The Family of Japheth
THE GREAT majority of those who read this chapter will belong within the Indo-European family of nations, of whom it can be shown that the “father” was Japheth. (27) It is our intention, therefore, to spend more time tracing the descendants of Japheth
27. GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, edited by James Orr, 5 vols., Chicago, Howard-Severance, 1915, under Table of Nations.
Imperial Bible Dictionary, edited by P. Fairbairn, 2 vols. London, Blackie and Son, 1866, under individual names.
Popular and Critical Bible Dictionary, edited by S. Fallows, 3 vols., Chicago, Howard-Severance, 1912, under individual names.
Murray’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by W.C.Piercy,1 vol., London, Murray, 1908, under individual names.
A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by J. D. Davis, Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1931, under individual names.
Bible Cyclopedia, A. R. Fausset, Toronto, Funk and Wagnalls, no date, under individual names.
Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, John Kitto, 2 vols., Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black, 1845, under individual names.
Works dealing specifically with the Table:
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1. Chapter 6.
Rawlinson, George, The Origin of Nations, Scribner, New York, 1878, 272 pages.
Rouse, Martin L., “The Bible Pedigree of the Nations of the World,” Pt. 1, Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.38, 1906, p. 123-153; and “The Pedigree of the Nations,” Pt. 2, Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.39, 1907, p.83-101.
Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old Testament, London, Religious Tract Society, 1893, 180 pages.
Useful information will be found at the appropriate places in commentaries and editions of the Hebrew text by Bullinger, Cook, Dillmann, Dod, Driver, Ellicott, Gray and Adams, Greenwood, Jamieson, Kalisch, Lange, Leupold, Lloyd, Schrader, Skinner, Snaith, Spurrel, Whitelaw.
Archaeological works such as those by George Barton, J. P. Free, M. R. Unger, T. G. Pinches, R. D. Wilson, and A. H. Sayce.
than that of Ham or Shem, partly because, as a result of labours by others in the past, we have considerably more information about this particular line, and partly because what can be said about Hamites and Shemites is not only less in quantity, but has perhaps less intrinsic interest for most of us. Nevertheless, there are certain portions of the Hamitic line which we shall study a little more closely because they contribute light upon the issue of whether this Table of Nations is truly comprehensive or merely selective, encompassing all mankind or only a representative portion.
To begin with, it is well known that Japheth’s name has been preserved in both branches of the Aryan family, which very early split into two major divisions and settled in Europe and India. The Greeks, for example, trace themselves back to Japetos, a name which without doubt is the same, and significantly, according to Skinner, has no meaning in Greek. (28) It does have a meaning, however, in Hebrew. In Aristophanes’ The Clouds, (29) Iapetos is referred to as one of the Titans and the father of Atlas. He was considered by the Greeks not merely as their own ancestor but the father of the human race. According to their tradition, Ouranos and Gaia (i.e., Heaven and Earth) had six sons and six daughters, but of this family only one – Japetos by name – had a human progeny. He married Clymene, a daughter of Okeanos, who bore him Prometheus and three other sons. Prometheus begat Deukalion who is, in effect, the “Noah” of the Greeks, and Deukalion begat Hellen who was the reputed father of the Hellenes or Greeks. If we proceed a little further, we find that Hellen himself had a grandson named Ion; and in Homer’s poetry the rank and file of the Greeks were known as Ionians.
Meanwhile, the Indian branch of this Aryan family also traced themselves back to the same man. In the Indian account of the Flood, (30) “Noah” is known as Satyaurata, who had three sons, the eldest of whom was named Jyapeti. The other two were called Sharma and C’harma (Shem and Ham?). To the first he allotted all the regions north of the Himalayas and to Sharma he gave the country to the south. But he cursed C’harma, because when the old monarch was accidentally inebriated with strong liquor made from fermented rice, C’harma had laughed at him.
28. Skinner, John, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, Edinburgh, T.& T. Clark, 1930, p.196.
29. Aristophanes, The Clouds, Roger’s translation, line 998.
30. See J. H. Titcomb, “Ethnic Testimonies to the Pentateuch,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.6, 1872, p.249-253.
There are three of us, Brothers, all sons of Cronos and Rhea: Zeus, Myself, and Hades, the King of the Dead. Each of us was given domain when the world was divided into three parts.
The second is that in primitive Aryan speech the title Djapatischta (32) means “chief of the race,” a title which looks suspiciously like a corruption of the original form of the name “Japheth.” Apart from these few notices, we know little else about Japheth except that, in Hebrew, his name probably means “fair.”
But of his sons, we know much more. They are given in Genesis 10 as Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.
Considered ethnologically, it appears that Gomer was by far the most important of the sons. To judge from such ancient historians as Herodotus, Strabo, and Plutarch, Gomer’s family settled first to the north of the Black Sea, giving their name in slightly modified form to that district known as Cimmeria, later shortened to Crimea, (33) (the Arabs, by a transposition of letters, having given it the name Krim). These people appear to have multiplied rapidly towards the west, but a considerable portion of this ancient family was driven out by the Scythians and took refuge in Asia Minor during the 7th century B.C. Their subsequent history is known in some detail from Assyrian records where they appear as the Kimirraa, by which name they were already known in the time of Homer.
