23609871911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11 — GalatiaJohn George Clark Anderson

GALATIA. I. In the strict sense (Galatia Proper, Roman Gallograecia) this is the name applied by Greek-speaking peoples to a large inland district of Asia Minor since its occupation by Gaulish tribes in the 3rd century B.C. Bounded on the N. by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, W. by Phrygia, S. by Lycaonia and Cappadocia, E. by Pontus, it included the greater part of the modern vilayet of Angora, stretching from Pessinus eastwards to Tavium and from the Paphlagonian hills N. of Ancyra southwards to the N. end of the salt lake Tatta (but probably including the plains W. of the lake during the greater part of its history),—a rough oblong about 200 m. long and 100 (to 130) broad.

Galatia is part of the great central plateau of Asia Minor, here ranging from 2000 to 3000 ft. above sea-level, and falls geographically into two parts separated by the Halys (Kizil Irmak),—a small eastern district lying chiefly in the basin of the Delije Irmak, the principal affluent of the Halys, and a large western region drained almost entirely by the Sangarius (Sakaria) and its tributaries. On the N. side Galatia consists of a series of plains with fairly fertile soil, lying between bare hills. But the greater part is a dreary stretch of barren, undulating uplands, intersected by tiny streams and passing gradually into the vast level waste of treeless (anc. Axylon) plain that runs S. to Lycaonia; these uplands are little cultivated and only afford extensive pasturage for large flocks of sheep and goats. Cities are few and far apart, and the climate is one of extremes of heat and cold. The general condition and aspect of the country was much the same in ancient as in modern times.

The Gaulish invaders appeared in Asia Minor in 278–277 B.C. They numbered 20,000, of which only one-half were fighting men, the rest being doubtless women and children; and not long after their arrival we find them divided into three tribes, Trocmi, Tolistobogii and Tectosages, each of which claimed a separate sphere of operations. They had split off from the army which invaded Greece under Brennus in 279 B.C., and, marching into Thrace under Leonnorius and Lutarius, crossed over to Asia at the invitation of Nicomedes I. of Bithynia, who required help in his struggle against his brother. For about 46 years they were the scourge of the western half of Asia Minor, ravaging the country, as allies of one or other of the warring princes, without any serious check, until Attalus I., king of Pergamum (241-197), inflicted several severe defeats upon them, and about 232 B.C. forced them to settle permanently in the region to which they gave their name. Probably they already occupied parts of Galatia, but definite limits were now fixed and their right to the district was formally recognized. The tribes were settled where they afterwards remained, the Tectosages round Ancyra, the Tolistobogii round Pessinus, and the Trocmi round Tavium. The constitution of the Galatian state is described by Strabo: conformably to Gaulish custom, each tribe was divided into four cantons (Gr. τετραρχίαι), each governed by a chief (“tetrarch”) of its own with a judge under him, whose powers were unlimited except in cases of murder, which were tried before a council of 300 drawn from the twelve cantons and meeting at a holy place called Drynemeton. But the power of the Gauls was not yet broken. They proved a formidable foe to the Romans in their wars with Antiochus, and after Attalus’ death their raids into W. Asia Minor forced Rome in 189 B.C. to send an expedition against them under Cn. Manlius Vulso, who taught them a severe lesson. Henceforward their military power declined and they fell at times under Pontic ascendancy, from which they were finally freed by the Mithradatic wars, in which they heartily supported Rome. In the settlement of 64 B.C. Galatia became a client-state of the empire, the old constitution disappeared, and three chiefs (wrongly styled “tetrarchs”) were appointed, one for each tribe. But this arrangement soon gave way before the ambition of one of these tetrarchs, Deiotarus, the contemporary of Cicero and Caesar, who made himself master of the other two tetrarchies and was finally recognized by the Romans as king of Galatia. On the death of the third king Amyntas in 25 B.C., Galatia was incorporated by Augustus in the Roman empire, and few of the provinces were more enthusiastically loyal.

