GALLIO (gal'ĭ-ō, Gr. Galliōn). Roman proconsul of Achaia when Paul was in Corinth (a.d. 51). Alarmed at the inroads that the gospel was making, the Jews in Corinth brought Paul before Gallio, of whom the Roman philosopher Seneca had said, “No mortal was ever so sweet to one as Gallio was to all.” The Jews hoped to convince Gallio that Paul was guilty of an offense against a lawful religion, and hence against the Roman government itself (
GALLIO găl’ ĭ ō (Lucius Junius). Proconsul (KJV “deputy”) of Achaea in a.d. 51-52 or 52-53 in residence at Corinth (
The son of the rhetorician M. Annaeus Seneca and brother of the philospoher Seneca, he was born Marcus Annaeus Novatus at Cordova in Spain. Adopted by the rhetorician, Lucius Jiunius Gallio, he was trained by him for administration and government (Tac. Ann. 16. 17). He was a notably affable man. Seneca dedicated his treatises de Vita Beata to him and in the preface of the Naturales Quaetiones describes him as a man universally beloved.
An inscr. from Delphi shows that he was proconsul of Achaea after the 26th acclamation of Claudius as emperor. Therefore, his term of office was in 51-52 or 52-53. According to Pliny, the climate of Achaea, by Gallio’s own statement, made him ill. He went to Egypt after his term of office to recover from a lung hemorrhage. He then returned to Rome and became consul suffectus early in Nero’s reign. He was involved with his brother in a conspiracy to overthrow Nero, and, though temporarily pardoned, he was soon thereafter either forced to commit suicide or was put to death by order of Nero (Dio Cassius, History 62.25. Seutonius, Rhetoric).
While Gallio was residing at Corinth as proconsul of Achaea, a Jewish mob dragged the Apostle Paul before the rostrum and charged him with persuading men to worship God contrary to law. Gallio, concerned primarily with Rom. law, dismissed the case as a matter among Jews without letting Paul defend himself. Even when the mob seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the rostrum, Gallio did not exercise his prerogatives (
O. Rossbach in Pauly Wissowa, RE s.v. “Annaeus 12.”
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The Roman deputy or proconsul of Achaia, before whom Paul was haled by his Jewish accusers on the apostle’s first visit to Corinth, during his second missionary journey (
According to extra-canonical references, the original name of Gallio was Marcus Annaeus Novatus, but this was changed on his being adopted by the rhetorician, Lucius Junius Gallio. He was born at Cordova, but came to Rome in the reign of Tiberius. He was the brother of the philosopher Seneca, by whom, as also by Statius, reference is made to the affable nature of his character. As Achaia was reconstituted a proconsular province by Claudius in 44 AD, the accession of Gallio to office must have been subsequent to that date, and has been variously placed at 51-53 AD (compare also Knowling in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, II, 389-92).