🔼The name Pisidia: Summary
- Unclear but perhaps Meadow(s)
- Unclear but perhaps from πισος (pisos), meadow(s).
🔼The name Pisidia in the Bible
Pisidia was proverbially rough and mountainous and hard to traverse. Its informal collection of Pisidian tribes were wild and unruly and although in theory Pisidia was subjected to Hittites, Lydians, Persians, Greeks and Seleucids, always some Pisidian tribes resisted and remained autonomous, until all of Pisidia fell to the freshly invaded Galatians (who were European Celts), and all of them to the Romans.
When Paul and Barnabas crossed from south to north through the region and arrived at Pisidian Antioch (not to be confused with the much more prominent Syrian Antioch), there was a Jewish synagogue waiting for Paul to preach in (Acts 13:14) and scores of gentiles for them to convert (13:43). After some resistance from the Jewish religious leaders, Paul and Barnabas took off to Iconium (13:51), but on their way back south, they again visited Pisidian Antioch (14:24).
🔼Etymology of the name Pisidia
The origin of name Pisidia is obscure. Although regions were often named after one dominant tribe, the name Pisidia was attached to the notoriously wild region north of Lycia, which was so wild that it didn't even have proper borders.
Here at Abarim Publications we wouldn't be surprised when some day the name Pisidia could be convincingly tied to the Greek word πισον (pison), meaning pea. The plant appears to have originated in the Mediterranean basin, and was domesticated as one of mankind's first agricultural endeavors. It's unclear why the pea was called pison in Greek, pisum in Latin, and subsequently pease (plural pesen) in Middle English and pea in modern English, but our Greek word also appears as πισος (pisos), which is identical to the word πισος (pisos), meaning meadow(s), as used by Homer in his Iliad:
"There was not a river absent except Okeanos, nor a single one of the nymphs that haunt fair groves, or springs of rivers and grassy meadows" (Homer Il.20.9).
Some commentators surmise that Paul was thinking of his perilous journeys through Pisidia when he wrote: "I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen,..". (2 Corinthians 11:26).