The Descendants of Ham
THE DESCENDANTS of Japheth and the descendants of Shem are traced reasonably clearly in subsequent history, but the descendants of Ham present problems which are not shared by these other two. It is true that a certain number of listed descendants of Ham are also easily traceable, for example, Mizraim, Canaan, and Heth. And a number of tlle cities related to Ham in Genesis 10 present no problems, having become household words to Bible students. But there are many names here, about which we have very little information, yet which may have been ancestors of very substantial portions of the present world’s population. It is certain of these names we propose to examine, for they bear upon the origin of the so-called “coloured races.”
We have already proposed that Japheth was indeed “enlarged” to an exceptional degree in his descendants, not merely in the number of nations ultimately derived from his family but in their very wide spread over the face of the earth. Also, this enlargement was gradual enough to occur without seriously disrupting the natural development of dialectic differences, which in due course became distinct languages within the family. In another Doorway Paper (96) it is suggested that the confusion which occurred at Babel served chiefly as an affliction for the children of Ham, whose languages have proliferated bewilderingly from very early times to the present day, a proliferation contributing in no small measure to the fragmentation of the original family. The changes which took place in the Semitic family of languages were remarkably small. And though the changes which took place in the Japhetic family of languages were somewhat
96. Custance, Arthur, “The Confusion of Languages”, Part V in Time and Eternity , vol. 6 in The Doorway Papers Series.
greater, they were nevertheless so orderly as to allow linguists to reconstitute both families with considerable assurance. In neither of these two families of language is there any real evidence of “confusion” in their development. On the other hand, in the languages of the Hamitic line there is a great deal of confusion, if by “confusion” we allow the term to mean that dialects rapidly developed between neighbouring and related tribes as they multiplied, rendering their speech unintelligible to one another in a remarkably short space of time. This subject is explored in the Doorway Paper mentioned above and will not be pursued here, but it is necessary to introduce this because it bears on the lack of persistence through passing centuries of Hamitic ancestral names compared to those in the lines of Japheth and Shem. This makes it much more difficult to establish lines of connection by the means of names. In fact, the most important members of Ham’s family bore names which disappeared completely except as preserved in ancient documents. The names of Ham’s sons are not preserved even in corrupted form in modern times. The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan, but not one of these is held today by any living representatives in any recognizable form whatever. Cush subsequently became identified with Ethiopia, Mizraim with Egypt, Phut with Libya, and Canaan with Palestine, but the old names passed completely out of use.
On the other hand, many of the names were bywords for a long time not because there were numerous descendants, as in the case of Japheth, but rather because of some single notable achievement. Nimrod was remembered for his hunting prowess. Many of the cities which are listed as having been founded by Ham’s descendants had notable histories. But they, too, for the most part ceased to have importance long before modern times. A notable exception is the city Jerusalem, which of course is not actually mentioned at all even under its older name Jebus.
How, then, can one provide substantiating evidence for the claim that from Ham were descended the coloured races? The answer is, Only by inference. For example, while there was a Cush in or near Mesopotamia at the very beginning, the most prominent settlement established by descendants of this patriarch was in Ethiopia. The Ethiopians have been habitually considered true blacks, which is recognized indirectly in Scripture when the prophet asks, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” (Jeremiah 13:23) . The first son of Cush was Seba, and according to Jervis, this
His tribe, extending eastward, occupied the coast of Oman, from Cape Musandam to tle neighbourhood of Ras-el-Had, on the extreme east border of the peninsula: they are mentioned by Ptolemy under the name of Asabi. The commercial greatness of this nation is attributed to their possession of Littus Hammaeum or Gold Coast, and of tlle port of Maskat, which, from the infancy of navigation, must have attracted and cornmanded the commerce of India.
It appears that, from thence, they spread into Africa, across tlle straits of Bab-el-Mandeb. Josephus attests that Saba was an ancient metropolis of the kingdom of Meroe, in the very fertile region between the Nile and Astaboras (or Bahr-el-aswad); and that it ultimately received the name of Meroe after a sister of Cambyses King of Persia, although Meroe seems rather to be a word of Ethiopic derivation. The ruins of the ancient Meroe lie four miles to the north-east of Shendy, in Nubia.
