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Asiarchs

ASIARCHS ā zhĭ ärks (̓Ασιαρχοί). The word occurs in ASV and RSV in straight transliteration of Luke’s Gr. KJV renders “chiefs of Asia” (Acts 19:31), ERV “chief officers of Asia.” Similar officials are found in other provincial contexts. Mommsen lists Galatarchs, Syriarchs, and Bithyniarchs (Rom. Gesch. 5.318). Little is known about this office, whether, for example, it was annual or held for a term of years. It appears possible that the title was permanent, and that once a citizen had held the office, he continued to bear the honorary title. It is likely that a number of Asiarchs were in Ephesus at the time of Paul’s clash with the guild of the silversmiths. Perhaps they functioned collectively, with the year’s incumbent performing the duties of the office. Nor is it quite clear whether there was one Asiarch for each of the cities which formed the Koinon or community of Asia, the league of cities whose main function was the proper ordering and maintenance of the worship of Rome and the