Appendix 3: Aegean Royal Lines From Zerah
We have seen elsewhere in this publication that many people of ancient Greece and western Turkey were of the Israelite tribe of Dan (see Appendix 2: “Were the Greeks Israelites?”). But the Danites did not constitute the only Israelite tribe in the ancient Aegean. There were also many Jews there, an important link in the subject we are examining.
Discovered at the location considered to have been ancient Pylos—the Milesian point of origin—were “hundreds of inscribed clay tablets baked hard by the fire that destroyed the palace [there]. The tablets are inscribed in the so-called Linear B script found earlier in the palace at Knossos in Crete, as well as . . . in excavations at Mycenae” (“Pylos,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, p. 820).
This is a reference to one of two very similar Minoan scripts found in Crete—Linear A and B. Linear B turned out to be an early form of Greek, while Linear A has been the subject of controversy. The late Cyrus Gordon, acclaimed for his translation of Ugaritic, the language of Canaan, is not so respected for his decipherment of Linear A—as he claimed it is Semitic or Hebraic, which modern scholarship has not been quick to embrace. Nevertheless, there is much to support his conclusions (see Gary Rendsburg, “Is Linear A Semitic?,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov.-Dec. 2000, pp. 60-61).
Though Linear B is Greek, it is interesting to note that it used essentially the same syllabic system as that used in Crete to write what was probably Hebrew. And the Minoan civilization of Crete was closely related to the Mycenaean civilization of southern Greece. This provides yet another link between the Israelites and ancient Greeks.
Moreover, the first-century Roman historian Tacitus wrote: “Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his throne by the power of Jupiter [an apparent blending of myth with fact]. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighboring tribe, the Idaei, came to be called Judaei by a barbarous [i.e., non-Greco-Roman] lengthening of the national name” (Tacitus, The Histories, Book 5, sec. 2, Great Books of the Western World, 1952, Vol. 15). So it would appear that the tribe of Judah was represented in the early Israelite immigration into Greece.
Surprisingly, there was another Mount Ida “in northwestern Asia Minor, near the site of ancient Troy” (“Ida,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1985, Vol. 6, p. 238). A publication by the Christian Israel Foundation notes that “perhaps the most striking evidence of an Israelitish migratory settlement in Cretan Mycenae is to be found in [renowned pioneer archaeologist] Sir Arthur Evans’ monumental work, ‘Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult,’ in which it is established that Hebrew rituals were observed there . . . This culture moved to Asia Minor, where, behind Troy, we again find a Mount Ida (Judah), and where, as in Miletus, survived the belief in the Cretan royal descent” (The Link, June 1989, p. 261). We will come back to this notion shortly.
Regarding the Trojans, one author writes: “Later Greek myths indicate that they came from the same source as the Mycenaeans, but moved farther north to cross into Asia Minor at the Bosporus, the strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea in Russia. They then migrated into what is now Turkey. Finally a branch under Ilus founded Troy under the name ‘Ilium’”—hence Homer’s Iliad (I.G. Edmonds, The Mysteries of Homer’s Greeks, 1981, pp. 71-72). The name Troy, according to Greek tradition, came from Ilus’ father Tros.
Quoting a reputedly much older source, a Scottish publication from 1897 mentions Israelites in northwest Asia Minor around the time of the Exodus who were in alliance with the Greeks: “The Hebrews then built an altar to the Lord . . . [thanking Him for their deliverance from] the Egyptians. The king of Greece visited their camps with his Hebrew servant, telling them to build a city and fortify themselves against their enemies . . . [They then] commenced to build the city of Troy” (John MacLaren, The History of Ancient Caledonia, p. 4). Shocking though it seems, this may well be what happened.
The royal house of Troy
The traditional founder of Troy’s famed royal house was Dardanus, a few generations prior to Tros and Ilus: “Dardanus, in Greek legend, the son of Zeus and the Pleiad Electra, mythical founder of Dardania on the Hellespont [the nearby strait separating Dardania from Hellas or Greece now called the Dardanelles]. He was the ancestor of the Dardans of the Troad [the region surrounding Troy] . . .
