1 - 199 PART VI
  PART I 1-23
  PART II 24-40
  PART III 41-43
  PART IV 44-50
  PART V 51-64
  PART VI 65-67
  PART VII 68-69
  PART VIII 70-79
  PART IX 80-82
  PART X 83-100
  PART XI 101-117
  PART XII 118-135
  PART XIII 136-160
  PART XIV 161-170
  PART XV 171-199
  BACK-1-199 PART V NEXT- 1-199 PART VII   
1 - 199
Ping Di
Ovid "Ars Amatoria"
Ovid "Metamorphoses"
Ovid "Metamorphoses"
Battle of Teutoburg Forest
Battle of Teutoburg Forest
Maison Carree
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Eastern Han Dynasty
Liu Xin
Baptism of Jesus Christ
John the Baptist
Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
History of Christianity

Adoration of the Magi
Flight to Egypt
The Holy Family
Mary Magdalene

Jesus Christ

Russian Icons

Ernest Renan "The Life of Jesus"

collection: Bible Illustrations by
Gustave Dore

collection: Bible Illustrations by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Trung Sisters
The First Christians
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Agrippina the Younger
Roman conquest of Britain
Paul the Apostle
"Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans"
Herod of Chalcis
Herod Agrippa II
Porta Maggiore
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Saint Paul: "Letters to the Corinthians"
Ming of Han
Jivenal "Satires"
Poppaea Sabina
Heron of Alexandria
Mark the Evangelist
Gospel of Mark
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
"On Benefits"
First Jewish Revolt
Battle of Beth Horon
Battle of Beth Horon
Flavius Josephus
"The Wars of the Jews; or the history of the destruction of Jerusalem"
Antiquities of the Jews"
Fourth Style
White Horse Temple
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
1. Julius Caesar

2. Augustus
3. Tiberius
4. Caligula
5. Claudius
6. Nero
7. Galba
8. Otho
9. Vitellius
10. Vespasian
11. Titus
12. Domitian
"Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans"
"Life of Galba"
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
"Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans"
"Life of Otho"
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Siege of Jerusalem
Siege of Masada
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Eruption of Mount Vesuvius
Art in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Art in Pompeii & Herculaneum
Luke the Evangelist
Gospel of Luke
The Roman House
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
Domitia Longina
Arch of Titus
John the Apostle
Gospel of John
Gospel of Matthew
Clement I
Portrait  of a Flavian woman
Nerva–Antonine dynasty
Nicomachus of Gerasa
Soranus of Ephesus
Cai Lun
Menelaus of Alexandria
Apollodorus of Damascus
Column of Trajan
Column of Trajan
Lucius Apuleius
"The Golden Asse"
Tacitus "Histories"
Arch of Trajan
Canopus and Serapeum
Hadrian and Greek culture
Second Jewish Revolt
Bar Kokhba
Zhang Heng
Antoninus Pius
Mosaic in the Baths of Neptune
Roman Theatre of Verulamium
Sarcophagus with the myth of Orestes
Marcus Aurelius
Column of Antoninus Pius
Marcomannic Wars
Asiatic sarcophagus
Statue of Marcus Aurelius
Portrait of Marcus Aurelius
Plague of Galen
Yellow Turban Uprising
Victor I
Column of Marcus Aurelius
Clodius Albinus

St. Peter and St. Paul  by El Greco
  The early Church historian Eusebius records Clement of Alexandria as saying:

"For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Saviour, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem."


YEAR BY YEAR:  1 - 199
Part VI: 65 - 67



IN THE EAST, Rome faced further troubles with Parthia over the border region of Armenia, where the Parthian king had installed his own candidate, Tiridates, as king in 53.

A Roman force invaded Armenia in 59, took its capital cities of Artaxata and Tigranocerta and put in place a pro-Roman king, Tigranes VI. His ill-advised invasion of a Parthian ally in 61 led to his removal, and Tiridates was restored. A new Roman army was then roundly beaten by the Parthians in 62, and only a Roman push into Armenia the following year ended the war. Tiridates was allowed to keep the throne, as long as he travelled to Rome to seek Nero's approval, which he eventually did in 66. Nero's position as emperor became increasingly precarious when Calpurnius Piso ted a conspiracy in 64, which prompted Nero to order further executions, including those of many senators. In early 68, a revolt broke out, led by Gaius Julius Vindex, governor of GaIlia Lugdunensis. Shortly after the revolt of Vindex, the legion based in Spain proclaimed the governor, Sulpicius Galba, as emperor. Vindex's revolt was put down by Verginius Rufus, the governor of Germany, but Nero panicked and committed suicide, believing Rufus would be the next to try to claim his throne. After Nero's suicide, four men became emperor in rapid succession, making 69 the "Year of the Four Emperors." First, the praetorian guard recognized Galba (3bce-69ce) as emperor, but he made himself unpopular by refusing to give the praetorians the donative, a customary bonus payable on the accession of a new emperor.

Gospel according to St. Mark (c. 65)
Mark the Evangelist

Mark the Evangelist (Latin: Mārcus; Greek: Μᾶρκος; Coptic: Μαρκοϲ; Hebrew: מרקוס‎) is the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. He is one of the Seventy Disciples of Christ, and the founder of the Church of Alexandria, one of the original four main sees of Christianity.


The martyrdom of Saint Mark. Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (Musée Condé, Chantilly).
  According to William Lane, an "unbroken tradition" identifies Mark the Evangelist with John Mark. However, Hippolytus, in his work On the Seventy Apostles distinguishes Mark the Evangelist (2 Tim 4:11), John Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15:37) and Mark the Cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10; Phlm 24). According to Hippolytus, they all belonged to the "Seventy Disciples" who were sent out by Jesus to saturate Judea with the gospel (Luke 10:1ff.). However, when Jesus explained that His flesh was "real food" and His blood was "real drink", many disciples left him (John 6:44-6:66), presumably including Mark. He was later restored to faith by Peter; then became Peter’s interpreter, wrote the Gospel of Mark, founded the church of Africa, and became the bishop of Alexandria.

According to Eusebius of Caesarea (Eccl. Hist. 2.9.1-4), Herod Agrippa I in his first year of reign over the whole Judea (AD 41) killed James son of Zebedee, and arrested Peter, planning to kill him after the Passover. Peter was saved miraculously by angels, and escaped out of the realm of Herod (Acts 12:1-19). Peter went to Antioch, then through Asia Minor (visiting the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, as mentioned in 1 Pet 1:1), and arrived in Rome in the second year of Emperor Claudius (AD 42; Eusebius, Eccl, Hist. 2.14.6). Somewhere on the way, Peter picked up Mark and took him as travel companion and interpreter. Mark the Evangelist wrote down the sermons of Peter, thus composing the Gospel according to Mark (Eccl. Hist. 15-16), before he left for Alexandria in the third year of Claudius (AD 43).

In AD 49, about 19 years after the ascension of Christ, Mark traveled to Alexandria [cf. c. 49 AD [cf. Acts 15:36-41] and founded the Church of Alexandria, which today is claimed by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced back to Saint Mark himself. He became the first bishop of Alexandria and he is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa.

According to Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. 2.24.1), Mark was succeeded by Annianus as the bishop of Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero (AD 62/63), probably, but not definitely due to his coming death. Later Coptic tradition says that he was martyred in AD 68. It is believed that on the night when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane Mark had followed him there and the Temple guards saw him, he ran away and dropped his loin cloth.

His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the lion.

Biblical and traditional information
Evidence for Mark the Evangelist's authorship of the Gospel that bears his name originates with Papias. According to D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris, it is "almost certain" that Papias is referring to John Mark. However, some have argued that identifying Mark the Evangelist with John Mark and Mark the Cousin of Barnabas has led to the downgrading of the character of Barnabas from truly a "Son of Comfort" to one who favored his blood relative over principles.

The identification of Mark the Evangelist with John Mark led to identifying him as the man who carried water to the house where the Last Supper took place (Mark 14:13).; or as the young man who ran away naked when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:51-52).

The Coptic Church holds the tradition of identifying Mark the Evangelist with John Mark, and holds that he was one of the Seventy Disciples sent out by Christ (Luke 10:1), as is confirmed by the list of Hippolytus.

