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Aquila was a Jewish Christian living in Corinth with his wife Priscilla when Paul the evangelist arrived from Athens.[1] Aquila was born in Pontus, which in ancient times referred to a strip of land on the southern coast of the Black Sea, in Asia Minor. The book of Acts says that he had lived in Rome until the emperor Claudius banned Jews from living in the city.

Various historians have suggested that this event occurred in the year 49, 50 or 51. The extent to which Jews actually were pushed out of Rome is unknown. Some decrees in ancient times were never strictly enforced. Although the book of Acts does not explain the reason for the banishment, the ancient historian, Suetonius Tranquillus, wrote in his book, The Lives of the Twelve Caesers, in reference to Claudius that: "He banished from Rome all the Jews, who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus." Some scholars have proposed that "Chrestus" was a reference to Christianity. We know from another Roman historian, Tacitus, from his 11th book of The Annals, that Claudius was concerned about "the growth of foreign superstitions."

Perhaps Claudius was alarmed by the rapid spread of Christianity in Rome and sought to expel the city's Jewish community as a way of protecting the Roman religions.

Whatever the reason or the extent of the expulsion, Aquila and Priscilla moved to Corinth, where Aquila worked as a tent maker. When Paul left Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla traveled with him as far as Ephesus.[2] There, they met Apollos and instructed him more thoroughly in the Christian faith.[3] It is believed that Aquila and Priscilla returned to Rome, because Paul sent them greetings in his letter to the Romans.[4]


  1. Acts 18:2 (Link)
  2. 1 Corinthians 16:19 (Link)
  3. Acts 18:24-26 (Link)
  4. Romans 16:3 (Link)