Japhetites

This T and O map, from the first printed version of Isidoor's Etymologiae, identifies the three known continents as populated by descendants of Sem (Shem), Iafeth (Japheth) and Cham (Ham).

Japhetite (in adjective form Japhethitic or Japhetic) in Abrahamic religions is an obsolete historical term for the peoples supposedly descended from Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible. The other two sons of Noah, Shem and Ham, are the eponymous ancestors of the Semites and the Hamites, respectively.

In medieval ethnography, the world was believed to have been divided into three large-scale racial groupings, corresponding to the three classical continents: the Semitic peoples of Asia, the Hamitic peoples of Africa and the Japhetic peoples of Europe.

The term has been used in modern times as a designation in physical anthropology, ethnography and comparative linguistics. In anthropology, it was used in a racial sense for "white people" (the Caucasian race). In linguistics it was used as a term for the Indo-European languages. These uses are now mostly obsolete. In a linguistic sense, only the Semitic peoples form a well-defined family. The Indo-European group is no longer known as "Japhetite", and the Hamitic group is now recognized as paraphyletic within the Afro-Asiatic family.

Among Muslim historians, Japheth is usually regarded as the ancestor of the Gog and Magog tribes, and, at times, of the Turks, Khazars, and Slavs .[1]

Biblical genealogy

It is written in Genesis: "The sons of Japheth: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. and the sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan: Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the Isles of the Gentile divided in their lands everyone after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." (Gen 10:2-5)

In the Bible, Japheth is ascribed seven sons and seven named grandsons:

The intended ethnic identity of these 'descendants of Japheth' is not certain; however, over history, they have been identified by Biblical scholars with various historical nations who were deemed to be descendants of Japheth and his sons — a practice dating back at least to the classical encounters of Jew with Hellene, for example in Whiston). Josephus wrote:

Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that, beginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, they proceeded along Asia, as far as the river Tanais (Don), and along Europe to Cadiz; and settling themselves on the lands which they light upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the nations by their own names.

Josephus detailed the nations supposed to have descended from the seven sons of Japheth.

Other Languages
български: Яфетити
français: Japhétites
русский: Яфетиды
српски / srpski: Јафетити