Somewhere in his vast writings Josephus mentions a connection between the Jews and the Spartans. I’d have to go back and do some scanning.

Sander F


Dear Sander,

Josephus refers to the blood kinship between the Jews and Spartans in his Antiquities, XIII, V, 8, and I also discuss this kindred between the Jews and Spartans on pp. 241-243 of my book, Israel’s Tribes Today. It is my conclusion that the Spartans were descended from the Simeonites who voluntarily left the wilderness encampment of the Israelites after the incident in Numbers 25:6-15. After Phineas slew a Simeonite “prince of a chief house among the Simeonites” (verse 14), the very next chapter (Number 26) records that Moses saw a need to take a new census of the Israelite tribes remaining in the encampment. By comparing this census with the earlier one in Number 1, it is easily calculated that over half the tribe of Simeon (and lesser contingents of other tribes) had left the encampment. That would be an understandable reason for Moses to direct the taking of a census to see how many of each tribe had remained in the encampment.

It is evident that over half the tribe of Simeon took offence at the execution of one of their leaders and they left to pursue their future somewhere other than in the Promised Land to which Moses was leading the 12 tribes. The symbol of Simeon was the sword and they were known for their ruthlessness and even cruelty (Genesis 34:25-31, Genesis 49:5-7). This fits the documented temperament of the Spartans, who, indeed, lived by the sword. Also, the Jewish priests who greeted and accepted the Spartans as “kinsmen” were not likely to bestow this term upon a group that did not have a documentable Israelite pedigree. This argues the Jewish leaders saw the Spartans as being originally descended from an Israelite tribe. If the Jewish leaders saw the Spartans as gentiles, they would hardly have called them “kinsmen.”

Steve Collins