There are other native African tribes which trace themselves back traditionally to Ham. The Yoruba (98) who are black skinned, for example, claim to be descendants of Nimrod, whereas the Libyians, who are “white” skinned, are usually traced back to Lehabim, a son of Mizraim. And the Egyptians were direct descendants of Mizraim. It is therefore possible that all of Africa, despite the different shades of colour of its native populations, was initially settled by various members of this one Hamitic family. There still remains, however, the vast aggregate of peoples who are generally classified as Mongoloid, who settled the Far East and the New World. Do they really appear in this genealogical tree, or must we admit that the Table of Nations is not comprehensive here?
There are two names which I think may conceivably provide us with clues. That they should be so briefly referred to in the genealogy may seem surprising if ï¿½ as we are proposing ï¿½ they gave rise to such enormous populations. We are referring specifically to Heth, a son of Canaan, and the Sinites, a tribe presumably descended from Sin, a brother of Heth.
Heth was, without question, the father of the Hittites. Except for the work of archaeologists, however, we should never have known how important the descendants of this man really were at one point in history, for the Hittite empire disappeared
97. Jervis, J. J-W., Genesis Elucidated, Bagster, London, 1872, p.167.
98. Yoruba: see K. C. Murray, “Nigerian Bronzes: Work from Ife,” Antiquity, England, Mar., 1941, p.76.
completely from view — or nearly completely. This qualification is necessary if we allow any weight to an observation made by C. R. Conder. (90) It was his contention that when the Hittite empire crumbled, all the Hittites of importance were either killed or fled eastwards. Conder’s view was that the word “Hittite,” which appears in Cuneiform as ” Khittae,” was borne by the fleeing remnant of this once powerful nation to the Far East and was preserved through the centuries in the more familiar form ”Cathay.” ( 100) He assumes that they became a not unimportant part of early Chinese stock. Certainly there are curious links between them, for example, their modes of dress, their shoes with turned-up toes, their manner of doing their hair in a pigtail, and so forth. Representations show them to have possessed high cheekbones, and craniologists have observed that they had not a few characteristics of the Mongoloids. More recently, another possible corroborating link appears in the discovery that the Hittites mastered the art of casting iron and the taming of horses, two achievements of great importance, and recurring very early in Chinese history (101) ï¿½ long before reaching the West.
It should be observed that linguistic evidence exists for a Japhetic component in the Hittite empire. (102) In view of the fact that their initial expansion took place in Asia Minor, it is not too surprising that there may have been a mixture of races within the Empire. It could well be that there was an Indo-European aristocracy, just as at one point in Egyptian history there was a Shepherd King (Shemite) aristocracy. George Barton observed: (103)
Some features of their speech clearly resemble features of the Indo-European family of languages, but other features seem to denote Tartar (i.e., Mongol) affinities. In a number of instances the influence of the Assyrian language can clearly be traced. The same confusion presents itself when we study the pictures of Hittites as they appear in Egyptian reliefs. Two
99. Conder, C. R., “The Canaanites,” Transactions of the Victoria lustitute, London, vol.24, 1890, p.51.
100. Chinese used rocket weapons for the first time, called them “Alsichem Al-Khatai” or “Chinese Arrows”. See Willey Ley, “Rockets”, in Scientific American, May, 1949, p.31.
101. Needham, J., Science and Civilization in China, Cambridge, 1954, vol.1, for horses, pp.81, 83, etc., for cast iron, pp.I, 235, etc.
102. Hittite Indo-Europeans: See for example, O. G. Gurney, The Hittites, Pelican Books, London, 1952, chap. 6, p.117. And see the conclusion of George Barton, Archaeology and the Bible, American Sunday 8chool Union, Philadelphia, 6th edition, 1933, p.92, fn.
103. Barton, George, ibid., pp.90, 91.
distinct types of face are there portrayed. One type has high cheekbones, oblique eyes, .and wears a pigtail, like the people of Mong,olia and China. The other has a cleancut head and face which resemble somewhat tlhe early Greeks.