“According to tradition . . . Dardanus fled from Arcadia [in the middle of Mycenaean Greece] across the sea to Samothrace [a northern Aegean island]. When that island was visited by a flood, he crossed over to the Troad . . . Being hospitably received by Teucer (ruler of Phrygia), he married Teucer’s daughter Bateia and became the founder of the royal house of Troy” (“Dardanus,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Micropaedia, 1985, Vol. 3, p. 884).
In his acclaimed Story of Civilization, historian Will Durant writes: “Who were the Trojans? An Egyptian papyrus mentions certain ‘Dardenui’ as among the allies of the Hittites at the battle of Kadesh (1287 [B.C.]); it is likely that these were the ancestors of the ‘Dardenoi’ who in Homer’s terminology are one with the Trojans. Probably these Dardani were of Balkan [Greek] origin, crossed the Hellespont in the sixteenth century [B.C., though the 15th is perhaps more likely] . . . Herodotus [Greek “father of history” of the fifth century B.C.], however, identified the Trojans with the Teucrians [note the eponymous King Teucer already mentioned], and the Teucrians, according to [the first-century-B.C. Greco-Roman geographer] Strabo, were Cretans who settled in the Troad, perhaps after the fall of Cnossus. Both Crete and the Troad had a sacred Mt. Ida” (Vol.2: The Life of Greece, 1966, p. 35).
This is all becoming much clearer. Again, these people were evidently Israelites—most likely Judahites or Jews. Indeed, even many of the Mycenaean royal houses of southern Greece appear to have sprung from the royal lineage of Crete, which seems to have been Jewish.
It is interesting to consider that, according to Homer, the shields of the Greek leaders in the Trojan War were decorated with heraldic eagles and lions. These were the Israelite tribal emblems of Dan and Judah respectively. The lion also appeared on the shields of the Trojans.
This is made all the more compelling by the following quote from Biblical Archaeologist magazine: “Lions, we may remark, are not frequent in Greece” (March 1996, p. 17). And yet over the “Lion Gate” of Mycenae, an ancient relief of two very large lions flanking a pillar still greets tourists. Virtually the same emblem later appeared across the Aegean in Phrygia in western Turkey—on the rock-cut tomb of Arslantas (“Lion Stone”) near Afyon. Perhaps this was due to the symbol being carried by Mycenaean royalty, which was later evidently transferred to Miletus—the Milesians then influencing neighboring Phrygia. Is it possible that in these emblems we are seeing the lion of Judah?
Added to the intriguing possibility is this fact from a Harvard travel publication: “The excavated site of ancient Mycenae extends over a large tract of rough terrain tucked between Mt. Agios Elias to the north and Mt. Zara to the south” (Let’s Go Greece & Turkey, 1998, p. 146, emphasis added). In fact the royal palace sits right at the base of Mount Zara. Could Mycenaean royalty have been descended from Judah’s son Zerah or Zarah—the child of the scarlet thread?
Zerah and the line of Dardanus
Before answering that, we should first take another look at Trojan royalty. When all factors available to us are considered, it would seem that the founder of Troy’s ruling dynasty is not so mythical after all.
Sir William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible notes that the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus used Dardanus as the Greek form of a biblical name: “Darda . . . Joseph.[us] Dardanos; Darda . . .” (1863, Vol. 1, p. 397). Darda, or Dara, is listed in Scripture as a son of Judah’s son Zerah—the same Zerah who had received the scarlet thread upon his wrist in Genesis 38. “The sons of Zerah were Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara—five of them in all” (1 Chronicles 2:6). In 1 Kings 4:31, he is called Darda: “For [Solomon] was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite [i.e., Zerahite or Zarhite], and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.”
Yet how could some of these men be sons of Mahol if they were sons of Zerah? A clue occurs in the title of Psalm 89, which gives the author as Ethan the Ezrahite—who obviously lived after David since the psalm speaks of God’s covenant with David and even of later transgression by David’s successors. Therefore, it would appear that the “sons” of Zerah in 1 Chronicles 2:6 must actually mean the descendants of Zerah—which is common usage of the word “sons” in the Bible. And “five of them in all” must mean that among the extended “family of the Zarhites” (Numbers 26:20), there were five who were spoken of together as having a great reputation for wisdom and accomplishment. That Solomon is noted to have outclassed them speaks volumes about them as well. They were undoubtedly internationally famous people who had carried out great exploits.
