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Tubal (Hebrew: תובל, Tūḇāl; Georgian: ტუბალი, Tubali; "Name means::thou shall be brought") was the fifth son of son of::Japheth, according to Genesis 10:2 .


Y-DNA Haplogroup C1 (C-M8)

Early History

The descendants of Tubal first come to our notice in the inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser I, king of Assyria in about 1100 BC. He refers to them as the Tabali whose original area of settlement (i.e. Tabal) was adjacent to that of Tegarama (Togarmah). The people of Tubal were variously known as Tubla, Tabal, or Tabali by the Assyrians who refer to them giving tribute of "great horses" to Ashurbanipal; Tiberani or Tibarenoi by the Greeks; and Thobelites by Josephus.[1] They were always identified alongside the Moschi in Asia Minor. The Septuagint translates "Meshech and Tubal" as "Mosoch and Thobel."

Josephus wrote: "Tobal gave rise to the Thobelites, who are now called Iberes." Their land, in Josephus' day, was known to the Romans as Iberia, and covered what is today the nation of Georgia whose capital today bears the name "Tubal" as Tbilisi. From here, having crossed the Caucasus Mountains, this people migrated due northeast, giving their tribal name to the river Tobol, and hence to the famous city of Tobolsk in Siberia.

The Caucasian Iberians were ancestors of modern Georgians. Georgians are a Kartvelian people, unrelated to the Indo-European peoples. Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi (ქართველები), their land Sakartvelo (საქართველო), and their language Kartuli (ქართული). According to The Georgian Chronicles, the ancestor of the Kartvelian peoples was Kartlos, the great-grandson of the Biblical Japheth. Ancient Greeks (Strabo, Herodotus, Plutarch, Homer, etc.) and Romans (Titus Livius, Cornelius Tacitus, etc.) referred to early eastern Georgians as Iberians (Ιβεροι, Iberoi in some Greek sources) and western Georgians as Colchians.[2]

Some modern Georgians also claim descent from Tubal, Togarmah and Meshech; a Georgian historian, Ivane Javakhishvili, considered Tabal, Tubal, Jabal and Jubal to be ancient Georgian tribal designations.

In discussing Tubal, Wilhelm Gesenius noted that Tubal was founder of the Tiberani, "a nation of Asia Minor dwelling by the Euxine Sea to the west of Moschi." He concluded that there should be no doubt that Tubal and Meshech comprise a portion of the modern Russian people.[3]


After the Hittite empire fell (c. 1200 BC), the Tabali moved into that territory vacated by the Hittites, establishing twenty-one city-states.[4] A region of their territory became known as Subartu. The Tabali or Toboli migrated over the Caucasus like so many others before and after them. Once in southern Russia they became identified with the Muscovites and Sarmatians[5], establishing themselves for a time along the River Volga. Bohn, the editor of Marco Polo's Travels, has this to say:

The Bolgar, Bulgar, or Bulghar, here spoken of is the name of a town and extensive district in Tartary, lying to the eastward of the Volga, and now inhabited by the Bashkirs, sometimes distinguished from the Bulgaria on the Danube, by the appellation of the Greater Bulgaria.[6]

It appears, therefore, that "Volga" and "Bulga" are one and the same; they appear to be identical with the root form of the name Tubal. Huxley agrees that the name Volga evolved into Bulgaria.[7] Tubal thus split into two like so many families: one branch migrated northwards, the other westwards. The group which moved into the Balkan Peninsula became known as the Bulgarians, mingling with the Sarmatians and adopting their particular Slavic language and customs. There was a city called Bulghar on the River Volga, near the River Kiama in the land of the Bulghars[8] also known as Bulgaria.[9]

Interestingly, a leader of the Khazar armies which filled the void left by the Toboli after migrating out of southern Russia, was called Balkan.[10] On the Volga today, all that is left of the once great city of Bolgara which Marco Polo mentions in his first chapter, is a little village. For a time it became the seat of Mongol rule in the 13th century. The name of the Haemus Mountains was changed to the Balkans in southeastern Europe after the Toboli settled there. The name recalls the Balkan hills and Balkan Bay alongside the Caspian Sea where Tubal once settled. Perhaps the name Toplitza in Bulgaria is a derivative of Tobol.[11]

The second syllable of the word "Bulgaria" is of Central Asiatic origin being found in the name of Kashghar in the plateau of Pamir, where some of Tubal once lived. The Bulghars conquered the native Slavs in that land. To this day there are two types in Bulgaria: a tall, dark-haired type; and a shorter, fairer type, descendants of the other Slavs.[12][13]

The other branch of the Toboli migrated northwards, perhaps giving their name to Lake Balaton Balta and the Baltic Sea. Today, they are settled northeast of Moscow around Tobolsk. There is also the tribe of Tubalai who live on the banks of the Tuba River and although they speak Turkic, are perhaps Samoyed.[14] They may have acquired their name from Tubal. A place-name alongside the Volga was known as Siberia.[15] Today, Siberia is in northern Russia where the Toboloskis migrated. The name originated in the Subartu district of ancient Tubal in Asia Minor.

