At the northern extremity the generally wild and rugged tract of the Jaulân and Haurân, called in the Bible Trachonitis, and still farther to the eastward the plateau of the Lejah, with its row of volcanic peaks sloping down to the vast level of Bashan, is covered throughout nearly its whole extent by great sheets of basaltic lava, above which rise at intervals, and in very perfect form, the old crater-cones of eruption.
He ruled over Iturea and Trachonitis, the country to the north and east of the Sea of Galilee, having his capital at Cæsarea Philippi, a city built and named by him on the site of an older town near the sources of the Jordan. He also rebuilt the city of Bethsaida, at the point where the Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee, calling it Julias, after the daughter of Augustus.
Nam Felix simul cum Cumano in eam provinciam missus est, sic ea inter eos divisa, ut Felix Samariam administraret, Cumanus vero reliquam provinciae partem." Agrippam vero de Chalcide in regnum majus transtulit, tradens ei illam quoque provinciam, quae Felicis fuisset. Erat autem ista Trachonitis, Bethanea, Gaulanitis.
When Herod had been at Rome, and was come back again, a war arose between him and the Arabians, on the occasion following: The inhabitants of Trachonitis, after Caesar had taken the country away from Zenodorus, and added it to Herod, had not now power to rob, but were forced to plough the land, and to live quietly, which was a thing they did not like; and when they did take that pains, the ground did not produce much fruit for them.
NOW in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene: when Annas and Caiaphas were high-priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness; and he came into all the country on the confines of Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths strait: every valley shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be levelled, and the crooked ways made strait, and the rough roads smooth: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
Those of Trachonitis also made use of this opportunity, and rose up against the Idumean garrison, and followed the same way of robbing with the Arabians, who had pillaged their country, and were more rigid in their unjust proceedings, not only in order to get by it, but by way of revenge also.
Accordingly, when he understood that there was a man that was a Jew come out of Babylon, with five hundred horsemen, all of whom could shoot their arrows as they rode on horde-back, and, with a hundred of his relations, had passed over Euphrates, and now abode at Antioch by Daphne of Syria, where Saturninus, who was then president, had given them a place for habitation, called Valatha, he sent for this man, with the multitude that followed him, and promised to give him land in the toparchy called Batanea, which country is bounded with Trachonitis, as desirous to make that his habitation a guard to himself.
Now there was a mighty conflux of people that came to Aristobulus from all parts, insomuch that he had a kind of royal attendants about him; for in a little more than fifteen days he got twenty-two strong places, which gave him the opportunity of raising an army from Libanus and Trachonitis, and the monarchs; for men are easily led by the greater number, and easily submit to them.
And in all his dealings with the many men they knew him only as a son of Judah, and by that name. One evening, over in Trachonitis, Ben-Hur was sitting with some of his Galileans at the mouth of the cave in which he quartered, when an Arab courier rode to him, and delivered a letter. Breaking the package, he read, "Jerusalem, Nisan IV. "A prophet has appeared who men say is Elias.
Except in Trachonitis and southern Ituraea, where the basaltic rock everywhere crops out, the soil is rich and productive, the country in places wooded with fine trees, and the herbage luxuriant. On the west the mountains rise almost precipitously from the Jordan valley, above which they tower to the height of 3000 or 4000 feet.