The book of Arts

The account of St.Paul’s ill-fated journey to Rome in the New Testament’s Book of Acts provides some useful
insights into shipping practices during thefirst century of the common era. In this paper, I intend to summarise the
information and clues provided in the Book of Acts and present an overview of some of the basic interpretations of
the relevant passages. It is important to understand that the Book of Acts is a continuation of the gospel according to
Luke and any reference to him here is in his capacity as writer of the Book.
St.Paul, as a Roman prisoner, had been put in the charge of Julius, an officer in the “Emperor’s Regiment” who was
to take the prisoners to Rome to see the Emperor. At Caesarea, Julius had his prisoners board a ship from
Adramyttium and they sailed overnight to Sidon. The next leg of their journey was more difficult as the winds were
again against them. As such, they sailed the ship on the sheltered east side of the island of Cyprus, then west to
In Myra, Julius moved his prisoners to a boat from Alexandria which was bound for Italy. Thefirst leg of their
journey aboard this new ship was difficult as the winds were against them. It took several days to reach Cnidus.
With the wind against them still, they were forced to sail south, hoping to take shelter behind the island of Crete.
Keeping close to shore, they eventually arrived at Safe Harbours, on the southern coast of Crete. Here they stayed
for several days and the Book of Acts notes that St.Paul advised against continuing as the Day of Atonement had
The Day of Atonement is the traditional day at which shipping would stop for the winter in anticipation of the poor
weather to come. It is normally marked towards the end of September or the start of October.
However St.Paul’s advice fell on deaf ears and Julius chose to accept the advice of the ship’s owner and captain.
They pressed on towards Phoenix (on C…


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