syria. Caesar added Gaul. The generals of Augustus overran the northwest Portion of Spain and the country between the Alps and the Danube. The boundaries of the empire were now the Atlantic on the west, the Euphrates on the east, the deserts of Africa, the cataracts of the Nile and the Arabian deserts on the south, the British Channel, the Rhine, the Danube and the Black Sea on the north. The only subsequent conquests of importance were those of Britain by Claudius and of Dacia by Trajan. The only independent powers of importance were the Parthians on the east and the Germans on the north. The population of the empire in the time of Augustus has been calculated at 85,000,000.
    3. The provinces .--The usual fate of a country conquered by Rome was to be come a subject province, governed directly from Rome by officers sent out for that purpose. Sometimes, however, petty sovereigns were left in possession of a nominal independence on the borders or within the natural limits of the province. Augustus divided the provinces into two classes-- (1) Imperial; (2) Senatorial; retaining in his own hands, for obvious reasons, those provinces where the presence of a large military force was necessary, and committing the peaceful and unarmed provinces to the senate. The New Testament writers invariably designate the governors of senatorial provinces by the correct title anthupatoi, proconsuls. (Acts 13:7; 18:12; 19:38) For the governor of an imperial province, properly styled "legatus Caesaris," the word hegemon (governor) is used in the New Testament. The provinces were heavily taxed for the benefit of Rome and her citizens. They are said to have been better governed under the empire than under the commonwealth, and those of the emperor better than those of the senate.
    4. The condition of the Roman empire at the time when Christianity appeared has often been dwelt upon as affording obvious illustrations of St. Paul's expression that the "fullness of time had come." (Galatians 4:4) The general peace within the limits of the empire the formation of military roads, the suppression of piracy, the march of the legions, the voyages of the corn fleets, the general in crease of traffic, the spread of the Latin language in the West as Greek had already spread in the East, the external unity of the empire, offered facilities hitherto unknown for the spread of a world-wide religion. The tendency, too, of despotism like that of the Roman empire to reduce all its subjects to a dead level was a powerful instrument in breaking down the pride of privileged races and national religious, and familiarizing men with the truth that "God had made of one blood all nations on the face of the earth." (Acts 17:24,26) Put still more striking than this outward preparation for the diffusion of the gospel was the appearance of a deep and wide-spread corruption, which seemed to defy any human remedy.


    The Roman army was divided into legions, the number of which varied considerably (from 3000 to 6000), each under six tribuni ("chief captains,") (
    Acts 21:31) who commanded by turns. The legion was subdivided into ten cohorts ("band,") (Acts 10:1) the cohort into three maniples, and the maniple into two centuries, containing originally 100 men, as the name implies, but subsequently from 50 to 100 men, according to the strength of the legion. There were thus 60 centuries in a legion, each under the command of a centurion. (Acts 10:1,22; Matthew 8:5; 27:54) In addition to the legionary cohorts, independent cohorts of volunteers served under the Roman standards. One of these cohorts was named the Italian, (Acts 10:1) as consisting of volunteers from Italy. The headquarters of the Roman forces in Judea were at Caesarea.

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    Bibliography Information: Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Roman Empire,' 'Army: Roman Empire'"."Smith's Bible Dictionary," 1901.

    (Epistle to the)