  It also believes that Mark the Evangelist is the one who hosted the disciples in his house after the death of Jesus, into whose house the resurrected Jesus Christ came (John 20), and into whose house the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost. Mark is also believed to be one of the servants at the Marriage at Cana who poured out the water that Jesus turned to wine (John 2:1-11), These traditions have no solid proof neither from the New Testament nor from Church history.
According to the Coptic church, Saint Mark was born in Cyrene, a city in the Pentapolis of North Africa (now Libya). This tradition adds that he returned to Pentapolis later in life, after being sent by Saint Paul to Colossae (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24; these actually refer to Mark the Cousin of Barnabas), and serving with him in Rome (2 Tim 4:11); from Pentapolis he made his way to Alexandria. When Mark returned to Alexandria, the pagans of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional gods. In AD 68 they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.
Gospel of Mark

The Gospel According to Mark (Greek: κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον, to euangelion kata Markon), commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second gospel in the Bible. However, most contemporary scholars now regard it as the earliest of the canonical gospels (c 70)

The Gospel of Mark narrates the Ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and resurrection. It focuses particularly on the last week of his life (chapters 11–16) in Jerusalem. Its swift narrative portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, healer and miracle worker. An important theme of Mark is the Messianic Secret. Jesus silences the demoniacs he heals, tries unsuccessfully to keep his messianic identity secret, and conceals his message with parables. Meanwhile, the disciples fail to understand both the implication of the miracles of Jesus and the meaning of the things he predicts about his arrest, death and resurrection.   According to tradition and some early church writers, the author is Mark the Evangelist, the companion of the apostle Peter. The gospel, however, appears to rely on several underlying sources, varying in form and in theology, and which tells against the tradition that the gospel was based on Peter's preaching.
Various elements within the gospel, including the importance of the authority of Peter and the breadth of its basic theology, suggest that the author wrote in Syria or Palestine for a non-Jewish Christian community which had earlier absorbed the influence of pre-Pauline beliefs and then developed them further independent of Paul.
Composition and setting
The Gospel According to Mark does not name its author. A 2nd century tradition ascribes it to Mark the Evangelist (also known as John Mark), the companion of Peter, on whose memories it is supposedly based.] but the author's use of varied sources tells against the traditional account and according to the majority view the author is unknown.The gospel was written in Greek shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, possibly in Syria.
  Authorship and sources
According to Irenaeus, Papias of Hierapolis, writing in the early 2nd century, reported that this gospel was by John Mark, the companion of Saint Peter in Rome, who "had one purpose only – to leave out nothing that he had heard, and to make no misstatement about it." Most modern scholars believe that the gospel was written in Syria by an unknown Christian no earlier than AD 70, using various sources including a passion narrative (probably written), collections of miracles stories (oral or written), apocalyptic traditions (probably written), and disputations and didactic sayings (some possibly written). Some of the material in Mark, however, goes back a very long way, representing an important source for historical information about Jesus.

Mark wrote primarily for an audience of gentile Greek-speaking residents of the Roman Empire: Jewish traditions are explained, clearly for the benefit of non-Jews (e.g., Mark 7:1–4; 14:12; 15:42), and Aramaic words and phrases are expanded upon by the author, e.g., ταλιθα κουμ (talitha koum, Mark 5:41); κορβαν (Corban, Mark 7:11); αββα (abba, Mark 14:36). When Mark makes use of the Old Testament he does so in the form in which it had been translated into Greek, the Septuagint, for instance Mark 1:2; 2:23–28; 10:48b; 12:18–27; also compare 2:10 with Daniel 7:13–14.

Franz Overbeck considered the gospels as the only new Christian genre, whereas other books of the New Testament were modeled on traditional types of religious literature. The influential discipline called form criticism propagated this view and defined the genre as an account of the “good news” centering on life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, with the evocation of repentance and faith as primary function.

However, parallels to Greco-Roman literature exist, e.g. to didactic biographies like the life of Moses by Philo of Alexandria. Furthermore, Mark is not interested in origins, education and inner development of Jesus, but narrates the history of the fulfillment of the divine promises from his perspective. In this focus Mark resembles a historical biography like Suetonius's Lives of Caesars.

  Often in ancient literature historical events were related to divine power by direct interactions, as the splitting of the heavens in Mark 1:10 or the cloud in 9:7. Yet the dominant strategy of Mark is to describe humans as acting independently, but in the context of an underlying divine plan. Hence, he reflects the difference between Homer's Iliad on the one hand and Herodotus and the Deuteronomist on the other. Historiography in antiquity was not predominantly interested in facts, as in modern positivism, but in representation and explanation. For this purpose, miracles were included by Herodotus in ethnography; in Old Testament traditions, Moses, Samuel or Elijah appear as mediators between God and the people. Adela Yarbro Collins integrates these observations into the characterization of Mark as an “eschatological historical monograph”, a new type of writing enrooted in traditional and contemporary literature.
Source for Matthew and Luke
Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was the first of the canonical gospels, and was available when the gospels of Matthew and Luke were written. The reason that such great importance is attached to this Gospel has been the widespread belief among scholars that the Gospel of Mark and probably Q were the basis of the Synoptic Gospels, as held in the two-source hypothesis. Mark's gospel is a short, Koine Greek basis for the Synoptic Gospels. It provides the general chronology, from Jesus' baptism to the empty tomb.
Differing versions
Mark is the shortest of the canonical gospels. Manuscripts, both scrolls and codices, tend to lose text at the beginning and the end, not unlike a coverless paperback in a backpack. These losses are characteristically unconnected with excisions. For instance, Mark 1:1 has been found in two different forms. Most manuscripts of Mark, including the 4th-century Codex Vaticanus, have the text "son of God", but three important manuscripts do not. Those three are: Codex Sinaiticus (01, א; dated 4th century), Codex Koridethi (038, Θ; 9th century), and the text called Minuscule 28 (11th century). Textual support for the term "Son of God" is strong, but the phrase may not have been original.

Interpolations may not be editorial, either.
  It is a common experience that glosses written in the margins of manuscripts get incorporated into the text as copies are made. Any particular example is open to dispute, of course, but one may take note of Mark 7:16, "Let anyone with ears to hear, listen," which is not found in early manuscripts. Revision and editorial error may also contribute. Most differences are trivial but Mark 1:41, where the leper approached Jesus begging to be healed, is significant. Early (Western) manuscripts say that Jesus became angry with the leper while later (Byzantine) versions indicate that Jesus showed compassion. This is possibly a confusion between the Aramaic words ethraham (he had pity) and ethra'em (he was enraged). Since it is easier to understand why a scribe would change "rage" to "pity" than "pity" to "rage," the earlier version is probably original.
Mark 16:9–20, describing some disciples' encounters with the resurrected Jesus, appears to be a later addition to the gospel. Mark 16:8 stops at a description of the empty tomb, which is immediately preceded by a statement by a "young man dressed in a white robe" that Jesus is "risen" and is "going ahead of you into Galilee." The last twelve verses are missing from the oldest manuscripts of Mark's Gospel. The style of these verses differs from the rest of Mark, suggesting they were a later addition. In a handful of manuscripts, a "short ending" is included after 16:8, but before the "long ending", and exists by itself in one of the earliest Old Latin codices, Codex Bobiensis. By the 5th century, at least four different endings have been attested. Possibly, the Long Ending (16:9–20) started as a summary of evidence for Jesus' resurrection and the apostles' divine mission, based on other gospels. It was likely composed early in the 2nd century and incorporated into the gospel around the middle of the 2nd century.
  The 3rd-century theologian Origen of Alexandria quoted the resurrection stories in Matthew, Luke, and John but failed to quote anything after Mark 16:8, suggesting that his copy of Mark stopped there. Eusebius and Jerome both mention the majority of texts available to them omitted the longer ending. Critics are divided over whether the original ending at 16:8 was intentional, whether it resulted from accidental loss, or even the author's death. Those who believe that 16:8 was not the intended ending argue that it would be very unusual syntax for the text to end with the conjunction gar (γάρ), as does Mark 16:8, and that thematically it would be strange for a book of good news to end with a note of fear (ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ, "for they were afraid"). If the 16:8 ending was intentional, it could indicate a connection to the theme of the "Messianic Secret". This abrupt ending is also used to support the identification of this book as an example of closet drama, which characteristically ended without resolution and often with a tragic or shocking event that prevents closure.
The Gospel of Mark differs from the other gospels in language, detail and content. Its theology is unique. The gospel's vocabulary embraces 1330 distinct words, of which 60 are proper names. Eighty words, (exclusive of proper names), are not found elsewhere in the New Testament. About one quarter of these are non-classical. In addition Mark makes use of the "historic present" as well as the "Messianic secret" to make known his Gospel message.

The "Suffering Messiah" is central to Mark's portrayal of Jesus, his theology and the structure of the gospel. This knowledge is hidden and only those with spiritual insight may see. The concept of hidden knowledge may have become the basis of the Gnostic Gospels.[39] John Killinger, arguing that, in Mark, the resurrection account is hidden throughout the gospel rather than at the end, speculates that the Markan author might himself have been a Gnostic Christian.

Messianic secret
In 1901, William Wrede challenged the then-current critical view that Mark comprised a straightforward historical account and gave the name “Messianic secret” to this gospel theme. He argued that the Messianic secret was a literary device that Mark used to resolve the tension between early Christians, who hailed Jesus as the Messiah, and the historical Jesus who, he argued, never made any such claim for himself.

In Mark, more than in the other synoptics, Jesus hides his messianic identity. When he exorcises demons, they recognize him, but he commands them to be silent. When he heals people, he tells them not to reveal how they were healed. When he preaches, he uses parables to conceal his true message from the crowds (Mark 4:10–12). According to v. 34, Jesus “explained everything in private to his disciples”. However, in sentences like Mark 6:52 also the disciples are obtuse, understanding the true significance of Jesus only after his death. This "Messianic secret" is a central issue in Bible scholarship.

