Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Gog and Magog'
Start a new discussion about 'Gog and Magog'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia


Gog and Magog are names that appear primarily in various Jewish, Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 scriptures, as well as numerous subsequent references in other works. Their context can be either genealogical (as Magog in Genesis 10:2) or eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 and apocalyptic, as in Ezekiel
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

and Revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

. They are sometimes individuals, sometimes peoples, and sometimes geographic regions. The passages from Ezekiel and Revelation in particular have attracted attention due to their prophetic
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 descriptions of conflicts said to occur near the "End times".

Etymology


The etymology of both the names Gog and Magog remains uncertain. The ma- at the beginning of Magog may indicate a land, or it may mean "from", so that Magog means "of the land of Gog" or "from Gog". Gog may originate as the Hebrew version of the name of Gyges
Gyges of Lydia
Gyges was the founder of the third or Mermnad dynasty of Lydian kings and reigned from 716 BC to 678 BC . He was succeeded by his son Ardys II.-Allegorical accounts of Gyges' rise to power:...

 of Lydia
Lydia
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

, who made his kingdom a great power in the early 7th century BC, but this explanation, although common, is not universally accepted. A different theory is that "Magog" might be a reference to Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, by turning BBL ("Babylon" in Hebrew script, which originally had no vowel-signs) into MGG (Magog), but this account, like the others, has problems.

Genesis and Chronicles


Chapter 10 of the Book of Genesis, commonly called the "Table of Nations", names some 70 descendants of Noah from whom "the nations spread out over the earth after the Deluge." Noah has three sons, Sham, Ham and Japheth, and Magog is one of the sons (the second) of Japheth:

This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.


1 Chronicles begins with a list of genealogies repeating that in the Table of Nations but continuing well beyond. In chapter 5, among the many descendants of Reuben
Reuben (Bible)
According to the Book of Genesis, Reuben or Re'uven was the first and eldest son of Jacob with Leah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Reuben.-Etymology:...

, first of the twelve sons of the patriarch Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

, it mentions an individual named Gog.

Ezekiel


The two names first appear together in chapters 38 and 39 of the Book of Ezekiel
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

, but here Magog is a place and not an individual:

Son of man, direct your face towards Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince, leader of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him. Say: Thus said the Lord: Behold, I am against you, Gog, the prince, leader of Meshech and Tubal.


Ezekiel lived in the first half of the 6th century BC, and the earliest possible date for the prophecy is c. 585 BC. Scholars disagree, however, as to whether Ezekiel 38-39 was part of the original text (compare, for example, Joseph Blenkinsopp, who believes it to be a late addition, and Daniel Block, who argues for its original status). Its prophecy of a savage foe from the north is based on Jeremiah 1:3-16, where Jeremiah is talking about the Babylonians; Ezekiel turns this into an eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 enemy who will come "in the latter years," an apocalypse
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

 at the end of time.

Gog's allies - Meshech and Tubal, Persia, Cush and Put, and "Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north" - are all, with the exception of Persia, taken from the Table of Nations. Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth Togarmah can be identified with real 8th and 7th century peoples, kings or kingdoms of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, modern Turkey. "Why the prophet's gaze should have focused on these particular nations is unclear," says Daniel Block in a recent study of Ezekiel 25-48, but suggests that their remoteness and reputation for violence and mystery "made Gog and his confederates perfect symbols of the archetypal enemy, rising against God and his people." Cush (Sudan or Ethiopia) and Put (Libya) are sons of Ham according to Genesis 10, while Persia is located to the east, and is not mentioned in Genesis 10 at all. Since Ezekiel insists on a northerly situation of Gog and his allies, many commentators believe that these three names were added later, although this too is disputed.

Intertestamental period


Around the middle of the 2nd century BC, the Sibylline Oracles
Sibylline oracles
The Sibylline Oracles are a collection of oracular utterances written in Greek hexameters ascribed to the Sibyls, prophetesses who uttered divine revelations in a frenzied state. Fourteen books and eight fragments of Sibylline Oracles survive...

mention the "land of Gog and Magog" as "situated in the midst of Aethiopian rivers", but in a second mention links it with the "Marsians
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 and Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

ns", in eastern Europe; in both cases they are about to receive "woe," and according to Boe, "there can be little doubt about the direct use of Ezekiel's oracles" in their composition.

