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Josephus: Table of the Nations

Josephus's account of the Table of the Nations (Gen 10:1-32)

Antiquities of the Jews 1.6.1-5

1. Now they were the grandchildren of Noah, in honour of whom names were imposed on the nations by those that first seized upon them. Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that, beginning at the mountain Taurus and Amanus, they proceeded along Asia, as far as the river Tanais, and along Europe to Cadiz; and setting themselves on the land which they light upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the nations by their own names; for Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians (Galls), but were then called Gomerites. Magog founded those that from him were Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians. Now as to Javan and Madai, the sons of Japhet; from Madai came the Madeans, who are called Medes by the Greeks; but from Javan, Ionia and all the Grecians are derived. Thobel founded the Thobelites, who are now called Iberes; and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians. There is also a mark of their ancient denomination still to be shown; for there is even now among them a city called Mazaca, which may inform those that are able to understand, that so was the entire nation once called. Thiras, also called those whom he ruled over, Thirasians; but the Greeks changed the name into Thracians. And so many were the countries that had the children of Japhet for their inhabitants. Of the three sons of Gomer, Aschanax founded the Aschanaxians, who are now called by the Greeks Rheginians. So did Riphath found the Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians; and Thrugramma the Thrugrammeans, who, as the Greeks resolved, were named Phrygians. Of the three sons of Javan, also, the son of Japhet, Elisa gave name to the Eliseans, who were his subjects; they are now the Aeolians. Tharsus to the Tharsians; for so was Cilicia of old called; the sign of which is this, that the noblest city they have, and a metropolis also, is Tarsus, the tau being by change put for the theta. Cethimus possessed the island Cethima; it is now called Cyprus: and from that it is that all islands, and the greatest part of the seacoasts, are named Cethim by the Hebrews; and one city there is in Cyprus that has been able to preserve its denomination; it is called Citius by those who use the language of the Greeks, and has not, by the use of that dialect, escaped the name of Cethim. And so many nations have the children and grandchildren of Japhet possessed. Now when I have premised somewhat, I will return and explain what I have omitted; for such names are pronounced here after the manner of the Greeks, to please my readers; for our own country language does not so pronounce them; but the names in all cases are of one and the same ending; for the name we here pronounce Noeas, is there Noah, and in every case retains the same termination.

2. The children of Ham possessed the land from Syria and Amanus, and the mountains of Libanus, seizing upon all that was on its seacoasts and as far as the ocean, and keeping it as their own. Some indeed of its names are utterly vanished away; others of them changed, and another sound given them, are hardly to be discovered; yet a few there are which have kept their denominations entire; for of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Chus; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites. The memory of the Mesraites is preserved in their name; for all we who inhabit this country (of Judea) call Egypt Mestre, and the Egyptians Mestreans, Phut also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself: there is also a river in the country of the Moors which bears that name; whence it is that we may see the greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river and the adjoining country by the appellation of Phut: but the name it has now, has by change given it from one of the sons of Mesraim, who was called Lybyos. We will inform you presently what has been the occasion why it has been called Africa also. Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now called Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan. The children of these (four) were these: Sabas, who founded the Sabeans; Evilas, who founded the Evileans, who are called Getuli; Sabathes founded the Sabathens; they are now called by the Greeks, Astaborans; Sabactas settled the Sabactens; and Ragmus the Ragmeans; and he had two sons, the one of whom, Judadas, settled the Judadeans, a nation of the western Ethiopians, and left them his name; as did Sabas to the Sabeans. But Nimrod, the son of Chus, staid and tyrannized at babylon, as we have already informed you. Now all the children of Mesraim, being eight in number possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it retained the name of one only, the Philistim; for the Greeks call part of that country Palestine. As for the rest, Ludicim, and Enemim, and Labin, who alone inhabited in Libya, and called the country from himself, Nedim, and Phethrosim, and Chesloim, and Cephthorim, we nothing of them besides their name, for the Ethiopic war, which we shall describe hereafter, was the cause that those cities were overthrown. The sons of Canaan were these: Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name; it was called by the Greeks, Sidon; Amathus inhabited in Amathine, which is even now called Amathe by the inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphanis, from one of his posterity: Arudeus possessed the island Aradus: Arucas possessed Acre, which is in Libanus; - but for the seven others, (Eueus), Chetteus, Jebuseus, Amorreus, Gergesus, Eudeus, Sineus, Samareus, we have nothing in the sacred books but their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities; and their calamities came upon them on the occasion following:- ...

4. Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the land that began at Euphrates, and reached the Indian Ocean; for Elam left behind him the Elamites, the ancestors of the Persians. Ashur lived at the city Nieve; and named his subjects Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others. Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans. Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks call Syrians; as Laud founded the Laudites, which are now called Lydians. Of the four sons of Aram, Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus; this country lies between Palestine and Celesyria. Ul founded Armenia, and Gather the Bactrians; and Mesa the Mesaneans; it is now called Charax Spasini, Sala was the son of Arphaxad; and his son was Heber, from whom they originally called the Jews Hebrews. Heber begat Joctan and Phaleg; he was called Phaleg, because he was born at the dispersion of the nations to their several countries; for Phaleg, among the Hebrews, signifies division. Now Joctan, one of the sons of Heber, had these sons, Elmodad, Saleph, Asermoth, Jera, Adoram, Aizel, Decla, Ebal, Abimael, Sabeus, Ophir, Euilat and Jobab. These inhabited from Cophen, and Indian river, and in part of Asia adjoining it. And this shall suffice concerning the sons of Shem.

5. I will now treat of the Hebrews. The son of Phaleg, whose father was Heber, was Ragau; whose son was Serug, to whom was born Nahor, his son was Terah, who was the father of Abraham, was accordingly the tenth from Noah, and was born in the two hundred and ninety-second year after the Deluge; for Terah begat Abram, in his seventieth year; Nahor begat Haran when he was one hundred and twenty years old; Nahor was born to Serug in his hundred and thirty-second year; Ragau had Serug at one hundred the thirty; at the same age also Phaleg had Ragau; Heber begat Phaleg in his hundred and thirty-fourth year; he himself being begotten by Sala when he was a hundred and thirty years old, who, Arphaxad had for his son at the hundred and thirty-fifth year of his age. Arphaxad was the son of Shem, and was born twelve years after the Deluge. Now Abraham had two brethren, Nahor and Haran; of these Haran left a son, Lot; as also Sarai and Milcha his daughters, and died among the Chaldeans, in a city of the Chaldeans, called Ur; and his monument is shown to this day. These married their nieces. Nahor married Milcha, and Abram married Sarai. Now Terah hating Chaldea, on account of his mourning for Haran, they all removed to Haran of Mesopotamia, where Terah died, and was buried, when he had lived to be two hundred and five years old; for the life of man was already, by degrees diminished, and became shorter than before, till the birth of Moses; after whom the term of human life was one hundred and twenty years, God determining it to the length that Moses happened to live. Now Nahor had eight sons by Milcha; Uz and Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Azau, Pheldas, Jadelph, and Bethuel. These were all the genuine sons of Nahor; for Teba, and Gaam, Tachas, and Maaca, were born of Reuma his concubine; but Bethuel had a daughter, Rebecca, - and a son, Laban.