In the mountains of Herat, in Afghanistan, ancient atlases again locate a tribe called Tapuri. If we travel down the Amu Darya River to the Aral Sea in Asia we find more settlements of Tubal. Marco Polo called one district 300 miles down this river Balashan (called today Badakhshan). About 150 miles further down is the Tupalik tributary. Nearly opposite on the left are the town and river of Balkh and 100 miles from another town further down the river called Meshekli is a settlement called Tabalick and Lake Balkash to the northeast of the Aral Sea.


Another mutated branch of Tubal may be the Basques who dwell on the border of Spain and France and speak a language which is unrelated to Indo-European. The word "Basque" is ultimately derived from the Latin Vasco or Vascones, said to have originally meant "foresters" but more likely a Latinized version of the root used by these people to refer to themselves, eusk-. The French province of Gascogne or Gascony is named after them. Also, the mountain range separating France and Germany is called the Vosges, anciently called the "Wasgen Forest of the Basques"—this signifies their migration into the area after the Flood. Roger Collins, in his excellent work, The Basques, states that Basque historian, Esteban de Garibay published four volumes of his Compendino Historial de las Chronicas (Antwerp, 1571 AD) in which he claimed to trace their origins:

He took up the notion, already popular with other Spanish antiquarians, that the Iberian peninsula had been populated by the descendants of Tubal, one of the sons of Japhet the son of Noah. However, he gave this legend a distinctive twist in making the Basque regions ... the principal focus of Tubal's activity and he 'proved' this thesis by claiming affinity between various Basque place-names and those in the Bible that were associated with Armenia, where the ark had come to rest ...[16]

Collins then proceeds to give the similarities in place-names and so forth. Garibay may be correct, but further investigation is required. Jewish tradition also seems to affirm that the earliest inhabitants of Spain were descendants of Tuval or Tubal, although some believed that Tubal also dwelt to the east of the Black Sea. Both views, as we have seen, are correct.


Minor colonies of Tubal may be the Canadian Ottawa Indians, the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, and Tablas Island in the Philippines. In the Malay Archipelago we find the Tobalai, Tuba, and Tawali islands, as well as Table Bay in New Guinea and Table Island in the Andaman Islands. Tubal's portion was "between the tongue ... toward the side of the portion of Lud (Lydia in Asia Minor, so probably the Black Sea tongue) to the second tongue (Caspian Sea?), unto beyond the second tongue into the third tongue (Aral Sea?)" (Book of Jubilees 9:11) later to move further eastward. He may have named Tibet also.

See Also

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  1. Josephus, Antiquities 1:6:1
  2. Braund, D (1994) Georgia in Antiquity: A History of Colchis and Transcaucasian Iberia, 550 BC-AD 562. Oxford University Press, USA: pp. 17-18
  3. Gesenius, W (1872) Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Crocker & Brewster, Boston: p. 858
  4. Douglas, J (1972) New Bible Dictionary. Inter-Varsity Press, London: 528
  5. Chamberlain, W (1854) The National Resources and Coversion of Israel. London, quoting Herodotus
  6. Marco Polo (1515) Travels of Marco Polo. Translation by Bohn, H (1854). London: p. 4: 4
  7. Huxley, J (1939) We Europeans. Penguin: p. 177
  8. Koestler 1976:9
  9. Encyclopædia Brittanica. Vol. 28: p. 971
  10. Ibid: p. 60
  11. Milner, W (1941) The Russian Chapters of Ezekiel. Destiny Publishers: p. 34
  12. Huxley, J (1939) We Europeans. Penguin: p. 122
  13. Arnakis, G (1969) The Near East in Modern Times. The Pemberton Press, New York: pp. 24-27
  14. Brown, R (c. 1880) The Races of Mankind. Vol 4. Cassell Petter & Galpin, London:242
  15. Milner, W (1941) The Russian Chapters of Ezekiel. Destiny Publishers: p. 34
  16. Collins,R (1986) The Basques. Basil Blackwell, Oxford, UK: p. 258

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