Not mentioned in the Old Testament, unless under general terms, as Chittim, Isles of the sea. In the New Testament, Ac 18:2; 27:1,6; Heb 13:24, it is chiefly of interest on account of ROME, which see. The Italian band, mentioned in Ac 10:1, was probably a Roman cohort from Italy, stationed at Cesarea; so called to distinguish it from the other troops, which were drawn from Syria and the adjacent regions.
(Ac 18:2; 27:1,6; Heb 13:24), like most geographical names, was differently used at different periods of history. As the power of Rome advanced, nations were successively conquered and added to it till it came to designate the whole country to the south of the Alps. There was constant intercourse between Palestine and Italy in the time of the Romans.
This word varied in sense from time to time. It first signified only the Southern (the Greek) part of the peninsula; later it included all the country south of the Lombard plain; and finally, before the time of Christ, it had come to bear the meaning which it has now. Its central position in the Mediterranean, the conformation of its coast, and the capabilities of its soil under proper cultivation, fitted it to be the home and centre of a governing race. In the 1st cent. a.d. there was constant communication between the capital Rome and every part of the Empire, by well-recognized routes. Among the routes to the E., which mainly concern the NT student, was that from Rome along the W. coast of Italy to Campania, where it crossed the country and eventually reached Brundisium. From the harbour there the traveller either sailed across the Adriatic to Dyrrhachium, and went by the Egnatian road to Thessalonica and beyond, or sailed across to the Gulf of Corinth, transhipped from Lech