Adoptionism is the idea that Jesus was fully human, born of a sexual union between Joseph and Mary. Jesus only became divine, i.e. (adopted as God's son), later at his baptism. He was chosen as the firstborn of all creation because of his sinless devotion to the will of God.

Adoptionism probably arose among early Jewish Christians seeking to reconcile the claims that Jesus was the Son of God with the strict monotheism of Judaism, in which the concept of a trinity of divine persons in one Godhead was unacceptable. Scholar Bart D. Ehrman argues that adoptionist theology may date back almost to the time of Jesus. The early Jewish-Christian Gospels make no mention of a supernatural birth. Rather, they state that Jesus was begotten at his baptism.

The theology of Adoptionism fell into disfavor as Christianity left its Jewish roots and Gentile Christianity became dominant. Adoptionism was declared heresy at the end of the 2nd century, and was rejected by the First Council of Nicaea, which proclaimed the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and identifies Jesus as eternally begotten of God. The Creed of Nicaea now holds Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Adoptionism may go back as far as Matthew and the Apostles. According to some early church writers, the first gospel was written by the Apostle Matthew, and his account was called the Gospel of the Hebrews or the Gospel of the Apostles.

  This, the first written account of the life of Jesus was adoptionist in nature.

The Gospel of the Hebrews has no mention of a virgin birth and when Jesus is baptized it states, "Jesus came up from the water, Heaven was opened, and He saw the Holy Spirit descend in the form of a dove and enter into Him. And a voice from Heaven said, ‘You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.’ And again, ‘Today I have begotten You.’ Immediately a great light shone around the place".

Scholars also see adoptionist theology in the Gospel of Mark. Mark names Jesus as the son of God at the strategic points of 1:1 ("The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God") and 15:39 ("Surely this man was the Son of God!"), but the virgin birth story has not been developed. The phrase "Son of God" is not present in some early manuscripts at 1:1. Bart D. Ehrman uses this omission to support the notion that the title "Son of God" is not used of Jesus until his baptism, and that Mark reflects an adoptionist view. The authenticity of the omission of "Son of God" and its theological significance has been rejected by Bruce Metzger and Ben Witherington III. but has been affirmed by other contemporary scholars, including the Jesus Seminar, and Ched Meyers

By comparison, the gospels of Luke and Matthew portray Jesus as being the Son of God from the time of birth, while the Gospel of John portrays the Son as existing "in the beginning."

Meaning of Jesus' death
Mark portrays Jesus' death as an atoning sacrifice for sin. The Temple curtain, which served as a barrier between the holy presence of God and the profane world, rips at the moment of Jesus' death, symbolizing an end to the division between humans and God.

The only explicit mention of the meaning of Jesus' death in Mark occurs in 10:45 where Jesus says that the "Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom (lutron) for many (anti pollōn)." According to Barnabas Lindars, this refers to Isaiah's fourth servant song, with lutron referring to the "offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10) and anti pollōn to the Servant "bearing the sin of many" in Isaiah 52:12. The Greek word anti means "in the place of", which indicates a substitutionary death.

The author of this gospel also speaks of Jesus' death through the metaphors of the departing bridegroom in 2:20, and of the rejected heir in 12:6–8. He views it as fulfilling Old Testament prophecy (9:12, 12:10–11, 14:21 and 14:27).

  Many scholars believe that Mark structured his gospel in order to emphasise Jesus' death. For example, Alan Culpepper sees Mark 15:1–39 as developing in three acts, each containing an event and a response. The first event is Jesus' trial, followed by the soldiers' mocking response; the second event is Jesus' crucifixion, followed by the spectators mocking him; the third and final event in this sequence is Jesus' death, followed by the veil being rent and the centurion confessing, "truly this man was the Son of God." In weaving these things into a triadic structure, Mark is thereby emphasising the importance of this confession, which provides a dramatic contrast to the two scenes of mocking which precede it. D. R. Bauer suggests that "by bringing his gospel to a climax with this christological confession at the cross, Mark indicates that Jesus is first and foremost Son of God, and that Jesus is Son of God as one who suffers and dies in obedience to God." Joel Marcus notes that the other Evangelists "attenuate" Mark's emphasis on Jesus' suffering and death, and sees Mark as more strongly influenced than they are by Paul's "theology of the cross".

The first page of Mark in Minuscule 544
  Characteristics of Mark's content
Stained glass depiction of St. Mark at St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina.The narrative can be divided into three sections: the Galilean ministry, including the surrounding regions of Phoenicia, Decapolis, and Cæsarea Philippi (1–9); the Journey to Jerusalem (10); and the Events in Jerusalem (11–16).

Unlike both Matthew and Luke, Mark does not offer any information about the life of Jesus before his baptism and ministry, including neither a nativity nor a genealogy. He is simply stated as having come "out of Galilee;" the Gospel of John similarly refers to Jesus being of Galilean origin.
Jesus' baptism is understated, with John not identifying Jesus as the Son of God, nor initially declining to baptize him
Son of Man is the major title used of Jesus in Mark (Mark 2:10, 2:28; 8:31; 9:9, 9:12, 9:31; 10:33, 10:45; 14:21, 14:41). Many people (for instance, Morna Hooker, Maurice Casey, etc.) have seen that this title is a very important one within Mark’s Gospel, and it has important implications for Mark’s Christology. Jesus raises a question that demonstrates the association in Mark between "Son of Man" (cf. Dan 7:13–14) and the suffering servant in Isaiah 52:13–53:12—"How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt?" (9:12b NRSV). Yet this comparison is not explicit; Mark's Gospel creates this link between Daniel and Isaiah, and applies it to Christ. It is postulated that this is because of the persecution of Christians; thus, Mark's Gospel encourages believers to stand firm (Mark 13:13) in the face of troubles.

To the question "Are You the Christ?", Jesus gives the direct answer, "I am": Mark 14:62; cf. Mark 15:2, Matthew 26:63–64, 27:11, Luke 22:70, 23:3, 23:9, John 18:20, 18:33–37.
Mark is the only gospel that has Jesus explicitly admit that he does not know when the end of the world will be (Mark 13:32). The equivalent verse in the Byzantine manuscripts of Matthew does not contain the words "nor the Son" (Matthew 24:36) (but it is present in most Alexandrian and Western text-type).

The character of Jesus appears as secretive and capricious, his actions as unpredictable and scandalous. In the narrative of Jesus' walk on water (Mark 6:45-56), e.g., there is a gap: Jesus only says, but is not reported to really dismiss the crowd. It appears to be an excuse to separate from the disciples. V. 48c. has often been an enigma: Jesus wants to pass by the disciples, whereas v. 48a suggests that he intends to help them – 8 hours after having seen their distress. Similarly, Mark 5:39 unsettles and contradicts vv. 23 and 35; Mark 7:24ff. contrasts with Jesus' mission directed to everyone (Mark 1:38). George W. Young notes parallels to a Greek “capricious god toying aimlessly with his subjects”.

"No sign will be given to this generation" 8:12; Matthew and Luke include "except for the sign of Jonah" Matthew 12:38–39, Luke 11:29. In John, Jesus provides six signs specifically to demonstrate his divine role.
Characteristics of Mark's language
The phrase "and immediately" occurs forty-two times in Mark; while in Luke, which is much longer, it is used only seven times, and in John only four times. The word from Greek: νομος, which roughly translates as law, is never used, while it appears 8 times in Matthew, 9 times in Luke, 15 times in John, 19 times in Acts, many times in Romans.

Latin loanwords are often used: speculator, sextarius, centurion, legion, quadrans, praetorium, caesar, census, flagello, modius, denarius. Mark has over a dozen direct Old Testament quotations: 1:2–3, 4:12, 7:6–7, 7:10, 9:7,10:19, 11:9–10, 11:17, 12:10–11, 12:29–31, 12:36, 13:24–26, 14:27, 15:34. Mark makes frequent use of the narrative present; Luke changes about 150 of these verbs to past tense. Mark frequently links sentences with Greek: και (and); Matthew and Luke replace most of these with subordinate clauses.

Other characteristics unique to Mark
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).[79] Not present in either Matthew 12:1–8 or Luke 6:1–5. This is also a so-called "Western non-interpolation". The passage is not found in the Western text of Mark.
People were saying, "[Jesus] has gone out of his mind".
Mark is the only gospel with the combination Mark 4:24–25, the other gospels split them up: Mark 4:24 being found in Luke 6:38 and Matthew 7:2; Mark 4:25 being found in Matthew 13:12 and 25:29, Luke 8:18 and 19:26.
Parable of the Growing Seed (4:26–29).