In concert with the Minni, the Medes, the people of Sepharad, and other populations whose territory they had already over-run, they attacked the northern frontier of the Assyrian Empire. But in 677 B.C. their leader, Teupsa, was defeated by Esarhaddon and some were driven eastward where they overthrew the old Kingdom of the Elippi and, according to some, built Ecbatana. Others went westward into Asia Minor again. Here they sacked Sinope and Antandros (which they held for a
31. Homer, Iliad, translated by E. V. Rieu, Penguin, Classics edition, 1953, Book xv, 276.
32. Dods, M., The Book of Genesis, Edinburgh, Clark, no date, p.43.
33. Wright, Charles, The Book of Genesis in Hebrew, London, Williams and Norgate, 1859, p.35.
hundred years), and finally invaded Lydia. The Lydian king, the famous Gyges (687ï¿½653 B.C.), (34) sent to Nineveh for help but was slain in battle before help arrived and his capital city, Sardis, was captured by the invading army. Gyges’ successor, Ardys, was able to exterminate or drive most of them out of the country. A recollection of their brief ascendency in the area seems to be borne out by the fact that the Armenians referred to Cappadocia as Gamir, (35) although it is not certain whether they intended by this the name of the land or merely the inhabitants. Eusebius, in referring to Gomer says, “whence the Cappadocians.” (36)
Some of the tribe of Gomer either remained in the country or subsequently returned, and others went west as far as France and Spain ï¿½ and later still into the British Isles, as we shall see. According to Josephus, (37) the branch which returned to Asia Minor came to be known as the Galatians. It may be pointed out that although the form “Galatia” seems far removed from “Gomer”, it is possible, etymologically, to derive it from the more ancient form of the name. The middle consonant of the word GoMeR can readily be replaced by a W or a U, so that G-M-R can become G-W-R, or G-U-R. It is possible that the ancient site known as Tepe Gawra is a recollection of one of these forms. A further change may take place in the substitution of L for the terminal R. This substitution is very common and may be observed, for example, where castrum in Latin becomes “castle” in English. We thus have the following series: G-M-R becoming G-U-R, becoming G-U-L. The final form is to be observed as the more familiar Gaul, where, it will be remembered, some of the descendants of Gomer settled. And the connection between the Gauls, the Galatians, and the Celts are all well established historically. Indeed, according to Haydn, (38) the Gauls were called Galati or Celtae by the Romans. Furthermore, Roman historians claim that these people came originally from Asia Minor and settled throughout Europe — in Spain (Galicia), in France (Gaul) and in Britain (Celts).
34. Herodotus (Book 1, chap. 8) gives an interesting story (with a moral) on how Gyges became King of Lydia.
35. Skinner, John, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, Edinburgh, T.& T. Clark, 1930,, p.196.
36. Eusebius, Chronicon (Armenian version), edited by I.B.Aucher, vol.1, p.95 (Gimmeri-Cappadocians) and vol.2, p.12 (Gomer, “out of whom the Cappadocians”).
37. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book1, Chapter 6.
38. Vincent, B., Haydn’s Dictionary of Dates, London, Ward, Lock, and Bowden, 21st. edition, 1895, p.455.
It appears further that many Gomerites formed the restless “barbarians,” against whom the Assyrians had to defend themselves, later hiring themselves out as mercenaries who, when they had been paid off, were settled as farmers in that part of Asia Minor known as Galatia.
In discussing Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, Dean Farrar observes that: (39)
It must be regarded as certain that the Galatae were Celts, and not only Celts but Cymric Celts. . . .
Every trait of their character, every certain phenomenon of their language, every proved fact of their history, shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Galatae or Gauls were Celts; and it is most probable that the names of Galatae and Celtae are etymologically identical.
Kalisch identifies them with the Chomari, a nation in Bactriana near the Oxus, mentioned by Ptolemy. (40)
That these people should be referred to not merely as Celts but Cymric Celts is a beautiful illustration of how a very ancient name may persist, for the word “Cymric” (without its patronymic termination, C-M-R) is nothing less than the more ancient form “Gomer”, very slightly modified. This modified form is still with us in the district of England known as Cumberland. Once more we have a slight variant rendering of the original name by the introduction of the consonant B, so that Gomer-land becomes Cumber-land. To one not familiar with etymological changes, the introduction of the B may seem strange, but it is by no means uncommon and is to be observed, for example, where the Latin form numerous becomes “number” in English.
It would appear that the descendants of Gomer were a restless bunch, much of the time on the move and extremely war-like. Whereever they settled, they tended to form a kind of military aristocracy and when they moved, there was scarcely any stopping them. In 390 B.C., it was these nomads who appeared outside Rome and sacked the city. Meanwhile, in Italy they came to be known as the Umbrians, in which name we once more may discern the original form “Gomer”, though with the initial guttural presumably replaced by a hard H and then dropped entirely, while the B was inserted in exactly the same way as we have observed in the word “Cumberland”.
39. Farrar, F. W., Life and Works of St. Paul, vol.1, London, Cassell, p.466.
40. Kalisch, M. M., A Historical and Critical Commentary of the Old Testament, Longmans, Brown, Green, London, 1858, p.236.
