The Gallio Inscription

(IG 7.1676; SIG 2 no. 801 D)

The Gallio Inscription from Delphi

(Deissmann, Plate I)

Hellenistic I


Hellenistic II
Hasmonean Period


Early Roman

63 BCE-70 CE


70 -324


Lucius Junius Novatus was the oldest son of the elder Seneca (c. 55 BCE-37 CE) and brother of the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 5 BCE-65 CE). Gallio, however, carried the name of his adoptive father, Lucius Junius Gallio. His change of family status, however, did not destroy his relationship with the younger Seneca who, in fact, dedicated some of his writings to his brother. Seneca's involvement in the Pisonian plot against the Emperor Nero resulted not only in Seneca's suicide but also Gallio's in the same year.

According to Acts 18:12-17 the Jews of Corinth brought Paul up before Gallio, proconsul of Achaia, on charges that he was persuading residents to worship in ways contrary to the law. The text has Gallio refuse to intervene because the "law" involved as far as he is concerned is Jewish law.

In a thesis at the University of Paris from 1905 Emile Bourget published four fragments of an inscription from Delphi.[1] The inscription clearly mentions Gallio as proconsul (anthupatos) of Achaia and the 26th acclamation of the Caesar. This raises the interesting possibility of dating the event Acts describes. The 26th acclamation of the Caesar should have occurred in the first half of the year 52. Since the proconsul normally served only a year and began his term in the spring, the inscription either refers to a Gallio who has only recently left the proconsulship or, perhaps more likely than this, has been proconsul for a few months. Exactly how Paul’s sojourn might relate to that period is difficult to say, and nothing in Acts makes it clear whether Paul faced Gallio at the beginning of his service or toward the end of that service.

Although the inscription does not make the historicity of Acts 18 unquestionable, it does provide an excellent dating for the event described and has encouraged many scholars to use the time of Gallio's proconsulship as a benchmark date for reconstructing Paul's chronology.

The current translation is of the first four fragments only. For additional translation see especially the works of Plassart noted in the bibliography.


1. Tiber[ius Claudius C]aes[ar August]us G[ermanicus,

great high priest (Pontifex maximus), in the 12th (year) of his tribunican

pow] 2. er, (acclaimed) [absolute ruler for the] 26th time, fa[ther of the cou]ntr[y

counsel for the 5th time, Censor, to the city of Delphi, greetings.

3. For a long [time] have I been devoted to the city of Delphi and well-disposed from the beg-] 4. inning, [and] I have always observ[ed th]e worsh[ip of the Pythian] Apo[llo. 5. But now as for what is said about tho[se qu]arrels among the [cit]izens,[2] of wh[ich Lucius Ju] 6. nius Gallio, my f[riend] and [proco]nsul [of

Achaia], 7. ... still to maintain the previous decree.[3]

(The rest is too fragmentary for meaningful translation.)


C. K. Barrett, The New Testament Background: Selected Documents (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961), 48-49.

HHans Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles, trans. J. Limburg et al. ("Hermeneia"; Philadelphia: Fortress Press), 1987.

A. Deissmann, Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History, trans. William E. Wilson (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1957), 261-286; Plate I.

W. Dittenberger, ed. Sylloge Inscriptionem Graecorum, 4 vols. (3d ed.; Leipzig: Hirzel, 1915). (SIG)

D. J. Doughty, "Luke's Story of Paul in Corinth: Fictional History in Acts 18 ," JHC 4/1 (Spring 1997): 3-54. (See especially 45-49.)

W. Ellinger, Paulus in Griechenland: Philippi, Thessaloniki, Korinth. SBS 92/93. Stuttgart, 1978

F. J. Foakes Jackson, D. D. and Kirsopp Lake, D. D., D. Litt., The Beginnings of ChristianityPart I: The Acts of the Apostles. Vol V: Additional Notes to the Commentary, eds. Kirsopp Lake, D. D., D. Litt. and Henry J. Cadbury, Ph. D. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House,1979), 460-464.

