A little follow-up to my previous question: There are two interesting Targumim suggesting that Africa was oroginally destined for the descendants of Yefet (Gen 10,2):

תרגום ירושלמי, בראשית י׳:ב׳:

בְּנוֹי דְיֶפֶת גוֹמֶר וְשׁוּם אַפַרְכָיוּתְהוֹן אַפְרִיקֵי וְגַרְמַנְיָא וּמָדַי וּמִקְדוֹנְיָא וְיֵתָנְיָא וַאֲנַסְיָא וְתַרְקֵי:

תרגום יונתן על בראשית י׳:ב׳:

בְּנוֹי דְיֶפֶת גוֹמֶר וּמָגוֹג וּמָדַי וְיָוָן וְתוּבָל וּמֶשֶׁךְ וְתִירָס וְשׁוּם אַפַּרְכְיוּתְהוֹן אַפְרִיקֵי וְגַרְמַנְיָא וְתַמְדִיֵי וּמַקֵדוֹנִיָא וְיַתִינְיָא וְאוּסְיָא וְתַרְקֵי

My lousy translation: "Sons of Yefet [were] Gomer and Magog and Maday and Yavan etc. and the names of their countries [were] Africa and Germania and Tamdai and Meccedony and Yatenya and Ussiah and Tarkey"

Does someone elaborate on this statement?

  • 2
    I’ll grab you a source soon B”N, but אפריקי seems to refer specifically to Carthage, rather than the continent as a whole. Unfortunately the various stories about it in the Gemara don’t seem to be verifiable by archaeology. Consider this: Egypt and Ethiopia are both in Africa, both descendants of Cham, so clearly the entire continent could not go to Yefes. – DonielF Oct 20 '18 at 18:14
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    I don’t have it with me, but a friend and I went through those pesukim, targumim, Gemaras and Midrashim, and we charted out where the various nations landed up. (Several were left unknown.) It turned out that, generally speaking, Yefes got Europe, Cham got Africa and the Middle East, and Shem got Asia. The only outliers came later in history, when the nations from Avraham and his siblings took over the Arabian Peninsula, but at the time of Noach, that pattern seems to hold. – DonielF Oct 20 '18 at 18:17
  • @DonielF Maybe you can copy the second comment into my previous question's answer. – Al Berko Oct 20 '18 at 18:19
  • What previous question? – DonielF Oct 20 '18 at 18:20
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/q/96265/15579 the previous in the list – Al Berko Oct 20 '18 at 18:24

According to Rav Aryeh Kaplan’s commentary in Parashat Noach on the identity of the nation of Gomer, Afrikei denotes Phrygia, rather than Africa.


Eliyahu HaBachur seems to think that these targumim are indeed referring to the entire continent of Africa.

Meturgeman, entry afrak:

גומר ומגוג. תרגום ירושלמי אפריקי וגרמנייא. והוא אחד מן שלשה חלקי העולם

Gomer umagog. Targum Yerushalmi: afrikei vegermania. And this is one of the three continents of the world.

  • Intersting, he says אחד and mentions two. So is "אפריקי וגרמנייא" really one? – Al Berko Oct 20 '18 at 19:22
  • What language is it - Latin? hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=6244&st=&pgnum=3 – Al Berko Oct 20 '18 at 19:25
  • I think he's simply quoting the targum in context. My sense is that he's focusing on אפריקי (as that is the word under discussion in this entry), and that גרמנייא is just אגב אורחא – Joel K Oct 20 '18 at 19:26
  • I think this hardly be a source, it's just a "vague" interpretation of the Targum. Also חלק can theoretically be any part of land, I don't think they had a clear idea of the continents. – Al Berko Oct 20 '18 at 19:28
  • Yes - the introduction seems to be in Latin. – Joel K Oct 20 '18 at 19:29

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