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Thargamos and his sons.
The order of the figures from left to right is: Movakan, Bardos, Kartlos, Hayk, Thargamos, Lekos, Heros, Caucas, Egros. An opening folio of the Georgian Chronicles (Vakhtangiseuli redaction), 1700s.
Red: Son of Japhet, Yellow: Son of Ham. Blue: Son of Shem

Togarmah (Hebrew: תֹּגַרְמָהTōgarmā, Armenian: Թորգոմ Torgom, Georgian: თარგამოსი Targamosi) is a figure in the "table of nations" in Genesis 10, the list of descendants of Noah that represents the peoples known to the ancient Hebrews. Togarmah is among the descendants of Japheth and is thought to represent some people located in Anatolia. Medieval sources claimed that Togarmah was the legendary ancestor of several peoples of the Caucasus (including Armenians and Georgians).[a]

Biblical attestations and historical geography[edit]

Togarmah is listed in Genesis 10:3 as the third son of Gomer, and grandson of Japheth, brother of Ashkenaz and Riphath. The name is again mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel as a nation from the "far north". Ezekiel 38:6 mentions Togarmah together with Tubal as supplying soldiers to the army of Gog. Ezekiel 27:14 mentions Togarmah together with Tubal, Javan and Meshech as supplying horses to the Tyrians.

Most scholars identify Togarmah with the capital city called Tegarama by the Hittites and Til-Garimmu by the Assyrians.[2] O.R. Gurney placed Tegarama in Southeast Anatolia.[3]

Later traditions[edit]

Several later ethnological traditions have claimed Togarmah as the legendary ancestor of various peoples located in western Asia and the Caucasus. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37 – c. 100 AD) and the Christian theologians Jerome (c. 347 – 420 AD) and Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 636 AD) regarded Togarmah as the father of the Phrygians. Several ancient Christian authors, including Saint Hippolytus (c. 170-c. 236 AD), Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 263 – c. 339 AD), and bishop Theodoret (c. 393 – c. 457 AD), regarded him as a father of Armenians. Medieval Jewish traditions linked him with several peoples: Turkic, including the Khazars.

Armenian and Georgian traditions[edit]

Another Togarmah, this one being the son of both Tiras and Gomer, is mentioned by Armenian Moses of Chorene (c. 480) and Georgian Leonti Mroveli who regarded Togarmah as the founder of their nations along with other Caucasian peoples.

According to Moses of Chorene's History of Armenia and to Leonti Mroveli's medieval Georgian Chronicles, "Thargamos" was thought to have lived in Babylon, before he received the "land between two Seas and two Mountains" (i.e. the Caucasus) in his possession. He then settled near Mount Ararat and divided his land among his sons:[4][5]

  1. Hayk (Հայկ) - first son of Thargamos, inherited Mount Ararat and founded the Armenian nation.
  2. Kartlos (ქართლოსი) - settled in north-east from Ararat, founder of Kartli (Sa'kartvelo) who united other brothers and founded the Georgian nation.
  3. Bardоs [ka] (ancestor of the Aghbanians/Aghuanians/Aghuans)
  4. Movkan [ka] (ancestors of the Movkans)
  5. Lekos ancestors of the "Lek" tribe of the North Caucasus.
  6. Heros (Herans [ka]) - settled in the eastern part of Ararat
  7. Caucas (Kovkases) - settled beyond the Caucasus Range, ancestor of the Ingush and Chechens.
  8. Egros [ka] (Egers) - settled between the Black Sea and Likhi Range (Western Georgia)

Jewish traditions[edit]

Togarmah was linked to several medieval Turkic peoples by Jewish traditions. The Khazar ruler Joseph ben Aaron (c. 960) writes in his letters:

You ask us also in your epistle: "Of what people, of what family, and of what tribe are you?" Know that we are descended from Japhet, through his son Togarmah. I have found in the genealogical books of my ancestors that Togarmah had ten sons.