The Book of Jubilees, known from about the same time, mentions Magog as a son of Japheth to whom land is allocated, while Gog is a region on Japheth's borders. 1 Enoch tells how God stirs up the Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 and Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

ns (instead of Gog and Magog) to attack Jerusalem, where they are destroyed; an indebtedness to Ezekiel 38-39 has also been asserted. In the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

, the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 will rule "over all the peoples and Magog," and Magog is allocated land next to Gomer, the first son of Japheth. The sole fragment where the two names are combined as "Gog and Magog" is too small to be meaningful. The 1st century Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum
Pseudo-Philo
Pseudo-Philo is the name commonly used for a Jewish pseudepigraphical work in Latin, so called because it was transmitted along with Latin translations of the works of Philo of Alexandria but is very obviously not written by Philo...

 is notable for listing and naming seven of Magog's sons, and mentions his "thousands" of descendants.

The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, made during this period, occasionally introduces the name of Gog where the Hebrew original has something else. Thus at Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

24:7 it replaces Agag
Agag
Agag was the name of two kings of the Amalekites mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. It has been conjectured that the name was a standing title of the kings of the Amalekites...

, a mysterious but clearly powerful figure, with Gog, and at Amos
Book of Amos
The Book of Amos is a prophetic book of the Hebrew Bible, one of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Amos, an older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, was active c. 750 BCE during the reign of Jeroboam II, making the Book of Amos the first biblical prophetic book written. Amos lived in the kingdom of Judah...

7:1 the Greek has Gog as the leader of a threatening locust-like army. The Greek translation of Ezekiel takes Gog and Magog to be synonyms for the same country, a step which paved the way for the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

to turn "Gog from Magog" into "Gog and Magog."

Book of Revelation


By the end of the 1st century, Jewish tradition had long since changed Ezekiel's Gog from Magog into Gog and Magog, the ultimate enemies of God's people, to be destroyed in the final battle. The author of the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

tells how he sees in a vision Satan rallying Gog and Magog, "the nations in the four corners of the Earth," to a final battle with Christ and his saints:

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.


Ezekiel's Gog from Magog was a symbol of the evil darkness of the north and the powers hostile to God, but in Revelation, Gog and Magog have no geographic location, and instead represent the nations of the world, banded together for the final assault on Christ and those who follow him.

Qur'an


In Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 Al-Kahf
Al-Kahf
Sura al-Kahf "The Cave" is the 18th surah of the Qur'an with 110 ayat. It is a Meccan sura.-People of the Cave:Verses 9 – 26 of the chapter tell the story of the People of the Cave . Some number of young monotheistic men lived in a time where they were persecuted. They fled the city together, and...

 ("The Cave", 18:83–98) of the Qur'an (early 7th century), a pious king called Dhul-Qarnayn
Dhul-Qarnayn
Dhul-Qarnayn , literally "He of the Two Horns" or "He of the two centuries" is a figure mentioned in the Qur'an, the sacred scripture of Islam, where he is described as a great and righteous ruler who built a long wall that keeps Gog and Magog from attacking the people who he met on his journey...

 ("he of the Two-horns" or 'he of the two ages') journeys to a distant land where he finds people who are suffering from the mischief of Gog and Magog. Dhu'l-Qarnayn then makes a wall of copper and iron to keep Gog and Magog out, but warns that it will be broken down at the time appointed by Allah. In sura 21, Al-Anbiyā
Al-Anbiya
Sura Al-Anbiya is the 21st sura of the Qur'an with 112 ayat. It is a Meccan sura. Its principal subject matter is prophets of the past, who also preached the same faith as Muhammad...

 (The Prophets), the wall is mentioned again: there Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 tells his Prophet (Mohammed) that there is a "prohibition upon [the people of] a city which We have destroyed that they will not return until [the dam of] Gog and Magog has been opened and thou shall see them, from every higher ground, descending." According to Saḥīḥ al-Bukhāri
Sahih al-Bukhari
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

, Gog and Magog are human beings, and the city mentioned in Surat 21 is Jerusalem.[citation needed]

Identifying Gog and Magog


Separate passages in the "Jewish Antiquities" and "Jewish War
The Wars of the Jews
The Jewish War , in full Flavius Josephus's Books of the History of the Jewish War against the Romans , also referred to in English as The Wars of the Jews and The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, is a book written by the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus.It is a description of Jewish...

