CHAPTER 40

FOCUS

The geographical interest of the Apostles is plainly evident by the focus of their address, and by their travels.
 

When I Peter addresses exiles in the Dispersion it is directed to Gentile converts, who formerly were ignorant, 1:14, the ones who were "No People" but are now "God's People," 2:10 and Hos 1:9, and the ones who reveled in pagan debauchery, 4:3.
 

  1. I Peter addresses "exiles of the Dispersion" in the following regions:

    • Pontus and Bithynia were located along the southern coastal regions of the Euxine (Black Sea). These were the northern regions of the Anatolian peninsula.


    •  
    • The Galatians were located in the heartland of Anatolia.


    •  
    • Cappadocia was a neighbor to Galatia in the eastern part of Anatolia.


    •  
    • Asia (Minor) was in the western part of Anatolia, earlier known as Lydia.


    •  
  1. The opening Chapters of the Book of Revelation are addressed to seven churches in the western regions of the same Asia (Minor).


  2.  
  3. Paul's letters were addressed to Galatians in central Anatolia, Ephesians on the western coast of Anatolia, to Colossians interior from the western coast, perhaps fifty miles from Rhodes, to Philippians and Thessalonians in Macedonia, and to Corinthians in Greece.


  4.  
    • Paul's first missionary journey took him to Syrian Antioch, the island of Cyprus, Perga in Pamphilia on the southern Anatolian coast, to Antioch of Pisidia interior to Anatolia, and to Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, all cities in Galatia.


    •  
    • Paul's second missionary journey took him by way of Antioch to Tarsus, again through the same Galatian cities, to Troas on the western coast of Anatolia, and on to the Macedonian and Greek cities. On his return he stopped off again in Ephesus.


    •  
    • His third missionary journey again took him into the hinterlands of Anatolia.

Obviously, Anatolia was a major focus of attention for apostolic efforts.
 

But apostolic interests covered the entire Mediterranean region, and even the hinterlands of Europe.  

  1. We know there was a great mission work in Rome but we do not know the details, or the persons who were engaged in it.


  2.  
  3. Paul expressed a hope of going on to Spain, Rom 15.


  4.  
  5. From II Tim 4:10 it is quite probable that Crescens traveled into Gaul.

All of this interest was motivated by concerns for taking the "gospel" message of Jesus to the "lost brethren," the "wild branches." Concern was centered in those who were part of the great sifting. The concern was not to the far east and the yellow man, or the population of India, or other pagan groups. Paul's calling was framed by this goal; his vision was then persuasive on much other apostolic and gospel efforts. He greatly influenced the goals other missionaries set for themselves. It was not until the great explorations of the world in modern times that the "gospel" was taken to the rest of the nations.
 

Note the background which framed Paul's goals.  

  1. The deportation of the Iberi tribes by Sargon II was to Halah, Haran, the river Gozan, and "cities of the Medes," scattered in regions on the northern most reaches of the Assyrian empire, and southwest of the Caspian Sea.

  2. Anatolia, and those regions just to the east and southeast, is the origin of the Iberi and Kimmeri, and the Ga'ali arising out of the Kimmeri.


  3.  
  4. Many modern scholars believe the Ratsenna (Etruscans) originated in Anatolia, and specifically Lydia.


  5.  
  6. The similarities of recognized words, script, vowels, and lack of voiced stops on Lemnos, Etruria, and Spanish Iberia also suggest origin in Anatolia.


  7.  
  8. The orientalizing influence found in Greek, Etruscan, Punic, and Iberian cities is believed to have a major component out of Anatolia.


  9.  
  10. Ancient traditions show Spanish and Irish Iberians originating in Anatolia or regions to the east, in Media.

(Note: The Caucasus Iberi were historical 100 BC, with date determined from Pompey's conquests. They were an isolated cell of people who had remained and had retained the ancient name. Most likely, they were of mixed blood, not pure descendants.)  

  1. Archeological evidence shows Kimmeri-Kelti (Gauli) migrating out of the regions of Anatolia, and from the north shore of the Euxine, through the Balkans, and into the hinterlands of Europe.

From this tabulation we can better grasp the geological location of the "tribes," their movement into Europe, and early Christian goals.
 

