Monday 11 July 2011

The World as it was Known in the Bronze Age: Peoples

Today I want to post about the Post-Flood genealogy of nations from the sons of Noah, as presented in the biblical account of the Deluge (which has its origin in several stories from the Near East, including the Mesopotamian stories of Ziusudra, Atrahasis, and Utnapishtim; and from 'The Syrian Goddess' it appears that the Canaanites too gave offerings around the site where the deluge waters were supposed to have flowed into a chasm, back into the Fountains of the Deep, and so were probably aware of the Ziusudra flood story).  The reasons I'm doing this are threefold:
1. It helps identify the nations listed.
2. It will also provide a sense of context, looking into the names of those nations and how they can be found in Canaanite, Babylonian, Assyrian, and other inscriptions and tablets.
3. It helps show the world as it would have been known to the Canaanites and Hebrews of the Bronze Age.

So without further hesitation, the descendants of Noah's sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Shem: Shem is the ancestor to the Elamites, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Babylonians, Hebrews, Arabians, Aramaeans, Midianites, Moabites, Ammonites, Amalekites, Edomites, Ludim (Lydians).

Ham: Ham is the ancestor to the Canaanites, Mizraimites (Egyptians), Phutites (Libyans), Cushites (Ethiopians), Sidonians, Hethites (Hittites), Girgashites, Jebusites, Zemarites, Sinites, Amorites, Philistines, Arkites, Arvadites, Hamathites, Hivites.

Japheth: Japheth is the ancestor to the Gomerites (Cimmerians), Madai (Medes and Persians), Javanites (Greeks), Ashchenazites (Scythians), Magogites (formed a small part of Scythian hordes, but not all Scythians were from Magog), Kittim (Cypriots), Tirasites (Thracians).

Obviously, this genealogy is slightly flawed in light of modern archeology and genetics, not to mention the fact that it misses out various groups of people not known until later (where are the Germans, Celts, Mongolians, Koreans, Indians, Chinese, Japanese?), but it provides a look into a Bronze Age worldview of the peoples and tribes of the Mediterranean, Near and Middle East.

Shem's Descendants (Shem is called Sumu in Akkadian inscriptions as the name for this group of people):
- Elam: The ancestor to the Elamites, who were known to the Babylonians as the Elamtu, and inhabited Elam in western Iran;
- Asshur: The ancestor the the Assyrians, who inhabited Mesopotamia to the north of Akkad, and Asshur is the name of their ancestral god;
- Arpekshed: The ancestor the Chaldeans and the Babylonians, who inhabited Mesopotamia, and they are recorded in Akkadian inscriptions as Arraphu;
- Lud: The ancestor to the Lydians, who inhabited western Asia Minor, and are known to the Babylonians as the Ludu;
- Aram: The ancestor to the Aramaeans, who inhabited Syria (including the city of Dimashqu or Damascus), and are called to the Aramu in Akkadian inscriptions;
- Eber: The ancestor to the Hebrews, who inhabited Canaan, and may possibly be identified with the Habiru of Egyptian inscriptions (Eber's descendants would include not only the Israelites, but Arabians as well);
- Joktan: A son of Eber and the ancestor to the following Arabian tribes: Almorad, Salif, Azal, Huwailah, and a few others;
- Moab: The ancestor the Moabites, who lived east of the Dead Sea, and were called the Mu'abu by the Akkadians;
- Ammon: The brother of Moab and ancestor to the Ammonites, who lived near the Moabites, and were called the Amman by the Assyrians;
- Midian: The ancestor to the Midianites, who lived in the north of Arabia, known in Arabia as the Madyan;
- Sheba: The ancestor to the Sabaeans, who lived in southern Arabia, who succeeded an earlier tribe of Sabaeans;
- Dedan: The ancestor to the Dedanites, who lived in Arabia, who succeded an earlier tribe of Dedanites;
- Nabaoth: The ancestor to the Nabataeans, who lived in northern Arabia, and were known as the Nabat to the Chaldeans (Sheba, Dedan, and Nabaoth were descendants of Eber, and were all Arabians).

From this we can see several things: the Moabites, Ammonites, Midianites and Edomites are considered relatives of the Israelites; the Moabites and Ammonites are considered close relatives; the Israelites and Arabians are both considered to be Hebrews and are related; the Dedanites, Sabaeans, and Nabataeans are considered relatives, and the Sabaeans and Dedanites overthrew earlier Hamitic tribes.

Ham's Descendants:
- Canaan: The ancestor to the Canaanites, whose descendants were named Sidon, Zemar, Sin, Heth, Jebus, Girgash, Arvad, Hamath, Arqa, Hava, Amor;
- Sidon: The ancestor to the Sidonians;
- Jebus: The ancestor to the Jebusites;
- Girgash: The ancestor to the Girgashites, who are known as Kirkash in Egyptian inscriptions;
- Amor: The ancestor to the Amorites, who were known to the Akkadians as Amurru;
- Heth: The ancestor to the Hittites;
- Zemar: The ancestor to the Zemarites, who were known as the Sumur to the Egyptians;
- Arvad: The ancestor to the Arvadites, who were known as the Arwada to the Egyptians;
- Hamath: The ancestor to the Hamathites;
- Hava: The ancestor to the Hivites;
- Arqa: The ancestor to the Arkites, who were known as the Irkata to th Egyptians;
- Sin: The ancestor to the Sinites, who were known as the Siannu to the Assyrians;
- Mizraim: The ancestor to the Egyptians, who were known as the Musri to the Babylonians;
- Cuslah and Caphtor: The ancestors to the Cretans, who were known as Kaptar in Assyria, and are also recorded in Ugaritic texts, and they were also the ancestors to the Philistines;
- Philist: The ancestor to the Philistines, who came from Crete and settled in Canaan, they were called the Palashtu by the Assyrians;
- Phut: The ancestor to the Libyans, who were known as Punt to the Egyptians;
- Cush: The ancestor to the Ethiopians, who were known as Kush to the Egyptians.

From this we can see several things: the Philistines are considered to come from Crete, and Cretans themselves are supposed to have descended from Egyptians; the Hittites are considered to have descended from Canaanites.

Japheth's Descendants:
- Gomer: The ancestor to the Cimmerians who settled on the shores of the Caspian Sea, they were called the Gimirraya by the Assyrians;
- Ashchenaz: A son of Gomer, whose descendants are the Scythians, they were called the Askuza by the Assyrians;
- Magog: The ancestor to a small tribe who later became assimilated into the Scythian hordes;
- Madai: The ancestor to the Medes and Persians, called by the Assyrians the Amada;
- Javan: The ancestor to the Ionians and to the Greeks in general, who were called by the Assyrians the Iamanu;
- Elishah: A son of Javan and the ancestor of the Aeolians, who were called the Alashia in the Amarna tablets;
- Kittim: A son of Javan and the ancestor of the Cypriots, who were called the Kitiy in Canaanite inscriptions;
- Tiras: The ancestor to the Thracians, who were called the Tursha by the Egyptians.

From this we can see several things: the Scythians are considered descendants of the Cimmerians; the Aeolians and Cypriots are considered to be Greeks and descendants of the Ionians.

Despite its errors, this genealogy provides a look at a Bronze Age Near Eastern view of the world.  I intend this blog post to be the first of several dealing with the world as it was known to the Ancient Canaanites.  This world was a world where the furthest reaches were Greece and Cyprus to the West, Turkey to the North, Persia and Babylon to the East, Arabia and Ethiopia to the South.

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