Possible explanation of "Saul" => "Paul". As Paul means "Tiny" a deeper story is hinted.
His character is drawn in a few strokes by the masterly hand of Tacitus. (Hist. i, 10.)
He was alike distinguished for good and for evil, for luxurious indulgence and energetic work, for affability and haughtiness; when he had nothing to attend to, he revelled in excessive pleasures; but when business required his attention, he displayed great abilities. Thus his public conduct deserved praise, his private condemnation. As a youth, he courted with assiduity the favour of the powerful, and succeeded in obtaining the consulship in the reign of Claudius, a.d. 52; but having squandered his property, and becoming likewise an object of suspicion to Claudius, he went into retirement in Asia, and there lived, says Tacitus, as near to the condition of an exile as afterwards to that of an emperor. We gather from Pliny (H. N. xii. 1. & 5) that the place of his retirement was Lycia, into which he was sent as legatus by Claudius, as a kind of honourable banishment.
More of the story we'll never know with certainty. We are being told something but what?
Suetonius, 12 Caesars
"[Vespasian] bore the frank language of his friends, the quips of pleaders, and the impudence of the philosophers with the greatest patience. Though Licinius Mucianus, a man of notorious unchastity, presumed upon his services to treat Vespasian with scant respect, he never had the heart to criticize him except privately and then only to the extent of adding to a complaint made to a common friend, the significant words: "I at least am a man..."
Is Mucianus "merely" profligate, a libertine? Or further, perhaps a eunuch? If Mucianus is the Template for Paul, does that make Paul a eunuch? Paul wishes he others could be like him but what does that mean? I know, I know, the religious setting 'n all. But...what else, if anything?
Under Nero he was again received into the favour of the imperial court; and at the death of that emperor, a.d. 68, he had the command of the province of Syria, with four legions, while Vespasian was in the neighbouring country of Judaea, at the head of three.
Seven Legions! Ho-Hum. Nothing to see here until:
Up to Nero's death Mucianus and Vespasian had not been on good terms; but after that event they were induced, by the interposition of friends, to become reconciled to one another, and to act together for their mutual advantage; and their reconciliation was rendered real and lasting by the mediation of Titus, to whom Mucianus became much attached.
If you are to understand what is being given here, you must See-it-as the most important section of the NT. This is the Vision on the Road to Damascus. Here is Tacitus being rewritten:
, Book 2:
Vespasian was an energetic soldier; he could march at the head of his army, choose the place for his camp, and bring by night and day his skill, or, if the occasion required, his personal courage to oppose the foe. His food was such as chance offered [Note: "Thus, he pronounced all foods clean".]; his dress and appearance hardly distinguished him from the common soldier; in short, but for his avarice, he was equal to the generals of old. Mucianus, on the contrary, was eminent for his magnificence, for his wealth, and for a greatness that transcended in all respects the condition of a subject; readier of speech than the other, he thoroughly understood the arrangement and direction of civil business. It would have been a rare combination of princely qualities, if, with their respective faults removed, their virtues only could have been united in one man
. Mucianus was governor of Syria, Vespasian of Judaea. In the administration of these neighbouring provinces jealousy had produced discord between them, but on Nero's fall they had dropped their animosities and associated their counsels. At first they communicated through friends, till Titus, who was the great bond of union between them, by representing their common interests had terminated their mischievous feud
. He was indeed a man formed both by nature and by education to attract even such a character as that of Mucianus. The tribunes, the centurions, and the common soldiers, were brought over to the cause by appeals to their energy or their love of license, to their virtues or to their vices, according to their different dispositions.
All else falls into place.
Mucianus and Vespasian both took the oath of allegiance to Otho; but when the civil war broke out between him and Vitellius, Vespasian resolved to seize the imperial throne. In this resolution he was warmly encouraged by Mucianus, who hoped to have a great share in the exercise of the imperial power while Vespasian bore the name. When Vespasian at length, after great hesitation, assumed the imperial title, Mucianus immediately administered to his own soldiers the oath of allegiance to the new emperor
Otho gets the last Oath of Allegiance. IT IS VITELLIUS WHO IS VISCERALLY HATED BY THE FLAVIANS. Vitellius is one of the "Magicians". I identify him with Simon Magus. Nero is another magician.
it was resolved that he should march into Europe against Vitellius, while Vespasian and Titus remained behind in Asia. Mucianus used great efforts to provide his army with everything that was necessary, he liberally contributed from his own purse, and unmercifully plundered the provincials to obtain a sufficient supply of money.
Mucianus travels by way of The Pontus, where he takes all the best ships and all the money he can extort:
Histories, Book 3:
A sudden outbreak had been excited in Pontus by a barbarian slave, who had before commanded the royal fleet. This was Anicetus, a freedman of Polemon, once a very powerful personage, who, when the kingdom was converted into a Roman province, ill brooked the change. Accordingly he raised in the name of Vitellius the tribes that border on Pontus, bribed a number of very needy adventurers by the hope of plunder, and, at the head of a force by no means contemptible, made a sudden attack on the old and famous city of Trapezus, founded by the Greeks on the farthest shore of the Pontus. There he destroyed a cohort, once a part of the royal contingent. They had afterwards received the privileges of citizenship, and while they carried their arms and banners in Roman fashion, they still retained the indolence and licence of the Greek. Anicetus also set fire to the fleet, and, as the sea was not guarded, escaped, for Mucianus had brought up to Byzantium the best of the Liburnian ships and all the troops. The barbarians even insolently scoured the sea in hastily constructed vessels of their own called "camarae," built with narrow sides and broad bottoms, and joined together without fastenings of brass or iron. Whenever the water is rough they raise the bulwarks with additional planks according to the increasing height of the waves, till the vessel is covered in like a house. Thus they roll about amid the billows, and, as they have a prow at both extremities alike and a convertible arrangement of oars, they may be paddled in one direction or another indifferently and without risk."
