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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. According to the Book of Jubilees, the inheritance of Tiras consisted of four large islands in the ocean. Some scholars have speculated his descendants to have been among the components of the Sea Peoples known to Ancient Egypt as Tursha and to the Greeks as Tyrsenoi[1][2].

Josephus wrote that Tiras became ancestor of the "Thirasians" (Thracians). These were the first fair-haired people mentioned in antiquity according to Xenophanes, and were later known as the Getae according to historians beginning with Herodotus (4.93, 5.3). Tiras or Tyras in antiquity was also the name of the Dniester river, and of a Greek colony situated near its mouth.

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 "Mars of the Thracians". The earliest Norse sagas name Thor as an ancestral chieftain, and trace his origins to Thrace.

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

The 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".

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.


  1. The Bible for Home and School Macmillan, 1909 (heavily annotated scholarly translation of Bible, comparing all known variants) p. 90
  2. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1995) p. 859

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Tiras. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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