" of the 1st century Jewish historian and scholar Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 show that Jews of that time identified Gog and Magog with the Scythians: Alexander the Great, Josephus said, locked these horse-riding barbarians of the far north behind the Caucasus mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 with iron gates. A version of this story formed the basis of the Qur'anic tale of Dhul-Qarnayn.

Some early Christian writers (e.g. Eusebius) identified Gog and Magog with the Romans. After the Roman Empire became Christian this was no longer possible and attention switched to Rome's northern barbarian enemies. Ambrose
Ambrose
Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

 (d.397) identified them with the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

, and Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

 confirmed that people in his day supposed that the Goths were descended from Magog "because of the similarity of the last syllable". The idea that Gog and Magog were connected with the Goths was longstanding; in the mid-16th century, Archbishop of Uppsala Johannes Magnus
Johannes Magnus
Johannes Magnus was the last functioning Catholic Archbishop in Sweden, and also a theologian, genealogist, and historian.-Life:Johannes Magnus was born in Linköping, son of the burgess Måns Pedersson and his wife Kristina...

 traced the royal family of Sweden back to Magog son of Japheth, (Magnus identified two of Magog's sons as Suenno, progenitor of the Swedes, and Gethar (also known as Gog or Gogus), ancestor of the Goths).

In the 6th century, the Byzantine historian Procopius (d. after 562) saw Attila and the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 as the nation locked out by Alexander, and a little later other Christian writers identified them with the Saracens. Still later, Gog and Magog became identified with the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

, whose empire dominated Central Asia in the 9th and 10th centuries. In his 9th century work Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam
Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam
Exposito in Matthaeum Evangelistam is a work by the ninth-century Benedictine monk Christian of Stavelot. As its name implies, it is a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew...

, the Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monk Christian of Stavelot
Christian of Stavelot
Christian of Stavelot was a ninth-century Christian monk. He is sometimes referred to as Christian Druthmar or Druthmar of Aquitaine. Christian was a noted grammarian, Biblical commentator, and eschatologist. He was born in Aquitaine in the early ninth century CE, and became a monk at the...

 referred to them as descendants of Gog and Magog, and says they are "Circumcised and observing all [the laws of] Judaism"; the 14th century Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 scholar Ibn Kathir
Ibn Kathir
Ismail ibn Kathir was a Muslim muhaddith, Faqih, historian, and commentator.-Biography:His full name was Abu Al-Fida, 'Imad Ad-Din, Isma'il bin 'Umar bin Kathir, Al-Qurashi, Al-Busrawi...

 also identified Gog and Magog with the Khazars, as did a Georgian tradition, which called them "wild men with hideous faces and the manners of wild beasts, eaters of blood". According to the famous Khazar Correspondence
Khazar Correspondence
The Khazar Correspondence was an exchange of letters in the 950s or 960s between Hasdai ibn Shaprut, foreign secretary to the Caliph of Cordoba, and Joseph, Khagan of the Khazars. It is one of the few documents known to have been authored by a Khazar, and one of the very few primary sources on...

 (c. 960), King Joseph of Khazaria claimed to be a descendant of Magog's nephew Togarmah
Togarmah
Togarmah third son of Gomer, and grandson of Japheth, brother of Ashkenaz and Riphat...

.

The Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 were the next barbarians. Early in the 13th century reports began to reach Europe of a mysterious and invincible horde from the east that destroyed Muslim empires and kingdoms, leading kings and popes to take them for Prester John
Prester John
The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval...

, marching to save Christians from the Saracens; but when they entered Poland and Hungary and annihilated Christian armies, a terrified Europe concluded that they were "Magogoli", the offspring of Gog and Magog, released from the prison Alexander had constructed for them and heralding Armageddon
Armageddon
Armageddon is, according to the Bible, the site of a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location...

.

The Mongolian armies decided to turn back because of the death of Genghis Khan back in the East and their defeat in the Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
The Battle of Ain Jalut took place on 3 September 1260 between Mamluks and the Mongols in eastern Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, not far from Ein Harod....

 in Palestine. Gog and Magog became the subject of literature. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
John Mandeville
"Jehan de Mandeville", translated as "Sir John Mandeville", is the name claimed by the compiler of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a book account of his supposed travels, written in Anglo-Norman French, and first circulated between 1357 and 1371.By aid of translations into many other languages...