This is found in Acts, "The Queen's Eunuch":
Acts 8: 26 - 39 (RSV):
 But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert road.
 And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of the Can'dace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship
 and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
 And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."
 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
 And he said, "How can I, unless some one guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
 Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this: "As a sheep led to the slaughter
or a lamb before its shearer is dumb,
so he opens not his mouth.
 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken up from the earth."
 And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, pray, does the prophet say this, about himself or about some one else?"
 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus.
 And as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?"
 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
This some of the most vicious satire ever written and it is hidden. Of special interest are the "Camarae Boats', from Tacitus. There are somewhat opaque passages in Acts that mention a small boat that is taken aboard and "...secured with ropes..." (Moffatt Translation). Elsewhere, especially in the last 2 chapters, are tales of the Camarae. Polybius, Histories
151, tells of a grounding on the shoals of Syrtis. The story finishes at the inlet (of the Cohibus River). It is a rewrite with the Isle of Malta given as its location. The important thing is the story in Tacitus:
"The barbarians even insolently scoured the sea in hastily constructed vessels of their own called "camarae," built with narrow sides and broad bottoms, and joined together without fastenings of brass or iron. Whenever the water is rough they raise the bulwarks with additional planks
according to the increasing height of the waves, till the vessel is covered in like a house. Thus they roll about amid the billows, and, as they have a prow at both extremities alike and a convertible arrangement of oars, they may be paddled in one direction or another indifferently and without risk..."
Acts 27: 43 - 44 (RSV):
 but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their purpose. He ordered those who could swim to throw themselves overboard first and make for the land,
 and the rest on planks
or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all escaped to land.
However, there was little occasion for his services, for the Vitellians were entirely defeated by Antonius Primus, of whom, in consequence, Mucianus became very jealous. Mucianus marched through Phrygia and Cappadocia. and arrived in Europe just in time to repress a rising of the Dacians, who had seized both banks of the Danube. Primus had entered Rome before Mucianus; but on the arrival of the latter he had to surrender all the power into his hands. Domitian, the son of Vespasian, was nominally at the head of affairs; but Mucianus was the real sovereign, and lived in almost regal splendour. Still, although be boasted haughtily of the services he had rendered to Vespasian, his fidelity never seems to have wavered ; and all his various measures were calculated to support and strengthen the new dynasty.When Vespasian was on his way to Italy, Mucianus went to Brendisium to meet him, accompanied by the principal Roman nobles.
Letters were sent to Vespasian as part of the Power Play between Primus and Mucianus. Hence, the following passage (in sequence).
Acts 28: 3 - 6 (RSV):
 Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, when a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.
 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live."
 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
 They waited, expecting him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead; but when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Though weaker than other sections, the following accrues: Paul puts a bundle of sticks on the fire. The Fasces of the Senate may be those sticks. The viper that attaches to the hand (Letters) should be Primus. Primus did the dirty work. He then has to turn all of the presumed acquired Power over to Mucianus. Mucianus ostensibly gives Primus Honor but sends him away from Rome and the Coming of the Flavians.
Verse 6 has a note in Tacitus. Paul is thought a god. Mucianus?
"Mucianus entered the camp to examine more accurately the individual claims. The victorious army, wearing their proper decorations and arms, he drew up with moderate intervals of space between the divisions; then the Vitellianists, whose capitulation at Bovillae I have already related, and the other troops of the party, who had been collected from the capital and its neighbourhood, were brought forth almost naked. Mucianus ordered these men to be drawn up apart, making the British, the German, and any other troops that there were belonging to other armies, take up separate positions. The very first view of their situation paralyzed them. They saw opposed to them what seemed a hostile array, threatening them with javelin and sword. They saw themselves hemmed in, without arms, filthy and squalid. And when they began to be separated, some to be marched to one spot, and some to another, a thrill of terror ran through them all. Among the troops from Germany the panic was particularly great; for they believed that this separation marked them out for slaughter. They embraced their fellow soldiers, clung to their necks, begged for parting kisses, and entreated that they might not be deserted, or doomed in a common cause to suffer a different lot. They invoked now Mucianus, now the absent Emperor, and, as a last resource, heaven and the Gods, till Mucianus came forward, and calling them "soldiers bound by the same oath and servants of the same Emperor," stopped the groundless panic
. And indeed the victorious army seconded the tears of the vanquished with their approving shouts. This terminated the proceedings for that day..."
The bolded quote does double duty, being used in the Crucifixion Scenes. Q: How many groups of soldiers in the Tacitus quote?
John 19: 23 - 24 (RSV):
 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom;
 so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfil the scripture, "They parted my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots."
A tunic with no seams is called a "Cuirass". A linen cuirass was worn worn by Galba as he went to his death at the hands of Roman Soldiers. Thus, there is another story here for another time.
"...Mucinaus came forward, and calling them "soldiers bound by the same oath and servants of the same Emperor".
It is at the Ascension of the Flavians. The New Testament was written for the Glory of the Flavians. Mucianus held Imperial Power in his hands and gave it all to Vespasian. Mucianus disappears from the record with no mention of his death.
Acts 28: 30 - 31 (RSV):
 And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,
 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.