This brings us to Heth’s brother whose name was, presumably, Sin. Of this name there are many occurrences in variant forms through the Middle East and towards the Far East. One of the characteristics of Hamitic peoples — using the term “Hamite” in its strictly biblical sense and not as anthropologists currently employ it ï¿½ is a tendency to deify their ancestors. It has been suggested that the Ammon of the Egyptians is a case in point, in which Ham himlself has been deified: the combination in that same land of No-Ammon may be an extension of this practice back to Noah himself, who is then associated with his son in the dual title. The point of direct concern here is that the word “Sin” became the name of a very important deity, appearing frorn quite early times until quite late in Assyrian history. The last King of Sumerian Ur was named “Abi-Sin.” The word appears, of course, in the name Sennacherib (Sin-ahe-erba, i.e., “May the god Sin multiply [my] brothers”), and as Naran-Sin, etc.
Sin was important enough not only to have been deified but to have been given the title “I,ord of Laws”. (104) In a hymn from Ur, it is said of him that it was “he who created law and justice so that mankind has established laws,” and again, “the ordainer of laws of heaven and earth.” Another remarkable circumstance may stem from this, for if some of his descendants travelled south into Arabia and settled in a district subsequently known as Sin-ai, then possibly his reputation as a great codifier of law led to a tradition which associated Sinai as a place where law was originated. It is possible that there is some connection between this circumstance andl God’s choice of Mount Sinai as the place where He gave the Ten Commandments. Moreover, according to Boscawen, the title “Lord ot Laws,” attributed to the deified Sin is, in the original hymn of Ur, Bel-Terite, and the first syllable is a gotm of the more familiar ”Baal.” And the word “Terite” is the plural of the form “tertu” meaning “law,” which itself is the equivalent of the Hebrew ”torah” (“law”).
In spite of the fact, therefore, that the patriarch Sin receives scant mention in Genesis 10, he was a very important individual.
104. Boscawen, W. St. Chad, The Bible and the Monuments, Eyre ancl Spottiswoode, London, 1896, p.64.
He may further have had his name preserved in the modern term “China.” Although Perry espoused a view of culture growth which has corne into general disrepute because of its over-simplification, he nevertheless rnay be essentially correct in the statements which he makes showing the Chinese civilization as having come from the West. Not a few Cuneiform scholars have noted how similar, in some respects, was Sumerian to Chinese. Now, Perry says: (l05)
There is one significant feature concerning the possible mode of origin of Chinese civilization tlat well merits attention. Tlle place most closely associated by tle Chinese themselves with the origin of their civilization is the capital of Shensi, namely, Siang-fu (Father Sin). Siangfu, on the Wei, a tributary of the Yellow River, is near important gold and jade mines.
It is surely significant that Sinai was equally important as a place of mines. The name “Sin,” according to Dillmann, (106) is met with in Assyrian in the form “Sianu.” It would not be difficult for “Father Sin” to become “Father Sian” or, with a slight nasalization, “Siang,” in Chinese “Sianfu.” The Chinese have a tradition that their first king, Fu-hi, made his appearance on the Mountains of Chin immediately after the world had been covered with water. (107) Sin himself was the third generation from Noah, a circumstance which, if the identification is justified, would provide about the right time interval.
Moreover, the people who early traded with the Scythians and who came from the Far East were called “Sinae,” and their most important town was “Thinae,” a great trading emporium in western China. (107) This city is now known as “Thsin” or simply “Tin,” and it lies in the province of Shensi.
The Sinae became independent in western China, their princes reigning there for some 650 years before they finally gained dominion over the whole land. In the third century B.C. the dynasty of Tsin became supreme in the Empire. The word itself came to have the meaning of “purebred.” This word was assumed as a title by the Manchu Emperors and is believed to have been changed by the Malays into the form “Tchina” and
105 Perry, W. J., The Growth of Civilization, Pelican Books, London, 1937, p125.
106. Dillmann, A., Genesis: Critically and Exegetically Expounded, T, & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1897, vol.1, p.367.
