The ten lost tribes were the ten of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel that were said to have been deported from the Kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the Neo-Assyrian Empire circa 722 BCE. These are the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Manasseh and Ephraim. Claims of descent from the “lost” tribes have been proposed in relation to many groups, and some religions espouse a messianic view that the tribes will return.
In the 7th and 8th centuries CE, the return of the lost tribes was associated with the concept of the coming of the messiah.The Jewish historian Josephus (37–100 CE) wrote that “the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude and not to be estimated in numbers”.Historian Tudor Parfitt has declared that “the Lost Tribes are indeed nothing but a myth”, and he writes that “this myth is a vital feature of colonial discourse throughout the long period of European overseas empires, from the beginning of the fifteenth century, until the later half of the twentieth”. Zvi Ben-Dor Benite states: “The fascination with the tribes has generated, alongside ostensibly nonfictional scholarly studies, a massive body of fictional literature and folktale.” Anthropologist Shalva Weil has documented differing tribes and peoples claiming affiliation to the Lost Tribes throughout the world.