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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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Luke 3:1. The Trachonite region (the old Bashan) included parrs of Auranitis, Gaulanitis, and Batanaea besides Trachonitis proper, which lay S. of Damascus and E. of Gaulanitis. (Josephus Ant. 17:8, section 1; 11, section 4). Philip was tetrarch of Trachonitis and Ituraea. (See PHILIP.) Trachonitis is the Greek for the Aramaic Αrgob ("heap of stones"), "the rugged region," abounding in caves, some of vast extent. Jerome places Trachonitis rightly between Damascus and Bostra; having Kenath among its chief towns. Trachonitis included el Lejah and part of the western slopes of jebel Hauran. (See ARGOB.)

On the northern border of Trachonitis are the large ruins of Musmeih, which an inscription on a temple door identifies with Phocus (Phoeno) the old capital (Burckhardt, Trav. Syriac 117). The Lejah is bounded on the E. by the mountains of Batanaea (jebel Ηauran ) whereon lie the ruins of Kenath, on the S. by Auranitis (Hauran) whereon are the ruins of Bostra, on the N. by Ituraea (Jedur) and Damascus. Josephus (Ant. 15:10, section 1) says "the inhabitants dwelt in caves that served as a refuge for themselves and their flocks; they had cisterns of water, and stored granaries, and so were able to defy their enemies. The cave doors are so narrow that but one can enter at a time, while within they are incredibly large; the ground above abounds in rugged rocks with many windings, and difficult of access except with a guide." From Josephus' time until the present day it has been the haunt and asylum of robbers.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Trachonitis'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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