The record is not complete yet, however, for Ireland was in ancient times known as Ivernia, and the Irish Sea as Hibernicus. Ivernia has lost the initial guttural and the M has become V; Hibernicus replaces the guttural with an H and the M with a B. All these changes are commonly observed within the Indo-European family of languages. For example, the simple form “Paul” in Spanish may appear as Pablo. Also, the Septuagint of Genesis 10:28 replaces the Ebal of Hebrew with Eual. Again, Nicolaus appears in the Hebrew prayer book (Aboda Zara) as Nicholabus.
Thus Gomer’s children and his children’s children went far up into Europe, where, despite their separation both in time and distance, the name of their ancient forebear was preserved among them. Indeed, there is even the possibility that the very name of Germany preserves for us Gomer in slightly inverted form, although the claim made by certain German historians that the Teutons represent the pure Gomeric line (a claim which they held accounted for the warlike nature of the German people) is highly improbable and is challenged by virtually every ethnologist of modern times.
Just to complete the record, it may be further observed that the Welsh people refer to themselves as Cymri, and in Denmark we find a port originally called Cimbrishavn which, in our speech, would be Cimbri’s Haven. Jutland also was known as Chersonesus Cimbrica. It would appear that scarcely any part of Europe was not, at one time or another, settled by the descendants of Gomer, and some areas — notably France and the British Isles ï¿½ were once inhabited by a homogeneous people speaking a language akin to modern Kumric.
Numerous and varied have been identifications of the people descended from Ashkenaz, son of Gomer. Sayce, (41) for example, was inclined to believe that because the name was coupled with Ararat and Minni (Jeremiah 51:27), they should be identified with Asguza of the Assyrian monuments. Maspero maintained that they were to be equated with the classical Scythians. (42) Almost without exception, commentators agree that they are to be placed to the north of the Fertile Crescent which encompasses
41. Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old Testament, London, Religious Tract Society, 1893, 180 pages.
42. Maspero, Sir G.C.C., History of the Ancient Peoples of the Classic East, vol.3 in The Passing of the Empires, SPCK (Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge), 1900, p.343.
Palestine and Mesopotamia. They point out that there still exist recollections of the name Ashkenaz in Lake Ascanius and a neighbouring people who came to be known as the Askaeni. (43) These people lived in the province of Phrygia and seem to be mentioned by Homer in the Iliad (Book II, 2, 863 and 13, 793). Peake mentions two lakes and a river in the district which bear the old name in modified forms and notes that Ashken still appears today as an Armenian proper name. (44) One of these two lakes in the eastern part of Bithynia near Nicea is mentioned by Strabo (see 7, 389) and is now known as Lake Iznik ï¿½ a broken-down form of Ashkenaz, in which an inversion has taken place. In Bithynia on the borders of the Sea of Marmora there was a Lake Ascenia; in the southwestern Phrygia there is another lake similarly named; and midway between them lay Troas, in whose royal family we find, in the time of the Trojan War, a Prince named Ascenius. It is possible that these also may reflect the name Ashkenaz.
As the descendants of Ashkenaz moved northward they found descendants of Tiras (Thracians, as Josephus affirms) already occupying the Plains of Thrace, with a kind of rearguard body in Bithynia, if we are to judge by allusions in Herodotus and Strabo. This circumstance probably contributed to their taking a more northerly route into west central Russia, instead of following Gomer westward into Europe, arriving in due time in what is now Germany. The Jewish commentators have customarily associated Ashkenaz and the Germans, probably with justification. (45) From there as they multiplied, they moved further north into Ascania which, along with the islands of Denmark, came to be known to later Latin writers as the “Islands of Scandia” ï¿½ Scandinavia. (46) The introduction of an epenthetic D crept into the form Ascania in much the same way the Latin tenere appears in French as tendre.
It is curious how some form of the name Ashkenaz has been preserved in this area throughout history. The inhabitants of the ancient state of Dessau have long claimed descent from Ashkenaz, and one of their rulers in the 12th century, who for a while held the Saxon estates of Henry the Lion (founder of the
43. Sayce, A. H., under Askenaz in Murray’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, London, Murray, 1908.
44. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner, 1878, p.181.
45. Hertz, J. H., The Pentateuch and Haftorahs: Genesis, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1929, p.88, note 3.
46. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner, 1878, p.182.
House of Brunswick), added to his baptismal name Bernard that of Ascenius, declaring that his ancestors had come from Lake Ascenius in Bithynia.
Meanwhile, far away on the northern borders of Media, a rearguard of the same family remained behind. These people were allies of their neighbours, the Medes, and caused much trouble to Esarhaddon of Assyria. In classical times they dwelt near Rhagae, which according to Josephus, (47) was a city of some size, near the centre of the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. At that point, a chain of mountains begins, and runs eastward along the shore and beyond it, forming a natural boundary to the territory of the Bactrians and the Saki. This chain of mountains was referred to by Ammianus Mercellinus (the Emperor Julian’s librarian and historian who was writing about A.D. 350), as the Ascanimian Mountains. (48) These wild tribes, referred to by Strabo as the Saki, (49) gained possession of Bactriana on the one side of the Caspian and occupied the best districts of Armenia on the other side. These occupied territories “took from them the name of Sakasene,” so Strabo tells us.