107. Inglis, J., Notes on the Book of Genesis, Gall and Inglis, London, 1877, p.89, footnote to verse 28.
108. Fausset, A. R., “Sinim,” Bible Cyclopedia: Critical and Expository, Funk and Wagnalls, London, no date, p.655.
from them through the Portuguese brought into Europe as “China.” Some years ago the newspapers regularly carried headlines with reference to the conflict between the Japanese and Chinese in which the ancient name reappeared in its original form, for they commonly spoke of the Sino-Japanese war.
Arrian in A.D. 140 (109) speaks of the Sinae or Thinae as a people in the remotest parts of Asia. One is reminded of the reference to the Sinim in Isaiah 49:12 as coming “from afar,” but specifically not from the north and not from the west.
Reverting once more to Conder’s observation with respect to the “far Cathay” of Medieval reference, it would make sense to suppose that the remnants of the Hittites after the destruction of their Empire travelled towards the East and settled among the Sinites who were relatives, contributing to their civilization certain arts, chiefly metallurgy (especially the casting of iron) and being so absorbed subsequently as to disappear entirely from history as a distinct people.
The finding of prehistoric man in the Choukoutien Caves with skeletal remains variant enough to bridge from the western limits of types in China to types in the Nev World has seemed to many to be clear evidence that those who settled the New World passed through Cllina. That the New World was peopled by a Mongoloid stock is generally agreed, although there is some evidence of a small Negroid component. (1l0) The evidence, it is true, is slim, but what evidence there is appears to me to point consistently in the same direction, supporting our initial contention that not only Africa with its black races, but the Far East and the Americas with their coloured races were all descendants of Ham.
There is one further illustration of how the descendants of Ham may have contributed uniquely to Japhetic civilization, in this case, the Roman. The contribution made to Japhetic culture by the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Cretans, and later the Chinese, and the American Indians, is explored in detail in Part IV of this volume, “The Technology of Hamitic People.” The contribution made by the Etruscans is similarly pointed out in that Paper. The origin of the Etruscans, even though they have
109. Arrian: as quoted by C. A. Gordon, “Notes on the Ethnology and Ancient Chronology of China,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, London, vol.23, 1889, p.170.
110. Taylor, Griffith, Environment, Race and Migration, University of Toronto, 1945, p.256. See also E. A. Hooten, Apes, Men and Morons, Putnam’s Sons, London, 1937, p.185.
been studied and puzzled over intensively for over a hundred years, is still a mystery. I should like to suggest that there is one name in the list of Ham’s descendants which might conceivably be a reference to their forebear, namely Resen (verse 19).
Resen is said to have been a city. It is characteristic of the earliest towns and cities mentioned in Genesis that they were named after their founders or their founders’ children. Cain built a city and called it after the name of his son, Enoch, according to Genesis 4:17. There is little doubt that the Unuk, and later Uruk, of Cuneiform inscriptions reflects this. As we have shown elsewhere, this early settlement became known as Erech in due time, and much later as Warka. It gave rise to a word meaning “city” (111) which has come into English as “burg.” We have noted also that Sidon is first mentioned as the firstborn son of Canaan, but a few verses later as the name of a city (verses 15 and 19). Similarly, the Jebusites, presumably descendants of a man named Jebus, lived in a stronghold named originally after their ancestor. So I think it quite probable that when Nimrod went up from southern Babylonia into Assyria and built Nineveh and Resen, among other tovns, he was naming the city of Resen either from a forebear or after an immediate relative. It is not strictly required to demonstrate that the Etruscans were a kind of colonizing fragment originating from this particular settlement founded by Nimrod. All I am proposing is that an ancestor whose name was Resen not only achieved sufficient importance to have an ancient city named after him in Assyria, but also to have given rise to a people who grew powerful enough and large enough to migrate up into Europe and into the north of Italy, from which they multiplied, and became wealthy and cultured enough to inspire the Japhetic Romans to adopt a very large part of their art, law, custom, and technology as their own, making scarcely any improvement on it.
The question is, Can we reasonably establish the propriety of deriving the more familiar word “Etruscan” from an ancient Resen; of tracing these same people back to the Middle East and close proximity to Assyria; and of establishing their racial affinity as neither Indo-European nor Shemitic. The answer to all three of these questions can be stated in the affirmative with some assurance on the following grounds.