Now consider chronologies. These are taken from the Bible and from Assyrian Chronicles. See Cambridge Ancient History, Vol III, The Assyrian Empire, by J. B. Bury, S. A. Cook, F. E. Adcock, Eds. Cambridge University Press, 1925.
 

Do the chronologies make sense? Did the scattering of the northern tribes take place with adequate time to infiltrate and blend with other groups, who were then uplifted to cause the cultural phenomena and ferment of the years following 700 BC? This would involve,  

  • Movement of people.

  • Cultural impact, on household utensils, artifacts, building techniques, art, religion, and so on.

  • Language.


 

Date

Refer.

Event

854

II Kings 3:25

Shalmaneser III over Ahab.

850?

I Kings 15:20

Ben-Hadad captures Naphtali, Chinneroth, Ijon, Dan.

846

Shalmaneser III over Ben-Hadad.

844?

II Kings 8:7-15

Hazael kills Ben-Hadad.

844?

II Kings 10:32-33

Hazael over Gilead, Gadites, Manasaites, Aroer, valley of Arnon, Bashan.

842

Shalmaneser III over Hazael.

732

II Kings 15:39

Tiglath-pileser captures Ijon, Janoah, Abelbethmaacha, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Naphtali. 
Carried away Reubenites, Gadites, Manasseh to Halah, Habor, Hara, and river Gozan.

722

II Kings 17:6

Shalmaneser V over Hoshea and 
Samaria. Carried away captive to Halah, Habor, river Gozan, and the "cities of the Medes."

721

Shalmaneser V died. Sargon II completed conquest. Carried away 27,290 to upper Assyria and Media.

705

Sargon leads forces against "Kimmerian hordes," defeated them, but was killed.

687

Gyges (Gugu) became king of Lydia.

679

Esarhaddon drove Kimmeri under Teushpa westward into Anatolia.

660

Kimmeri threaten Lydia and Sardis. Gyges appeals to Ashurbanipal. Gyges defeats Kimmeri.

652

Assyrians do not support Gyges. Tugdamme of the Kimmeri falls upon Sardis and kills Gyges.

 

Our search for the northern tribes should be centered in the northern reaches of the Assyrian empire, the "cities of the Medes," and in Anatolia. They were land oriented people, in contrast to their sea oriented Puni brothers on the coast. They moved, or were moved, into the land mass to the north. Therefore, if we are to discover them we should focus in that region.
 

Presence of the "tribes" is first visible in the phenomenon of the Kimmeri. I now offer several quotes from the The Cambridge History to show how this phenomenon is viewed in modern scholarly studies.
 

Who were these people, or peoples, whose raids with their consequences make so large a proportion of our meager knowledge of Asia Minor in the seventh and eighth centuries and perhaps earlier still? Assyrian scribes, contemporary with events in the first half of the seventh century, speak only of Gimmerai (Hebrew Gomer) when recording both the campaigns of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, and also the fortunes of Gyges against northern hordes. Herodutus, also, in relating both the Lydian and Greek history of Asia Minor, speaks only of Kimmerians. But Strabo distinguishes the sacker of Manesia as Treres, a race which we know subsequently in Bulgaria during the fifth century BC. At the same time he calls these, in one passage, a Kimmerian people, and in another, Kimmerians passing under another name.


 

We know in fact too little about these northern hordes in Asia Minor to restrict their incursions to two appearances or to any definite number; or to regard them as derived from only one ethnic stock or locality; or indeed, to be sure that all who appeared in the west were composed wholly of newcomers. It is quite possible, for example, that the horde which attacked Gyges had started no farther afield than Sinope, where we know that a Kimmerian settlement had been formed towards the end of the previous century.

  1. The end of the previous century would have been 700 BC.


  2.  
  3. The writer admits that we cannot regard them as deriving from only one ethnic stock. The Kimmeri may have been composed of more than one ethnic stock.


  4.  
  5. Those who appeared in Lydia may have been a composite group, with or without newcomers.


  6.  
  7. The number of incursions they made into Lydia is unknown.


  8.  
  9. The later Greek and Roman historians are unsure of their exact identity. Strabo is uncertain, and Herodutus uses the name "Kimmerian" with broad application.


  10.  
  11. The uncertainty of identification then opens the door to the possibility that earlier people, identified as "Kimmerian," were, in fact, entirely different groups. This gross application confuses our attempt to fix dates and locations.

The confusion of people, movements and dates is seen in other observations.
 