, a 14th best-seller, associated the Jews with Gog and Magog, saying the nation trapped behind the Gates of Alexander
Gates of Alexander
The Gates of Alexander was a legendary barrier supposedly built by Alexander the Great in the Caucasus to keep the uncivilized barbarians of the north from invading the land to the south. The gates were a popular subject in medieval travel literature, starting with the Alexander Romance in a...

 comprised the Ten Lost Tribes
Ten Lost Tribes
The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel refers to those tribes of ancient Israel that formed the Kingdom of Israel and which disappeared from Biblical and all other historical accounts after the kingdom was destroyed in about 720 BC by ancient Assyria...

 of Israel. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 located Gog and Magog as regions of Tenduk, a province belonging to the legendary Prester John
Prester John
The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval...

, and governed by one George, fourth in descent from the original John. According to this account Gog (locally Ung) is inhabited by a tribe called the Gog, whilst Magog (or Mongul) is inhabited by Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

. The 14th century Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

 reported that "the rampart of Yajuj and Majuj" was "sixty days' travel" from the city of Zeitun
Quanzhou
Quanzhou is a prefecture-level city in Fujian province, People's Republic of China. It borders all other prefecture-level cities in Fujian but two and faces the Taiwan Strait...

; the translator notes that Ibn Battuta has confused the Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

 with that built by Dhul-Qarnayn
Dhul-Qarnayn
Dhul-Qarnayn , literally "He of the Two Horns" or "He of the two centuries" is a figure mentioned in the Qur'an, the sacred scripture of Islam, where he is described as a great and righteous ruler who built a long wall that keeps Gog and Magog from attacking the people who he met on his journey...

.

A German tradition claimed a group called the Red Jews
Red Jews
The Red Jews were a legendary Jewish nation that appear in vernacular sources in Germany during the medieval era until about 1600. According to these texts, the Red Jews were an epochal threat to Christendom, and would invade Europe during the tribulations leading to the end of the world.Andrew...

 would invade Europe at the end of the world
Christian eschatology
Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology. Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning last and study , is the study of the end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world...

; the "Red Jews" became associated with different peoples, but especially the Eastern European Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

 and the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

.

Jewish scholars of the Middle Ages, including Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

, Radak and others, had associated no specific nation or territory with Magog, beyond locating it to the north of Israel. In the early 19th century some Chasidic
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s identified Napoleon's invasion of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 as "The War of Gog and Magog" which would precede the coming of the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

, so that the Emperor filled the role of Gog. In the 20th century Hitler was seen as a likely candidate, and during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, Russia itself was given the role of Gog, since Ezekiel's words describing him as "prince of Meshek" - rosh meshek in Hebrew - sounded suspiciously like Russia and Moscow.

Giants




Despite their generally negative depiction in the Bible, Lord Mayors of the City of London carry images of Gog and Magog (depicted as giants) in a traditional procession in the Lord Mayor's Show
Lord Mayor's Show
The Lord Mayor's Show is one of the longest established and best known annual events in London which dates back to 1535. The Lord Mayor in question is that of the City of London, the historic centre of London that is now the metropolis's financial district, informally known as the Square Mile...

. According to the tradition, the giants Gog and Magog are guardians of the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

, and images of them have been carried in the Lord Mayor's Show since the days of King Henry V
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....

. The Lord Mayor's procession takes place each year on the second Saturday of November.

The Lord Mayor's account of Gog and Magog says that the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 had thirty-three wicked daughters. He found thirty-three husbands for them to curb their wicked ways; they chafed at this, and under the leadership of the eldest sister, Alba, they murdered their husbands. For this crime they were set adrift at sea; they washed ashore on a windswept island, which they named "Albion
Albion
Albion is the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. Today, it is still sometimes used poetically to refer to the island or England in particular. It is also the basis of the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba...

" - after Alba. Here they coupled with demons and gave birth to a race of giants, whose descendants included Gog and Magog.

An even older British connection to Gog and Magog appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth was a cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur...

's influential 12th century Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
The Historia Regum Britanniae is a pseudohistorical account of British history, written c. 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It chronicles the lives of the kings of the Britons in a chronological narrative spanning a time of two thousand years, beginning with the Trojans founding the British nation...