To begin with, it can be stated simply that the people of
1l1. City: Eisler, R., “Loan Words in Semitic Languages Meaning ‘Town’,” Antiguity, Dec., 1939, pp.449ff.
Etruria or Tuscany were called by the early Greeks Tyrsenoi. By the early Romans they were called Etrusci. But in classic Latin times, they called themselves Rasena. (112)
According to Herodotus, (113) these people came from Lydia. They claimed to have invented, during a very protracted famine in the land, a series of games, including dice. These were subsequently introduced into northern Italy and into Greece as a result of the following circumstance. The situation finally became so serious that it was decided to divide the nation in half, one half emigrating from Lydia in the hope of saving the other. The king’s son was named Tyrrhenus, and he became the leader by appointment of that half of the nation which left Lydia. After sailing past many “countries,” they came to a place which Herodotus calls “Umbria” (apparently almost the whole of northern Italy is intended) where they built cities for themselves. They laid aside their former name of Lydians and called themselves after the name of the king’s son, Tyrrheneans.
That these people, the Etruscans, did come from Asia Minor is confirmed on linguistic and other grounds. Professor Joshua Whatmought says, “There is scarcely room any longer to doubt the Anatolian aflmities of the Etruscans.” Raymond Bloch (115) on the basis of linguistic evidence believes that the Etruscans belonged to a loosely interrelated family of people who inhabited the shores of the Mediterranean, including those of Asia Minor, before the Indo-European invasion upset the patterns of the region, an invasion which came in the second millennium B.C. He considers the Etruscans to be a “pocket” of such displaced people, and that this explains the similarity between their religious and social customs and those of certain peoples of Asia Minor.
Many years ago, Prof. E. St. John Parry (116) presented evidence to show that the Pelasgians who, like the Etruscans, built Megalithic monuments, may have been disturbed at the same time by the same circumstance and moved out from Asia Minor along with them, subsequently being confused with them by early historiographers.
112. Rouse, M. L., “Bible Pedgree of the Nations of the World”, Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.38, 1906, p.93.
113. Herodotus, History, vol.1, Everymans, London, 1936, pp.50, 51.
114. Whatmough, Joshua, in a review of “The Foundations of Roman Italy,” Antiquity, vol.11, 1937, p.363.
115. Bloch, Raymond, “The Etruscans,” Scientific American, Feb., 1962, p.87.
116. Parry, E. St. John, “On Some Points Connected With the Early History of Rome,” Canadian Journal, Apr., 1854, p.219.
One thing seems well established, and that is their language was neither Indo-European nor Semitic. (117) It seems fairly safe to assume (though language is by no means a safe guide in the matter) that they were themselves racially distinct from the Indo-Europeans. (118) A relationship has also been proposed with certain other “pockets” ï¿½ the Basques, for example. (119)
We have mentioned the tradition which ascribes to the Etruscans or Racena the invention of dice. Years ago a pair of dice were found with the numbers apparently written out upon them instead of merely being indicated by dots. Shortly after their discovery, the Rev. Isaac Taylor presented a paper (120) before the Victoria Institute in London in which he showed that the most probable interpretation of the numerals was to be found by reference to allied terms in Finnic, Altaic, and Basque. A few years later, while the subject was still a very live issue ï¿½ as indeed it still is ï¿½ a paper was presented by a Mr. R. Brown (121) before the same Institute in which, in an appendix, some further Etruscan words are compared to certain Sumerian words. We are, then, coming perhaps even nearer to the ancient Resen of Genesis 10.
In his Origin of Nations, Rawlinson (122) draws attention to the fact that certain Etruscan bronzes are decorated or adorned with figures in rows, exhibiting sphinxes and human beings which, he suggests, are not unlike similar processions of figures found near Nineveh. These Assyrian parallels were discovered by Layard and reported in his famous work, Discoveries in the Ruins of Babylon and Nineveh. Of these, Layard wrote as follows: (123)
A second bowl, 7/2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inches deep, has in the centre a medallion and on the sides in a very high relief two lions and two sphinxes . . . wearing a collar, feathers, and a headdress formed by a disc with two uraei. Both bowls are remarkable for the boldness of the relief and the archaic
117. Fiesel, Eva, “The Inscriptions on the Etruscan Bulla,” American Journal of Archaeology, June, 1935, p.196.
118. MacIvor, D. R., “The Etruscans,” Antiquity, June, 1927, p.162.
119. Basques: Everyman’s Encyclopedia, vol.5, Dent, London, 1913, p.544.
120. Taylor, Isaac, “On the Etruscan Languages,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, London, vol.10, 1876, p.179-206.
