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Who were the Galatians?

Most people have only heard of the Galatians because of the Apostle Paul’s famous “Letter to the Galatians”—a book in the New Testament. If you are like me, I really only knew it must have been a region in Asia Minor—known today as Anatolia, part of Turkey. I understood Asia Minor was then occupied by Greeks, but was also a province of the Roman Empire. Thus I assumed Galatians were Greek, and they likely spoke Greek, as Paul wrote his letter to them in Greek. Wrong. Those living in the province of Galatia, centrally located in Anatolia, were mostly ethnically Gallic, not Greek. They were related to the Gauls in what is now France. Thus the name—“Gaul”ations. They even spoke a Gallic language as their mother tongue, related to the Gallic language the Gauls spoke in France. Their language survived several more centuries there after Paul’s visit in the first century before dying out. The Gauls had invaded the Balkan Peninsula centuries before, and some of those had settle in Anatolia. And who were the Gauls? They were Celts—the names sound similar because they are derived from the same word. “Celts” today makes most of us think of the Irish and the Scots in Britain at the time. All of their languages were part of the Celtic language family that was widespread across Europe in the first millennium BCE. So—amazingly—the Galatians were more closely related to the Irish than to the Greeks. You learn something every day. The capital of Turkey today, Ankara, population greater than five million, was also once the capital of Galatia. See below.

Map of the Roman Empire provinces in the First Century AD with Galatia in red.

Many Greek and Roman ruins still exist in what was once the province of Galatia.

Ankara, the capital of Turkey today, was the site of the capital of the province of Galatia in the First Century AD.

The historic Celtic Language family that includes Galatian.

Those in green are still exist today, although in dwindling numbers.

Cry For Jerusalem is a series of historical fiction books covering the seven years leading up to the burning of Herod’s Temple and the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Author Ward Sanford gives this period of history new depth in Cry For Jerusalem and showcasing the works of eyewitness historian Flavius Josephus in a new way with this fictional yet fact-based dramatization.

In the CFJ blog section Ward covers subjects to do with the vast amount of research that went into the CFJ novel series, including Ancient Jerusalem, the Roman Empire, and Biblical topics and the writings of Josephus.

To learn more about the series and purchase click here or more about the history behind the series click here.

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