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The Caphtorim (Hebrew: כפתרים, K‎aphtōrīm) are the descendants of Caphtor (Hebrew: כפתור, Kaphtōr; "Name means::a crown"), the seventh son of son of::Mizraim, according Genesis 10:14 . The ethnicons Caphtor, Caphutkia, Kaftar, Kaft-ur, Keftiu all derive from this name. They were the original Cappadocians who came from Pelusium (Caphutkia) and the Red sea. In alliance with the Casluks they replaced the Canaanites of Tyre and Sidon. As early as the time of Thotmes III the inhabitants of this land, the Kafti, are mentioned in Egyptian records. In the trilingual inscription of Canopus the name is rendered in Greek by Phoinike, "Phoenicia" and might therefore by extension be related to the names Copt and Aegyptus (associated with the Phoenicians in Greek myth). It is generally held that the Egyptian Kafto was a district near Cilicia. McCurdy's suggests (HDB) that the final "r" represents a Hebrew waw, written as a vowel-letter in an original Kafto. Kaft was also the Egyptian name for the colonies of Phoenicians in the Delta, and by extension covered all the colonies of the Phoenicians in the north as well. Kaft-ur, therefore, would mean "Greater Phoenicia." [1] Kaptar was among the names of countries conquered by Ptolemy Auletes in an inscription on the Temple of Kom Ombo. The Midrash Rabbah on Genesis 37:5 (page 298 in the 1961 edition of Maurice Simon's translation) says that the "Caphtorim were dwarfs" and for this reason they are closely associated with the children of Hephaestus. As their name indicates, they were skilled metallurgists. Some theologians have argued for their descent from Eliezer of Damascus because they are exemplified in the Torah for inheriting part of the land of Canaan promised to Abraham.


The Cabeiroi are included in the descendants from the Caphtorim. In addition, the Caphtorim were rivals, but also closely related, to the Pathrusim, Casluhim and Philistines. Genesis chapter ten has this to say:

"Mizraim begat ... Casluhim (out of whom came the Philistim) and Caphtorim." - Genesis 10:13-14

It is clear that there was a fiercely competitive sibling rivalry between them as several other scriptures read thus:

"And as for the Avvites (Abimelech's Philistines) who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorites coming out from Caphtor destroyed them and settled in their place." - Deuteronomy 2:23

"Did I not deliver Israel from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor?" - Amos 9:7

"the LORD will spoil the Philistines who remained from the country of Caphtor" - Jeremiah 47:4

Either way they were certainly a branch of Y-Chromosomal Haplogroup E1b1b1a. The Qenite "Pygmy" Y-Chromosomal Haplogroup B has also been found in very low frequencies among the Copts which may explain the Midrash Rabbah on Genesis 37:5 (page 298 in the 1961 edition of Maurice Simon's translation) which says that the Caphtorim were dwarves. Cypriots were originally known as Caphtors, called Kaptara in the Babylonian texts and these accounts certainly substantiate Greek legends concerning their own conquest of the Pelasgians. They were renowned copper-smiths.

The mixed Philistines descended not only from Casluh but also Pathrusim (from whom, many assumed the Caphtorim descended), had already destroyed the Canaanites in southern Palestine and lived there in their place, founding the cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath which were on the confines of Egypt. They in turn were conquered by Caphtor. The name "Palestine" is derived from "Philistine" (the Assyrians called them "Palastu"). The tattooed white "Berbers" and Cruthin (Picts) were also descendants.

See Also


  1. Ebers (Aegypten und die Bucher Moses, 130 ff)

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