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The Most Vile and Barbarous Nation of all the World: Giles Fletcher the Elder’s The Tartars Or, Ten Tribes (ca. 1610) *

  • Richard W. Cogley (a1)

Abstract

There was an ongoing controversy in seventeenth-century England about the ten lost tribes of Israel. The debate centered on the theoretical question of whether or not the lost tribes continued to exist as a distinct ethnic group. Surprisingly little attention was paid to what might seem to be the first order of business in any national referendum about the lost tribes: determining where they were. Fletcher’s book, which argued that the lost tribes survived as (and not merely lived among) the Tartars of central and northeastern Asia, was one of the few statements written in seventeenth-century England about the location of the missing people.

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The author wishes to thank Johan Elverskog and Matt Goldish for their contributions to this essay.

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