Erastus, Gallio, and Paul: Insights from Inscriptions
Two inscriptions may offer important windows into the social and historical context of Paul’s activity in Achaia. Each possibly mentions named figures associated with Paul in the New Testament: Erastus “the treasurer of the city” of Corinth (
In a Latin inscription upon limestone pavement discovered at Corinth in 1929, a local official named Erastus gives thanks to the public for his election to the office of aedile: “Erastus, in return for his aedileship, laid (the pavement) at his own expense.” The pavement dates to the second half of the first century C.E. At Corinth, two aediles served under the chief local magistrates of the city, the duoviri. Elected annually, aediles maintained public buildings and streets, managed the activities of the marketplace, and administered financial revenues that arose from these endeavors. Since the name Erastus stands alone, without mention of a father or family name, it is possible that he represents one of the many “freedmen,” former slaves, who helped to resettle Corinth after 44 B.C.E. and rose to prosperity there in subsequent generations.
While we can’t be certain, this inscription may directly refer to the same “Erastus, the treasurer of the city,” whom Paul mentions as an associate when he writes to the Romans from Corinth (
Dating circa 52 C.E., a Greek inscription from the Emperor Claudius to the local inhabitants at Delphi mentions “Lucius Junius Gallio, my friend and proconsul of Achaea,” the same figure who mediates between Paul and the Jews of Corinth in