Only Mark counts the possessed swine; there are about two thousand (Mark 5:13).
Two consecutive healing stories of women; both make use of the number twelve (Mark 5:25 and Mark 5:42).
Only Mark gives healing commands of Jesus in the (presumably original) Aramaic: Talitha koum (Mark 5:41), Ephphatha (Mark 7:34). See Aramaic of Jesus.
Only place in the New Testament Jesus is addressed as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3).
Mark is the only gospel where Jesus himself is called a carpenter (Mark 6:3). In Matthew he is called a carpenter's son (Matthew 13:55).

Only place that both names his brothers and mentions his sisters (Mark 6:3; Matthew has a slightly different name for one brother Matthew 13:55).
The taking of a staff and sandals is permitted in Mark 6:8–10 but prohibited in Matthew 10:10 and Luke 9:3.
The longest version of the story of Herodias' daughter's dance and the beheading of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14–29).
Mark's literary cycles:
6:30–44 – Feeding of the five thousand;
6:45–56 – Crossing of the lake;
7:1–13 – Dispute with the Pharisees;
7:14–23 – Discourse on Defilement

8:1–9 – Feeding of the four thousand;
8:10 – Crossing of the lake;
8:11–13 – Dispute with the Pharisees;
8:14–21 – Incident of no bread and discourse about the leaven of the Pharisees.
Customs that at that time were unique to Jews are explained (hand, produce, and utensil washing): 7:3–4.
"Thus he declared all foods clean." 7:19 NRSV, not found in the Matthean parallel Matthew 15:15–20.
There is no mention of Samaritans
Jesus heals using his fingers and spit at the same time: 7:33; cf. Mark 8:23, Luke 11:20, John 9:6, Matthew 8:16; see also Exorcism.
Jesus lays his hands on a blind man twice in curing him: 8:23–25; cf. 5:23, 16:18, Acts 6:6, 9:17, 28:8, laying on of hands.
Jesus cites the Shema Yisrael: "Hear O Israel ..." (12:29–30); in the parallels of Matt 22:37–38 and Luke 10:27 the first part of the Shema (Deut 6:4) is absent.
Mark points out that the Mount of Olives is across from the temple (13:3).
When Jesus is arrested, a young naked man flees: 14:51–52. A young man in a robe also appears in 16:5–7.
Mark doesn't name the High Priest, cf. Matt 26:57, Luke 3:2, Acts 4:6, John 18:13.
Witness testimony against Jesus does not agree (14:56, 14:59).
The cock crows "twice" as predicted (Mark 14:72). The other Gospels simply record, "the cock crew". Early codices 01, W, and most Western texts have the simpler version.
Pilate's position (Governor) isn't specified, 15:1, cf. Matt 27:2, Luke 3:1, John 18:28–29.
Simon of Cyrene's sons are named (Mark 15:21).
A summoned centurion is questioned (Mark 15:44–45).
The women ask each other who will roll away the stone (Mark 16:3), cf. Matt 28:2–7.
A young man sits on the "right side" (Mark 16:5), cf. Luke 24:4, John 20:12.
Afraid, the women flee from the empty tomb. They "tell no one" what they have seen (Mark 16:8), compare with Mark 16:10, Matt 28:8, Luke 24:9, John 20:2.

Mark is the only canonical gospel with significant various alternative endings; however, most of the contents of the traditional "Longer Ending" (Mark 16:9–20) are found in other New Testament texts and are not unique to Mark, see Mark 16#The Longer Ending. The one significant exception is 16:18b "and if they drink any deadly thing", it will not harm those who believe, which is unique to Mark.
Secret Gospel of Mark
The Secret Gospel of Mark refers to a version of the Gospel of Mark being circulated in 2nd century Alexandria, which was kept from the Christian community at large. This non-canonical gospel fragment was discovered in 1958, by biblical researcher Morton Smith at the Mar Saba monastery.

In this fragment, Clement of Alexandria explains that Mark, during Peter's stay in Rome wrote an account of the life of Jesus. Mark selected those events that would be the most helpful to the Church. When Peter died a martyr, Mark left Rome and went to Alexandria. He brought both his own writings and those of Peter.

It was here that Mark composed a second more spiritual Gospel and when he died, he left his composition to the Church. The Carpocrates got a

  copy of this Gospel and they misinterpreted it, which caused problems for the early Church.
Some modern scholars maintain the Secret Gospel is a clumsy forgery, while others accept this text as being authentic. The nature of the Secret Gospel of Mark as well as Morton Smith's role in its discovery are still being debated.

Canonical Status
A related issue is the adoption of the Gospel of Mark as a Canonical Gospel, given that, like the hypothetical Q, it is largely reproduced in Matthew and Luke, but, unlike Q, it did not become "lost". Traditionally Mark's authority and survival has derived from its Petrine origins. A recent suggestion is that Mark gained widespread popularity in oral performance, apart from readings from manuscript copies. Its widespread oral popularity ensured it a place in the written canon.
Galilean ministry

John the Baptist (1:1–8)
Baptism of Jesus (1:9–11)
Temptation of Jesus (1:12–13)
Return to Galilee (1:14)
Good News (1:15)
Calling Simon, Andrew, James, John (1:16–20)
Capernaum (1:21–39)
Leper and Paralytic (1:40–2:12)
Calling of Matthew (2:13–17)
On fasting and wineskins (2:18–22)
Lord of the Sabbath (2:23-28)
Healing on the Sabbath (3:1–3:12)
Commission of the Twelve (3:13–19,6:7-13)
Blind mute (3:20–26)
Strong man (3:27)
Eternal sin (3:28–30)
Jesus' true relatives (3:31–35)
Parable of the Sower (4:1–9,13-20)
Purpose of parables (4:10–12,33-34)
Lamp under a bushel (4:21–23)
Mote and Beam (4:24–25)
Growing seed and Mustard seed (4:26–32)
Calming the storm (4:35–41)
Demon named Legion (5:1–20)
Daughter of Jairus (5:21–43)
Hometown rejection (6:1–6)
Death of John the Baptist (6:14–29)
Feeding the 5000 (6:30–44)
Walking on water (6:45–52)
Fringe of his cloak heals (6:53–56)
Clean and Unclean (7:1–23)
Canaanite woman's daughter (7:24–30)
Deaf mute (7:31–37)
Feeding the 4000 (8:1–9)
No sign will be given (8:10–13)
Beware of yeast (8:14–21)
Healing with spit (8:22–26)
Peter's confession (8:27–30)
Predicting Death and Resurrection (8:31–33, 9:30–32, 10:32–34)
Those who want to follow should pick up a cross (8:34–38)
Return of the Son of Man (9:1,14:62)
Transfiguration (9:2–13)
Possessed boy (9:14–29)
Teaching in Capernaum (9:33–50)

  Journey to Jerusalem

Entering Judea (10:1)
On divorce (10:2–12)
The Little Children (10:13–16)
The rich young man (10:17–31)
Son of man came to serve (10:35–45)
Blind Bartimaeus (10:46–52)

Events in Jerusalem

Triumphal entry into Jerusalem (11:1–11)
Cursing the fig tree (11:12–14,20-24)
Temple incident (11:15–19)
Prayer for forgiveness (11:25–26)
Authority of Jesus questioned (11:27-33)
The Wicked Husbandman (12:1–12)
Render unto Caesar... (12:13–17)
Resurrection of the Dead (12:18–27)
Great Commandment (12:28–34)
Teaching the crowd (12:35–40)
Lesson of the widow's mite (12:41–44)
Olivet discourse (13)
Plot to kill Jesus (14:1–2)
Anointing (14:3–9)
Bargain of Judas (14:10-11)
Last Supper (14:12–26)
Denial of Peter (14:27–31,66-72)
Agony in the Garden (14:32-42)
Kiss of Judas (14:43-45)
Arrest (14:46–52)
Before the High Priest (14:53–65)
Pilate's court (15:1–15)
Soldiers mock Jesus (15:16-20)
Simon of Cyrene (16:21)
Crucifixion (15:22–41)
Entombment (15:42–47)
Empty tomb (16:1–8)
The Longer Ending and Resurrection appearances (16:9–20)
Great Commission (16:14–18)
Ascension (16:19)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seneca commits suicide at Nero's orders (65)

In 65, Seneca was caught up in the aftermath of the Pisonian conspiracy, a plot to kill Nero. Although it is unlikely that he conspired, he was ordered by Nero to kill himself. He followed tradition by severing several veins in order to bleed to death, and his wife Pompeia Paulina attempted to share his fate.

(writing in Book XV, Chapters 60 through 64 of his Annals of Imperial Rome, a generation later, after the Julio-Claudian emperors) gives an account of the suicide, perhaps, in light of Tacitus's Republican sympathies, somewhat romanticized. According to it, Nero ordered Seneca's wife to be saved. Her wounds were bound up and she made no further attempt to kill herself. As for Seneca himself, his age and diet were blamed for slow loss of blood, and extended pain rather than a quick death; taking poison was also not fatal. After dictating his last words to a scribe, and with a circle of friends attending him in his home, he immersed himself in a warm bath, which was expected to speed blood flow and ease his pain.

