🔼The name Trachonitis: Summary
- Rough Place, Place Of Rudeness
- From the adjective τραχυς (trachus), rough or rude.
🔼The name Trachonitis in the Bible
The name Trachonitis occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Luke 3:1, which time-stamps the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist with the fifteenth year of Caesar Tiberius (who became emperor in 14 AD), when Herod Antipas (son of Herod the Great) was tetrarch of Galilee and his brother Philip of the areas of Ituraea and Trachonitis.
Trachonitis was the name of the region to the north-east of the northernmost end of modern Israel; 50 kilometer south of Damascus in Syria. Its modern name is Lajat and its ancient name is Argob, a.k.a. the kingdom of Og of Bashan (Deuteronomy 3:4, 1 Kings 4:13), who lived in Ashtaroth (Deuteronomy 1:4). This is of course relevant because Psalm 22:12 complains that "...strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me."
🔼Etymology of the name Trachonitis
The original name of Trachonitis, namely Argob (ארגב, argob), comes from the verb רגב (ragab), to clod or heap (Job 21:33, 38:38). Our name Trachonitis comes from the adjective τραχυς (trachus), meaning rough, jagged or uneven. This word may describe a rugged landscape or someone's jagged voice or rough assertions, and rather point at the rudeness of human inhabitants than the roughness of the landscape:
The adjective τραχυς (trachus) means rough, jagged or uneven, and may describe rough places or rough voices, and as such be related to the noun τραχηλος (trachelos), which literally describes one's neck or throat but is predominantly used to describe unmanneredness or lawlessness; the opposite of lawfulness and thus politeness or civilizedness or city-like-ness.
The name Trachonitis means Rough Place or rather Rude Place, and is a word like heathen (from heath) or pagan (from pagus, field), as demonstrative of a signature absence of politeness (from polis, city) and civilizedness (from city). The bulls of Bashan, likewise, signify lawlessness and absence of social code (and even language and reason), which obviously threatens civilization, law, script and all sophistication that is based on algorithmic thought (rules).