(Γαλατία, also [Ac 16:6; Ac 18:23 ἡ Γαλατικὴ χώρα), an important central district of Asia Minor (q.v.).
Galatia is literally the "Gallia" of the East. Roman writers call its inhabitants Galli, just as Greek writers call the inhabitants of ancient France Γάλαται (see Pritchard, Nat. Hist. of Man, 3:95). From the intermixture of Gauls and Greeks (Pausan. 1:4), Galatia was also called Gallo-Graecia (Γαλλογραικία, Strabo, 12:5), and its inhabitants Gallo- Graeci. But even in Jerome's time they had not lost their native language (Pol. ad Comment. in Ep. ad Gal.; De Wette's Lehrbuch, page 231). In 2Ti 4:10, some commentators suppose Western Gaul to be meant, and several MSS. have Γαλλίαν instead of Γαλατίαν. In 1 Macc. 8:2, where Judas Maccabaeus is hearing the story of the prowess of the Romans in conquering the Γάλαται, it is possible to interpret the passage either of the Eastern or Western Gauls; for the subjugation of Spain by the Romans, and the defeat of Antiochus, king of Asia, are mentioned in the same context. Again, Γάλαται is the same word with Κέλται; and the Galatians were in their origin a stream of that great Celtic torrent (apparently Kymry, and not Gael) which poured into Macedonia about B.C. 280 (Strabo, 4:187; 12:566; Livy, 38:16; Flor. 2:11; Justin, 25:2; Appian, Syr. 32:42). Some of these invaders moved on into Thrace, and appeared on the shores of the Hellespont and Bosporus, when Nicomedes I, king of Bithynia, being then engaged in a civil war, invited thelm across into Asia Minor to assist him against his brother, Zyboetas (Memnon, ap. Phot. Cod. 224, page 374), B.C. cir. 270. Having accomplished this object, they were unwilling to retrace their steps; and, strengthened by the accession of fresh hordes from Europe, they overran Bithynia and the neighboring countries, and supported themselves by predatory excursions, or by imposts exacted from the native chiefs. Antiochus I, king of Syria, took his title of Soter in consequence of his victory over them. After the lapse of forty years, Attalus I, king of Pergamus, succeeded in checking their nomadic habits, and confined them to a fixed territory within the general geographical limits, to which the name of Galatia was permanently given. The Galatians still found vent for their restlessness and love of war by hiring themselves out as mercenary soldiers. This is doubtless the explanation -of 2 Macc. 8:20, which refers to some struggle of the Seleucid princes in which both Jews and Galatians were engaged. In Josephus (War, 1:20, 3) we find some of the latter, who had been in Cleopatra's body- guard, acting in the same character for Herod the Great. Meanwhile the wars had been taking place which brought all the countries round the east of the Mediterranean within the range of the Raman power. The Galatians fought on the side of Antiochus at Magnesia. In the Mithridatic war they fought on both sides. Of the three principal tribes (Strabo, 13:429), the Trocmi (Τρόκμοι) settled in the eastern part of Galatia, near the banks of the Halys; the Tectosages (Τεκτόσαγες) in the country round Ancyra; and the Tolistobogii (Τολιστοβόγιοι) in the south-western parts near Pessinus. They retained their independence till the year B.C. 189, when they were brought under the power of Rome by the proconsul Cn. Manlius (Livy, 38: Polyb. 22:24); though still governed by their own princes. Their government was originally republican (Pliny, 5:42), but at length regal (Strabo, 12:390), Deiotarus being their first king (Cicero, pro Deiot. 13), and the last Amyntas (Dio Cass. 49:32), at whose death, in the year B.C. 25, Galatia became a province under the empire (see Ritter, Erdkunde, 18:597-610).
The Roman province of Galatia may be roughly described as the central region of the peninsula of Asia Minor, with: the provinces of Asia on the west, Cappadocia on the east, Pamphylia and Cilicia on the south, and Bithynia and Pontus on the north (Strabo, 12:566; Pliny, 5:42; Ammian. Marcell. 25:10). It would be difficult to define the exact limits. In fact, they were frequently changing. (See Smith's Dict. of Class. Geogr. s.v.) Under the successors of Augustus, the boundaries of Galatia were so much enlarged that it reached from the shores of the Euxine to the Pisidian Taurus. In the time of Constantine a new division was made, which reduced it to its ancient limits; and by Theodosius I, or Valens, it was separated into Galatia Prima, the northern part, occupied by the Trocmi and Tectosages, and Galatia Secunda, or Salutaris: Ancyra was the capital of the former, and Pessinus of the latter. Thus at one time there is no doubt that this province contained Pisidia and Lycaonia, and therefore those towns of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, which are conspicuous in the narrative of Paul's travels. But the characteristic part of Galatia lay northward from those districts. On the mountainous (Flor. 2:12), but fruitful (Strabo, 12:567) table-land between the Sangarius and the Halys, the Galatians were still settled in their three tribes, the Tectosages, the Tolistobogii, and the Trocmi, the first of which is identical in name with a tribe familiar to us in the history of Gaul, as distributed over the Cevennes near Toulouse (Caesar, Bell. Gall. 4:24; comp. Jablonsky, De lingua Lycaonica, page 23 sq.). The three capitals were respectively Tavium, Pessinus, and Ancyra. The last of these (the modern Angora) was the centre of the roads of the district, and may be regarded as the metropolis of the Galatians. These Eastern Gauls preserved much of their ancient character, and something of their ancient language. At least Jerome says that in his day the same language might be heard at Ancyra as at Treves: and he is a good witness, for he himself had been at Treves. The prevailing speech, however, of the district was Greek (Livy, 37:8; 38:12; Flor. 2:11; see Spanheim, ad Callim. Del. 184). Hence the Galatians were called Gallograeci (Manlius in Livy, 38:17). The inscriptions found at Ancyra are Greek, and Paul wrote his epistle in Greek. (See Penny Cyclopepdia, s.v. Celtse, Galatia; Mannert's Geographie der Griechen und Romer, 6:3, ch. 4; Merleker's Lehrbuch der Historischcomnparativen Geographie, 4:1, page 284.)
