13. At that time people spoke only one language and one dialect. Some say that they spoke Syriac, others instead that they spoke Hebrew, and others that they spoke Greek. For me the latter are more reliable, because the Greek language is much more vigorous, richer and more varied than both Syriac and Hebrew (44). Seventy-two of them gathered together and said: “Let us build a city and gird it with walls, and erect in it a tower that reaches up to heaven, because if one day there is a flood we will be protected”. For three years they made crude bricks and put them to bake. Each brick was thirteen cubits long, ten wide and five high. Then they built a city between Sūr and Bābil. The city was three hundred and thirteen bā‘ long (45) and it was a hundred and fifty-one bā‘ wide. The height of the wall was five thousand five hundred and thirty-three bā‘ and its thickness thirty-three bā‘. The tower was ten thousand bā‘ tall. They built it in forty years. While they were still intent on building, God sent them an angel (46) from heaven who confused their tongues and altered their language, so that when one spoke to another he could not understand what he was saying. That place was called Babil because it was there that the languages became confused, and it was from there that they spread out across the land. Forty-six years had passed since the birth of Fāliq.
Of those seventy-two men, twenty-five belonged to the Banū Sām. They lived from the Euphrates and Mosul as far as the Far East, and from them came the Syrians, the inhabitants of Diyār Rabī‘a and Mesopotamia, the Garāmiqa, the Chaldeans, i.e. the inhabitants of Bābil, those of Fāris, of Khurāsān, of Farghāna, of Sind, of India, of the peninsula as-Sin, the Hebrews, the inhabitants of Yemen, of at-Tā’if, of al-Yamāma, of Bahrayn and the different Arab lineages. They have eight forms of writing: Hebrew, Syriac, Persian, Indian, Chaldean, which is the Babylonian writing, Chinese, Himyarite and Arabic. The Sāmites touched, out of the great watercourses, the Euphrates and the Balikh river.
Of those [seventy-two men], thirty-two belonged to the Banū Hām. They inhabited Syria – also called the land of Kan‘ān because Hām had a son named Kan‘ān – up to the extreme West and there are derived from them the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Egyptians, the Copts, the Mans (47), the lineages of Sūdān, Abyssinia, Nubia, the Bugāhs (48), the Zang, the Zutt, the inhabitants of Qarrān, the Samaritans, the Zābig, the Maghrebins and the Berbers. They have twenty-six islands, including Sardinia (49), Malta and Crete, and a part of the island of Cyprus and others. They have six forms of writing: Egyptian, Nubian, Ethiopian, farangis (50), Punic and qunquli (51). The Hāmites touched, out of the great watercourses, the Nile.
Of those [seventy-two men], fifteen belonged to the Banū Yāfit. They lived from the Tigris to the far north and there are derived from them the Turks, the Bağnāk, the Tugharghar, the Tubt, the inhabitants of Yāğūg, of Māğūğ, of Khazar, of Lān, the Anğāz, the Sanābirah (52), the inhabitants of Ğarzān, the inhabitants of Great and Little Armenia, of Hawrān, of Antioch, of al-Khālidiyyah, of Paphlagonia, of Cappadocia, of Kharshana, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Russians, the Daylamites, the Bulgarians, the Slavs, the Lombards, the Franks, the Galsatīn and the Spaniards. They have twelve islands, including Rhodes, Sicily, Cyprus, Samos and others. They have six forms of writing: Greek, Roman, Armenian, Spanish, Frankish and ğurzāni. Of the great watercourses, the Yāfitites touched the Tigris. From the deluge to the construction of the tower and the confusion of languages five hundred and seventy-eight years had passed, and from Adam to the construction of the tower two thousand eight hundred and thirty-four.
14. At one hundred and thirty Fāliq had Rāghū (53) and he was thirty when Qīnān died in the month of Ab, i.e. Misrà, at the age of four hundred and thirty years. Fāliq lived in all three hundred and thirty-nine years. At the age of one hundred and thirty two years Rāghū had Shārū‘ (54). In his day men worshiped idols and everyone worshiped and venerated what he liked (55). Some worshiped the sky, others worshiped the sun, others the moon, others the stars, others the birds, others the earth, others the beasts, others the rivers, others the trees and others the mountains (56). There were those who made themselves an idol in the likeness of their father, mother and those whom they loved more than others and filled with favours, and when one of them died, they adored him and made him a god (57). Others made idols of gold, silver, stone, or wood. The inhabitants of Egypt, Bāhil, and Ifrangis and the inhabitants of the coasts began to do this. In another text they are said to be only imitators. It is also said that the origin of the worship of idols goes back to the custom that they had, of placing on the tomb of a dead person an idol similar to him so that they did not forget his memory. So it was that the earth was filled with idols made in the image of men, women and children (58). At that time a rich man died, having a son who made an idol in the image of his father and placed it on his grave, placing his servant as guardian. But the thieves came and stole everything the young man had at home. The young man rushed to his father’s grave and began to cry and moan at that golden idol just as if he was complaining to his father. The devil spoke to him from the belly of the idol and said to him: “Do not cry. Instead, bring your youngest child here and offer him as a sacrifice. Then bathe in his blood and I will give you back everything you had”. The young man left and returned with his son, slaughtered him in front of the idol and bathed in his blood. The demon then came out of the idol and entered the young man and taught him magic and incantations. It was from that time that men began to sacrifice their children to demons and to practice magic (59).
- i.e. Japeth, obviously.↩