In A.D.49, the Roman Emperor Claudius Caesar expelled all Jews from the city of Rome. This account is recorded by Suetonius, a court official who served under the Emperor Hadrian. He wrote a history entitled 'The Life of Claudius' in which he stated the following:
"Because the Jewish people were continually causing disorders, the catalyst being Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome" (Note: Chrestus may be an alternate spelling for Christus commonly used by Gentiles and may refer to Christ.)
This small statement by the Roman historian confirms the Biblical passage found in Acts 18:1-2:
'After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome;'
A letter written by Claudius in 41 A.D. also confirms his hostility towards the Jewish people.
Letter of Emperor Claudius to the Alexandrians in Egypt:
"From Tiberius Claudius Caesar, Imperator, Pontifex Maximus, Holder of the Tribunician Power, Consul Emissary. To the City of the Alexandrians, I send my regards.
. . . "To your question, as to whom is responsible for the conflict with the Jews, or should I say our war with them, . . . I have decided not to make a detailed investigation into it. But if any party wishes to renew this violence, they shall see my wrath unfold. May this be my final warning, that unless you put an end to this destructive behavior and hatred towards one another, this tolerant ruler will be forced to display a righteous anger. I say to you once again, that on the one hand, the Alexandrians have shown that they have acted with kindness and respect towards the Jews, who have lived among you for many years. And you have allowed them to worship their God freely, and to observe their customs and traditions just as Augustus Caesar had done previously. And after hearing the arguments from both parties, I have decided to allow their customs to continue; yet I have clearly made it known to the Jews that they are not to ask for any additional freedoms accept those which they already enjoy. They are also to refrain from sending out separate ambassadors, since you and they are both residents of the same city. . . . From now on, Jews may no longer migrate to the city by traveling down the river from Syria or Egypt, since this would raise suspicions in my mind as to their reasons for doing so. If my orders are not followed, I will take action against those troublemakers who are infecting the whole world with this plague. But, if you refrain from these ways, and you consent to live with mutual respect and kindness towards one another, I on my part will maintain a peaceful relationship with your city, which has a long-standing tradition of mutual friendship."
THE MINISTRY OF AQUILA AND PRISCILLA TO AN ALEXANDRIAN JEW
' Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.'
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