(Ly·saʹni·as) [a composite word from roots meaning “loose; loosen” and “grief; distress”].
The district ruler, or tetrarch, of Abilene when John the Baptizer began his ministry (29 C.E.), during the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar’s rule. (Lu 3:1) The Roman tetrarchy of Abilene had its capital at Abila, near Damascus of Syria. An inscription from the time of Tiberius Caesar found there commemorates a temple dedication by a freedman of “Lysanias the tetrarch.” (Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, Vol. 3, No. 4521) Because Josephus refers to a Lysanias executed about 34 B.C.E. by Mark Antony at Cleopatra’s instigation, some have charged Luke with inaccuracy. (Jewish Antiquities, XV, 92 [iv, 1]) However, Luke did not err, for the Lysanias he mentions is not the same person as the earlier Lysanias (the son of Ptolemy) who, before being executed, ruled, not Abilene, but nearby Chalcis, and who is not called a tetrarch.