R. Garnsey, "Religious Toleration in Classical Antiquity," Persecution and Toleration, ed. W J. Shields. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984), 1-27.

Maurice Goguel, "La vision de Paul à Corinthe et sa comparution devant Gallion: Une conjecture sur la place originale d'Actes 18,9‑11," RHPhR 12 (1932): 321-33.

E. Groag, Die r&oumlaut;mischen Reichsbeamten von Achaia bis auf Diocletian. (Vienna, 1939).

K., Haacker, "Die Gallio-Episode und die paulinische Chronologie," BZ 16 (1972): 252‑55.

_________, "Gallio," ABD 2:901-903.

E. Haenchen, Apostelgeschichte (5th ed., Myers Kommentar; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1968), 58-60.

C. J. Hemer, "Observations on Pauline Chronology" Pauline Studies. Essays Presented to Professor F. F. Bruce on his 70th Birthday,. D. A. Hagner and M. J. Harris, eds. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 3-18.

C. J. Henter, Observations on Pauline Chronology. in Pauline Studies. Essays Presented to Professor F. F. Bruce on his 70th Birthday, ed. D. A. Hagner and M. J. Harris. (Exeter and Grand Rapids, 1980), 3-18

R. Jewett, Dating Paul's Life. (London, 1979).

A. H. M. Jones, "Procurators and Prefects in the Early Principate," Studies in Roman Government and Law. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960).

J. Juster, Les juifs dans I'Empire romain: Leur condition juridique, économique et sociale, 2 vols. (Paris, 1914).

J. Murphy-O'Connor, St. Paul's Corinth. (Wilmington,1983).

J. H., Oliver, "The Epistle of Claudius which Mentions the Proconsul Junius Gallio," Hesperia  40 (1971): 239‑40.

L. Petersen, Prosopographia Imperii Romani Saec. I. I1.11I Pars IV Fasc.3. (Berlin,1966).

A. Plassart, "L'inscription de Delphes mentionnent le proconsul Gallion," Revue des Ėtudes Grecques 80 (1967): 372‑78.

_________, Les inscriptions du temple du lVe si;egrave;cle. Fouilles de Delphes. T.3: Ėpigraphie, Fasc.4: Inscriptions de la terrasse du temple et de la région nord du sanctuaire (3:) Nos. 276- 350. (Paris, 1970).

B. Rapske, Paul in Roman Custody: The Books of Acts in its First Century Setting, vol. 3. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1994).

A. N. Sherwin-White,, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament: The Sarum Lectures 1960-61 (Oxford,1963).

E. M. Smallwood, The Jews under Roman Rule. (Leiden, 1976).

A. Vassileiou,  "Dulcem Gallionem (Note sur Stace, Silvae 11,7,32)," RP 46 (1972): 40-42.

J. Wiseman, "Corinth and Rome I," ANRW 2/7/1(1979): 438‑548.


[1] In a Russian work on the inscriptions at Delphi (1894—1895), Alexander Nikitsky published a drawing of the largest of the four fragments without, however, taking note of its significance. Adolf Deissmann writes that in 1910 H. Pomtow allowed him access to the four fragments and goes on to say that Pomtow claimed to have known about them for “more than twenty years” (Deissmann, 265).

[2] It is very difficult to understand Hanson's "desti[tu]te of [citi]zens" here. See L-S 689b. The suggestion follows that of Plassart, Hemer, and Oliver that the occasion for the inscription was Gallio's report to Claudius of the depopulation of Delphi and contains the Emperor's encouragement of the proconsul's efforts to encourage settlement there. It is certainly true that the venerable sanctuary at Delphi fell on hard times during Roman administration. On this see F. E. Peters, The Harvest of Hellenism (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970) 456-457.

[3] See L-S 1251c; M-M 457b.