Tacitus writes:
“He was then carried into a bath, with the steam of which he was suffocated, and he was burnt without any of the usual funeral rites. So he had directed in a codicil of his will, even when in the height of his wealth and power he was thinking of life’s close.”

The death of Seneca by Jacques Louis David
Seneca    (see also: Seneca)

Roman philosopher, statesman, orator, and tragedian. He was Rome’s leading intellectual figure in the mid-1st century ad and was virtual ruler with his friends of the Roman world between 54 and 62 during the first phase of the emperor Nero’s reign.


Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Roman philosopher and statesman
byname Seneca The Younger
born c. 4 bc, Corduba, Spain
died ad 65, Rome
  Early life and family
Seneca was the second son of a wealthy family. The father, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Elder), had been famous in Rome as a teacher of rhetoric; the mother, Helvia, was of excellent character and education; the older brother was Gallio, met by St. Paul in Achaea in ad 52; the younger brother was the father of the poet Lucan. An aunt took Lucius as a boy to Rome; there he was trained as an orator and educated in philosophy in the school of the Sextii, which blended Stoicism with an ascetic neo-Pythagoreanism. Seneca’s health suffered, and he went to recuperate in Egypt, where his aunt was the wife of the prefect, Gaius Galerius. Returning to Rome about the year 31, he began a career in politics and law. Soon he fell foul of the emperor Caligula, who was deterred from killing him only by the argument that his life was sure to be short.
In 41 the emperor Claudius banished Seneca to Corsica on a charge of adultery with the princess Julia Livilla, the Emperor’s niece. In that uncongenial milieu he studied natural science and philosophy and wrote the three treatises entitled Consolationes. The influence of Agrippina, the Emperor’s wife, had him recalled to Rome in 49. He became praetor in ad 50, married Pompeia Paulina, a wealthy woman, built up a powerful group of friends, including the new prefect of the guard, Sextus Afranius Burrus, and became tutor to the future emperor Nero.
The murder of Claudius in 54 pushed Seneca and Burrus to the top. Their friends held the great army commands on the German and Parthian frontiers. Nero’s first public speech, drafted by Seneca, promised liberty for the Senate and an end to the influence of freedmen and women. Agrippina, Nero’s mother, was resolved that her influence should continue, and there were other powerful enemies. But Seneca and Burrus, although provincials from Spain and Gaul, understood the problems of the Roman world. They introduced fiscal and judicial reforms and fostered a more humane attitude toward slaves. Their nominee Corbulo defeated the Parthians; in Britain a more enlightened administration followed the quashing of Boudicca’s rebellion. But as Tacitus, the historian (c. 56–117), says, “Nothing in human affairs is more unstable and precarious than power unsupported by its own strength.” Seneca and Burrus were a tyrant’s favourites. In 59 they had to condone—or to contrive—the murder of Agrippina. When Burrus died in 62 Seneca knew that he could not go on. He received permission to retire, and in his remaining years he wrote some of his best philosophical works. In 65, Seneca’s enemies denounced him as having been a party to the conspiracy of Piso. Ordered to commit suicide, he met death with fortitude and composure.
Philosophical works and tragedies.
The Apocolocyntosis divi Claudii (The Pumpkinification of the Divine Claudius) stands apart from the rest of Seneca’s surviving works. A political skit, witty and unscrupulous, its theme is the deification—or “pumpkinification”—of Claudius. The rest divide into philosophical works and the tragedies. The former expound an eclectic version of “Middle” Stoicism, adapted for the Roman market by Panaetius of Rhodes (2nd century bc), and developed by his compatriot Poseidonius in the 1st century bc. Poseidonius lies behind the books on natural science, Naturales quaestiones, where lofty generalities on the investigation of nature are offset by a jejune exposition of the facts. Of the Consolationes, Ad Marciam consoles a lady on the loss of a son; Ad Helviam matrem, Seneca’s mother on his exile; Ad Polybium, the powerful freedman Polybius on the loss of a son but with a sycophantic plea for recall from Corsica. The De ira deals at length with the passion of anger, its consequences, and control. The De clementia, an exhortatory address to Nero, commends mercy as the sovereign quality for a Roman emperor. De tranquillitate animi, De constantia sapientis, De vita beata, and De otio consider various aspects of the life and qualities of the Stoic wise man.
  De beneficiis is a diffuse treatment of benefits as seen by giver and recipient. De brevitate vitae demonstrates that our human span is long enough if time is properly employed—which it seldom is. Best written and most compelling are the Epistulae morales, addressed to Lucilius. Those 124 brilliant essays treat a range of moral problems not easily reduced to a single formula.
Of the 10 “Senecan” tragedies, Octavia is certainly, and Hercules Oetaeus is probably, spurious. The others handle familiar Greek tragic themes, with some originality of detail. Attempts to arrange them as a schematic treatment of Stoic “vices” seem too subtle. Intended for playreadings rather than public presentation, the pitch is a high monotone, emphasizing the lurid and the supernatural.

There are impressive set speeches and choral passages, but the characters are static, and they rant. The principal representatives of classical tragedy known to the Renaissance world, these plays had a great influence, notably in England.
Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, and Cyril Tourneur’s Revengers Tragaedie, with their ghosts, witches, cruel tyrants, and dominant theme of vengeance, are the progeny of Seneca’s tragedies.
Stature and influence.
Hostile propaganda pursued Seneca’s memory. Quintilian, the 1st-century ad rhetorician, criticized his educational influence; Tacitus was ambivalent on Seneca’s place in history. But his views on monarchy and its duties contributed to the humane and liberal temper of the age of the Antonines (Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus; ad 138–192). Meanwhile, the spread of Stoicism kept his philosophy alive: new horizons opened when it was found to have Christian affinities. There was a belief that he knew St. Paul and a spurious collection of letters to substantiate it. Studied by Augustine and Jerome, Seneca’s works consoled Boethius in prison. His thought was a component of the Latin culture of the Middle Ages, often filtered through anthologies. Known to Dante, Chaucer, and Petrarch, his moral treatises were edited by Erasmus; the first complete English translation appeared in 1614.
  In the 16th to 18th century Senecan prose, in content and style, served the vernacular literatures as a model for essays, sermons, and moralizing. Calvin, Montaigne, and Rousseau are instances. As the first of “Spanish” thinkers, his influence in Spain was always powerful. Nineteenth-century specialization brought him under fire from philosophers, scientists, historians, and students of literature. But later scholarly work and the interest aroused by the bimillenary commemorations of his death in Spain in 1965 suggested that a Senecan revival might be under way.

In his 40 surviving books the thoughts of a versatile but unoriginal mind are expressed and amplified by the resources of an individual style.

Donald Reynolds Dudley

Encyclopaedia Britannica

The Death of Seneca,
by Peter Paul Rubens, 1615
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"On Benefits"

Among the numerous faults of those who pass their lives recklessly and without due reflexion, my good friend Liberalis, I should say that there is hardly any one so hurtful to society as this, that we neither know how to bestow or how to receive a benefit. It follows from this
that benefits are badly invested, and become bad debts:
in these cases it is too late to complain of their not being returned, for they were thrown away when we bestowed them...

IDEAS that Changed the World

Myths and Legends

History of Religion

History of Philosophy
Judaea had been under direct Roman rule since the death of King Agrippa I in 44. Foreign rule and Roman insensitivity toward Jewish laws caused great discontent. In 60, the rebuilding of the Temple that Herod had ordered built decades before was finished, and 20,000 unemployed workmen added to the rising tension. The Roman procurator of Judaea aggravated these feelings with his heavy-handed rule, and in 66 an uprising broke out. Although the commanders of the uprising were competent, it lacked political leadership and the Jewish strongholds were gradually reduced, first by Vespasian and then by his son Titus (39-81). In 70, Jerusalem came under siege, and in late August the city fell and the Temple was destroyed. Perhaps as many as 200,000 people died, many sacred Jewish treasures were taken to Rome, and thousands of Jews were enslaved. Resistance continued at Masada until 74, when it fell after a two-year siege.
First Jewish Revolt

Jewish revolts between 66 and 74
Although the Jewish rebels of 66 initially managed to gain control of a large part of Palestine,
by 69 they had lost control of all but the area around Jerusalem.

The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called The Great Revolt (Hebrew: המרד הגדול‎, ha-Mered Ha-Gadol, Latin: Primum Iudæorum Romani Bellum.), was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province (Iudaea), against the Roman Empire. The second was the Kitos War in 115–117 CE; the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132–135 CE).

The ruins at Masada, the last outpost of the Jewish revolt against the Romans, which began in 66.


The Great Revolt began in the year 66 CE, initially due to Greek and Jewish religious tensions, but later escalated due to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens. The Roman military garrison of Judaea was quickly overrun by rebels and the pro-Roman king Agrippa II fled Jerusalem, together with Roman officials to Galilee. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. The legion, however, was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership.