It is difficult, at first sight, to determine in what sense the word Galatia is used by the writers of the N.T., or whether always in the same sense. In the Acts of the Apostles the journeys of Paul through the district are mentioned in very general terms. We are simply told (Ac 16:6) that on his second missionary circuit he went with Silas and Timotheus "through Phrygia and the region of Galatia" (διὰ τὴν Φρυγίαν καὶ τὴν Γαλατικὴν χώραν). From the Epistle, indeed, we have this supplementary information, that an attack of sickness (δἰ ἀσθένειαν τῆς σακρός, Ga 4:13) detained him among the Galatians, and gave him the opportunity of preaching the Gospel to them, and also that he was received by them with extraordinary fervor (2:14,15); but this does not inform us of the route which he took. So on the third circuit he is described (Ac 18:23) as "going over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order" (διερχόμενος καθεξῆς τὴς Γαλατικὴν χώραν καὶ Φρυγίαν). We know from the first Epistle to the Corinthians that on this journey Paul was occupied with the collection for the poor Christians of Judaea, and that he gave instructions in Galatia on the subject (éσπερ διέταξα ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Γαλατίας, 1Co 16:1); but here again we are in doubt as to the places which-he had visited. We observe that the "churches" of Galatia are mentioned here in the plural, as in the opening of the Epistle to the Galatians themselves (Ga 1:2). From this we should be inclined to infer that he visited several parts of the district, instead of residing a long time in one place, so as to form a great central church, as at Ephesus and Corinth. This is in harmony with the phrase ἡ Γαλατικὴ χώρα, used in both instances. Since Phrygia is mentioned first in one case, and second in the other, we should suppose that the order of the journey was different on the two occasions. Phrygia also being not the name of a Roman province, but simply an ethnographical term, it is natural to conclude that Galatia is used here by Luke in the same general way. In confirmation of his view, it is worth while to notice that in Ac 2:9-10, where the enumeration is ethnographical rather than political, Phrygia is mentioned, and not Galatia, while the exact contrary is the case in 1Pe 1:1-2, where each geographical term is the name of a province (see Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paud, 1:243).
The Epistle to the Galatians was probably written very soon after Paul's second visit to them. Its abruptness and severity, and the sadness of its tone, are caused by their sudden perversion from the doctrine which the apostle had taught them, and which at first they had received so willingly. It is no fancy if we see in this fickleness a specimen of that "impetuous, mobile, impressible spirit" which Thierry marks as characteristic of the Gaulish race (Hist. des Gaulois, Introd. 4, 5). From Josephus (Ant. 16:6, 2) we know that many Jews were settled in Galatia, but Ga 4:8 would lead us to suppose that Paul's converts were mostly Gentiles. The view advocated by Bottger (Schauplatz der Wirksarnkeit des Apostels Paulus, pages 28-30, and the third of his Beitrbiqe, pages 1-5) is that the Galatia of the Epistle is entirely limited to the district between Derbe and Colossae, i.e. the extreme southern frontier of the Roman province. On this view the visit alluded to by the apostle took place on his first missionary circuit, and the ἀσθένεια of Ga 4:13 is identified with the effects of the stoning at Lystra (Ac 14:19). Geographically this is not impossible, though it seems unlikely that regions called Pisidia and Lycaonia in one place should be called Galatia in another. Bottger's geography, however, is connected with a theory concerning the date of the Epistle (see Rückert, in his [Magaz. für Exegese, 1:98 sq.), and for the determination of this point we must refer to the article on the SEE GALATIANS, THE EPISTLE TO THE. (See Schmidt, De Galatis [Ilfeld. 1748, 1784]; Mynster, Kleine theol Schrfft. page 60 sq.; Cellarii Notit. 2:173 sq.; Forbiger, Alte Geoq. 2:361 sq.; Hofmann, De Galatia Antiqua [Lips. 1726]; Wernsdorf, De republ. Galatar. [Norimb. 1743]; Hamilton, Asia Minor, 1:379).