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On July 19, advertisement 64, a fire broke out in Rome, ruining ten the thecity’s fourteen districts. The inferno raged for 6 days and sevennights, flaring sporadically for secondary three days. Though the fireprobably started accidentally in an oil warehouse, rumors swirled thatEmperor Nero had ordered the inferno so he might rebuild Rome according tohis very own liking. Nero tried to stamp out the rumors—but to no avail.He then looked for a scapegoat. And since two of the districts untouched bythe fire to be disproportionally inhabited by Christians, he change theblame to them.

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Roman historian Tacitus speak the story:

But all person efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and also thepropitiations the the gods, did no banish the sinister belief that theconflagration to be the an outcome of an order. Consequently, to get rid of thereport, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortureson a class hated for their abominations, referred to as Christians by the populace.. . . Accordingly, an arrest was an initial made of all who pleaded guilty ; then, upon their information, an tremendous multitude wasconvicted, not so lot for the crime of firing the city, as of hatredagainst mankind.1

The accusation that roman Christians hated humankind likely took root intheir refusal to take part in Rome’s social and also civic life, whichwas linked with pagan worship. Whether because that that reason or because that the fire,once Nero’s wildly inflamed, he ongoing his persecution ofRome’s Christians. And also as a “ringleader” (Acts 24:5),Paul to be rearrested in ~ some allude and placed, according to churchtradition, in the Mamertine Prison.

The Mamertine Prison can have been referred to as the “House ofDarkness.” few prisons were together dim, dank, and dirty as the lowerchamber Paul occupied. Known in previously times together the Tullianum dungeon, its“neglect, darkness, and also stench” gave it “a hideous andterrifying appearance,” follow to Roman historian Sallust. 2

Prisoners in the ancient world were seldom sent come prison as punishment.Rather, prisons typically served together holding cells for those awaiting trialor execution. We watch this transparent Scripture. Mosaic legislation made noprovision because that incarceration together a form of punishment. Joseph languished inan Egyptian prison for 2 years, maybe awaiting trial before Pharaohon a fee of rape (Genesis 39:19–20; 41:1). Jeremiah to be imprisonedunder accusation the treason (Jeremiah 37:11–16) but was transferredto the temple guardhouse after ~ an appeal come King Zedekiah, who sought toprotect the prophet (37:17–21). And also though Jeremiah was later on throwninto a cistern, the function was to death him, no imprison him(38:1–6).

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During Paul’s first imprisonment, the awaited trial before Romangovernors Felix and also Festus (Acts 24–26). He then to be under housearrest in Rome for two years (28:30), awaiting one appearance prior to Nero.Scholars think Paul to be released at some time in advertisement 62 since the Jews whohad accused him of being “a genuine pest and also a other who stirs updissension” (24:5) didn’t press their case prior to the emperor.However, throughout Paul’s 2nd imprisonment in the Mamertine dungeon,he had actually apparently received a preliminary hearing and also was awaiting a finaltrial (2 Timothy 4:16). He didn’t mean acquittal; he meant to befound guilty, in all likelihood, for hating humankind. Indigenous there, Paulbelieved only his execution would be left (4:6–7), which to be probablycarried out in advertisement 68.3


Tacitus, Annals, 15.44, in Annals, Histories, Agricola, Germania, trans. Alfred john Church and William Jackson Brodribb (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), 353–4. Sallust, The War v Catiline, 55.5, in The War through Catiline, The War v Jugurthine, trans. J. C. Rolfe, rev. John T. Ramsey (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard university Press, 2013), 133. Paul must have languished in the Mamertine jail for a pair of years before his beheading (as befitting his standing as a roman inn citizen), which, according to tradition, occurred on the Ostian means about 3 miles exterior the city. Eusebius notes that Paul and Peter were executed during the exact same Neronian persecution, despite Peter to be crucified upside down, as he requested. Watch Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, 2.25.6, 8 and also 3.1.2, trans. Kirsopp Lake (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard university Press, 1926), 181, 183, 191.
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Derrick G. Jeter

Derrick G. Jeter hold a understand of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and served as a writer because that the an innovative Ministries department of snucongo.org for life Ministries. He has actually authored or coauthored much more than twenty-five books. Derrick"https://snucongo.org/how-many-times-was-paul-imprisoned-in-rome/imager_1_2522_700.jpgs writing has appeared on prominent Web sites, and also he is a contributing writer because that The Christian Post. He and his wife, Christy, have five children and live in the Dallas area. He blog at www.DerrickJeter.com.