Tiras was, according to Genesis 10 and Chronicles 1, the last-named son of Japheth who is otherwise unmentioned in the Hebrew Bible. According to the Book of Jubilees, the inheritance of Tiras consisted of four large islands in the ocean.
Josephus wrote that Tiras became ancestor of the "Thirasians" (Thracians) — a "flame-haired" (red or blond haired) people according to Xenophanes. Tiras or Tyras in antiquity was also the name of the Dniester river, and of a Greek colony situated near its mouth; the native inhabitants of the surrounding region Tyragetae. The Getae were one of the major components of the Thracians (Herodotus 4.93, 5.3), who the Greeks held to descend from the eponymous Thrax.
Some, including Noah Webster, have suggested that Tiras was worshiped by his descendants as Thor, the god of thunder, equating both these forms with the Θουρος (Thouros) mentioned by Homer as the "Ares (Mars) of the Thracians". The Icelandic saga Prose Edda names Thor (or Tror) as a fair-haired chieftain ancestral to the Germanic peoples, and a king of Thrace.
In 1838, the German scholar Johann Christian Friedrich Tuch suggested identifying Tiras with the Etruscans — who, according to Greek and Roman sources such as Herodotus (I, 94), had been living in Lydia as the Tyrsenoi before emigrating to Italy as early as the 8th century BC. Some scholars have additionally connected both Tiras and the Etruscans with Troas (Troy), as well as with the contingent of Sea Peoples known to New Kingdom of Egypt as the "Tursha" (Ramesses III inscription) or "Teresh of the Sea" (Merneptah Stele).
The medieval rabbinic text Book of Jasher[disambiguation needed] (7:9) records the sons of Tiras as Benib, Gera, Lupirion, and Gilak, and in 10:14, it asserts that Rushash, Cushni, and Ongolis are among his descendants. An earlier (950 AD) rabbinic compilation, the Yosippon, similarly claims Tiras' descendants to be the Rossi of Kiv, i.e. Kievan Rus, listing them together with his brother Meshech's supposed descendants as "the Rossi; the Saqsni and the Iglesusi".
Another mediaeval Hebrew compilation, the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, aside from quoting Yosippon as above, also provides a separate tradition of Tiras' sons elsewhere, naming them as Maakh, Tabel, Bal’anah, Shampla, Meah, and Elash. This material was ultimately derived from Pseudo-Philo (ca. 75 AD), extant copies of which list Tiras' sons as Maac, Tabel, Ballana, Samplameac, and Elaz.
The Persian historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (c. 915) recounts a tradition that Tiras had a son named Batawil, whose daughters Qarnabil, Bakht, and Arsal became the wives of Cush, Put, and Canaan, respectively.
- Kommentar Über die Genesis, pp. 216-217 216-217.
- The Bible for Home and School Macmillan, 1909 (heavily annotated scholarly translation of Bible, comparing all known variants) p. 90
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1995) p. 859