That the five, including Darda, are not immediate sons of Zerah takes care of a potential discrepancy in this whole identification, since Greek tradition mentions a brother of Dardanus named Jasius or Iasion, who was either killed by Dardanus or struck by lightning (Encyclopaedia Britannica, p. 884). If the five sons of Zerah are descendants of Zerah, this matter is easily resolved.
It is also interesting to note that while the genealogy of the Perez branch of Judah’s family is given in great detail for many generations in Scripture, the genealogical record of Zerah’s family is what you see above—that’s it except for a named son of Ethan (1 Chronicles 2:8) and the infamous Achan of Joshua’s day being listed along with his father and grandfather (verse 7; Joshua 7:17-18, 24).
This lack of information perhaps suggests that most of Zerah’s descendants were no longer present with the main body of the nation. Perhaps they became upset with their secondary status behind Perez, believing it unfair because of the incident with the scarlet thread and Perez’s breach. Whatever the reason, they appear to have migrated elsewhere.
Yet could the biblical Darda truly be the founder of Troy? What of Dardanus’ descent from the Greek god Zeus? A number of royal genealogies based on Homer describe the descent of Trojan royalty as follows: Cronus (or Kronos) – Zeus – Dardanus – Erichthonius – Tros – Ilus – Laomedon – Priam (the king of Troy at the time of the Trojan War in Homer’s Iliad). While this lineage might appear entirely mythical, it should be realized that some ancient myths about the “gods” were actually rooted in stories about real people. In fact, many pagan religions began, in part, as ancestor and hero worship (see Thomas Bulfinch, Bulfinch’s Mythology, “Stories of God’s and Heroes,” chap. 25: “Origin of Mythology,” 1855, 1979).
With that in mind, it is rather surprising to discover what the ancient Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon (or Sanchoniatho)—who is believed to have lived around the 1200s B.C. (though some put him a few centuries later)—had to say about the identity of Cronus. But first it should be recognized that all material from Sanchuniathon “is derived from the works of Philo of Byblos (flourished AD 100), who claimed to have translated his Phoenicica from the original text. The authenticity of that claim has been questioned, but excavations at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in Syria in 1929 revealed Phoenician documents supporting much of Sanchuniathon’s information on Phoenician mythology and religious beliefs” (“Sanchuniathon,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1985, Vol. 10, p. 404).
The writings of Sanchuniathon, as we have them, mention the Greek “Kronos, whom the Phoenicians call Israel . . . He circumcised himself, and forced his allies to do the same” (I.P. Cory, Ancient Fragments, 1828). Israel, as earlier stated, was the new name given to the biblical patriarch Jacob. And the Phoenician historian further explained that this Kronos or Israel had a special son named Jehud or Yehud. This is simply a shortened form of the Hebrew Yehudah, that is, Judah: “. . . evidence of the extent of Judah [later in the fifth century B.C.] are the seal impressions on storage jars . . . on which appear the name ‘Yehud’ in various forms” (Yohanan Aharoni and Michael Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas, 1977, p. 109).
Since the primary son of the Greek Cronus (Roman Saturn) was Zeus (Roman Jupiter), then Jehud would be the same as Zeus. Indeed, the word Zeus (Zhe-ut) may actually derive from Yehud—as the Roman Jupiter or Iupiter appears to derive from the Greek Zeus-pater or Zheut-pater (pater meaning “father”). Of course, a great deal of Babylonian paganism was overlaid onto these historical characters, creating the false gods of Greek and Roman mythology (see Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, 1916, 1959).
Thus, stripped of mythological embellishment, Dardanus son of Zeus son of Kronos is Darda son of Judah son of Israel. Actually, Darda was the grandson, great-grandson or later descendant of Judah—as the word “son” can be interpreted. In any case, Darda was, in fact, a descendant of Judah through the line of Zerah.
Incredibly, an examination of the genealogies of the royal families of Europe shows that nearly all of them trace their lineage back to the house of Troy (see James Anderson, Royal Genealogies or the Genealogical Tables of Emperors, Kings, and Princes, from Adam to These Times, 1736; W.M.H. Milner, The Royal House of Britain: An Enduring Dynasty, 1902). Thus, the scepter did indeed remain with Judah as prophesied. For from the line of Perez came the royal house of David, while from the Zerah line came the royal house of Troy. Yet Troy’s wasn’t the only royal line from Zerah.