Thus we know about a range of mountains called in classic times the Ascanimians, around which dwelt descendants of Ashkenaz. At the outset of the Christian era, a little to the north of them, cut out of the neighbouring kingdom of Armenia and just south of the Caucasus Mountains, there was a country called Sakasene. It is almost certain that these people, the Sakasenoi, were also descendants of Ashkenaz. And it appears that some time after the Christian era began, a wave of this family of Ashkenaz, calling themselves Sakasenoi, or more briefly Sachsen, marched northward through the Caspian Gates into European Scythia and thence onward with the tide of their German kinsmen, the Goths, into northern Europe where the country they occupied has borne the simple title “Sachsen”.
When Tacitus, writing about A.D. 100, lists the peoples of Germany in his own day (although he included in his account Denmark and Sweden where he says dwelt the Cymbri, and also included the Angli), he made no mention whatever of the Sachsens or as we more familiarly know them, Saxons. These people appear first in history when Caransius was appointed,
47. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book1, Chapter 6, section 1.
48. On this see M. L. Rouse, “Bible Pedigree of the Nations of the World,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.38, 1906, p.149.
49. Strabo, I:i:10, and I:iii:21 and XI:viii:4.
about A.D. 280, to guard the eastern British coasts against pirates, at which time he was given the title “Count of the Saxon Shore.” (50)
We may believe, then, that Japheth’s grandson, Ashkenaz, gave rise to a large component of the earliest settlers in Germany and Scandinavia, and left en route many memorials of the ancestral name, besides providing for us a tribe of people who played an exciting part in English history.
Little seems to have been discovered that could be related to the name of this son of Gomer. Several proposals have been made for some districts in Asia Minor. Dr. J. Pye Smith (51) suggests, for example, Rifou east of the Black Sea and the Riphaean Mountains mentioned in ancient geographies by Strabo, Virgil, Pliny, and others. C. R. Conder (52) mentions a people living eastward of the Black Sea named the Rhibii. He also suggests the Riphaeans were later known as Raphlagonians, whom Josephus identifies as the descendants of Riphath. In the Popular and Critical Biblical Encyclopedia, the first map at the end of Vol. 3 shows the ancient world and the supposed position of the descendants of Noah. There is no authority behind this map other than certain suppositions based upon an intelligent examination of the biblical evidence, but it may be noted that the centre of Europe is occupied by Riphath. The conjunction of the word “Europe” on the map with the name Riphath prompted the question whether there could have been some connection between the two. The name Europe is generally derived from the legend of Europa, but since dictionaries of classical mythology acknowledge that the etymology of Europus is uncertain, the possibility still remains that, if we could reach far enough back into history, we would find that the name was originally Riphath. Another suggestion has also been made, that the name reappears in the name “Carpathians”. There are also the Carpates, called Alpes Bastarnicae, which separate Dacia from Sarmatia.
The people named after Togarmah, another son of Gomer,
50. On this whole aspect of the problem, see also Martin L. Rouse,”Bible Pedigree of the Nations of the World,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.38, 1906, p.149-150.
51. Smith, J. Pye, “Dispersion of Nations,” Popular and Critical Bible Commentary, vol.2, edited by S. Fallows, Chicago, Howard-Severance, 1912, p.1213.
52. Conder, C. R., “Riphath,” Murrays’ Illustrated Bible Dictionary, London, Murray, 1908, p.749.
are mentioned twice in Ezekiel. We read about them first at the fairs in Tyre, trading in horses and mules (Ezekiel 27:14), and later in a campaign with Gomer against Palestine (Ezekiel 38:6). Neither passage does much towards fixing their homeland, but both agree with the hypothesis that the people intended are the ancient inhabitants of Armenia. And this has some support from national tradition and etymological theory. The Armeneian traditions assign as their own ancestor a man named Hiak who, they claim, was the “son of Targom, a grandson of Noah.” (53)
By an inversion of letters, the Armenians came to be referred to as the House of Targom, and Jewish writers often refer to the Turks as Togarmah. It should be noted also that the Black Sea, which is northwest of Armenia, was also sometimes referred to as Togarmah. Strabo (54) seems to have taken it for granted that the Armenians were intended here, and Herodotus (55) mentions their connection with horse breeding. Josephus (56) says that Togarmah is the father of the people known as Thrugrammeans, whom the Greeks identified with the Phrygians. Professor F.W. Schultz (57) points out that, according to the Jewish Targums, Togarmah was the father of Germany. And there are some who believe that the word Germania itself is formed out of the older name Togarmah, with the first syllable lost in the process. If this is so, then there can be no connection between “Gomer” and “Germany,” as proposed previously.
Very little is known about the identity of the people descended from Magog. It is not even clear whether the name is the original form or compounded of two elements, ma and Gog. The prefix ma was often added in antiquity to a personal name, meaning “the place of”. Magog would then mean “the place of Gog”, i.e., the territory of Gog.
