🔼The name Euroclydon: Summary
- Easterly Surger
- From (1) the noun ευρος (euros), east wind, and (2) the verb κλυζω (kluzo), to surge, rage or violently rinse.
🔼The name Euroclydon in the Bible
The name Euroclydon belongs to a notorious easterly wind, which blows in autumn and winter in the Mediterranean Sea — and an easterly wind is one that blows from the west toward the east.
Nowadays this wind is known by the names Gregalia and Levanter. Its Latin name is Euroaquilo (or Euraquilo) and was used as such in the Vulgate and subsequently the ASV and the NAS. The original Greek name Euroclydon survives in the KJV, Darby and Young translations. The NIV doesn't use either and speaks of "northeaster," after the literal translation of the Latin name Euroaquilo (eurus is the east wind and aquilo is the north wind).
🔼Etymology of the name Euroclydon
The Greek name Euroclydon consists of two elements. The first part is ευρος (euros), which is cognate of the Latin eurus and denotes the east wind. It's not clear where this word might come from (suggestions are: ηως, eos, dawn; αυρα, aura, breeze; ευω, euo, singe) but it should be noted that it is spelled identical to an adjective meaning spacious or wide. The latter occurs in the Bible only in the compound ευρυχωρος (euruchoros, wide-spaced; Matthew 7:13), but is also the root of the name Europe (which means Wide-Eyed or Open-Minded).
The second part of our name comes from the verb κλυζω (kluzo), meaning to surge (of the sea):
The verb κλυζω (kluzo) describes the sea's surging and thus washing and rinsing. Noun κλυδων (kludon) denotes the raging of the sea, which demonstrates that nothing clears the mind like a good hissy fit.
The name Euroclydon literally means the Easterly Surger, but Acts 27 may be about more than simply a tough trip or heavenly providence. It may be that instead of mere elaborate anecdote, the author of this account rather sought to offer a compact commentary on the competition between European and Eastern theologies.
We know from Roman scribes that Buddhist monks frequented the courts in Rome and evangelized at the empire's many intellectual centers and a wind that blows toward the east, and thus drives floating things eastward, may metaphorize these people's efforts. Buddhism is of course much more virtuous than Roman pagan nonsense, but the presence of this wonderfully enlightened alternative to the obvious decrepit Roman way may actually have beached Paul's mission rather than it helping it along.
Note too that the Hebrew word for east קדם (qedem) means both east and antiquity. An east-driving wind may also refer to a reversion in social development, back to the ways of earlier times, which could either be good or bad, depending on the situation.