The population of Galatia was not entirely Gallic. Before the arrival of the Gauls, western Galatia up to the Halys was inhabited by Phrygians, and eastern Galatia by Cappadocians and other native races. This native population remained, and constituted the majority of the inhabitants of the rural parts and almost the sole inhabitants of the towns. They were left in possession of two-thirds of the land (cf. Caesar, B.G. i. 31) on condition of paying part of the produce to their new lords, who took the other third, and agriculture and commerce with all the arts and crafts of peaceful life remained entirely in their hands. They were henceforth ranked as “Galatians” by the outside world equally with their overlords, and it was from their numbers that the “Galatian” slaves who figure in the markets of the ancient world were drawn. The conquerors, who were few in number, formed a small military aristocracy, living not in the towns, but in fortified villages, where the chiefs in their castles kept up a barbaric state, surrounded by their tribesmen. With the decline of their warlike vigour they began gradually to mix with the natives and to adopt at least their religion: the amalgamation was accelerated under Roman influence and ultimately became as complete as that of the Normans with the Saxons in England, but they gave to the mixed race a distinctive tone and spirit, and long retained their national characteristics and social customs, as well as their language (which continued in use, side by side with Greek, in the 4th century after Christ). In the 1st century, when St Paul made his missionary journeys, even the towns Ancyra, Pessinus and Tavium (where Gauls were few) were not Hellenized, though Greek, the language of government and trade, was spoken there; while the rural population was unaffected by Greek civilization. Hellenic ways and modes of thought begin to appear in the towns only in the later 2nd century. In the rustic parts a knowledge of Greek begins to spread in the 3rd century; but only in the 4th and 5th centuries, after the transference of the centre of government first to Nicomedia and then to Constantinople placed Galatia on the highway of imperial communication, was Hellenism in its Christian form gradually diffused over the country. (See also Ancyra; Pessinus; Gordium.)

II. The Roman province of Galatia, constituted 25 B.C., included the greater part of the country ruled by Amyntas, viz. Galatia Proper, part of Phrygia towards Pisidia (Apollonia, Antioch and Iconium), Pisidia, part of Lycaonia (including Lystra and Derbe) and Isauria. For nearly 100 years it was the frontier province, and the changes in its boundaries are an epitome of the stages of Roman advance to the Euphrates, one client-state after another being annexed: Paphlagonia in 6–5 B.C.; Sebastopolis, 3–2 B.C.; Amasia, A.D. 1–2; Comana, A.D. 34–35,—together forming Pontus Galaticus,—the Pontic kingdom of Polemon, A.D. 64, under the name Pontus Polemoniacus. In A.D. 70 Cappadocia (a procuratorial province since A.D. 17) with Armenia Minor became the centre of the forward movement and Galatia lost its importance, being merged with Cappadocia in a vast double governorship until A.D. 114 (probably), when Trajan separated the two parts, making Galatia an inferior province of diminished size, while Cappadocia with Armenia Minor and Pontus became a great consular military province, charged with the defence of the frontier. Under Diocletian’s reorganization Galatia was divided, about 295, into two parts and the name retained for the northern (now nearly identical with the Galatia of Deiotarus); and about 390 this province, amplified by the addition of a few towns in the west, was divided into Galatia Prima and Secunda or Salutaris, the division indicating the renewed importance of Galatia in the Byzantine empire. After suffering from Persian and Arabic raids, Galatia was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century and passed to the Ottoman Turks in the middle of the 14th.

The question whether the “Churches of Galatia,” to which St Paul addressed his Epistle, were situated in the northern or southern part of the province has been much discussed, and in England Prof. Sir W. M. Ramsay has been the principal advocate of the adoption of the South-Galatian theory, which maintains that they were the churches planted in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch (see Galatians). In the present writer’s opinion this is supported by the study of the historical and geographical facts.[1]

Authorities.—Van Gelder, De Gallis in Graecia et Asia (1888); Staehelin, Gesch. d. kleinasiat. Galater (1897); Perrot, De Galatia prov. Rom. (1867); Sir W. M. Ramsay, Histor. Geogr. (1890), St Paul (1898), and Introd. to Histor. Commentary on Galatians (1899). For antiquities generally, Perrot, Explor. archéol. de la Galatie (1862); K. Humann and O. Puchstein, Reisen in Kleinasien (1890); Koerte, Athen. Mitteilungen (1897); Anderson and Crowfoot, Journ. of Hellenic Studies (1899); and Anderson, Map of Asia Minor (London, Murray, 1903). (J. G. C. A.) 

  1. In the unsettled state of this controversy, weight naturally attaches to the opinion of experts on either side; and the above statement, while opposed to the view taken in the following article on the epistle, must be taken on its merits.—Ed. E.B.