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Tiras was, according to Genesis 10 and Chronicles 1, the last-named son of Japheth who is otherwise unmentioned in the Hebrew Bible. They are sometimes associated by scholars with the Teresh or Tursha, one of the groups which made up the Sea Peoples, a naval confederacy which terrorized Egypt and other Mediterranean around 1200 BCE.[1] This Sea People is referred as "Tursha" in an inscription of Ramesses III, and as "Teresh of the Sea" on the Merneptah Stele.[2][3]

Some other scholars associate Tiras with Thrace or the Etruscans.[4] In 1838, the German scholar Johann Christian Friedrich Tuch[5] 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.

Ancient and Medieval Identifications[edit]

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.

Movses Khorenatsi, 5th century Armenian historian, attributed the founder of Armenian nation, Hayk, to being a grandson of Tiras.

According to tractate Yoma, in the Talmud, Tiras is the ancestor of Persia.

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.

The 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.

Another medieval rabbinic text Book of Jasher (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".


  1. ^ Eliezer D. Oren (9 October 2013). The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 76. ISBN 1-934536-43-1. 
  2. ^ The Bible for Home and School Macmillan, 1909 (heavily annotated scholarly translation of Bible, comparing all known variants) p. 90
  3. ^ International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1995) p. 859
  4. ^ Bruce K. Waltke (22 November 2016). Genesis: A Commentary. Zondervan. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-310-53102-9. 
  5. ^ Kommentar Über die Genesis, pp. 216-217 216-217.