, which states that Goemagot
Gogmagog (folklore)
Gogmagog - also Goemagot, Goemagog or Gogmagoc - was a legendary giant in British folklore. According to the 12th Century Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Gogmagog was a giant inhabitant of Albion, and was thrown off a cliff during a wrestling match with Corineus who was a...

 was a giant slain by the eponymous Cornish
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 hero Corin
Corineus
Corineus, in medieval British legend, was a prodigious warrior, a fighter of giants, and the eponymous founder of Cornwall.According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain , he led the descendants of the Trojans who fled with Antenor after the Trojan War and settled on the coasts...

 or Corineus. The tale figures in the body of unlikely lore that has Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 settled by the Trojan
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 soldier Brutus
Brutus of Troy
Brutus or Brute of Troy is a legendary descendant of the Trojan hero Æneas, known in mediæval British legend as the eponymous founder and first king of Britain...

 and other fleeing heroes from the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

. Corineus supposedly slew the giant by throwing him into the sea near Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

; Richard Carew notes the presence of chalk figures carved on Plymouth Hoe
Plymouth Hoe
Plymouth Hoe, referred to locally as the Hoe, is a large south facing open public space in the English coastal city of Plymouth. The Hoe is adjacent to and above the low limestone cliffs that form the seafront and it commands views of Plymouth Sound, Drake's Island, and across the Hamoaze to Mount...

 in his time. Wace
Wace
Wace was a Norman poet, who was born in Jersey and brought up in mainland Normandy , ending his career as Canon of Bayeux.-Life:...

 (Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut or Brut is a verse literary history of Britain by the poet Wace. Written in the Norman language, it consists of 14,866 lines....

), Layamon
Layamon
Layamon or Laghamon (ˈlaɣamon; in American English often modernised as ; ), occasionally written Lawman, was a poet of the early 13th century and author of the Brut, a notable English poem of the 12th century that was the first English language work to discuss the legends of Arthur and the...

 (Layamon's Brut
Brut (Layamon)
Layamon's Brut , also known as The Chronicle of Britain, is a Middle English poem compiled and recast by the English priest Layamon. The Brut is 16,095 lines long and narrates the history of Britain: it is the first historiography written in English since the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle...

) (who calls the giant Goemagog), and other chroniclers retell the story, which was picked up by later poets and romanciers. John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

's History of Britain
History of Britain (John Milton)
The History of Britain, that Part especially now called England; from the first traditional Beginning, continued to the Norman Conquest. Collected out of the antientest and best Authours thereof, a prose work by the English poet John Milton, was published in 1670...

gives this version:
The Island, not yet Britain, but Albion, was in a manner desert and inhospitable, kept only by a remnant of Giants, whose excessive Force and Tyrannie had consumed the rest. Them Brutus destroies, and to his people divides the land, which, with some reference to his own name, he thenceforth calls Britain. To Corineus, Cornwall, as now we call it, fell by lot; the rather by him lik't, for that the hugest Giants in Rocks and Caves were said to lurk still there; which kind of Monsters to deal with was his old exercise.

And heer, with leave bespok'n to recite a grand fable, though dignify'd by our best Poets: While Brutus, on a certain Festival day, solemnly kept on that shore where he first landed (Totnes
Totnes
Totnes is a market town and civil parish at the head of the estuary of the River Dart in Devon, England within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty...

), was with the People in great jollity and mirth, a crew of these savages, breaking in upon them, began on the sudden another sort of Game than at such a meeting was expected. But at length by many hands overcome, Goemagog, the hugest, in hight twelve cubits, is reserved alive; that with him Corineus, who desired nothing more, might try his strength, whom in a Wrestle the Giant catching aloft, with a terrible hugg broke three of his Ribs: Nevertheless Corineus, enraged, heaving him up by main force, and on his shoulders bearing him to the next high rock, threw him hedlong all shatter'd into the sea, and left his name on the cliff, called ever since Langoemagog, which is to say, the Giant's Leap.


Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton was an English poet who came to prominence in the Elizabethan era.-Early life:He was born at Hartshill, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Almost nothing is known about his early life, beyond the fact that in 1580 he was in the service of Thomas Goodere of Collingham,...

