Gog - Encyclopedia

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GOG (possibly connected with the Gentilic Gagaya, " of the land of Gag," used in Amarna Letters i. 38, as a synonym for "barbarian," or with Ass. Gagu, a ruler of the land of Sahi, N. of Assyria, or with Gyges, Ass. Gugu, a king of Lydia), a Hebrew name found in Ezek. xxxviii.-xxxix. and in Rev. xx., and denoting an antitheocratic power that is to manifest itself in the world immediately before the final dispensation. In the later passage, Gog and Magog are spoken of as co-ordinate; in the earlier, Gog is given as the name of the person or people and Magog as that of the land of origin. Magog is perhaps a contracted form of Mat-gog, mat being the common Assyrian word for "land." The passages are, however, intimately related and both depend upon Gen. x. 2, though here Magog alone is mentioned. He is the second "son" of Japhet, and the order of the names here and in Ezekiel xxxviii. 2, indicates a locality between Cappadocia and Media, i.e. in Armenia. According to Josephus, who is followed by Jerome, the Scythians were primarily intended by this designation; and this plausible opinion has been generally followed. The name ZKbOat, it is to be observed, however, is often but a vague word for any or all of the numerous and but partially known tribes of the north; and any attempt to assign a more definite locality to Magog can only be very hesitatingly made. According to some, the Maiotes about the Palus Maeotis are meant; according to others, the Massagetae; according to Kiepert, the inhabitants of the northern and eastern parts of Armenia. The imagery employed in Ezekiel's prophetic description was no doubt suggested by the Scythian invasion which about the time of Josiah, 630 B.e., had devastated Asia (Herodotus i. 104-106; Jer. iv. 3-vi. 30). Following on this description, Gog figures largely in Jewish and Mahommedan as well as in Christian eschatology. In the district of Astrakhan a legend is still to be met with, to the effect that Gog and Magog were two great races, which Alexander the Great subdued and banished to the inmost recesses of the Caucasus, where they are meanwhile kept in by the terror of twelve trumpets blown by the winds, but whence they are destined ultimately to make their escape and destroy the world.

The legends that attach themselves to the gigantic effigies (dating from 1708 and replacing those destroyed in the Great Fire) of Gog and Magog in Guildhall, London, are connected only remotely, if at all, with the biblical notices. According to the Recuyell des histoires de Troye, Gog and Magog were the survivors of a race of giants descended from the thirty-three wicked daughters of Diocletian; after their brethren had been slain by Brute and his companions, Gog and Magog were brought to London (Troy-novant) and compelled to officiate as porters at the gate of the royal palace. It is known that effigies similar to the present existed in London as early as the time of Henry V.; but when this legend began to attach to them is uncertain. They may be compared with the giant images formerly kept at Antwerp (Antigomes) and Douai (Gayant). According to Geoffrey of Monmouth (Chronicles, i. 16), Goemot or Goemagot (either corrupted from or corrupted into "Gog and Magog") was a giant who, along with his brother Corineus, tyrannized in the western horn of England until slain by foreign invaders.

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