According to Chamberlain, (58) the prefix ma means “earth” in Magyar and Estonia and, in the form maa, it bears the same significance in Finnic. In Cuneiform, the sign for ma could be understood as an enclosure or an area of ploughed ground, two
53. Armenian tradition: see Historia Armenae, Moses Chorenensis, London, 1736, 1.4, section 9-11.
54. Strabo, XI:xvii:9.
55. Herodotus, VII. 40.
56. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chap. 6, section I.
57. Schultz, F.W., “Gomer,” Religious Encyclopedia, vol.2, edited by Philip Schaff, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, 1883, p.889.
58. Chamberlain, A. G., “The Eskimo Race and Language,” Canadian Institute, vol.6, 3rd series, 1887-1888, p.326.
different diagrams being used at different times. A number of ancient names appear with and without the prefix ma. According to Lloyd, (59) the two forms Chin and Machin both occur for China. Conder (60) interpreted the form Magan (signifying the region of Sinai) as a compound meaning “the place of strength”, “walled land”, or some such descriptive term.
The ordinary word in Assyrian and Babylonian for “land” or “country” is matu, often abbreviated to mat. And “the country of ‘Gutu’,” according to Sayce, (61) appears in Assyrian inscriptions as Mat Gugi. He considered, therefore, that Gog is the Gutu of the Assyrian inscriptions and the Gyges of the Greeks (which I think is very doubtful, being far too late), the compound form “Magog” meaning the “land of Gog,” i.e., Mat Gugi.
There is some indication that Marco Polo (62) understood the word “Mungul” to be a broken-down form of the word “Magog”, since he came across an association of names “Ung” and “Mungul”, which were considered the counterparts of Gog and Magog. He appears to be referring to a time prior to the migration of the Tartars. It is just conceivable that the word “Mongol” was originally attached to a people descended from Gog and Indo-European stock. Curiously, small pockets of people have been reported still retaining an Indo-European form of language in areas now completely dominated by Mongols. (63)
Bochart (64) derived the word “Caucasus” from a compound form of “Gog” and “Chasan”, meaning “the stronghold of Gog”. According to Josephus, the descendants of Gog were later known as the Scythians, whom he says were otherwise known as Magogites. These people subsequently formed the greater part of Russian stock. Mention is made of Gog in Ezekiel (38:2) as “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” It may be observed that rosh, which in this passage is translated “chief prince”, signified the inhabitants of Scythia. From it the Russians
59. Lloyd, J., An Analysis of the First Eleven Chapters of the Book of Genesis, London, Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1869, p.114.
60. Condor, C. R., commenting on a paper by T. G. Pinches, “Notes on Some Recent Discoveries in Assyriology,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.26, 1897, p.180.
61. Sayce, A. H. The Races of the Old Testament, London, Religious Tract Society, 1893, p.45.
62. Marco Polo, Travels of Marco Polo, New York, Library Publications, no date, p.87.
63. I regret that I have mislaid the source of this observation. It was given in a paper in the Transactions of the Victoria Institute.
64. Bochart, “Gog and Magog” Chambers Encyclopedia, London, Chambers, 1868, vol.4, p.813.
derive their name. Russia was known as Muskovi until the time of Ivan the Terrible, a name undoubtedly connected with Meshech. The Russian Empire was created by the Muskovite princes who were the first Grand Dukes of Moscow, but it was Ivan (1533ï¿½1584) who really consolidated and extended that great Empire until it reached the White Sea on the north and the Caspian Sea in the south and was thenceforth called Russia.
As stated at the outset, there is very little certainty about any of this but such fragments as we do have point in the same general direction, i.e., the area commonly referred to today as Russia has a population that is probably to be traced back largely to Gog.
Madai and Javan
The part that these play in early history is very well defined and can be stated without the complications that are attached to most of the previous names.
It is reasonably clear that the Madai appear subsequently as the Medes and Javan gave rise to the Ionians. In his book, Races of the Old Testament, Sayce says that the Medes claimed a relationship with the Aryans of north India, and on the Persian monuments (for example, the Behistun inscriptions) they are referred to as the “Mada” ï¿½ from which the Greek form, Medes, comes. (65) There is no doubt that Persia was their general area of initial settlement. In Assyrian inscriptions they are mentioned as the Ma-da-ai. (66)
Now it has already been observed that before there arose a complete separation of the various nationalities — Medes, Persians, Greeks, Celts, etc. ï¿½ the Japhethites were first divided into two major bodies. One of these comprised the ancestors of the Indians and Persians, whereas the second was the aggregate of those tribes which afterwards composed the nations of Europe. Thus the word “Indo-European” well sums up our ethnological origins.
That the separation of these two groups had probably preceded the smaller division into nationalities is suggested by the early rise of names distinguishing these two great divisions. The ancestors of the Indo-Persians claimed for themselves alone
65. Behistun Inscriptions: Records of the Past, London, Bagster, 1873, vol.1, p.111, para.1, section 6. In the original, Mada appears in the English translations as Media.
66. Spurrell, G. J., Notes on the Book of Genesis, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1896, p.97.
the old title, “Aryas”, and gave to the other body the name, “Yavanas”, (67) a word which may possibly be related to our word “Young”, although, to my mind, it is clearly a recollection of the name Javan. Thus Javan and Madai, in a manner of speaking, may stand collectively for the two branches of the Indo-European family.
