The Division of the World by Noah

When the Flood had subsided, and that Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, had come out of the Ark, God blessed them and said: "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth." (Gen. ix.)

Noah divided the world amongst his three sons: to Shem he gave Asia within the Euphrates, to the Indian ocean; to Ham he gave Syria, Arabia, and Africa; and to his favourite, Japhet, he gave the rest of Asia, beyond the Euphrates, together with Europe to Gades (now Cadiz): "May God enlarge Japhet, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan be his servant." (Gen. ix. 27).

Japhet had fifteen sons; amongst whom he divided Europe and the part of Asia that fell to his lot. The Bible gives the names of seven of those sons, namely: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan [1] (or Iauan), Thubal, Mosoch, and Thiras. The nations descended from these seven sons are known; but we know not the names of the other sons, from whom the Chinese and other nations of Eastern Asia are descended.

The sons of Shem were Cham, Assur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram. This Assur was the founder of Nineveh: from him "Assyria" was so called. The sons of Ham were Chus (or Cush), Mesram, Phut, and Canaan; and Cush begot Nimrod.

From Madai, son of Japhet, came the Madeans, whom the Greeks called "Medes;" from Javan, son of Japhet, were descended the Greeks and Ionians; from Thiras, son of Japhet, came the Thracians; from Thogarma, son of Gomer, son of Japhet, came the Phrygians and Armenians; from Iber, son of Thubal, son of Japhet, came the Iberians, who were afterwards called Spaniards.

Javan was the fourth son of Japhet. Although the Hebrews, Chaldeans, Arabians, and others gave no other appellation than that of "Ionians" to all the Grecian nations, yet from the fact that Alexander the Great, in the prediction of Daniel (Dan. viii. 21), is mentioned under the name of "Javan," or "Ion," it is evident that Javan was not only the father of the Ionians (who were but one particular Greek nation), but also the ancestor of all those nations that went under the general denomination of "Greeks." The sons of Javan were Elishah, Tharsis, Cetthim, and Dodanin. Elisha: the ancient city of Elis (in Peloponnesus), the Elysian fields, and the river Elissus contributed to preserve his memory. Tharsis is believed to have settled in Achaia, or the neighbouring provinces of Greece, as Elishah did in Peloponnesus. Cetthim (or Chittim) was, according to the first book of the Maccabees,[2] the ancestor of the Macedonians; for (I. Macc. i. 1), it is there said that Alexander, the son of Philip the Macedonian, went out of his country (which was that of Chittim), to make war against Darius, king of Persia. And Dodanin was, no doubt, the ancestor of the "Danai" of the Greeks, and of the Tuatha-de-Danans of ancient Ireland.

Homer calls the Grecians "Hellenes," "Danai," "Argivés," and "Achaians;" but, from whomsoever the Grecians derive their name, it is strange that the word Graecus is not once used in Virgil. Pliny says that the Grecians were so called from the name of an ancient king, of whom they had but a very uncertain tradition.


[1] Javan: In fol. 3 of O'Clery's Irish Genealogies the lineal descent of King Philip V. of Spain is carefully traced down from Adam, through this Javan (or Iauan), son of Japhet.

[2] Maccabees: The derivation of this name seems to be the same as that of the Irish sirname MacCabe; namely caba, which is the Irish for a cape, a cap, or hood; while the Hebrew Kaba has the same meaning.