Gallio, proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18)

During his second missionary journey Paul spent 18 months at Corinth (Acts 18:11), the capital of the Roman province of Achaia. While there he was brought before Gallio, the Roman proconsul (Acts 18:12-17).

Gallio was born in Cordoba, Spain, as Marcus Annaeus Novatus. His name was changed to Gallio when the orator and senator Lucius Junius Gallio adopted him. Gallio’s biological father was Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Elder), a well-known writer and rhetorician, and his younger brother was Lucius Anneaus Seneca jr. (Seneca the Younger), a renowned writer and politician. In A.D. 41 Gallio and his brother Seneca were banished to Corsica because of Seneca’s alledged adultery with Julia Livilla, the sister of Emperor Caligula. Agrippina, Nero’s mother, recalled the two in A.D. 49 so that Seneca could become Nero’s tutor.

Gallio was proconsul of Achaia in 51-52. The date is accurately known thanks to an inscription discovered in Delphi, Greece, a copy of a letter from Emperor Claudius referring to “Lucius Junius Gallio, my friend, and the proconsul of Achaia”. Seneca wrote of Gallio’s charm and humility and dedicated two of his books to him. The Gallio inscription is of enormous importance in dating Paul’s 18 month stay in Corinth. It suggests that he was there from the fall of 50 until the late spring of 52.

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