Javan – Ion – Ionia

Location: southern most part of Balkan peninsula

According to the ‘Table of Nations (Genesis 10), Javan was the fourth son of Noah‘s son Japheth and traditionally held to be the ancestor of the Greek people.

Javan means “deceiver” or “one who makes sad”. It is also the name of a Yemeni town, with whom the Phoenicians traded.

Image by Megistias in Public Domain [Wikimedia Commons]

Javan’s descendants appear in Assyrian documents as the Iamanu, who engage the Assyrians in a major sea battle during the reign of Sargon II (721-705 BC). The Archaemenian inscriptions refer to them as the Yauna. Homer’s Iliad informs us that Iawones (Hebrew Iawan) was the progenitor of the Ionians (Gk. Iones), while the Hebrews knew the Greeks as the Jevanim (Iewanim). Pre-Islamic Arab cosmographers gave the name as Yuban. Elishah, ancestor of the Aeolians, was frequently referred to in Greek history and mythology, the two Greek cities, Elis and Elissus, named after him. An entire area was named Elias in his memory and his is behind the origin of the term Hellenic (and the name of the Greek paradise, the Elysian Fields). The Armana tablets referred to his descendants as the Alashia, the Hittites knew them as the Alasiya, and the Egyptians as A-ra-sa. Josephus rendered the name as Elisa. (The name also appears in the Ugaritic inscriptions.)  —Bill Cooper

On closer inspection (click to enlarge) it can be seen that Javan was presumed to have settled along the western (Aegean) coast of modern-day Turkey. [Image by Geographicus is in the Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons].
Javan is mentioned in the Book of Daniel (8:21-22 and 11:2) in reference to the King of Greece, usually interpreted as referring to Alexander the Great. The sons of Javan are associated with the north-eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia, so that we have the following correlations:

  • Elishah — modern Cyprus
  • Tarshish — Tartessos, south of Spain (or modern southern Turkey for others)
  • Kittim — modern Cyprus
  • Dodanim or Rodanim (1 Chron. 1:7) — the island of Rhodes, west of modern Turkey between Cyprus and the mainland of Greece

Javan is also mentioned in Zechariah 9:13 (Young’s Literal Translation):

For I have trodden for Me Judah, A bow I have filled with Ephraim, And I have stirred up thy sons, O Zion, Against thy sons, O Javan, And I have set thee as the sword of a hero.

Nations Online Project, Copyright 1998-2015 (labelled “free use for educational purposes”).

Featured Image: National Flag of the Hellenic Republic [Wikimedia Commons]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.