Sergius Paulus
      When the apostle Paul went on his first missionary journey to Cyprus along with his faithful companions Barnabas and John Mark, he came face to face with the Roman governor of the Island whom he led to Christ. His name was Sergius Paulus.
      A number of possible references to him have been found outside of the Bible.
      Two of these discoveries are from the Island of Cyprus and were found by a veteran of the Civil war by the name of General Louis di Cesnola. He would later be named the first curator of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
       The first of these inscriptions was found at the city of Silo in 1877 just a short distance north of Paphos, mentioned by Luke in the book of Acts, just before Paul’s encounter with Sergius Paulus. The inscription mentions “the proconsul Paulus” and dates to around 54 A.D. during the reign of Claudius. It reads as follows:
     “Apollonius to his father … consecrated this enclosure and monument according to his family’s wishes  … having filled the offices of clerk of the market, prefect, town-clerk, high priest, and having been in charge as manager of the records office. Erected on the 25th of the month Demarchexusius in the 13th year (of the reign of Claudius - 54 A.D.). He also altered the senate by means of assessors during the time of the proconsul Paulus.'
      The second inscription is from Kythraia (Chytri), located in northern Cyprus, and makes reference to a “Quintus Sergius” whose last name is missing from the inscription, but could possibly be Paulus. The inscription, found on a blue marble slab indicates that this man must have lived during the reign of either Claudius, Gaius, or Tiberius Caesar. One translation of the inscription which is located in the Metropolitan Museum reads:
 
“[CLAUD]IUS CAESAR SABASTOA
....[Q]UINTUS SER[GIUS PAULUS]”
Sergius Paulus Artifact
Quintus Sergius Paulus Inscription
      Another artifact, a boundary stone set up by the Emperor Claudius Caesar was discovered in Rome during 1887 with the inscription “L. Sergius Paulus”. His name was listed along with several others as being in charge of maintaining the banks and channels of the Tiber river. The inscription reads:
       “...L.Sergius Paullus ... curators of the river Tiberis ... Claudius Caesar...”
      The name L. Sergius Paulus was also found in 1912 on an inscription from Pisidian Antioch, a major military and administration base for the Romans in present day Turkey.
Sergius Paulus Inscription
L  Sergius Paulis Inscription
Yalvac Museum, Pisidian Antioch
      The Roman writer Pliny the Elder also makes reference to a “Sergius Paulus” whom he used as a source along with others in Book 2 and 18 of his work on “Natural History.” It is also interesting to note that Pliny mentions that the island of Cyprus was overrun with those who practiced sorcery just like Elymas who the Bible says tried to deceive Sergius Paulus. Pliny writes: “There existed different groups of magicians from the time of Moses such as Jannes and Lotape , of whom the Jews had spoken of. And in fact many thousands yearly follow after Zoroastrian ways especially during recent times on the Island of Cyprus.”  
      The story of Paul’s first encounter with Sergius Paulus is found in Acts 13:6-12:
      "Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
      But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
       Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? "And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time." And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”
      This article is a chapter from our 3 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader or mobile device by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.
Photo Links to Artifacts Mentioned in this Article
L. Sergius Paulus Inscription
Yalvac Museum
Quintus Sergius Paulus Inscription
Met Museum #74.51.2425
Sources:
 
Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Vol 56, Pt 1, April 2005 (Article from oxfordjournals.org) Article name:
“Possible Inscriptional Attestation to Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:6-12), and the implications for Pauline Chronology”
 
“Some Archaeological Observations on Paul’s First Missionary Journey,” Author: Bastian Van Elderen,  W.Ward Gasque & Ralph P. Martin, eds., Apostolic History and the Gospel. Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F.F. Bruce. Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1970. Hbk. ISBN: 085364098X.pp.150-161.
Chapter 9: information on Sergius Paulus inscriptions.
http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/archaeology_vanelderen.pdf.
 
First Cyprus Inscription from Soli — Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes III.930. Corrected reading in T. B. Mitford, Annual of British School at Athens 42 (1947),pp. 201.1.
http://epigraphy.packhum.org/inscriptions/main?url=bib  under ABSA abbreviation. Original Text.
 
English translation of the Soli Inscription:
"Apollonius to his father … consecrated this enclosure and monument according to his family`s wishes  … having filled the offices of clerk of the market, prefect, town-clerk, high priest, and having been in charge as manager of the records office. Erected on the 25th of the month Demarchexusius in the 13th year (of the reign of Claudius - 54 A.D.). He also altered the senate by means of assessors during the time of the proconsul Paulus.'
 
Second Cyprus Inscription from Kythraia - Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes III.935. John L. Myers translation, Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1914), p. 319 (no. 1903) and p. 548 (no. 1903). Quintus Sergius Paulus Inscription. Original Text reads:
9 Klaud]…ou Ka…saroj Sebastoà kaˆ
10 ™pˆ K]o…ntou Serg-
11 […ou PaÚlou ¢nqrup£tou]
 
Translation:
“[CLAUD]IUS CAESAR SABASTOA
....[Q]UINTUS SER[GIUS PAULUS]”
 
Inscription 3 from Rome mentioning L. Servius Paulus as a curator of the Tiber river   — GIL VI.3 1545.
 
The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts-Philemon
edited by Craig A. Bubeck, ISBN 0-7814-4006-8
pg.93 Ttranslation of tiber river A boundary stone of Claudius mentioning Sergius was discovered at Rome in 1887.    
 "Paullus Fabius Persicus, Gaius Eggius  Marullus,  Lucius Sergius Paulus , Gaius Obellius Rufus, Lucius Scribonius Libo  custodians of the river banks and of the bed of the Tiber in accordance with with the authority of Tiberius Claudius Caesar, their princeps (leader of the Senate), by placing boundary stones marked out the nbanks of the ninth region to the bridge of Agrippa"
 
www.york.ca/uhistory/courses/4131/sources/caput_xiii.htm
(July 2006):  CIL06, 31545 (p 3796, 4362) = D05926
Inscription bearing the name L Sergius Paullus as curator of the Tiber river in the reign of Claudius.
 
Cyprus: Its Ancient Cities, Tombs and Temples. 1878 pg424  Louis P. di Cesnola
 
Archaeology and Bible History, Author: J.P. Free
pg. 269 Ramsay found the name Lucius Sergius Paulus in 1912 at Pisidian Antioch (Yalvac Museum)
 
C. Plinius Secundus The Historie of the World. Book II. (Pages 1-49)  Philemon Holland, translator (1601):
Pliny the elder lived between 23-79 A.D. and when finished with his work on History of the World dedicated it to the emperor Titus in 77 A.D.
 
C. Plinius Secundus The Historie of the World.
Book 30:11: Latin “est et alia magices factio a Mose et Janne et Lotape ac Iudaeis pendens, sed multis milibus annorum post Zoroastren, tanto recentior est Cypria.”
 
Devia Cyprus (notes on an archaeological journey in Cyprus in 1888) D.G. Hogarth,  pgs.110-115
 
Artwork: Pen and Ink reproduction of the Quintus Sergius Paulus inscription based upon photo of artifact. Illustration by John Argubright.
 
Artwork: Pen an Ink reproduction of the L.Sergius Paulus inscription based upon photo of the artifact located at the Yalvac Museum at Pisidian Antioch. Illustrator: John Argubright
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