More than one ancient historian of repute knew a tradition that Lydia had been invaded by a northern horde, to which the general name, Kimmerian, was attached, long before the historic sack of Sardes in 652 BC. Eusebius, indeed, pushes the invasion back into the twelfth century.


 

Meanwhile the Treres and Scythians were pushing into Asia Minor. The Kimmerians flooded all Asia Minor, destroyed the Midas dynasty in Phrygia, and were a great power for thirty years and more. Tugdamme, leader of the Kimmerians, encouraged by his conquest of Lydia, sought room to his south, engaging battle with the Assyrians, but was defeated.


 

The defeat seems to have led to a collapse of the Kimmerians, now under Tugdamme's son, Sandakhshatra, and they seem to have been dispersed and absorbed, chiefly perhaps by the Scythians.


 

Ardys, the next king of Lydia, aided by the Ionians whose cities had been sacked by Tugdamme, defeated him and apparently slew him, for Ashurbanipal soon after boasts of driving his son Sadakhshatra northwards. At the same time the Thracian Treres were also raiding in Asia Minor. . . . the Kimmerian dominion in Asia Minor did not last long, though they maintained themselves for many years in Sinope and Antandrus.

 

Thus the scholarly world is uncertain of the origin of these people who have no identifiable home in Anatolia. They may have created a settlement or two, as in Sinope, but they had no capital city or recognized geographical location. They were newcomers; they may have been of more than one ethnic stock.
 

Further confusion is in their language.
 

. . . But if the Scythians certainly spoke an Iranian dialect, it is not clear what the Kimmerians spoke. Of the three or four names preserved Teushpa and Sandkhshatra are almost certainly Iranian, and Iranian Kimmerians would contribute to the Pontic Iranism. Also, the tendency to confuse Scythians and Kimmerians would be more intelligible if they were closely akin; not only did Strabo confuse them in calling Madys a Kimmerian, but also in the Babylonian version of the Behistun inscription, Gimirrai answers to the Persian Saka. Against this it has been suggested that the Kimmerians are actually the conquerors who imposed a language akin to Thracian and Phrygian upon the Caucasian inhabitants of Armenia. . . . If the Kimmerians were Thracian it would account for the Thracian element that played a leading part in all the history of the Bosporan kingdom.


We do not know if they were Indo-European, Semitic, or other. The names of some of their leaders shows them as Iranian. But this is not sufficient to identify the body of people.

 

A major question of linguistic identity is how they acquired a Semitic name which the Arabs recognized as denoting a red skin color. How many other people of the Near East also identified the name with the skin color? Was this a wide acknowledgment, crossing ethnic tribes and political dominion? This question must be weighed in the context of the strong predominance of the red skin colors of the Iberi tribes.
 

That query leads us to a still deeper probe. How did Semitic words, which we recognize so easily in Hebrew, get spread so far and wide throughout Europe as identifications for major classes of people? How do a small group of people place their name over vast territories and large ethnic groups?

Our evidence consists of four major names:
 

Puni -- Tribal name
Iberi -- (Habiru) General designation for a particular type of people
Kimry -- (Khamar) Physical description -- red skin color
Gauli -- (The Redeemed) Destiny designation
 

No description is like another. Each had a different application. Although we might debate the similarity of application between Puni and Iberi, the notion is different. Puni is direct from an ancestor; Iberi specifies a class. The Puni identified themselves by their forefather; those who came into contact with them carried that description to others in daily intercourse, until it eventually achieved the status of a racial designation, (and confusion for modern scholarship). The Iberi identified themselves to others according to their origins, not from a forefather, but from a racial legacy.
 

The Kimmeri-Kimry designation is one which foreign people would apply; it describes a physical attribute. However, to do so the significance of the label must be known. Just as labels were current in the Near East for the kinnahu and the Habiru, we should not be surprised that another label might be applied to those who were of red skin color. If the kinnahu and Habiru labels was used widely, why could not a Kimmeri label also thus be used.
 

