Arrangement 2: Ham


A substemma of 32 roundels in four generations with one wife (Suse). Dimensions: 5 wide by 9 tall. Liber Genealogus counterpart: section 07.

The patterns (from left) in Plutei, Roda, the San Juan de la Pena and Foigny bibles.


Roda is clearly in error in attaching Ham and some of his sons (Ham, C, CS, CEt) to the top bar.

There are some peculiar omissions and changes. Roda omits the roundel for Futh (F), but since it offers an interpretation of his ethnic heritage, this deletion must be a scribal error. Roda also unaccountably raises the Nimrod roundel (UN) to a high position.

In Foigny and its Iota siblings, Suse (wife) and Futh (son) seem to be merged into a single roundel (F) inscribed "Euth filia Cham". The foregoing Zeta hyparchetype makes clear that in this branch of the stemma codicum, these two persons were formerly distinguished, so one must assume a copying error is to blame. The Iota manuscripts also unaccountably rearrange the order of the sons of Mesraim (M).

To accommodate Canaan's eleven sons, the layout in the manuscripts clearly makes full use of all the available nine rows of the chart with two inflections.

One layout issue raises questions: the strange positioning of Ham's wife Suse and son Futh (F). The Epsilon, Alpha and Beta recensions consistently place Suse, Ham's wife, to the southeast of him, and Futh (Put), their son, to the southwest. Gamma places both at the left of Ham, the solution adopted in this edition.

If we consult the Liber Genealogus G, we find that the order of appearance begins with Suse as we would expect, followed by Chus (U), Mestrem, Phuth and Chanaan. The reconstruction has been guided by this, with Futh (sometimes written "Ruth") to the right of Mesraim.

This rearrangement also responds to a larger question about the Liber Genealogus G: why does its reading order first take in the family of Shem at right, then move left with the word redeamus? The answer, already foreshadowed in the Japheth section, is that the LG author was guided by the filum joins and paid no mind to the canonical order&mdash Shem - Ham - Japheth— in the Book of Genesis. It was simply natural for a reader to track along the filum to Noah, continue as far as Shem and then backtrack to Ham as shown in the blue swish above.

The Canaanite line requires an elbow to be inserted in row 9 so that its last member is slotted in at left. There is now enough room to accommodate that without any violence to the arrangement.

One further change has been made here: raising Suse to row 2, on a level with her husband: this is influenced by the observation that the vast majority of Great Stemma wives are gathered in row 2 and that this seems to have graphic significance. Suse and Ham are joined here by a curly brace similar to that seen in Plutei joining Moses and Aaron to their wives.

There is no certain evidence on the original placement of the sons of Reu at the bottom left corner: to the left, the right, or on both sides of the father? The left is urged by the fact that this is the vacant space invitingly left open if we place the mother above.

Next: The Clan of Shem

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