Orientals seem to have used the term Yavan for the Greek race as a whole. The Assyrians called the Greeks of Cyprus the “Yavnan”. The Persians refer to the Greeks of Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands as the “Yuna”. The terms “Greek” and “Hellene”, “Achaean”, and “Dorian” seem to have been unknown in Asia, according to Rawlinson. (68)
In the days when Egyptian monarchs of the IVth Dynasty were erecting their pyramids, the Mediterranean was already known as the “Great Circle of the Uinivu”, (69) which is equated by some with Javan.
Larned suggests that the Italian peninsula was occupied by peoples of a stock who had travelled into Greece, later crossing the Apennines and spreading southward along the western coast. (70) It is evident that in the name “Javan” we have a very early reference to the basic stock out of which Greece, and perhaps part of Italy, was first settled, for the Greeks in later periods used other patronymics to refer to themselves. And it would seem, on the other hand, that in the Medes we have an equally early reference to those who settled India, since in Genesis 10 there is no mention, for example, of the Persians who in later records were nearly always associated with the Medes. Indeed, as with the Greeks, whose more ancient name, Ionians, has long since disappeared, so in modern times the word “Persia” has remained but the name “Madai” has disappeared. What we have is a general term for those who became Indians, Medes, and Persians.
The number of possible identifications of the descendants of this son of Javan is considerable. Most of them are probably correct. For example, it is quite generally agreed that the
67. Keary, C.F., Outlines of Primitive Belief Among the Indo-European Races, New York, Scribner’s Sons, 1882, p.163ff.
68. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner, 1878,, p.173.
69. Sayce, A. H., The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments, London, S.P.C.K., (Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge), 1895, p.20.
70. Larned, J.N., A New Larned History, Springfield, Massachusetts, Nichols, 1923, vol.6, p.4636.
more familiar “Hellas” is a corrupted form of an original “Elishah” and, according to Rawlinson, (71) from about the time of the Persian War, Hellas came to be a name commonly applied to the Greeks as a whole.
Another form of this ancient name is believed, by many authorities, to be “Aioleis” ( GREEK ), i.e., the Aeolians. This view was held also by Josephus. (72) The Jerusalem Talmud, the Midrash, and the Targums read for Elishah the form “Elis” or “Eolis”, although scholars such as Skinner (73) and Driver (74) consider this quite groundless. The Tell el Amarna tablets include several people from Alasia. The Eilesion of the Iliad (II, I, 617) is doubtless a further reference. It is almost certain that the name reappears in the Ugarit tablets, (75) in which there is a Canaanite reference to the Cyprians under the title, “Alasiyans”. In Ezekiel 27:7, it is said that purple stuffs were brought to Tyre from the “Isles” (or coasts) of Elishah. The mussel from which the purple dye was obtained in antiquity abounded on the coast of the Peloponnese, confirming the general area settled by this grandson of Japheth.
It is confusing to find a people broadly referred to as the Greeks being traced back and, without distinction, referred to both as the people of Hellas and as Ionians. This is analogous, however, to referring to Englishmen as descendants of the Normans, Picts, Scots, or Celts, etc. The fact is that in both cases a few families have given rise to large clans or tribes, which, in the ebb and flow of migration and conquest, became united in various mixtures, so that a historian with one preference may emphasize one originating stock while another historian emphasizes a different one. And both are correct.
Not too much can be stated with certainty about the identity of Tarshish, another son of Javan. There are statements elsewhere in Scripture which confuse the issue somewhat. For example, it was the opinion of Sayce (as it has been of a number
71. Rawlinson, G., op. cit., ref.42, p.184.
72. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chap. 6, section 1.
73. Skinner., J., op. cit., ref.28, p.198.
74. Driver , S. R., op. cit., ref.4, p.116.
75. Harris, Zellig S., “Ras Sharma: Canaanite Civilization and Language,” Annual Report Smithsonian Institute, 1937, p.485. See also R. J. Forbes, Metallurgy in Antiquity, Leiden, Brill, 1950, p.346.
of other scholars) that Tartessos in Spain was probably one of the initial settlements of Tarshish. However, the Old Testament speaks of ivory, apes, and peacocks being brought by the ships of Tarshish (2 Chronicles 9:21). Such creatures would not be expected from Spain. But Sayce (76) argues that the implication is merely that merchants from Tartessos, or Tarshish, traded in these items, which they perhaps picked up somewhere in Africa and sold elsewhere in the Middle East. The Septuagint renders Tarshish in Isaiah 23:1 as Karkedonos (karchedonos), which was the Greek form of the name Carthage in North Africa.
While the Phoenicians seem to have had many trade dealings with Tartessos, the original port itself could not, according to Genesis 10 (where it is clear that Tarshish is in the line of Japheth), have been founded by them, for in the Old Testament the Phoenicians and Canaanites are described as descending from Ham. The Carthaginians, as Phoenician colonists, maintained even in the days of Augustine that they were Canaanites. (77) On the other hand, many colonies were also established by the Phoenicians in Spain. Here is one of the difficulties, for certain biblical references to Tarshish (2 Chronicles 9:21 and 20:36) have led some scholars (78) to suppose that there must have been another Tarshish in the Indian Ocean which could be reached via the Red Sea. Although this idea is now generally rejected, it underscores the fact that Tartessos in Spain is not an altogether satisfactory identification. That is to say, the Spanish settlement does not on the face of it seem to have been a Japhetic one, nor do the products which are said to have come from it seem proper to it.