121. Brown, R., special note on “The Etruscans,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, London, vol.14, 1881, p.352-354.
122. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, Scribners, New York, 1878, p.123.
123. Layard, A. H., Discoveries in the Ruins of Babylon and Nineveh, Murray, London, 1853, p.189.
treatment of the figures, in this respect resembling tbe ivories previously discovered at Nimroud
They forcibly call to mind the early remains of Greece, and especially the metal work and painted pottery found in very ancient tomls in Etruria, which they so closely resernble not only in design but in subject, the same mythic animals and the same ornaments being introduced, that we cannot but attribute to both the same origin.
Layard emphasizes this impression by illustrating his point with woodcuts in the text, which show that the figures found on a bronze pedestal at Powledrara in Etruria “are precisely similar to those upon a fragment of a dish brought from Nineveh.” A thread of evidence carries us back, therefore, to the very environs of Nineveh where the city of Resen was situated.
There is a further piece of evidence leading us back to the same earlier source. It is of a slightly different nature though equally suggestive. The Romans annually celebrated a festival called the “Festival of Saturnus,” or “Saturnalia,” during which law courts were closed, school children had a holiday, and all business was suspended. One remarkable custom was the “liberation” or “freeing” of all slaves, who were allowed to say whatever they wished about their masters, took part in a banquet attired in their masters’ clothes, and were waited upon by them at table. This period of freedom lasted about one week.
The origin of this festival, according to Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, is not certain. (124) In one legend it was attributed to the Pelasgians. In view of the fact that so many of the features of earlier Roman culture, including their ceremonies, are directly attributable to the Etruscans, and that the Etruscans and Pelasgians were sometimes confused with one another, it seems possible that this strange practice of giving slaves a week of complete liberty, indeed of licence, was originally introduced by the Etruscans.
It is therefore highly significant, I think, that when Prof. Pinches read a paper before the Victoria Institute entitled, “Notes upon Some of the Recent Discoveries in the Realm of Assyriology,” he referred to one inscription of the famous Gudea who stated that after he had built Eninnu (a house or temple), he “released bonds and confirmed benefits. For seven days obedience was not exacted, the maid was made like her mistress,
124. “Saturnalia”: Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, vol.2, Murray, London, 3rd edition, 1901, p.600.
Of course, the Sumerians were slave-holders, but they seem to have been of a kindly disposition, and to have treated their slaves well. In this case seven days’ holiday are said to have been given them, and this is the only Cuneiform record known of such a thing.
It is indeed remarkable that there should be such a hiatus of so many centuries of absence of reference to this custom from Gudea to Roman times, yet evidently the custom was transmitted somehow, and it would seem most logical to assume that the transmitters were the Racina, the descendants of a certain Resen who were familiar with Assyrian culture.
In summary, then, we have a people calling themselves Rasena, after an ancestor whose name could easily be a form of the more ancient Resen, starting in Assyria, settling in Lydia from which they later emigrated to northern Italy, speaking a language neither Semitic nor Indo-European, pre-eminently city-builders (as though continuing the tradition of their ancestor), and still producing works of art for which quite exact parallels have been found in the very locality in which Genesis 10 states the city of Resen was built.
It may be that just as Sidon was remembered by a city named for him, so the city of Resen commemorated a patriarch whose descendants, long after the city had disappeared from view, multiplied and carried on their inherited tradition of city life as well as the name of their forebear and settled in Etruria, where they made a tremendous contribution to the basic Roman civilization which has become in time our own.
125. Pinches, T. G., “Notes Upon Some of the Recent Discoveries in the Realm of Assyriology with Special Reference to the Private Life of the Babylonians,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, London, vol.26, 1892, p.139.