Acts 22:28

With a great sum (pollou kepalaiou). The use of kepalaiou (from kepalh, head) for sums of money (principal as distinct from interest) is old and frequent in the papyri. Our word capital is from caput (head). The genitive is used here according to rule for price. "The sale of the Roman citizenship was resorted to by the emperors as a means of filling the exchequer, much as James I. made baronets" (Page). Dio Cassius (LX., 17) tells about Messalina the wife of Claudius selling Roman citizenship. Lysias was probably a Greek and so had to buy his citizenship. But I am a Roman born (Egw de kai gegennhmai). Perfect passive indicative of gennaw. The word "Roman" not in the Greek. Literally, "But I have been even born one," (i.e. born a Roman citizen). There is calm and simple dignity in this reply and pardonable pride. Being a citizen of Tarsus ( Matthew 21:39 ) did not make Paul a Roman citizen. Tarsus was an urbs libera, not a colonia like Philippi. Some one of his ancestors (father, grandfather) obtained it perhaps as a reward for distinguished service. Paul's family was of good social position. "He was educated by the greatest of the Rabbis; he was at an early age entrusted by the Jewish authorities with an important commission; his nephew could gain ready access to the Roman tribune; he was treated as a person of consequence by Felix, Festus, Agrippa, and Julius" (Furneaux).