However, Kalisch (79) believed that there was sufficient evidence to justify identifying Tarshish as the original settler of the whole Spanish peninsula “so far as it was known to the Hebrews, just as Javan is used to designate all the Greeks.” The Phoenicians arrived later. Cook (80) believed that a small tribe of Javanites settled at the mouth of the Quadalquiver river in Spain,
76. Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old Testament, London, Religious Tract Society, 1893,, p.47.
77. Carthaginian Canaanites: See article, “Phoenicia and the Phoenicians,” Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia, Chicago, Howard-Severance, vol.2, 1912, p.1342, end of section 5.
78. So Jerome in his work On Jeremiah X, 9; and since then by Bochart and many others.
79. Kalisch, M. M., A Historical and Critical Commentary on the Old Testament, Longmans, Brown, Green, London, 1858, p.243.
80. Cook, F. C., The Holy Bible with Explanations and Critical Commentary, London, Murray, vol.1,1871, p.85.
thus initiating the colony of Tarshish. Bochart (81) says that both Cadiz and Carteia, which were in the Bay of Gibraltar, were in ancient times called Tartessos; also he thinks that Cadiz was built by Tarshish, grandson of Japheth, immediately after the dispersion, and Carteia, long afterwards by the Phoenicians. He refers to the fact that, according to Herodotus, (82) when the Phoenicians first arrived, Tartessos was already in existence and the king of that country was named Arganthonius.
In summary, then, it is possible that Tarshish, grandson of Japheth, settled in Spain and established a capital city and a kingdom which later became a trading point much used by the Phoenicians, who stopped there on their way to the eastern Mediterranean ports, bringing wares picked up on the way. These wares may have come partly from Spain and partly from Africa. It is not at all impossible that some may even have come from India via the Horn of Africa, for there is plenty of evidence that Phoenicians were superb navigators.
There can be little doubt that by Kittim, or Chittim as it sometimes is spelled, the Hebrews understood the people dwelling in Cyprus. Josephus (83) observed that the island was called by the Greeks Kition and its inhabitants were known as Kitieis, or Kittiaeans. In course of time the name came to have a larger meaning, being extended from Cyprus to the other islands of the Aegean, and from them to the mainland of Greece and even to Italy. For example, in 1 Maccabees 1:1, Alexander the Great is described as coming from the land of Kittim, and in 1Maccabees 8:5, Perseus is referred to as the King of Kittim. In 1 Maccabees 11:30, both the Vulgate and the Septuagint translate Chittim as Romanos. Although I have not seen elsewhere any reference to the possibility, it appears to me that the land of Chittim might be found in the form Ma-Chettim. Ma, as we have already observed, is a prefix for “place”. If so, we may have the original form of the more familiar “Macedon”, the land of Alexander the Great’s birth.
There is not much substance in these remarks, but, in a general sense, they confirm the impression given throughout this
81. Bochart: quoted by J. Lloyd, Analysis of the First Eleven Chapters of Genesis, London, Bagster, 1869, p.117, note.
82. Herodotus, Book 1, chap. 163.
83. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, chap. 6, section, 1.
Not very much can be written about this, except that it seems to appear elsewhere in Scripture with the initial D replaced by an R (cf. 1 Chronicles 1:7). If Rodanim is the preferred form, it would appear that the Island of Rhodes formed one link in a series of settlements by the descendants of Javan.
The River Rhodonus, i.e., the Rhone, may have received its name from a branch of this family which settled at its mouth. (84) In Epirus, there is to be found the city of Dodona and the county of Doris. Bochart suggested that the first settlement of the Dodanim was in southwest Asia Minor in that part of the country called by the Greeks Doris. It is possible also that a more corrupted form of the name is the Dardan, found in the inscriptions of Rameses II, signifying a people of Asia Minor not far from the Lycians, and just possibly providing us with the origin of the term, “Dardanelles”. In the present state of our knowledge of antiquity, little more can be said about the descendants of Dodanim.
Meshech and Tubal
These two names occur rather frequently as a couplet (see, for example, Ezekiel 32:26, 38:2,3). Meshech is found on the Assyrians monuments in the form of “Muskaa”, probably pronounced Muskai. Classical writers were in the habit of calling them the Moskhi, and, in the time of Ezekiel, the position of these people is probably that described by Herdotus (III, 94), i.e., in Armenia, where a mountain chain connecting the Caucasus and Anti-Taraus was named after them, the Moschici Montes. Here, according to Strabo (XI, 497-499), was a district named Moschice.
In the Assyrian inscriptions, the word Tubal occurs as Tubla, whereas it seems to have been known to classical geographers as Tibareni. According to Rawlinson, (85) these two — the Mushki and the Tibareni — dwelt in close proximity to each other on the northern coast of Asia Minor and were, at one time, among the most powerful people of that area. The Moschian capital was known to Josephus and was called by the Romans
84. Greenwood, George, The Book of Genesis: An Authentic Record, London, Church Printing Co., vol.2, 1904, p.29.
85. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner, 1878, p.173.