's Poly-Olbion
Poly-Olbion
The Poly-Olbion is a topographical poem describing England and Wales. Written by Michael Drayton and published in 1612, it was reprinted with a second part in 1622. Drayton had been working on the project since at least 1598.-Content:...

preserves the tale as well:
Amongst the ragged Cleeves those monstrous giants sought:
Who (of their dreadful kind) t'appal the Trojans brought
Great Gogmagog, an oake that by the roots could teare;
So mighty were (that time) the men who lived there:
But, for the use of armes he did not understand,
He challenge makes for strength, and offereth there his gage,
Which Corin taketh up, to answer by and by,
Upon this sonne of earth his utmost power to try.

Gog Magog Hills



The Gog Magog Downs
Gog Magog Downs
The Gog Magog Downs are a range of low chalk hills, extending for several miles to the southeast of Cambridge in England. The highest points are marked on Ordnance Survey 1:25000 maps as "Telegraph Clump"Telegraph Clump, at , Little Trees HillLittle Trees Hill, and Wandlebury Hill,Wandlebury...

 are about three miles south of Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, said to be the metamorphosis
Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation...

 of the giant after being rejected by the nymph Granta (i.e. the River Cam
River Cam
The River Cam is a tributary of the River Great Ouse in the east of England. The two rivers join to the south of Ely at Pope's Corner. The Great Ouse connects the Cam to England's canal system and to the North Sea at King's Lynn...

). The dowser Thomas Charles Lethbridge
Thomas Charles Lethbridge
Thomas Charles Lethbridge was a British explorer, archaeologist and parapsychologist. According to the historian Ronald Hutton, Lethbridge's "status as a scholar never really rose above that of an unusually lively local antiquary" for he had a "contempt for professionalism in all fields" and...

 claimed to have discovered a group of three hidden chalk carvings in the Gogmagog Hills. This alleged discovery is described at length in his book Gogmagog: The Buried Gods, in which Lethbridge uses his discoveries to extrapolate a primal deity named 'Gog' and his consort, 'Ma-Gog', which he believed represented the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

 and Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

. Although his discovery of the chalk figures
Hill figure
A hill figure is a large visual representation created by cutting into a steep hillside and revealing the underlying geology. It is a type of geoglyph usually designed to be seen from afar rather than above. In some cases trenches are dug and rubble made from material brighter than the natural...

 in the Gogmagog Hills has been dogged by controversy, there are similarities between the name and nature of the purported 'Gog' and the Irish deity
Celtic pantheon
The gods and goddesses, or deities of the Celts are known from a variety of sources, including written Celtic mythology, ancient places of worship, statues, engravings, cult objects and place or personal names....

 Ogma
Ogma
Ogma is a character from Irish mythology and Scottish mythology. A member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he is often considered a deity and may be related to the Gallic god Ogmios....

, or the Gaulish Ogmios
Ogmios
Ogmios was the Celtic deity of eloquence. He looked like an older version of Heracles. He was also a binding god who would use his powers of persuasion to bind men onto himself and then lead them into the underworld....

.

Gog and Magog in Ireland



Works of Irish mythology
Irish mythology
The mythology of pre-Christian Ireland did not entirely survive the conversion to Christianity, but much of it was preserved, shorn of its religious meanings, in medieval Irish literature, which represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branch and the Historical Cycle. There are...

, including the Lebor Gabála Érenn
Lebor Gabála Érenn
Lebor Gabála Érenn is the Middle Irish title of a loose collection of poems and prose narratives recounting the mythical origins and history of the Irish from the creation of the world down to the Middle Ages...

(the Book of Invasions), expand on the Genesis account of Magog as the son of Japheth and make him the ancestor to the Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 through Partholón
Partholón
Partholón, in medieval Irish historical tradition, was the leader of the second group of people to settle in Ireland, supposedly first to arrive after the biblical Flood. They arrived in 2680 BC according to the chronology of the Annals of the Four Masters, 2061 BC according to Geoffrey Keating's...

, leader of the first group to colonize Ireland after the Deluge, and a descendant of Magog, as also were the Milesians
Milesians (Irish)
Milesians are a people figuring in Irish mythology. The descendants of Míl Espáine, they were the final inhabitants of Ireland, and were believed to represent the Goidelic Celts.-Myth:...

, the people of the 5th invasion of Ireland. Magog was also the progenitor of the Scythians, as well as of numerous other races across Europe and Central Asia. His three sons were Baath, Jobhath, and Fathochta.

External links