He then goes on to enumerate ten names:[6][7] These names are reconstructed by Korobkin (1998)[8]

  1. Agyor (Orkhon Uyghurs?)
  2. Tiros (or scribal error for **Twrq, meaning Turks?)
  3. Ouvar (Avars)
  4. Ugin (or Uguz, possibly Oghuz Turks)
  5. Bisal (Pechenegs?)
  6. Tarna (cf. a Tarniach people who fled to the Avars from the Turks)
  7. Khazar (Khazars)
  8. Zanor (or Janur) (cf. a Zabender people who fled to the Avars from the Turks)
  9. Balnod (likely scribal error for Bulgar, meaning Bulgars)
  10. Savir (Sabirs)

The anonymous Jewish author of the medieval historical chronicle Josippon lists the ten sons of Togarmas in his Josippon[9][10][11] as follows:

  1. Kwzar (כוזר) (the Khazars)
  2. Pyṣynq (פיצינק) (the Pechenegs)
  3. ˀln (אלן) (the Alans)
  4. Bwlgr (בולגר) (the Bulgars)
  5. Knbynˀ (כנבינא) (Kanbina?)
  6. Ṭwrq (טורק) (possibly the Göktürks)
  7. Bwz (בוז) (Flusser corrected this to כוז **Kwz for Ghuzz "Oghuzes", east of the Khazars)
  8. Zkwk (זכוך) (Zakhukh? or זיכוס **Zykws = Zikhūs, meaning the Northwest Caucasian Zygii?[11][12]) (or a Zabender people who fled to the Avars from the Turks)
  9. ˀwngr (אוגר) (Ungar; either the Hungarians or the Oghurs/Onogurs)
  10. Tolmaṣ (תולמץ) (cf. the Pecheneg tribe Βορο-ταλμάτ < *Boru-Tolmaç mentioned by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII).

In an 11th-century Arabic translation of Josippon by a Yemenite Jew:[11] Togorma's tribes are these:

  1. al-Khazar (Khazars)
  2. al-Bajanāq (Pechenegs)
  3. al-Ās-Alān (Alans)
  4. al-Bulġar (Bulgars)
  5. [...]
  6. [...]
  7. [...]
  8. Khyabars (Kabars? or Sabirs?)
  9. Unjar (Hungarians or Oghurs/Onogurs)
  10. Ṭalmīs (cf. the Pecheneg tribe Βορο-ταλμάτ < *Boru-Tolmaç mentioned by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII).

In the Chronicles of Jerahmeel,[13][14] the three "children" are listed as:

  1. Abihud
  2. Shāfaṭ
  3. Yaftir

And the ten "families"[15][16] are listed as:

  1. Cuzar (the Khazars)
  2. Pasinaq (the Pechenegs)
  3. Alan (the Alans)
  4. Bulgar (the Bulgars)
  5. Kanbinah
  6. Turq (possibly the Göktürks)
  7. Buz (possibly scribal error for **Kwz, meaning Oghuz Turks)
  8. Zakhukh (scribal error for **Zykws, meaning Zygii?) (or a Zabender people who fled to the Avars from the Turks)
  9. Ugar (either the Hungarians or the Oghurs/Onogurs)
  10. Tulmes (cf. the Pecheneg tribe Βορο-ταλμάτ < *Boru-Tolmaç mentioned by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII)

Another medieval rabbinic work, the Book of Jasher,[17][18] give the names:

  1. Buzar (possibly scribal error for Kuzar, meaning Khazars)
  2. Parzunac (the Pechenegs)
  3. Elicanum (the Alans?)
  4. Balgar (the Bulgars)
  5. Ragbib
  6. Tarki (possibly the Göktürks)
  7. Bid (possibly scribal error for **Kuz, meaning Oghuz Turks)
  8. Zebuc (scribal error for Zykws, meaning Zygii?) (or a Zabender people who fled to the Avars from the Turks)
  9. Ongal (Hungarians or Oghurs/Onogurs)
  10. Tilmaz (cf. the Pecheneg tribe Βορο-ταλμάτ < *Boru-Tolmaç mentioned by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII)).