    1. The date of this epistle is fixed at the time of the visit recorded in Acts 20:3 during the winter and spring following the apostleıs long residence at Ephesus A.D. 58. On this visit he remained in Greece three months.
    2. The place of writing was Corinth.
    3. The occasion which prompted it,,and the circumstances attending its writing, were as follows:--St. Paul had long purposed visiting Rome, and still retained this purpose, wishing also to extend his journey to Spain. (Etom. 1:9-13; 15:22-29) For the time, however, he was prevented from carrying out his design, as he was bound for Jerusalem with the alms of the Gentile Christians, and meanwhile he addressed this letter to the Romans, to supply the lack of his personal teaching. Phoebe, a deaconess of the neighboring church of Cenchreae, was on the point of starting for Rome, ch. (Romans 16:1,2) and probably conveyed the letter. The body of the epistle was written at the apostleıs dictation by Tertius, ch. (Romans 16:22) but perhaps we may infer, from the abruptness of the final doxology, that it was added by the apostle himself.
    4. The origin of the Roman church is involved in obscurity. If it had been founded by St. Peter according to a later tradition, the absence of any allusion to him both in this epistle and in the letters written by St. Paul from Rome would admit of no explanation. It is equally clear that no other apostle was like founder. The statement in the Clementines --that the first tidings of the gospel reached Rome during the lifetime of our Lord is evidently a fiction for the purposes of the romance. On the other hand, it is clear that the foundation of this church dates very far back. It may be that some of these Romans, "both Jews and proselytes," present. On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10) carried back the earliest tidings of the new doctrine; or the gospel may have first reached the imperial city through those who were scattered abroad to escape the persecution which followed on the death of Stephen. (Acts 8:4; 11:10) At first we may suppose that the gospel had preached there in a confused and imperfect form, scarcely more than a phase of Judaism, as in the case of Apollos at Corinth, (Acts 18:25) or the disciples at Ephesus. (Acts 19:1-3) As time advanced and better-instructed teachers arrived the clouds would gradually clear away, fill at length the presence of the great apostle himself at Rome dispersed the mists of Judaism which still hung about the Roman church.
    5. A question next arises as to the composition of the Roman church at the time when St. Paul wrote. It is more probable that St. Paul addressed a mixed church of Jews and Gentiles, the latter perhaps being the more numerous. These Gentile converts, however, were not for the most part native Romans. Strange as the: paradox appears, nothing is more certain than that the church of Rome was at this time a Greek and not a Latin church. All the literature of the early Roman church was written in the Greek tongue.
    6. The heterogeneous composition of this church explains the general character of the Epistle to the Romans. In an assemblage so various we should expect to find, not the exclusive predominance of a single form of error, but the coincidence of different and opposing forms. It was: therefore the business of the Christian teacher to reconcile the opposing difficulties and to hold out a meeting-point in the gospel. This is exactly what St. Paul does in the Epistle to the Romans.
    7. In describing the purport of this epistle we may start from St. Paulıs own words, which, standing at the beginning of the doctrinal portion, may be taken as giving a summary of the contents. ch. (Romans 1:16,17) Accordingly the epistle has been described as comprising "the religious philosophy of the worldıs history "The atonement of Christ is the centre of religious history. The epistle, from its general character, lends itself more readily to an analysis than is often the case with St. Paulıs epistles. While this epistle contains the fullest and most systematic exposition of the apostleıs teaching , it is at the same time a very striking expression of his character . Nowhere do his earnest and affectionate nature and his tact and delicacy in handling unwelcome topics appear more strongly than when he is dealing with the rejection of his fellow country men the Jews. Internal evidence is so strongly in favor of the genuineness of the Epistle to the Romans that it has never been seriously questioned.

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    Bibliography Information: Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Romans, Epistle to the'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary," 1901.


    The famous capital of the ancient world, is situated on the Tiber at a distance of about 15 miles from its mouth. The "seven hills," (Revelation 17:9) which formed the nucleus of the ancient city stand on the left bank. On the opposite side of the river rises the far higher side of the Janiculum. Here from very early times was a fortress with a suburb beneath it extending to the river. Modern Rome lies to the north of the ancient city, covering with its principal portion the plain to the north of the seven hills, once known as the Campus Martius, and on the opposite bank extending over the low ground beneath the Vatican to the north of the ancient Janiculum. Rome is not mentioned in the Bible except in the books of Maccabees and in three books of the New Testament, viz., the Acts, the Epistle to the Romans and the Second Epistle to Timothy.

    1. Jewish inhabitants. the conquests of Pompey seem to have given rise to the first settlement of Jews at Rome. The Jewish king Aristobulus and his son formed part of Pompey's triumph, and many Jewish captives and immigrants were brought to Rome at that time. A special district was assigned to them, not on the site of the modern Ghetto, between the Capitol and the island of the Tiber, but across the Tiber. Many of these Jews were made freedmen. Julius Caesar showed them some kindness; they were favored also by Augustus, and by Tiberius during the latter part of his reign. It is chiefly in connection with St. Paul's history that Rome comes before us in the Bible. In illustration of that history it may be useful to give some account of Rome in the time of Nero, the "Caesar" to whom St. Paul appealed, and in whose reign he suffered martyrdom.