Caesarea Mazaca. Josephus (86) also says that the Iberians of Italy were descendants of Tubal. As he put it, “Thobel founded the Thobelites, now called Iberis.” It also is possible that in the River Tiber we have a recollection of this same ancestor. According to Forbes, (87) the Moschi and Tibareni are included in the 19th satrapy of Darius. They were redoubtable enemies of the Assyrians in the early half of the first millennium B.C.; Tiglath Shalmaneser II mentions tribute paid to him by “twenty-four kings of the land of Tubal.” (88)
By classical times, these people had moved northwards, (89) although Xenophon (90) and his Greek troops still found remnants of them south of the Black Sea. Much later in history we meet the word Meshech in the form Muskovy. It is possible that the two famous cities of Moscow and Tobolsk still preserve the elements of the names Meshech and Tubal.
According to Josephus and the Targum, the descendants of Tiras became the Thracians. Smith (91) says that one offshoot of the Thracians were the Getae or Goths. King Darius conquered them in 515 B.C. By the time of Alexander the Great (c. 330 B.C.), they had settled the mouth of the Danube. (92) They maintained independence but in the early part of the first century B.C., united with the Dacians, thereafter harassing the Roman legions until they were conquered by Trajan in A.D. 106 and incorporated into the Roman Empire.
One of the problems here is that we have no further occurrence in Scripture of Tiras. There is this one brief mention of his name and then, unlike Gomer, Meshech, or Tubal, he disappears entirely. If the Thracians were really descendants and if they were, as Rawlinson says, (93) widely scattered with many offshoots such as the Bithynians and Phrygians, one might have expected that Scripture would make some reference to Tiras
86. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, chap. 6, section 1.
87. Forbes, R. J., Metallurgy in Antiquity, Leiden, NL, Brill, 1950, p.280.
88. Schrader, E., The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament, London, Williams and Norgate, 1885, p.64.
89. Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old Testament, London, Religious Tract Society, 1893, p.48.
90. Xenophon, The Anabasis, translated by J. S. Watson, New York, Harper, 1861, Book V, chap.5, section 1, p.159.
91. Smith, R. Payne, Commentary on Genesis, edited by Ellicott, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, no date, p.149.
92. “Getae”: Everyman’s Encyclopedia, London, Dent, vol.6, p,1913.
93. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner, 1878, p.174.
The basic centres of civilization which underlie all others.
Each of the cultural centres of the early world were Hamitic in origin.
subsequently. On the other hand, it may be said that a general belief exists among ethnologists, (which is, nevertheless, not susceptible of proof), that the Thracians ultimately gave origin to the Teutons. Thus Rawlinson observes: (94)
The Thracian tribe of the Getae seems to have grown into the great nation of the Goths, while the Dacia (or Dacini) seem to have been the ancestors of the Danes. The few Thracian words that have come down to us are decidedly teutonic There is also a resemblance between the Thracian customs, as described by Herodotus (V, 4-8) and those which Tacitus assigns to the Germans.
Once again we have to admit that these are slender lines of evidence; yet, in many respects, they have a general concordance with all else that we know of the descendants of Japheth as a whole. There is, therefore, every likelihood that the descendants of Tiras made as large a contribution to the population and civilization of Europe as the rest of his immediate family.
Out of this intricate network of possibilities and probabilities, there emerges a reasonably clear picture in which a single family beginning with Japheth multiplied in the course of time and peopled the northern shore of the Mediterranean, the whole of Europe, the British Isles and Scandinavia, and the larger part of Russia. The same family settled India, displacing a prior settlement of Hamites who had established themselves in the Indus Valley. Isolated groups of this same people seem to have wandered further afield towards the East, contributing to small pockets of Japhethites which, in course of time, were almost, if not wholly, swallowed up by the Hamites. It is possible that some of them contributed characteristics found in the people of Polynesia, and it is conceivable that in the Ainu of northern Japan there is a remnant of Japhethites.
Noah had said that God would enlarge Japheth (Genesis 9:27). It seems that this enlargement began very early in Japheth’s history, but it has been a continuing process and occurring in every part of the world, with the exception of the Far East. The children of Japheth have tended to spread and multiply at the expense of other racial stocks. As we shall see in the last chapter, this enlargement did not mean that Japhethites were the first to migrate far and wide, for wherever they have spread, whether in prehistoric or historic times, they have been preceded by even earlier settlers whose racial origin was not Indo-European. This pattern of settlement of the habitable areas of the world
94. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations,
New York, Scribner, 1878, p.178.
has had a profound significance in the development of civilization, a significance which is considered in some detail in another Doorway Paper. (95)
In the meantime, it has been established by many lines of evidence that the actual names provided in Genesis 10:1-5 were indeed those of real people, whose families carried with them recognizably clear recollections (though often in corrupted form), of their respective forebears, so that they have survived to the present day, still bearing the kind of relationships that are implied in this ancient Table of Nations. And even the patriarchal name is often unmistakably preserved!
95. Custance, A.C., “A Christian World View”, Part V in Noah’s Three Sons, vol.1 in The Doorway Papers Series.