This leads to another observation. The kinnahu may have been identified with a certain group of people scattered along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean, but those people did not practice political cohesiveness. They held common cultural ideas and tastes, but they did not build political empire. The great puzzle for modern scholars, as summed up by Moise Greenberg, was the widespread scattering of Habiru who also could not be identified socially and politically. They also did not build political empire. Thus he was unwilling to accept a real racial tie between the Habiru and the later Hebrew tribes. Yet the Hebrew people were taught to admit that their "father was a wandering Aramean." The reason the Hebrew tribes settled in Canaan, after their forefathers had also wandered around the Near East, was due to direct instruction from a higher power. The notion of wandering Kimmeri does not violate the ancient habits of wandering Habiru or wandering Hebrews.
 

The difficulty is that the Kimmeri became a military power which threatened political dominion. They were no longer peaceful wanderers but a militant group. If the Iberi tribes had become mixed with Iranian people we would have an explanation for both Iranian leaders and more aggressive behavior.
 

The Ga'ali label offers sharp contrast to the other names. It denotes a destiny function, a purpose to blood which reaches beyond mere cultic practices. It is far more than a physical attribute or tribal identification; it is neither.
 

The Ga'ali-Keltoi recognized themselves for destiny in a double sense. First, they remembered their racial origins, deriving from a peculiar descent from a red-skinned forefather. Second, they recognized destiny function. The first they inherited; the last they applied to themselves. In a sense, this has filtered on down to the present day. The white man has always held himself in special regard, whether that special role was religious salvation through Christianity, or Columbus being called to a divine destiny in his attempt to discover a new passage to India. The Crusaders of the Middle Ages expressed this same attitude. England felt a destiny to empire. The policies of the western nations, led by England and the United States, still feel a strong call to support and defend the modern Israelis and the Holy Land.
 

The curious power of a small group of people to place their name, or recognition of their attributes, upon other races of people has not gone unnoticed by the modern scholarly world. A few have commented upon it, but I am not aware of a technical justification for that social phenomenon. Our inability to penetrate the process may be due to our abysmal ignorance of social and religious attitudes of ancient times, and our modern godless assumptions of evolutionary rise from animal origins without credit to that destiny desire which drives all of us.
 

Deportation of Iberi under Sargon II in 721 BC leaves very little time for them to become absorbed into a "Kimmerian" people, or to influence the ambitions of the latter. A mere fifteen years is not sufficient for the deported people to become "Kimmerian." Also, how could they grow into a group large enough to be called "hordes?"
 

The first record of the Kimmeri (Gimmerai, Gomer) name dates to 705 BC and the campaigns of Sargon II. The Greek poets Archilochus and Callinus make mention of them about 670 BC. An unknown element in our attempt to assess these social influences in ancient times again is due to our ignorance. By 840 BC the Assyrians had conquered all land east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. They also had taken control of the lands of Naphtali, Dan and as far south as the Sea of Galilee. We have no record of deportation of Iberi tribes at that time, but this is not to deny that such deportation took place. The later policies of the Assyrians would support such an assumption. If so, it would place Iberi people in the lands of Assyria nearly a hundred and fifty years before first notice of the Kimmeri. We also do not know how many Iberi may have moved elsewhere simply because they did not want to live under Assyrian rule. In one hundred and fifty years a couple could multiply, assuming twenty-five years per generation, and with four children, into more than a hundred people. If four thousand couples moved they could multiply into nearly 500,000 people, even with some loss.
 

The numbers are not unrealistic for significant impact over that period. If their social respect was as deep as our information suggests they could have had far more impact than that of mere numbers.
 

The Iranian names for leaders does not mean that the Iberi influence did not exist. A social force could have infiltrated into Iranian tribes that then acquired the Kimmeri name. How much the language may have been affected, again, we simply do not know. The tiny examples of unidentified languages subject to our examination suggests that a peculiar linguistic process was at work.
 

The influence of these social and spiritual forces shows in other ways.
 

These (Lydians) represent a civilization of very considerable artistic capacity, beginning to be influenced by Ionian culture, but fundamentally native. Later remains of the sixth and fifth centuries show the native elements still in vigorous dominance, (for example, the Lydian script defied the Ionian till well into the fourth century). It would be a miracle if the pitch of artistic achievement attained by the middle of the seventh century has sprung from barbaric beginnings lying no further back than the Mermnadae . . ."


Again, if the Iberi tribes were migrating north and west, they may have had an impact upon the Lydians, or others, as well as upon Iranian groups.
 

Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient evidence to say exactly what was happening in those ancient times. There is sufficient evidence to propose that Iberi tribes were on the move, and that they were impacting upon various people in Anatolia and regions round about.