    2. The city in Paul's time. --The city at that time must be imagined as a large and irregular mass of buildings unprotected by an outer wall. It had long outgrown the old Servian wall; but the limits of the suburbs cannot be exactly defined. Neither the nature of the buildings nor the configuration of the ground was such as to give a striking appearance to the city viewed from without. "Ancient Rome had neither cupola nor camyanile," and the hills, never lofty or imposing, would present, when covered with the buildings and streets of a huge city, a confused appearance like the hills of modern London, to which they have sometimes been compared. The visit of St. Paul lies between two famous epochs in the history of the city, viz, its restoration by Augustus and its restoration by Nero. The boast of Augustus is well known, "that he found the city of brick, and left it of marble." Some parts of the city, especially the Forum and Campus Martius, must have presented a magnificent appearance, of which Niebur's "Lectures on Roman History," ii. 177, will give a general idea; but many of the principal buildings which attract the attention of modern travellers in ancient Rome were not yet built. The streets were generally narrow and winding, flanked by densely crowded lodging-houses (insulae) of enormous height. Augustus found it necessary to limit their height to 70 feet. St, Paul's first visit to Rome took place before the Neronian conflagration but even after the restoration of the city which followed upon that event, many of the old evils continued. The population of the city has been variously estimated. Probably Gibbon's estimate of 1,200,000 is nearest to the truth. One half of the population consisted, in all probability, of slaves. The larger part of the remainder consisted of pauper citizens supported in idleness by the miserable system of public gratuities. There appears to have been no middle class, and no free industrial population. Side by side with the wretched classes just mentioned was the comparatively small body of the wealthy nobility, of whose luxury and profligacy we learn so much from the heathen writers of the time, Such was the population which St. Paul would find at Rome at the time of his visit. We learn from the Acts of the Apostles that he was detained at Rome for "two whole years," "dwelling in his own hired house with a soldier that kept him," (Acts 28:16; 30) to whom apparently, according to Roman custom, he was hound with a chain. (Ephesians 6:20; Philemon 1:13) Here he preached to all that came to him, no man forbidding him. (Acts 28:30-31) It is generally believed that on his "appeal to Caesar" he was acquitted, and after some time spent in freedom, was a second time imprisoned at Rome. Five of his epistles, viz., those to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, that to Philemon, and the Second Epistle to Timothy, were in all probability written from Rome, the latter shortly before his death (2 Timothy 4:6) the others during his first imprisonment. It is universally believed that he suffered martyrdom at Rome.

    3. The localities in and about Rome especially connected with the life of Paul are-- (1) The Appian Way, by which he approached Rome. (Acts 28:15) [APPII FORUM] (2) "The palace," Or "Caesar's court" (praetorium,) (Philemon 1:13) This may mean either the great camp of the Praetorian guards which Tiberius established outside the walls on the northeast of the city, or, as seems more probable, a barrack attached to the imperial residence on the Palatine. There is no sufficient proof that the word "praetorium" was ever used to designate the emperors palace, though it is used for the official residence of a Roman governor. (John 18:28; Acts 23:35) the mention of "Caesar's household," (Philemon 4:22) confirms the notion that St. Paul's residence was in the immediate neighborhood of the emperor's house on the Palatine. (3) The connection of other localities at home with St. Paul's name rests only on traditions of more or less probability. We may mention especially-- (4) The Mamertine prison, of Tullianum, built by Ancus Martius near the Forum. It still exists beneath the church of St. Giuseppe dei Falegnami. It is said that St. Peter and St. Paul were fellow prisoners here for nine months. This is not the place to discuss the question whether St. Peter was ever at Rome. It may be sufficient to state that though there is no evidence of such a visit in the New Testament, unless Babylon in (1 Peter 5:13) is a mystical name for Rome yet early testimony and the universal belief of the early Church seems sufficient to establish the fact of his having suffered martyrdom there. [PETER] The story, however, of the imprisonment in the Mamertine prison seems inconsistent with (2 Timothy 4:11) (5) The chapel on the Ostian road which marks the spot where the two apostles are said to, have separated on their way to martyrdom. (6)The supposed scene of St. Paul's martyrdom, viz., the church of St. Paolo alle tre fontane on the Ostian road. To these may be added -- (7) The supposed scene of St. Peter's martyrdom, viz., the church of St. Pietro in Montorio, on the Janiculum. (8) The chapel Domine que Vadis, on the Aypian road,the scene of the beautiful legend of our Lord's appearance to St. Peter as he was escaping from martyrdom. (9) The places where the bodies of the two apostles, after having been deposited first in the catacombs, are supposed to have been finally buried --that of St. Paul by the Ostian road, that of St. Peter beneath the dome of the famous Basilica which bears his name. We may add, as sites unquestionably connected with the Roman Christians of the apostolic age-- (10) The gardens of Nero in the Vatican. Not far from the spot where St. Peter's now stands. Here Christians, wrapped in the skins of beasts, were torn to pieces by dogs, or, clothed in inflammable robes, were burnt to serve as torches during the midnight games. Others were crucified. (11) The Catacombs. These subterranean galleries, commonly from 8 to 10 feet in height and from 4 to 6 in width, and extending for miles, especially in the neighborhood of the old Appian and Nomentan Ways, were unquestionably used as places of refuge, of worship and of burial by the early Christians. The earliest dated inscription in the catacombs is A.D. 71. Nothing is known of the first founder of the Christian Church at Rome. Christianity may, perhaps, have been introduced into the city not long after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost by the "strangers of Rome, who were then at Jerusalem, (Acts 2:10) It is clear that there were many Christians at Rome before St. Paul visited the city. (Romans 1:8,13,15; 15:20) The names of twenty-four Christians at Rome are given in the salutations at the end of the Epistle to the Romans. Linus, who is mentioned (2 Timothy 4:21) and Clement, (Phil 4:3) are supposed to have succeeded St. Peter as bishops of Rome.

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    Bibliography Information: Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Rome,'"."Smith's Bible Dictionary," 1901.

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