Part of a pavement found near the theater of Corinth which mentions “Erastus” who was the aedile of the city. An “aedile” was in charge of the financial matters of the city — and was very wealthy. The pavement was laid about A.D. 50.
The New Testament book of Romans was written by Paul from Corinth to the church in Rome in the spring of A.D. 57—on his third journey. In Romans 16:23 Paul says that “Erastus, the city treasurer [Ἕραστος ὸ οἰκονόμς] greets you . . . .” It is very probable that the “Erastus” mentioned in Romans is the very same person who is mentioned in this inscription.
The two lines on the Latin inscription have been transcribed by John McRay in the following way:
ERASTVS PRO AEDILIT E
S P STRAVIT
McRay suggests that the full transcription can be translated as “Erastus in return for his aedileship laid (the pavement) at his own expense.”
From the following passages it is evident that Erastus was very involved in Paul’s ministry:
On his third journey, prior to the writing of the NT book of Romans, Paul wrote:
Acts 19:22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia [at Ephesus] a little longer.
and then in Paul’s final letter while imprisoned in Rome Paul wrote:
2Tim. 4:20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus
The image below is an example of an ancient inscription filled with metal — from the via Appia in the Italian city of Terracina.
For an extensive discussion of the Erastus inscription and the various options that the various Latin and (NT) Greek terms suggest, see John McRay Archaeology and the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1991: 331–33. To examine for purchase Click Here.
For a brief description of the biblical and historical significance of Corinth and a Map of the region Click Here.