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ASHKENAZ

The Ruins of Ashkelon.(After a photograph.)

(): A people traced back (Gen. x. 3; I Chron. i. 6) through Gomer to Noah's third son, Japheth. In Jer. li. 27, 28, it is mentioned in connection with the kingdoms of Ararat and Minni and with the Medes as being hostile to Babylon. The Targum to the passages in Gen. and Chron., the Talmud (Yer. Meg. i. 71b) and Midrash (Gen. R. xxxvii.) identify it with Asia; that is, the Roman province (Asia propria or proconsularis), consisting mainly of the districts of Lydia, Phrygia, and Caria. Targum Yer. has, instead of it, "Adiabene" (that is,the district of ancient Assyria), with which the Talmud and Midrash connect Riphath (apparently according to marginal reading Diphath in Chron. i. 6). While in the Targum, Talmud, and Midrash, Togarmah is identified with Germania (the identification, three instances in all, being clearly based on similarity of sound), the medieval Jews (as, for example, Yosippon) understood by Ashkenaz the Teutons. Eusebius had also made this identification, while, according to Saadia, the Slavs are meant. Josephus identifies Ashkenaz with the Rhegines, a people otherwise unknown. Modern scholars since Bochart have connected Ashkenaz with Ascanius, which occurs as the name of a Mysian and of a Phrygian prince, and in Homer as the name of a river also; there was likewise a district Ascania inhabited by Phrygians and Mysians; and an Ascanian lake was located in Phrygia and in Bithynia. Accordingly, Ashkenaz is said to be the old name of a people who spread through Mysia and Phrygia, and subsequently settled in western Armenia (Ashkhen is an Armenian proper name). Assyriologists identify Ashkenaz with a people named Ashguza whose aid was sought by the Mannai when they revolted from Esarhaddon; both were settled near Lake Urumiyeh. This view agrees better with the passage in Jeremiah.

Bibliography:
  • Dillmann, Comm. on Gen., Engl. transl., p. 327;
  • C. I. O. T. ii. 293;
  • see also the commentaries of Gunkel, Strack, Franz Delitzsch, etc., on Gen. x.;
  • Neubauer, La Géographie du Talmud, p. 423;
  • Friedrich Delitzsch, Wo Lag das Paradies? p. 246;
  • Jastrow, Dict. P. 270.
Ashkelon Besieged by Rameses II. (See p. 190.)(After Lepsius, "Denkmaler.")J. Sr. M. L. M.
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