🔼The name Rhegium: Summary
- Royal Place
- Place Of The Breach, Ruin
- From the Latin noun rex, king.
- From the Greek noun ρηγμα (rhegma), a breach or ruin.
🔼The name Rhegium in the Bible
The name Rhegium (or rather the Greek Rhegion) occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Acts 28:13, where we learn that Paul and his friends finally arrived in Italy, immediately after their three days transit in Syracuse, Sicily, and their three month winter on Malta in the care of Publius.
Rhegium (modern Reggio Calabria) has existed for thousands of years, and was ruled successively by natives, Phoenicians, Greeks, Sicilians and finally the Romans. By the time Paul landed there (in the early sixties AD), Rhegium was a colossal city with various academia, port facilities and social and recreational facilities such as thermal baths.
🔼Etymology of the name Rhegium
The Latin name Rhegium is most probably a variant spelling of the more common word regium, which derives from regius, meaning royal or of a king (rex). An obviously related word is regio, which implies a line, and thus a border and thus a region or territory. By the time Paul arrived in Italy this city was called Royal Place, but apparently its Greek name was still in use.
The formation of this Latin name had probably been lubricated by its existing Greek name, which was the similar sounding Ρηγιον (Rhegion). This Greek name in turn may have derived from the noun ρηγμα (rhegma) meaning break or breach:
The verb ρηγνυμι (rhegnumi) means to have an outburst due to internal pressure and thus an eruption of some sort, usually resulting in loss and ruin. The noun ρηγμα (rhegma) describes a rending, breach or ruin.
Perhaps the name Greek name Rhegion meant Place Of The Breach and referred to the narrow sea gap between Sicily and the Italian mainland, or else Ripped Asunder Place as glum nod to this town's propensity to be hit by wide-scale destructive earthquakes — in 91 BC and 17 AD the city was leveled and rebuilt.
To any Latin ears the name Rhegium would probably have sounded like Royal Place.