Cornelius (Kornēlios). The great Cornelian family of Rome may have had a freedman or descendant who is centurion (hekatoṅtarchēs, leader of a hundred, Latin centurio). See Mat 8:5. These Roman centurions always appear in a favourable light in the N.T. (Mat 8:5; Luk 7:2; Luk 23:47; Act 10:1; Act 22:25; Act 27:3). Furneaux notes the contrasts between Joppa, the oldest town in Palestine, and Caesarea, built by Herod; the Galilean fisherman lodging with a tanner and the Roman officer in the seat of governmental authority.
Of the band called the Italian (ek speirēs tēs kaloumenēs Italikēs). A legion had ten cohorts or “bands” and sixty centuries. The word speirēs (note genitive in ̇es like the Ionic instead of ̇as) is here equal to the Latin cohors. In the provinces were stationed cohorts of Italic citizens (volunteers) as an inscription at Carnuntum on the Danube (Ramsay) has shown (epitaph of an officer in the second Italic cohort). Once more Luke has been vindicated. The soldiers could, of course, be Roman citizens who lived in Caesarea. But the Italian cohorts were sent to any part of the empire as needed. The procurator at Caesarea would need a cohort whose loyalty he could trust, for the Jews were restless.