The proconsul of Achaia, before whose judgment seat the Jews accused Paul of leading men into another persuasion in worshiping God. Gallio dismissed the case on the basis that it did not involve a violation of Roman law. Thereupon the crowd went to beating Sosthenes the presiding officer of the synagogue, but Gallio chose not to concern himself with this either.—Acts 18:12-17.
According to secular sources, Gallio was born at Cordova, Spain, about the beginning of the first century C.E. He was the son of the rhetorician Seneca and the older brother of Seneca the philosopher. Gallio’s original name was Lucius Annaeus Novatus. But, upon being adopted by the rhetorician Lucius Junius Gallio, he assumed the name of his adopter.
An inscription from Delphi points to the date 51-52 C.E. for Gallio’s term as proconsul of Achaia. (Acts 18:12) Only fragmentary, the inscription’s text has had to be reconstructed, but it definitely contains the name of “Lucius Junius Gallio, . . . proconsul.” Historians are generally agreed that the text is a letter from Emperor Claudius Caesar and that the number “26” found in it refers to Claudius’ having received the imperial acclamation for the twenty-sixth time. (It was Claudius who restored Achaia to the position of a separate province responsible to the senate and hence having a proconsul.) The evidence is that this letter was written in the first half of 52 C.E., for other inscriptions indicate that Claudius was acclaimed emperor for the twenty-seventh time before August 1, 52 C.E. A Carian inscription and an inscription on the aqueduct called the Aqua Claudia at Rome place Claudius’ twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh imperial acclamations within the year of his twelfth period of tribunician power. This twelfth tribunician period corresponded to January 25, 52 C.E., to January 24, 53 C.E. Gallio’s proconsulship of Achaia (an office that ran for a year, starting with the beginning of summer) therefore evidently ran from the summer of 51 C.E. to the summer of 52 C.E.