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Part 9 Society

Paul's status as a Roman citizen (civis Romanus) on this occasion won for him immunity from summary corporal punishment - immunity that he would not have enjoyed as a non-Roman, a mere provincial or civis peregrinus. Roman citizenship, like American or British citizenship today, carried with it certain privileges irrespective of the holder's ethnic origin. As far as the centurion was concerned what mattered was that Paul had Roman citizenship. It was irrelevant that he was a Greek-speaking Jew from southern Asia Minor who had never set foot in Italy, let alone Rome, and whose knowledge of Latin was probably no better than the centurion's.