As Paul's trial was in Rome, because he was a Roman citizen, I wonder why Jesus trial was in Jerusalem, considering his father was taxed by Rome, and was of Nazareth.

As Paul was Saul of Tarsus, did he gain Roman citizenship through trade, and if so, would Jesus work as a carpenter, along with his father's, have made him a citizen of other areas he may have traded in?

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    Possibly better suited to religion/Christianity sites, since the historicallity of Jesus and events related to him is questionable?
    – jamesqf
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 5:29
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    Saul/Paul came from a rich family and Jesus from a poor one, and that made a huge difference in the Roman world. Basically, rich people of "provinces" could buy citizenship.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 5:58
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    I think that this is a question about who qualified for Roman citizenship rather than about Jesus and, therefore, it's on-topic here.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 8:08
  • The short answer is "the rules that governed Roman Citizenship were complicated". Having the right trade or paying taxes to Rome weren't criteria for citizenship. In this case it's just about where they were born. The people of Tarsus had gained citizenship during the Roman civil wars (1st century BC). The people of Judea wouldn't gain citizenship until the 3rd century AD. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


did he gain Roman citizenship through trade

AFAIR, Paul had Roman citizenship, because all people of Tarsus got it after the wars of the 2nd Triumvirate, when they showed their loyalty to the triumvirs against Brutus and Cassius. As the legend says, Mark Antonius was trying to proclaim their new high status, just when they all ran to the port to look at the Cleopatra's scarlet sail - Egypt, and the major part of the eastern provinces, were loyal to the republicans, so the queen went to see Mark Antonius and to ask for his mercy. And that's how they met each other for the first time.

But people of Judea didn't get the citizenship, until Caracalla's edict. So Jesus hadn't got it too.

  • +1 from me, but this answer could be improved by noting that cities like Tarsus were an exception to the general rule between the time of Sulla and that of Caracalla that Roman citizen = non-slave native of Italy (or descended from citizens, or a freed slave of a citizen). Italy here in the ancient sense (i.e., just the boot: not including Sicily nor Sardinia nor the Po Valley nor anything north of it).
    – C Monsour
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 4:50

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