Tu'bal (Heb. Tubal', תּוּבִל [תּבִל in Ge 10:2; Eze 32:26; Eze 39:1], of uncertain signification; Sept. θοβέλ, except in Eze 39:1, where Alex. θοβέρ; Vulg. Thubal, but in Isa 66:19, Italia). In the ancient ethnological tables of Genesis and 1 Chronicles Tubal is reckoned with Javan and Meshech among the sons of Japheth (Ge 10:2; 1Ch 1; 1Ch 5). B.C. post 2514. The three are again associated in the enumeration of the sources of the wealth of Tyre Javan, Tubal, and Meshech brought slaves and copper vessels to the Phoenician markets (Eze 27:13). Tubal and Javan (Isa 66:19), Meshech and Tubal (Eze 32:26; Eze 38:2-3; Eze 39:1), are nations of the north (Eze 38:15; Eze 39:2). Josephus (Ant. 1, 6, 1) identifies the descendants of Tubal with the Iberians, that is-not, as Jerome would understand it, Spaniards, but-the inhabitants of a tract of country between the Caspian and Euxine seas, which nearly corresponded to the modern Georgia. Knobel connects these Iberians of the East and West, and considers the Tibareni to have been a branch of this widely spread Turanian family, known to the Hebrews as Tubal ( Volkertafeld. Genesis § 13). Bochart (Phaleg, 3, 12) makes the Moschi and Tibareni represent Meshech and Tubal. These two Colchian tribes are mentioned together in Herodotus on two occasions, first, as forming part of the nineteenth satrapy of the Persian empire (3, 94), and again as being in the army of Xerxes under the command of Ariomardus the son of Darius: (7, 78). The Moschi and Tibareni, moreover, are "constantly associated, under the names of Mluskai and Tuplai, in the Assyrian inscriptions" (Sir H. Rawlinson, in Rawlinson's Herod 1, 535). The Tibareni are said by the scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius (2, 1010) to have been a Scythian tribe, and they as well as the Moschi are probably to be referred to that Turanian people who in very early times spread themselves over the entire region between the Mediterranean and India, the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus (Rawlinson, Herod. 1, 535). In the time of Sargon, according to the inscriptions, Ambris, the son of Khuliya, was hereditary chief of Tubal (the southern slopes of Taurus). He had cultivated relations with the kings of Musak and Vararat (Meshech and Ararat, or the Moschi and Armenia), who were in revolt against Assyria, and thus drew upon himself the hostility of the great king (ibid. 1, 169, note 3). In former times the Tibareni were probably more important; and the Moschi and Tibareni, Meshech and Tubal, may have been names by which powerful hordes of Scythians were known to the Hebrews. But in history we only hear of them as pushed to the farthest limits of their ancient settlements, and occupying merely a strip of coast along the Euxine. Their neighbors the Chaldeeans were in the same condition. In the time of Herodotus the Moschi and Tibareni were even more closely connected than at a later period, for in Xenophon we find them separated by the Macrones and Mossynoeci (A nab. 5, 5,1; Pliny, 6:4, etc.). The limits of the territory of the Tibareni are extremely difficult to determine with any degree of accuracy. After a part of the ten thousand Greeks, on their retreat with Xenophon, had embarked at Cerasus (perhaps near the modern KerasAn Dere Su), the rest marched along the: coast, and soon came to the boundaries of the Mossynceci (Anab. 5, 4, 2). They traversed the country occupied by this people in eight days, and then came to the Chalybes, and after them to the Tibareni. The eastern limit of the Tibareni was therefore about eighty or ninety miles along the coast west of Cerasus. Two days march through Tibarene brought the Greeks to Cotyora (ibid. 5, 5, 3), and they were altogether three days in passing through the country (Diod. Sic. 14, 30). Now from Cape Jasoniurn to Boon, according to Arrian (Peripl. 16), the distance was 90 stadia, 90 more to Cotyora, and 60 from Cotyora to the river Melanthius, making in all a coast line of 240 stadia, or three days march. Prof. Rawlinson (Herod. 4:181) conjectures that the Tibareni occupied the coast between Cape Yasfin (Jasonium) and the river Melanthius (Melet Irmak); but if we follow Xenophon, we must place Boon as their western boundary, one day's march from Cotyora, and their eastern limit must be sought some ten miles east of the Melet Irmak, perhaps not far from the modern Aptar, which is three and a half hours from that river. The anonymous author of the Periplus of the Euxine says (33) that the Tibareni formerly dwelt west of Cotyora as far as Polemonium, at the mouth of the Puleman chai, one and a half miles east of Fatsah.
In the time of Xenophon the Tibareni were an independent tribe (Anab. 7:8, 25). Long before this they were subject to a number of petty chiefs, which was a principal element of their weakness, and rendered their subjugation by Assyria more easy. Dr. Hincks (quoted by Rawlinson, Herod. 1, 380, note 1) has found as many as twenty-four kings of the Tuplai mentioned in the inscriptions. They are said by Apollonius Rhodius to have been rich in flocks (Aug. 2, 377). The traffic in slaves and vessels of copper with which the people of Tubal supplied the markets of Tyre (Eze 27:13) still further connects them with the Tibareni. It is well known that the regions bordering on the Pontus Euxinus furnished the most beautiful slaves, and that the slave-traffic was an extensive branch of trade among the Cappadocians (Polyb. 4:38, 4; Horace, Ep. 1, 6,39; Persius, Sat.. 6:77; Martial, Ep. 6:77; 10:76, etc.). The copper of the Mossynoeci, the neighbors of the Tibareni, was celebrated as being extremely bright and without any admixture of tin (Aristot. De Mir. Auscult. 62); and the Chalybes, who lived between these tribes, were long famous for their craft as metal-smiths. We must not forget, too, the copper-mines of Chalvar in Armenia (Hamilton, Asia Min. 1. 173).
The Arabic version of Ge 10:2 gives Chorasan and China for Meshech and Tubal; in Eusebius (see Bochart) they are Illyria and Thessaly. The Talmudists (Yoma, fol. 10, 2), according to Bochart, define Tubal as "the home of the Uniaci (אונייקי)," whom he is inclined to identify with the Huns (Phaleg, 3, 12). 'They may, perhaps, take their name from AEnoe, the modern Unieh, a town on the south coast of the Black Sea, not far from Cape Yasfn, and so in the immediate neighborhood of the Tibareni. In the Targum of R. Joseph on 1 Chronicles (ed. Wilkins) ויתינייא is given as, the equivalent of Tubal, and Wilkins renders it by Bithynia. But the reading in this passage, as well as in the Targums of Jerusalem and of Jonathan on Genesis 10, is too doubtful to be followed as even a traditional authority. SEE ETHNOLOGY.