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Proconsul Gallio of Achaia

Achaia was the name for a territory in southern Greece, just to the north of the Peloponnesus (see the map below). By New Testament times, the invading and occupying Romans applied the name to all of the Peloponnesus, plus the rest of the southern half of Greece, with Macedonia making up the northern half. Imperial Rome was a malignant sovereignty predator i.e. their "freedom" (which to them meant the "right" to do anything, to anyone, any where in the world, just like a cancer rampaging through a body) was based upon devouring the life from other people's freedom (see Ancient Empires - Rome).

With Achaia's independence crushed, it was designated as a Roman senatorial province, whose military governors were known as "proconsuls" (while governors of Roman imperial provinces were known as "procurators" e.g. Pontius Pilate in Judea). The major cities of Achaia are well-familiar to many in the modern-day world: Corinth, Sparta and Athens.

Marcus Annaeus Novatus, the older brother of the famous statesman and philosopher Seneca, was born in Cordova, Spain. He changed his name to Junius Annaeus Gallio after he was adopted by Lucius Junius Gallio, a wealthy Roman citizen. Gallio became a teacher and political functionary for the psychotic thug Nero (no one was safe around Nero, as Nero's murder of his own mother proved beyond all doubt; when Gallio and Seneca were accused of being involved in a plot against Nero about 65 AD, at the whim of Nero's paranoia, and without any proof what so ever, both brothers were forced to kill themselves, 3 years before the 31 year old Nero himself committed suicide). Gallio is best known to Bible History as the Roman proconsul of Achaia when the apostle Paul was involved in a dispute at with unbelievers there.

"When Gallio was the deputy of Achaia"

Although the apostle Paul began his ministry in his native Turkey, the LORD directed Paul to go over into Greece, that is, from Asia to Europe. There, he found other believing Jews.


"18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome: and came unto them. 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 18:6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

18:7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. 18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." (Acts 18:1-11 KJV)

As was the case everywhere else, in Achaia there were both believing were unbelieving Jews. When the unbelievers tried to have Paul silenced, Gallio refused to become involved (unlike Pontius Pilate in Judea).

"18:12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, 18:13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

18:14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: 18:15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. 18:16 And he drave them from the judgment seat. 18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things." (Acts 18:12-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: Where did the apostle Paul go on his 3 major missionary journeys?
Paul's First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:1 - 15:35)
Paul's Second Missionary Journey (Acts 15:36 - 18:22)
Paul's Third Missionary Journey (Acts 18:23 - 21:17)

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