The Roman command of the revolt's suppression was then handed to general Vespasian and his son Titus, who assembled four legions and began cleansing the country, starting with Galilee, in the year 67 CE. The revolt ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, and defeated the remaining Jewish strongholds later on.


Judaea in the first century
Outbreak of the rebellion
According to Josephus, the revolt, which began at Caesarea in 66, was provoked by Greeks sacrificing birds in front of a local synagogue. The Roman garrison did not intervene and the long-standing Greek and Jewish religious tensions took a downward spiral. In reaction, the son of the Kohen Gadol (high priest) Eliezar ben Hanania ceased prayers and sacrifices for the Roman Emperor at the Temple. Protests over taxation joined the list of grievances and random attacks on Roman citizens and perceived 'traitors' occurred in Jerusalem. Fearing the worst, the pro-Roman king Agrippa II and his sister Berenice fled Jerusalem to Galilee. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought a legion, the XII Fulminata, and auxiliary troops as reinforcements to restore order. They invested Jerusalem, then for uncertain reasons, withdrew back towards the coast and were ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership.
Battle of Beth Horon

The Battle of Beth Horon was a battle fought in 66 AD between the Roman army and Jewish rebel forces in the First Jewish-Roman War. The Battle of Beth Horon was the worst defeat the Romans suffered at the hands of rebels.

Judea came under Roman control in 63 BC, when the Pompey the Great arrived in the Middle East as part of the Roman campaign against Mithridates VI of Pontus. Judea was subsequently ruled by a series of client kings, friendly to and supported by Rome. In 37 BC Rome appointed Herod the Great king, helping him oust the Parthian-backed leader Antigonus II Mattathias. Shortly after Herod's death, Judea came under direct Roman control and was ruled by prefects appointed in Rome.

In AD 66 long-standing Greek and Jewish religious tensions took a downward spiral after Jewish worshippers witnessed Greek civilians sacrificing birds in front of a local synagogue in Caesarea and complained to the authorities. The Roman garrison did not intervene, leading to the triggering of popular protests against Roman taxation. The protests were ignored by the governor until public attacks in Jerusalem on Roman citizens and others accused of having Roman sympathies, led the army garrison to intervene. The soldiers were attacked as they moved through the city by an increasing proportion of the Jewish residents; many troops were killed and the rest evacuated Jerusalem. As news of this action spread, many other towns and Jews joined the rebellion. Fearing the worst, the pro-Roman king Agrippa II and his sister Berenice fled Jerusalem to the Galilee.

The battle
Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, marched on Jerusalem with legion XII Fulminata and auxiliary troops in the hope of restoring order. Such had been the standard Roman reaction to uprisings at the time. All available troops were mustered, formed into a column and sent to confront its perceived centre. Ideally, such a show of force would have allowed the Romans to regain the initiative and prevent the rebellion from developing and growing stronger. Gallus conquered Bezetha, in the Jezreel Valley, soon to be the seat of the Great Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme religious court), but was unable to take The Temple Mount; he now decided to withdraw and wait for reinforcement.

Withdrawing towards the coast, the Romans were closely pursued by rebel scouts. As they neared the pass of Beth Horon, they were ambushed and came under attack from massed missile fire. They were then suddenly rushed by a large force of infantry. The Romans could not get into formation within the narrow confines of the pass and lost cohesion under the fierce assault. The equivalent of an entire legion was destroyed. Gallus succeeded in escaping with a fraction of his troops to Antioch by sacrificing the greater part of his army and a large amount of war material. After the massacre, the Jewish zealots went through the Roman dead stripping them of their armor, helmets, equipment, and weapons.

It was one of the worst defeats suffered by regular Roman troops against a rebelling province in history, encouraging many more volunteers and towns to throw their lot in with the rebels. A full-scale war was now inevitable.

Soon after his return Gallus died (before the spring of 67), and was succeeded in the governorship by Licinius Mucianus. The shock of the defeat convinced the Romans of the need to fully commit to crushing the rebellion regardless of the effort it would require. Emperor Nero and the senate then appointed General Vespasian, the future Emperor, to go to Judea and crush the rebellion.

  Battle of Beth Horon

The extraordinary Jewish military victory against
an overwhelming Roman punitive force convinced
the skeptical majority of Jews that compromise
was neither possible nor necessary because God
would see the Jews through to victory. This proved
to be a fatal delusion for the Jewish nation,
inciting them to launch a general uprising.
The Roman response
Emperor Nero appointed general Vespasian, instead of Gallus to crush the rebellion. Vespasian, along with legions X Fretensis and V Macedonica, landed at Ptolemais in April 67. There he was joined by his son Titus, who arrived from Alexandria at the head of Legio XV Apollinaris, as well as by the armies of various local allies including that of king Agrippa II. Fielding more than 60,000 soldiers, Vespasian began operations by subjugating Galilee. Many towns gave up without a fight, although others had to be taken by force. Of these, Josephus provides detailed accounts of the sieges of Yodfat and Gamla. By the year 68, Jewish resistance in the north had been crushed, and Vespasian made Caesarea Maritima his headquarters and methodically proceeded to clear the coast.
Jews, who were driven out of Galilee rebuilt Joppa (Jaffa), which had been destroyed earlier by Cestius Gallus.
  Surrounded and cut off by the Romans, they rebuilt the city walls, and used light flotilla to demoralize commerce and interrupt the grain supply to Rome from Alexandria.

In his The Jewish War Josephus wrote:

They also built themselves a great many piratical ships, and turned pirates upon the seas near to Syria, and Phoenicia, and Egypt, and made those seas unnavigable to all men.

The leaders of the collapsed Northern revolt, John of Giscala and Simon Bar Giora, managed to escape to Jerusalem. Brutal civil war erupted, the Zealots and the fanatical Sicarii executed anyone advocating surrender, and by 68 the entire leadership of the southern revolt was dead,[citation needed] killed by Jewish hands in the infighting, some at the Zealot Temple Siege.

New Emperor
While the war in Judea was being won, great events were occurring in Rome. In the middle of 68 CE, the emperor Nero's increasingly erratic behaviour finally lost him all support for his position. The Roman Senate, the praetorian guard and several prominent army commanders conspired for his removal. When the senate declared Nero an Enemy of the people, he fled Rome and committed suicide. The newly installed emperor Galba was murdered after just a few months by Otho a rival, triggering a civil war that came to be known as the Year of the Four Emperors. In 69 CE, though previously uninvolved, the popular Vespasian was also hailed emperor by the legions under his command. He decided, upon gaining further widespread support, to return to Rome to claim the throne from the usurper Vitellius, leaving his son Titus to finish the war in Judea.
Fall of Jerusalem
The siege of Jerusalem, the capital city, had begun early in the war, but had turned into a stalemate. Unable to breach the city's defences, the Roman armies established a permanent camp just outside the city, digging a trench around the circumference of its walls and building a wall as high as the city walls themselves around Jerusalem. Anyone caught in the trench attempting to flee the city would be captured, crucified, and placed in lines on top of the dirt wall facing into Jerusalem. The two Zealot leaders, John of Gischala and Simon Bar Giora, only ceased hostilities and joined forces to defend the city when the Romans began to construct ramparts for the siege. Those attempting to escape the city were crucified, with as many as five hundred crucifixions occurring in a day.

Titus Flavius, Vespasian's son, led the final assault and siege of Jerusalem. During the infighting inside the city walls, a stockpiled supply of dry food was intentionally burned by Sicarii to induce the defenders to fight against the siege instead of negotiating peace; as a result many city dwellers and soldiers died of starvation during the siege. Zealots under Eleazar ben Simon held the Temple, Sicarii led by Simon Bar Giora held the upper city. Titus eventually wiped out the last remnants of Jewish resistance.

  By the summer of 70, the Romans had breached the walls of Jerusalem, ransacking and burning nearly the entire city. The Romans began by attacking the weakest spot: the third wall. It was built shortly before the siege so it did not have as much time invested in its protection. They succeeded towards the end of May and shortly afterwards broke through the more important second wall. The Second Temple (the renovated Herod's Temple) was destroyed on Tisha B'Av (29 or 30 July 70). Tacitus, a historian of the time, notes that those who were besieged in Jerusalem amounted to no fewer than six hundred thousand, that men and women alike and every age engaged in armed resistance, everyone who could pick up a weapon did, both sexes showed equal determination, preferring death to a life that involved expulsion from their country.

All three walls were destroyed and in turn so was the Temple, some of whose overturned stones and their place of impact can still be seen. John of Giscala surrendered at Agrippa II's fortress of Jotapata and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The famous Arch of Titus still stands in Rome: it depicts Roman legionaries carrying the Temple of Jerusalem's treasuries, including the Menorah, during Titus's triumphal procession in Rome.
St. Peter executed (67)

Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader and one of the twelve apostles of Jesus who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and who is venerated as a saint. The son of John or of Jonah, he was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis. His brother Andrew was also an apostle. Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the first Pope by the Catholic Church.


