Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who preached the persecution of Jews who believed Jesus to be a Messiah, converted to Christianity in c. 36 BCE. He travelled widely to preach the Christian message, and his later journeys took him to the Levant, Anatolia and Greece and as far afield as Italy, Sicily and Malta. After commencing his mission, he returned to Jerusalem a total of five times and was forced to assuage the criticisms of those who believed that Christianity should not be taught to Gentiles. On his final visit to Jerusalem, Paul was arrested, apparently for accompanying one of his converts into an area of the Temple forbidden to Gentiles. He was able to use his citizenship to persuade the Jewish authorities to transfer his case to Rome, and made his final journey there as a prisoner. The circumstances of Paul’s death remain a mystery. He was imprisoned in Rome in 64CE, when the Emperor Nero purged the Christians, whom he held responsible for the Great Fire that had ravaged the city. Some accounts claim that Peter was crucified and Paul beheaded during these reprisals; others, more speculative, that Paul managed a final mission to Spain before returning to Rome and execution.
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