Appendix 4: The Colchis Connection

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Appendix 4

The Colchis Connection

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Besides Cecrops of Athens, some have identified Zerah’s descendant Calcol or Chalcol with the land of Colchis, a "nearly triangular region at the eastern end of the Black Sea south of the Caucasus, in the western part of the modern [former] Georgian S.S.R." ("Colchis," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Micropaedia, 1985, Vol. 3, p. 443). This location makes it contiguous with ancient Iberia—the land of the Hebrews!

Continuing on: "In Greek mythology Colchis was the home of Medea [daughter of King Aeetes and possessor of the famous golden fleece] and the destination of [Jason and] the Argonauts [sailors of Argos of the Danoi, who were likely Danites], a land of fabulous wealth and the domain of sorcery" (p. 443)—which any land of superior technological ability and perhaps prophets (be they true or false) might seem.

First-century-B.C. historian Diodorus of Sicily has identified Argos and Colchis with the Israelites who emigrated from Egypt—and relates the same origin for Athens (see Appendix 2: "Were the Greeks Israelites?").

Yet Colchis is far removed from Athens. Is it possible to identify Calcol or Chalcol as Cecrops of Athens and still relate his name to the people of Colchis? First of all, it should be noted that Calchas was a name used in Mycenaean Greece, as it was the name of a priest who told the Greek king Agamenmon at the time of the Trojan War to sacrifice his daughter. So this name could have been another name of Cecrops, who lived earlier. Still, if it was, how might this name have been transferred to the land of Colchis, which was far to the northeast of Athens—across the Aegean and Black Seas? To the immediate northeast of Athens lies the great island of Euboea whose great central territory was known as Chalcis. Says historian Will Durant, "Its coastal plains were rich enough to lure Ionians from Attica in the days of the Dorian invasion [ca. 1100 B.C.]" (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 2, p. 106). So Athenians migrated here.

Going on: "Neighboring deposits of copper and iron and banks of murex shells gave Chalcis its wealth and its name [chalcum meaning copper in Greek]; for a time it was the chief center of metallurgical industry in Greece, making unrivaled swords and excellent vases of bronze" (p. 106). Yet is it not possible that the naming should be understood in reverse? That the Greek word for copper was actually derived from the region of Chalcis? And that Chalcis derived its name from the Athenian migrants descended from Chalcol?

It was evidently here that the Milesians sprang from around 1000 B.C. (see Appendix 3: "Aegean Royal Lines From Zerah.") But the Athenian Chalcians followed another migration pattern as well. We later find them on the Macedonian coast in northern Greece: "Greeks, mostly from Chalcis and Eretria [just south of Chalcis on Euboea], conquered and named the three-fingered peninsula of Chalcidice" (p. 157). East of here, on the Bosphorus Straits leading up into the Black Sea, where now sits the Asian side of Istanbul, was established ancient Chalcedon—which was also a colony of Miletus (p. 156). Then, passing into the Black Sea and traveling further east along the length of its southern shore we eventually come to Colchis. So there is a likely migratory pattern linking these areas after all.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica further states, "Historically, Colchis was colonized by Milesian Greeks to whom the Colchians supplied gold, slaves, agricultural produce, and shipbuilding material" (p. 443). Thus, the ancient Athenians, Colchians and Milesians would seem to be inextricably bound together. Calcol, Chalcol, Chalcis and Colchis—these names seem too similar to be a matter of coincidence given all the facts we know about them.

Yet there is some confusion: "The ethnic composition of the Colchians, who were described by Herodotus as black Egyptians, is unclear" (p. 443). Kristin Romey, assistant managing editor of Archaeology magazine, writes: "What about Herodotus’ idea of the Colchians’ Egyptian origin? [Local excavations director Amiran] Kakhidze dismissed the question with a wave of his hand. ‘He was probably drinking too much wine when he wrote that,’ volunteered a bystander" ("Land of the Golden Fleece," Archaeology, March-April 2001, p. 35).

Of course, Herodotus may have been reporting fact. But perhaps he wrote after the Israelites in this region had sailed or trekked away. We should bear in mind that in earlier centuries, during the reign of Solomon, the nations of Israel, Canaanite Phoenicia and Egypt were in a very close alliance—sailing and colonizing together. So it is likely that Israelites would not have been the only ones in this region. Yet prior to their emigration, they must have been prominent. Of course, it is also possible that Herodotus had simply heard the same origin for the Colchians that Diodorus of Sicily later reported—that is, migrants from Egypt related to the Jews of Palestine.

Could King Aeetes of Colchis, then, have been a descendant of Calcol? It is certainly possible. If so it is remarkable that the Israelites later taken into Assyrian captivity found their way to this same land. The Assyrians deported the Israelites to northern Mesopotamia. Their population overflowed into Armenia just to the north. Soon they made their way next door to Iberia and Colchis.

The Colchian city of "Vani was founded in the eighth century B.C., a century during which Colchis witnessed a population explosion, most likely caused [it is supposed] by significant innovations in iron production" (Romey, p. 30). We may instead venture to guess that the population explosion was due to the influx of Israelites from Armenia at this time.

Perhaps the Israelites in this region accepted the rule of the Zarhite Colchian king. And, migrating from this region into Europe—journeying up the rivers that emptied into the Black Sea—they may have remained under the line of Zerah. In fact, this appears to be another way the royal line of Zerah was transferred into Europe—even the Trojan line (see Appendix 10: "The Family of Odin")—besides the routes through Spain, the other Iberia.

However, it should be noted that the Zerah line may have become blended with a Davidic line in the course of these migrations. Consider the great Armenian city of Ani. "Ani’s ancient Armenian rulers (who claimed descent from David and Solomon) reigned over an area covering most of northeastern Turkey and modern Armenia" (Archaeology Odyssey, Sept.–Oct. 2002, p. 18). There were many Jews among the Israelite migrants after a large part of Judah was taken captive by the Assyrians as well, and it is entirely possible that some of these Jews were descendants of David. (We do know that the line of rulers could not have descended from Jeconiah, who was later taken into Babylonian captivity, because of the restriction God had placed on his descendants.)

It should also be noted that some of the Iberians in Spain could perhaps have come from the Colchian Iberia, including royalty. Irish historian Thomas Moore mentions "the Celto-Scythae, who founded part of the mixed people of Spain, having come originally from the neighbourhood of the Euxine [Black] Sea and therefore combining in themselves all the peculiarities attributed to the Milesian colony, of being at once Scythic, Oriental [i.e., Middle Eastern], and direct from Spain" (The History of Ireland, 1837, Vol. 1, p. 73).

In any event, it is worth noting that we are not confined to a single line of descent to account for the presence of the Zerah branch of Judah’s family—and perhaps even the Perez branch through David—among the royalty of Europe.