The Tears of St. Peter by El Greco
After working to establish the church of Antioch, presiding for seven years as the leader of the city's Christian community, he preached to scattered communities of believers, Jews, Hebrew Christians and the gentiles, in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia. He then went to Rome, where in the second year of Claudius, it is claimed, he overthrew Simon Magus and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. He is said to have been put to death at the hand of Emperor Nero. Peter wrote two General epistles. The Gospel of Mark is also ascribed to him (as Mark was his disciple and interpreter). On the other hand, several books bearing his name—the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Revelation of Peter, and Judgement of Peter—are rejected by the Catholic Church as Apocryphal. According to New Testament accounts, Peter was one of Twelve Apostles chosen by Jesus from his first disciples. Originally a fisherman, he was assigned a leadership role by Jesus and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few Apostles, such as the Transfiguration.   Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean "rock." Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 16:16), was part of Jesus' inner circle (Mark 5:37), walked on water (Matthew 14:29), witnessed Jesus' tranfiguration (Luke 9:28), denied Jesus (Luke 22:54-62), was restored by Jesus (John 21:15-19), and preached at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40).

Peter is said to have been crucified under Emperor Nero, the cross being upside down at his own request since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus Christ.

Catholic tradition holds that Saint Peter's mortal bones and remains are contained in the underground Confessio of the St. Peter's Basilica, a site where Pope Paul VI announced the excavation discovery of a First-century A.D. Roman cemetery in 1968. Since 1969, a life-size statue of Saint Peter is crowned every year in St. Peter's Basilica with a Papal Tiara, Ring of the Fisherman, and papal vestments every June 29th, commemorating the Holy Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

Names and etymologies
His original name was Shimon or Simeon, Simon in modern English. He was later given the name Peter, a name derived from "cephas", Syriac or Aramaic for "rock", which became Greek: Πέτρος, also meaning "rock". He is also known as Simon Peter, Cephas (Greek: Κηφᾶς) and Kepha (Hebrew: כיפא‎). Both Cephas and Kepha also mean rock. Petros became "Petrus" in Latin, from which are derived the English and German "Peter", the French "Pierre", the Italian "Pietro", the Spanish and Portuguese "Pedro", and the Russian "Piotr." The pun with "rock" also works in Latin, Italian, French and Portuguese.
New Testament account
Peter's life story relies on the four Canonical Gospels, The Book of Acts, New Testament Letters, Non-Canonical Gospel According to the Hebrews and other Early Church accounts of his life and death. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus' ministry. It was during his first meeting with Jesus that Jesus named him Peter. Peter was to become the first Apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church.

Peter ran a fishing business in Bethsaida.[Jn. 1:44] He was named Simon, son of Jonah or John. The synoptic gospels all recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum[Matt. 8:14–17] [Mk. 1:29–31] [Lk. 4:38] which, coupled with 1Cor 9:5, clearly depict Peter as married or a widower.

In the Synoptic Gospels, Peter (then Simon) was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. The Gospel of John also depicts Peter fishing, even after the resurrection of Jesus, in the story of the Catch of 153 fish.

  In the Synoptic Gospels, Peter (then Simon) was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. The Gospel of John also depicts Peter fishing, even after the resurrection of Jesus, in the story of the Catch of 153 fish.
In Matthew and Mark, Jesus called Simon and his brother Andrew to be "fishers of men."[Matt. 4:18–19] [Mk. 1:16–17]
In Luke, Simon Peter owns the boat that Jesus uses to preach to the multitudes who were pressing on him at the shore of Lake Gennesaret.[Lk. 5:3] Jesus then amazes Simon and his companions James and John (Andrew is not mentioned) by telling them to lower their nets, whereupon they catch a huge number of fish. Immediately after this, they follow him.[Lk. 5:4–11]
The Gospel of John gives a comparable account of "The First Disciples."[Jn. 1:35–42] In John, we are told that it was two disciples of John the Baptist (Andrew and an unnamed disciple) who heard John the Baptist announce Jesus as the "Lamb of God" and then followed Jesus. Andrew then went and fetched his brother Simon, saying, "We have found the Messiah," and then brought Simon to Jesus.
The "Rock" dialogue
In a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples (Matthew 16:13-20), Jesus asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The disciples give various answers. When he asks, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answers, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." In turn, Jesus declares Peter to be "blessed" for having recognized Jesus' true identity and attributes this recognition to a divine revelation. Then Jesus addresses Simon by what seems to have been the nickname "Peter" (Cephas in Aramaic, Petros [rock] in Greek) and says, "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it."

A common exegetical interpretation of Peter is provided by Daniel Harrington who suggests that Peter was an unlikely symbol of stability. While he was one of the first disciples called and served as the spokesman for the group, Peter is also the exemplar of "little faith" in Matthew 14, will soon have Jesus say to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" and will eventually deny Jesus three times.

  In light of the Easter event, then, Peter became an exemplar of the forgiven sinner. A great variance of opinions exists as to the interpretation of this passage with respect to what authority and responsibility, if any, Jesus was giving to Peter.

Petros had not previously been used as a name, but in the Greek-speaking world it became a popular Christian name, after the tradition of Peter's prominence in the early Christian church had been established.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church this passage is interpreted as not implying a special prominence to the person of Peter, but to Peter's position as representative of the Apostles. The word used for "rock" (petra) grammatically refers to "a small detachment of the massive ledge", not to a massive boulder. Thus, Orthodox Sacred Tradition understands Jesus' words as referring to the Apostolic Faith.

The great majority of Western scholars concur with the interpretation that the "rock" was Peter, not Jesus himself or Peter's faith.

Position among the apostles
Church of the Primacy of St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee. Traditional site where Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and, according to Catholic tradition, established Peter's supreme jurisdiction over the Christian church.Peter is listed first among the Twelve Apostles in the canonical gospels and in the Book of Acts (Acts 1:13). He is also frequently mentioned in the Gospels as forming with James the Elder and John a special group within the Twelve Apostles, present at incidents at which the others were not present, such as at the Transfiguration of Jesus. He often confesses his faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Peter is often depicted in the Gospels as spokesman of all the Apostles. Catholics refer to him as chief of the Apostles, as do the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox.
In Coptic Orthodox Church Liturgy, he is once referred to as “Prominent” or "head" among the Apostles, a title

  shared with St. Paul in the text (The Fraction of Fast and Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria). Some, including the Orthodox Churches, believe this is not the same as saying that the other Apostles were under Peter's orders. In contrast, Jewish Christians are said to have argued that James the Just was the leader of the group. Some argue James was the Patriarch of Jerusalem and that this position at times gave him privilege in some (but not all) situations. The early Church historian Eusebius (c. AD 325) records Clement of Alexandria (c. AD 190) as saying,

"For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Saviour, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem."

Paul affirms that Peter had the special charge of being apostle to the Jews, just as he, Paul, was apostle to the Gentiles.


St. Peter and St. Paul  by El Greco
Walking on water
Three of the four canonical Gospels—Matthew, Mark and John—recount the story of Jesus walking on water. Matthew additionally describes Peter walking on water for a moment, but beginning to sink when his faith wavered.[Matt. 14:28–31]

Washing of feet
At the beginning of the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. Peter initially refused to let Jesus wash his feet, but when Jesus responded: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me", Peter replied: "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head". [Jn. 13:2-11] The washing of feet is often repeated in the service of worship on Maundy Thursday by some Christian denominations.

Arrest of Jesus
Apostle Peter striking Malchus with a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane.The three synoptic Gospels all mention that, when Jesus was arrested, one of his companions cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest.[21] The Gospel of John also includes this event and names Peter as the swordsman and Malchus as the victim.[Jn. 18:10] Luke adds that Jesus touched the ear and miraculously healed it.[Lk. 22:50]

Denial of Jesus by Peter
All four canonical gospels recount that, during the Last Supper, Jesus foretold that Peter would deny him three times before the following cockcrow ("before the cock crows twice" in Mark's account).

The three Synoptics and John describe the three denials as follows:

1. A denial when a female servant of the high priest spots Simon Peter, saying that he had been with Jesus. According to Mark (but not in all manuscripts), "the rooster crowed." Only Luke and John mention a fire by which Peter was warming himself among other people: according to Luke, Peter was "sitting"; according to John, he was "standing."

2. A denial when Simon Peter had gone out to the gateway, away from the firelight, but the same servant girl (Mark) or another servant girl (Matthew) or a man (Luke and also John, for whom, though, this is the third denial) told the bystanders he was a follower of Jesus. According to John, "the rooster crowed."

3. A denial came when Peter's Galilean accent was taken as proof that he was indeed a disciple of Jesus. According to Matthew, Mark and Luke, "the rooster crowed." John, though, does not mention the Galilean accent.

Matthew adds that it was his accent that gave him away as coming from Galilee. Luke deviates slightly from this by stating that, rather than a crowd accusing Simon Peter, it was a third individual.

The Gospel of John places the second denial while Peter was still warming himself at the fire, and gives as the occasion of the third denial a claim by someone to have seen him in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus' prediction of Peter's denial is coupled with a prediction that all the apostles ("you," plural) would be "sifted like wheat," but that it would be Peter's task ("you," singular), when he had turned again, to strengthen his brethren.