In the 18th century, the French Benedictine monk and scholar Calmet (1672–1757) placed Togarmah in Scythia and Turcomania (in the Eurasian Steppes and Central Asia).[19]


  1. ^ The legendary ancestor of Georgians was also stated to be Tubal.[1]


  1. ^ Cross, James (1915). Christendom's impending doom, or Coming eschatological events: being the future of the British Empire, Russia, the Papacy, the Jews, and Christendom, as revealed in the pages of Holy Writ. New York, America: Marshall. p. 120.
  2. ^ "Gen. 10:3 identifies Togarmah (along with Ashkenaz and Riphath) as the son of Gomer and the nephew of Javan, Meshech, and Tubal. Most scholars equate the name with the capital of Kammanu (Kummanni), known in Hittite texts as Tegarama, in Akkadian as Til-garimmu, and in classical sources as Gauraen (modern Gurun)." Block, Daniel I. (19 June 1998). The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25 48. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0-8028-2536-0.
  3. ^ map on inside cover of Gurney, The Hittites, Folio Society edition
  4. ^ "The Georgian Chronicle, History". Rbedrosian.com. Retrieved 2015-07-26.
  5. ^ "Мовсес Хоренаци, История Армении в трех частях. Книга Первая". Vehi.net. Retrieved 2015-07-26.
  6. ^ Bloomberg, Jon: The Jewish World in the Middle Ages. Ktav Publishing, 2000, p. 108.
  7. ^ "The letter of Joseph the king, son of Aaron the king, the Turk-may his creator preserve him to the head of the assembly, Hasdai, the son of Isaac, son of Ezra-about 960" Medieval Sourcebook: The Medieval Jewish Kingdom of the Khazars, 740-1259
  8. ^ Korobkin, N. D. (trans.), 1998, The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith, Northvale. p. 351. Quoted & cited in Feldman, A. (2018). Ethnicity and statehood in Pontic-Caspian Eurasia (8-13th c.) : contributing to a reassessment. University of Birmingham. Ph.D dissertation.
  9. ^ Josippon "Table of Nations" (in Russian) quote: "Тогарма составляют десять родов, от них Козар, Пецинак, Алан, Булгар, Канбина, Турк, Буз, Захук, Уф, Толмац."
  10. ^ Nissan, Ephraim (2009) "Medieval Hebrew texts and European river names" Onomàstica 5 p. 188-9 of 187-203
  11. ^ a b c Pritsak, O. (1978) "The Khazar Kingdom's Conversion to Judaism", in Harvard Ukrainian Studies II.3 n. 51 on p. 268-269 of 261-281
  12. ^ Alemany, Agustí (2000). Sources on the Alans: A Critical Compilation. p. 336
  13. ^ The Chronicles of Jerahmeel at archive.org p. 58
  14. ^ The Chronicles of Jerahmeel at sacred-texts Ch. XXVII quote: "Togarmah branched into ten families, who are the Cuzar (###), Paṣinaq (###), Alan (###), Bulgar (###), Kanbina (###), Turq (###), Buz (###), Zakhukh (###), Ugar (###), and Tulmeṣ (###)"
  15. ^ The Chronicles of Jerahmeel at archive.org p. 67
  16. ^ The Chronicles of Jerahmeel at sacred-texts Ch. XXXI
  17. ^ The Book of Jasher - M.M. Noah & A.S Gould, New-York, 1840; with reviews for the 2nd edition, publisher and translators prefaces, translation of Hebrew Venice 1825 preface
  18. ^ Plain text: Cumorah Project: LDS and World Classics (Based on 1840 translation; Includes translator's preface). "Chapter 10: 10v-12v". Quote: "And the children of Tugarma are ten families, and these are their names: Buzar, Parzunac, Balgar, Elicanum, Ragbib, Tarki, Bid, Zebuc, Ongal and Tilmaz"
  19. ^ The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. (1835) B. B. Edwards and J. Newton Brown. Brattleboro, Vermont, Fessenden & Co., p. 1125.