Saul of Tarsus, known by his Greco-Roman name Paul, was born into a Jewish family with Roman citizenship and was raised and educated in the strict Pharisaical tradition. When the church began to spread across Judea, he took a prominent role in persecuting Christians until he encountered Jesus Christ in a special revelation on his journey to Damascus. He was converted and then joined the apostles, ministering, evangelising, teaching, and setting up churches around the Mediterranean. Thirteen of his letters to churches and individuals are recognised as inspired Scripture in the Christian canon. According to early sources, he was beheaded as a martyr in Rome between 64 and 68 AD.