Girgashites (“Sons of Africa”) are Associated with Founding of Carthage

Source: Africa (Jewish Encyclopedia) 1906 A.D.

From the source, “

 The Septuagint, a recognized authority in Egyptianmatters, Josephus, and Jerome, all interpret Phut as referring to Libya (Dillmann, “Die Genesis,” p. 178), from which it may be assumed that the Biblical writers included in their perspective also that great expanse of territory west of Egypt called Libya, by which name ancient writers often designate the whole of Africa. Authors like Herodotus were unacquainted with any African countries to the west of Libya. Some, indeed, have endeavored to explain the Biblical Havilah as an African region; and Josephus (“Ant.” i. 6, § 1) even identifies it with the land of the Gætuli, which view is also held by the medieval chronicler Jerahmeel (“Jew. Quart. Rev.” xi. 675; Gaster, “Chronicles of Jerahmeel,” 1899, p. 68). The land of the Gætuli is placed by the ancients on the borders of the Sahara (Sallust, “Bellum Jugurthinum,” xix. 11); though it is hardly probable that writers who do not appear to have known even the western coast of North Africa should have been acquainted with an interior country south of ancient Numidia, now Algeria….

On the other hand, the rabbinical term 

v

, which has been wrongly explained as Phrygia, or Iberia in the Caucasus, means nothing else than the present Africa (“Monatsschrift,” ibid.), and is intended to denote either the entire continent or the Roman province Africa. Thus, when the “sons of Africa” appear before Alexander the Great to accuse the Jews of the reconquest of Palestine (Sanh. 91a), and the Egyptians almost immediately present another charge against them, the reference can only be to the province of Africa, since the “sons of Africa” who demand the restoration of Canaan are, without doubt, the Girgashites, who had been compelled to emigrate to Africa (Yer. Sheb. vi, 36c.). Since the legend of this Girgashite emigration is intimately connected with the founding of Carthage, Africa is thus identified with it even more closely (Tamid, 32b, and the parallel passage, where 

b

, African land,” is evidently the same as Carthage). The Septuagint (Isa. xxiii. 1), and Jerome (on Ezek. xxvii.), who, though a Christian, was taught by Jews, and very often the Aramaic Targum on the Prophets, identify the Biblical Tarshish with Carthage, which was the birthplace of a number of rabbis mentioned in the Talmud (compare above the identification with Tunis). Africa, in the broader sense, is clearly indicated where mention is made of the Ten Tribes having been driven into exile by the Assyrians and having journeyed into Africa (Mek., Bo, 17; Tosef., Shab. vii. 25; Deut. R. v. 14; and especially Sanh. 94a). Connected with this is the idea that the river Sambation is in Africa. The Arabs, who also know the legend of the Beni Musa (“Sons of Moses”), agree with the Jews in placing their land in Africa (compare Bacher, “Ag. Tan.” i. 298; Epstein, “Eldad ha-Dani,” p. 15). The probable basis of this legend must be sought in the actual existence of the Falashas in Africa. Rabbi Akiba, who traveled in Africa, on one occasion made use of an African word (Rapoport, in “Bikkure ha-‘Ittim,” iv. 70, 1823).”

This source provides numerous talking points on various topics associated with Africa.

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