The flood is a sort of sieve for Biblical history, because it is meant to select which people deserved to survive, but it is also a test for any hypothesis about the identity of the Cainites who all perished in the catastrophe. It is a criterion to filter the remote memories treasured in scribal tablets and a judgment too on a lifestyle considered utterly bad when Genesis was written. Profiling the children of Lamech, we got to a provisional conclusion about their ties with symbolical spheres known to Homer (7th century B.C.) as typically Cilician: horsemanship, music and metallurgy. Actually, no horses are mentioned about Jabal, who was the ancestor of those who lived in tents near livestock (miqneh, HALOT 628). The silence about horses looks like a censorship on what was the pride of the most glorious monarchy in Israel: Salomon imported horses from Qwh. It has been lately disputed if this corresponds to Que, Cilicia in Assyrian records (Gerhards 2009 [1]; Simon 2014 [2]: 726-727; Simon 2018 [3]: 322-323), but still we know that Assyrians (Donaghy 2014 [4]: 31, 161-162; CHLI 286) and later Persians required a considerable number of horses as a tribute from the Cilicians (Asheri 1991 [5]: 49ff.). Certainly, the Cilicians have had a bad reputation in the past, mainly due to piracy, and Lamech's marriage with Adah is a reminder of the common destiny of the two peoples, the Lycians and the Cilicians, that Homer described together in the Troad (Haubold 2011 [6]). A rereading of this mythical past should be done in the light of historical and political ideology, probably within the frame imposed by Achaemenid empire, when the Cilician kingdom played the role of precious ally in the maritime field. Noah's exploit as shipbuilder and navigator should teach a lesson: Cilicians' reputation suffered from their "familiar ties" with the Lycians, but it could be restored if they remained faithful to the Persians and kept deploying their skills in a field where the latter were still dependent. From this standpoint, the prevailing literary motif we should expect is the rejection of a nomadic lifestyle which belonged to the historical Lukka (Steiner 1993 [7]) and that will be reinvented as religious mission with the patriarchs. This is convergent with the Noachic role of shipbuilder under the command of God: the only Cilician skill that was convenient to stress, while the nomadic past had to wait for Abram and the new order of Palestine under the Achaemenids, who could inspire that "sublime" balance we only find in Genesis among Bible books.

Originally Published: April 8, 2021

Last Updated: May 22, 2021

  1. Gerhards, M., Die biblischen Hethiter. Die Welt des Orients, 2009. 39(2): p. 145-179.
  2. Simon, Z., Remarks on the Anatolian Background of the Tel Rehov Bees and the Historical Geography of the Luwian States in the 10th c. BC. Zoltán Csabai (Hg.), Studies in Economic and Social History of the Ancient Near East in Memory of Péter Vargyas. Pécs und Budapest: Department of Ancient History, University of Pécs und L'Harmattan, 2014: p. 715-738.
  3. Simon, Z., Die Griechen und das Phönizische im späthethitischen Staat Hiyawa: die zyprische Verbindung. PA Mumm (Hg.), Sprachen, Völker und Phantome: sprach-und kulturwissenschaftliche Studien zur Ethnizität (Münchner Vorlesungen zu Antiken Welten 2), Berlin–Boston, 2018: p. 313-338.
  4. Donaghy, T., Horse Breeds and breeding in the Greco-Persian World : 1st and 2nd Millennium BC. 2014, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  5. Asheri, D., Divagazioni erodotee sulla Cilicia persiana. Quaderni storici, 1991. 26(76 (1)): p. 35-65.
  6. Haubold, J., Lykien (und Kilikien) in der Ilias, in Lag Troia in Kilikien? Der aktuelle Streit um Homers Ilias. 2011: Darmstadt. p. 375–390.
  7. Steiner, G., Die historische Rolle der "Lukkā", in Akten des II. Internazionalen Lykiens-Symposions, J. Borchhardt and G. Dobesch, Editors. 1993. p. 123-137.