From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
LYSANIAS, tetrarch of Abilene (see Abila), according to Luke iii. i, in the time of John the Baptist. The only Lysanias mentioned in profane history as exercising authority in this district was executed in 36 B.C. by M. Antonius (Mark Antony). This Lysanias was the son of Ptolemy Mennaeus, the ruler of an independent state, of which Abilene formed only a small portion. According to Josephus (Ant. xix. 5, i) the emperor Claudius in A.D. 42 confirmed Agrippa I. in the possession of " Abila of Lysanias " already bestowed upon him by Caligula, elsewhere described as " Abila, which had formed the tetrarchy of Lysanias." It is argued that this cannot refer to the Lysanias executed by M. Antonius, since his paternal inheritance, even allowing for some curtailment by Pompey, must have been of far greater extent. It is therefore assumed by some authorities that the Lysanias in Luke (A.D. 28-29) is a younger Lysanias, tetrarch of Abilene only, one of the districts into which the original kingdom was split up after the death of Lysanias I. This younger Lysanias may have been a son of the latter, and identical with, or the father of, the Claudian Lysanias. On the other hand, Josephus knows nothing of a younger Lysanias, and it is suggested by others that he really does refer to Lysanias I. The explanation given by M. Krenkel (Josephus and Lucas, Leipzig, 18 94, p. 97) is that Josephus does not mean to imply that Abila was the only possession of Lysanias, and that he calls it the tetrarchy or kingdom of Lysanias because it was the last remnant of the domain of Lysanias which remained under direct Roman administration until the time of Agrippa. The expression was borrowed from Josephus by Luke, who wrongly imagined that Lysanias I. had ruled almost up to the time of the bestowal of his tetrarchy upon Agrippa, and therefore to the days of John the Baptist. Two inscriptions are adduced as evidence for the existence of a younger Lysanias - Beckh, C.I.G. 4521 and 4523. The former is inconclusive, and in the latter the reading Ai/alai/cold is entirely conjectural; the name might equally well be Lysimachus or Lysias.
See E. Scharer, Geschichte des jiidischen Volkes (3rd ed., 1901), i. p. 712; and (especially on the inscriptional evidence) E. Renan, Memoire sur la dynastie des Lysanias d'Abilene " in Memoires de l'institut imperial de France (xxvi., 1870); also P. W. Schmiedel in the Encyclopaedia Biblica, s.v.