Proconsul The Greek word ἀνθύπατος, for which this is the true equivalent, is rendered uniformly "deputy" in the A.V. of Ac 13:7-8,12; Ac 19:38, and the derived verb ἀνθυπατεύω in Ac 18:12 is translated "to be deputy." At the division of the Roman provinces by Augustus, in the year B.C. 27, into senatorial and imperial, the emperor assigned to the senate such portions of territory as were peaceable and could be held without force of arms (Sueton. Oct. 47; Strabo, 17:840; Dio Cass. 53:12), an arrangement which remained with frequent alterations till the 3d century. Over these senatorial provinces the senate appointed by lot yearly an officer who was called "proconsul" (ibid. 13), who exercised purely civil functions, had no power over life and death, and was attended by one or more legates (ibid. 14). He was neither girt with the sword nor wore the military dress (ibid. 13). He was chosen out of the body of the senate; and it was customary, when any one's consulate expired, to send him as a proconsul into some province. He enjoyed the same honor with the consuls, but was allowed only six lictors with the fasces before him. Such provinces were in consequence called "proconsular." With the exception of Africa and Asia, which were assigned to men who had passed the office of consul, the senatorial provinces were given to those who had been praetors, and were divided by lot each year among those who had held this office five years previously. Their term of office was one year. The proconsuls decided cases of equity and justice, either privately in their palaces, where they received petitions, heard complaints, and granted writs under their seals; or publicly in the common hall, with the formalities generally observed in the courts at Rome. These duties were, however, more frequently delegated to their assessors, or other judges of their own appointment. As the proconsuls had also the direction of justice, of war, and of the revenues, these departments were administered by their lieutenants, or legati, who were usually nominated by the senate. The expense of their journeys to and from their provinces was defrayed by the public. Livy (8 and 26) mentions two other classes of proconsuls — those who, being consuls, had their office continued beyond the time appointed by law; and those who, being previously in a private station, were invested with this honor, either for the government of provinces or to command in war. Some were created proconsuls by the senate without being appointed to any province, merely to command in the army, and to take charge of the military discipline; others were allowed to enter upon their proconsular office before being admitted to the consulship, but having that honor in reserve.
Among the senatorial provinces in the first arrangement by Augustus were Cyprus, Achaia, and Asia within the Halys and Taurus (Strabo, 17:840). The first and last of these are alluded to in Ac 13:7-8,12; Ac 19:38, as under the government of proconsuls. Achaia became an imperial province in the second year of Tiberius, A.D. 16, and was governed by a procurator (Tacit. Ann. i, 76), but was restored to the senate by Claudius (Sueton. Claud. 25), and therefore Gallio, before whom St. Paul was brought, is rightly termed "proconsul" in Ac 18:12. SEE GALLIO. Cyprus also, after the battle of Actium, was first made an imperial province (Dio Cass. 53:12), but five years afterwards (B.C. 22) it was given to the senate, and is reckoned by Strabo (17:840) ninth among the provinces of the people governed by στρατηγοί, as Achaia is the seventh. These στρατηγοί, or propraetors, had the title of proconsul. Cyprus and Narbonese Gaul were given to the senate in exchange for Dalmatia, and thus, says Dio Cassius (54:4), proconsuls (ἀνθύπατοι) began to be sent to those nations. In Bockh's Compus Inscriptionurm, No. 2631, is the following relating to Cyprus: ἡ πόλις Κοϊντον Ι᾿ούλιον Κόρδον ανθύπατον ἁγνείας This Quintus Julius Cordus appears to have been proconsul of Cyprus before the twelfth year of Claudius. He is mentioned in the next inscription (No. 2632) as the predecessor of another proconsul, Lucius Annius Bassus. The date of this last inscription is the twelfth year of Claudius, A.D. 52. The name of another proconsul of Cyprus in the time of Claudius occurs on a copper coin, of which an engraving is given under CYPRUS SEE
CYPRUS. A coin of Ephesus (q.v.) illustrates the usage of the word ἀνθύπατπκ in Ac 19:38.