The founder of Athens
The Mycenaean house of Atreus also traced its lineage to Zeus (i.e., Judah). And considering the Mount Zara rising above Mycenae, it would seem that this royal line, like that of Troy, sprang from Zerah. Indeed, remember that the Zarhite Dardanus actually came from this area of Greece. Thus it would appear that the Jewish Cretan royal family, evidently of Zerah, was split—with one line going to northwest Turkey and the other going to Mycenaean Greece. Yet they were fused back together when Dardanus married Teucer’s daughter and founded Troy.
How, then, does all of this relate to the Milesians? This publication elsewhere explains that the father of Ireland’s Milesian dynasty from Spain is sometimes given as Miledh, Golamh or Gathelus. He is often called the son of Nel (also Niul or Neolus)—surely the Neleus from whom the Milesians of Asia Minor traced their descent. But Gathelus is sometimes referred to as the son of Cecrops, the founder of Athens in Greek mythology.
So which was it? Was Gathelus the son of Neleus or Cecrops? If “son” is understood to mean descendant, which it almost certainly does here, then he could be the son of both. As noted elsewhere in this publication, Will Durant stated that the Ionians came to Miletus from Attica, the region of Athens (pp.127-129).
The Mycenaean Greeks also traced themselves back to “Achaeus and Ion, who begot the Achaean and Ionian tribes, which, after many wanderings, peopled respectively the Peloponnesus [southern Greece] and Attica [the region of Athens]. One of Ion’s descendants, Cecrops, with the [supposed] help of the goddess Athena, founded . . . the city that was named after her, Athens. It was he, said the story, that gave civilization to Attica, instituted marriage, abolished bloody sacrifices, and taught his subjects to worship the Olympian gods—Zeus and Athena above the rest” (Durant, pp. 39-40).
This is likely a corrupted account of something that actually happened. We’ve already seen Zeus identified with Judah. And Athena may have been named after Athens rather than the other way around. Furthermore, as she was the goddess of wisdom, perhaps Cecrops simply promoted the celebration of wisdom and this was later interpreted as promoting the worship of a goddess. Then again, he may have been thoroughly pagan—we just don’t know.
Intriguingly, while much has been made of Dardanus (and rightly so), some students of this subject have identified Cecrops as one of the other sons of Zerah—Calcol or Chalcol. This might at first appear to be a rather tenuous connection. But there is some evidence to support it.
Consider that of the two scriptural mentions of Calcol and Darda (apparently called the sons of Mahol in the latter), Calcol is mentioned first both times—apparently as the eldest or most prominent. This would seem to indicate that, between the two, the primary royal line from Zerah should be through Calcol. Yet that is rather surprising when we consider Darda as the founder of the royal house of Troy. For what could be more prominent than that? Perhaps, the answer would seem to be, the founder of the royal house of early Athens—a lineage that also seems to have become the dynasty of Miletus and other kingdoms (eventually including Ireland).
Regarding Mahol, some see a relation to the name Miletus. The name Mahol can be rendered in Hebrew as Machol, which means “dance” or, literally, “to move in a circle.” This name does seem similar to the promontory just north of Miletus—”Mycale, the central meeting place of all Ionia” (p. 242). It was here that the Ionian cities of Asia Minor would gather for meetings and to celebrate their great festival of song and dance, the Panionium (p. 151). While both Calcol and Darda appear in Scripture to have descended from someone named Mahol or to have been cryptically referred to as “the sons of dance,” there is no way to know whether or not “Mahol” is related to Mycale or Miletus.
It is also possible that the word mahol or machol as here applied was actually imported from Greece—that it was the Hebrew transliteration of the Greek word megale, meaning “great.” Thus, Calcol and Darda would be the “sons of greatness.”
This would lend further credence to Calcol’s identification with the founder of Athens. Of course, there is yet more to go on anyway, not least of which is the fact that on the large island of Euboea right next to Athens, settled by Athenians, was a region called Chalcis (see Appendix 4: “The Colchis Connection“).
Furthermore, since there is compelling evidence that Ireland’s Milesian rulers descended from Zerah as this publication elsewhere shows, the first of the Milesian rulers springing from Cecrops would seem to require the Athenian founder to have been a Zarhite too. Because of that, and Calcol’s preeminence above Troy’s founder Darda, it is not unreasonable to identify Calcol with Cecrops—despite how incredible that may sound.