In a reminiscent scene in John's epilogue, Peter affirms three times that he loves Jesus.

Empty tomb
In John's gospel, Peter is the first person to enter the empty tomb, although the women and the beloved disciple see it before him. [Jn. 20:1–9] In Luke's account, the women's report of the empty tomb is dismissed by the apostles, and Peter is the only one who goes to check for himself. In fact, he runs to the tomb. After seeing the graveclothes he goes home, apparently without informing the other disciples. [Lk. 24:1–12]

Resurrection appearances
Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians contains a list of resurrection appearances of Jesus, the first of which is an appearance to Peter. Here Paul apparently follows an early tradition that Peter was the first to see the risen Christ, which however did not seem to have survived to the time when the Gospels were written.

In the final chapter of the Gospel of John, Peter, in one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus, three times affirmed his love for Jesus, balancing his threefold denial, and Jesus reconfirmed Peter's position. [Jn. 21:15–17] Some[who?] scholars hypothesize that it was added later to bolster Peter's status.

Role in the early church
The author of the Acts of the Apostles portrays Peter as an extremely important figure within the early Christian community, with Peter delivering a significant open-air sermon during Pentecost. According to the same book, Peter took the lead in selecting a replacement for Judas Iscariot. [Acts 1:15] He was twice arraigned, with John, before the Sanhedrin and directly defied them. [Acts 4:7–22] [5:18–42] He undertook a missionary journey to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea,[9:32–10:2] becoming instrumental in the decision to evangelise the Gentiles.

About halfway through, the Acts of the Apostles turns its attention away from Peter and to the activities of Paul, and the Bible is mostly silent on what occurred to Peter afterwards.

John Vidmar writes:

"Both Catholic and Protestant scholars agree that Peter had an authority that superseded that of the other apostles. Peter is their spokesman at several events, he conducts the election of Matthias, his opinion in the debate over converting Gentiles was crucial, etc."

Rescue from prison
Acts 12 tells how Peter was put into prison by King Herod, but was rescued by an angel.

Council of Jerusalem
At the council of Jerusalem (c. 50), the early Church, Paul and the leaders of the Jerusalem church met and decided to embrace Gentile converts. Acts portrays Peter as successfully opposing the Christian Pharisees who insisted on circumcision.

Peter/Cephas is mentioned briefly in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, which mentions a trip by Paul to Jerusalem where he meets Peter (Galatians 1:18), and a trip by Cephas to Antioch[Gal. 2:11-14] where Paul rebuked him for treating Gentile converts as inferior to Jewish Christian (see the Incident at Antioch). Galatians is accepted as authentic by almost all scholars, so these are the earliest mentions of Peter to be written.

Church tradition ascribes the epistles First and Second Peter to Apostle Peter, as does the text of Second Peter itself. First Peter implies the author is in "Babylon," which has been held to be a coded reference to Rome (1 Peter 5:13). Although, Babylon was an important fortress city in Egypt, just north of today's Cairo and this fact is combined with the "greetings from Marc" (1 Peter 5:13), who is regarded as founder of the Church of Alexandria (Egypt); thus other scholars put the First Peter epistle to be written in Egypt. Some[who?] scholars regard First Peter as not authored by him, and there is still considerable debate about the Petrine authorship of Second Peter. However the Greek in both books is similar, and the early Church was adamantly opposed to pseudographical authorship.

Accounts outside the New Testament
In Catholic tradition, Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome with Paul, served as its bishop, authored two epistles, and then met martyrdom there along with Paul.

Antioch and Corinth
Later accounts expand on the brief Biblical mention of his visit to Antioch. The Liber Pontificalis (9th century) mentions Peter as having served as bishop of Antioch for seven years and having potentially left his family in the Greek city before his journey to Rome. Claims of direct blood lineage from Simon Peter among the old population of Antioch existed in the 1st century and continue to exist today, notably by certain Semaan families of modern-day Syria and Lebanon. Historians have furnished other evidence of Peter's sojourn in Antioch. Subsequent tradition held that Peter had been the first Patriarch of Antioch.

Peter might have visited Corinth, as a party of "Cephas" existed there.

Eusebius of Caesarea (Eusebius Caesariensis, ca 260-ca 340), in his "Historia Ecclesiastica", while naming some of the Seventy Disciples of Jesus, says: "... and the history by Clement (of Alexandria, c.150 - c. 215), in the fifth (chapter) of Hypotyposeis; in which Cefas, the one mentioned by Paul (in the citation): «when Cefas came to Antioch, I confronted him face to face» (Galatians 2:11), it is said he was one of the Seventy Disciples, having the same name with Peter the Apostle".

In the epilogue of the Gospel of John, Jesus hints at the death by which Peter would glorify God, [Jn. 21:18–19]saying "…when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and take you where you do not want to go." This is interpreted by some as a reference to Peter's crucifixion.

According to the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Peter labored in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended his life by martyrdom. The death of St. Peter is attested to by Tertullian at the end of the 2nd century, and by Origen in Eusebius, Church History III.1. Origen says: "Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer." This is why an upside down cross is generally accepted as a symbol of Peter, who would not have considered himself worthy enough to die the same way as his Savior.

St. Clement of Rome identifies Peter and Paul as the outstanding heroes of the faith. Papias reported that the Gospel of Mark was based on Peter's memoirs, a tradition still accepted by some scholars today.


Caravaggio's depiction of the crucifixion of Apostle Peter.
The mention in the New Testament of the death of Peter says that Jesus indicated its form by saying: "You will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."[33] Early church tradition (as indicated below) says Peter probably died by crucifixion (with arms outstretched) at the time of the Great Fire of Rome of the year 64. Margherita Guarducci, who led the research leading to the rediscovery of Peter’s tomb in its last stages (1963–1968), concludes Peter died on 13 October AD 64 during the festivities on the occasion of the “dies imperii” of Emperor Nero.

This took place three months after the disastrous fire that destroyed Rome for which the emperor wished to blame the Christians. This “dies imperii” (regnal day anniversary) was an important one, exactly ten years after Nero ascended to the throne, and it was ‘as usual’ accompanied by much bloodshed. Traditionally, Roman authorities sentenced him to death by crucifixion. According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, he was crucified head down. Tradition also locates his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter was later built, directly beneath the Basilica's high altar.

Clement of Rome, in his Letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 5), written c. 80–98, speaks of Peter's martyrdom in the following terms: "Let us take the noble examples of our own generation. Through jealousy and envy the greatest and most just pillars of the Church were persecuted, and came even unto death… Peter, through unjust envy, endured not one or two but many labours, and at last, having delivered his testimony, departed unto the place of glory due to him."

The apocryphal Acts of Peter is also thought to be the source for the tradition about the famous phrase "Quo vadis, Domine?" (or "Pou Hupageis, Kurie?" which means, "Where are you going, Master?"). According to the story, Peter, fleeing Rome to avoid execution, asked the question of a vision of Jesus, to which Jesus allegedly responded that he was "going to Rome to be crucified again." On hearing this, Peter decided to return to the city to accept martyrdom. This story is commemorated in an Annibale Carracci painting.

  The Church of Quo Vadis, near the Catacombs of Saint Callistus, contains a stone in which Jesus' footprints from this event are supposedly preserved, though this was apparently an ex-voto from a pilgrim, and indeed a copy of the original, housed in the Basilica of St Sebastian.
The ancient historian Josephus describes how Roman soldiers would amuse themselves by crucifying criminals in different positions, and it is likely that this would have been known to the author of the Acts of Peter. The position attributed to Peter's crucifixion is thus plausible, either as having happened historically or as being an invention by the author of the Acts of Peter. Death, after crucifixion head down, is unlikely to be caused by suffocation, the usual cause of death in ordinary crucifixion.

A medieval tradition was that the Mamertine Prison in Rome is the place where Peter was imprisoned before his execution.

In 1950, human bones were found buried underneath the altar of St. Peter's Basilica. The bones have been claimed by many to have been those of Peter. An attempt to contradict these claims was made in 1953 by the excavation of what some believe to be St Peter's tomb in Jerusalem. However along with supposed tomb of Peter bearing his previous name Simon, tombs bearing the names of Jesus, Mary, James, John, and the rest of the apostles were also found at the same excavation—though all these names were very common among Jews at the time.

In the 1960s, some previously discarded debris from the excavations beneath St Peter's Basilica were re-examined, and the bones of a male person were identified. A forensic examination found them to be a male of about 61 years of age from the 1st century. This caused Pope Paul VI in 1968 to announce them most likely to be the relics of Apostle Peter.

Further doubt on finding bones in Rome is cast by Pope Vitalian's letter to King Oswy of the Britons (CE 665), offering him the remains (then called relics) of the apostle Peter and Paul, along with those of the Holy Martyrs Laurentius, John, Gregory and Pancratius as a reward for the emergence of British faith.


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