/dan/, n.1. a son of Jacob and Bilhah. Gen. 30:6.2. one of the 12 tribes of Israel, traditionally descended from him.3. the northernmost city of ancient Palestine.4. from Dan to Beersheba, from one outermost extreme or limit to the other. Judges 20:1.5. a male given name, form of Daniel./dan/, n. Archaic.
* * *▪ African peoplealso called Gio or Yakubaan ethnolinguistic grouping of people inhabiting the mountainous west-central Côte d'Ivoire and adjacent areas of Liberia. The Dan belong to the Southern branch of the Mande linguistic subgroup of the Niger-Congo language family. They originated somewhere to the west or northwest of their present lands, perhaps among the Malinke (Mandingo). The Dan are closely related to the Gere (also spelled Ngere, or Guere) to the south.The roughly 1,500–4,000-foot- (450–1,200-metre-) high Dang (Dans) and Toura mountains are hot and humid and covered with lush vegetation. The area is isolated, and even the most general lines of history are unknown. The Dan and their neighbours are said to have a history of warfare, but it has been debated whether they actually fought the battles attributed to them or whether these are part of oral tradition and a cultural model. The isolation of the area probably served to accentuate myths of bellicose, “primitive” mountain people best avoided because dangerous. Christian proselytism proved difficult as well, as the Dan have preferred to maintain their own religious beliefs.The Dan traditionally divided themselves into alliance groups associated with clans but of only occasional centralized political organization (i.e., in time of war). Neighbourhoods in larger villages (created as the government seeks more efficient administration) or towns in Côte d'Ivoire like Man and Danané reflect these older affiliations. Kinship is bilateral, involving important bonds to fathers' and mothers' patrilineages. Most marriages are monogamous.Dan are known for the small, dark hardwood masks they make. Dan masks also are made by other local groups, and are used in important rituals. Large wooden “spoons,” representing first wives of important men, and murals painted on exterior house walls are other art forms.▪ Hebrew tribeone of the 12 tribes of Israel that in biblical times comprised the people of Israel who later became the Jewish people. The tribe was named after the first of two sons born to Jacob (also called Israel) and Bilhah, the maidservant of Jacob's second wife, Rachel. Nine of the other 11 tribes were also named after sons of Jacob, while two bear the names of Jacob's grandsons, children of Joseph.After the death of Moses, the Israelites were led into the Promised Land by Joshua, who divided the territory among the 12 tribes. The portion assigned to the tribe of Dan was a region west of Jerusalem. At least part of the tribe later moved to the extreme northeast and took the city of Laish, renaming it Dan. As the northernmost Israelite city it became a point of reference in the familiar phrase “from Dan to Beersheba.”The great hero of the Danites was Samson, who, until his betrayal by Delilah, used his mighty strength against the Philistine invaders. Dan was one of the 10 northern tribes that disappeared from history after the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel in 721 BC. They are known in Jewish legends as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
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