AGES IN ALIGNMENT, INTRODUCTION: VELIKOVSKY'S 'AGES IN CHAOS'.
In 1952 Immanuel Velikovksy proposed that the history of the ancient pre-classical world, as found in the textbooks and reference works housed in the great libraries of the world, is nothing more than an elaborate fiction. Civilizations, empires, and kings, he claimed, had been placed many centuries too early by scholars, with the result that "phantom kings" and "phantom dynasties", who were duplicates of kings and dynasties from much later epochs, populated the chapters of textbooks and encyclopedias. The New Kingdom of Egypt, for example, comprising the Eighteenth to Twenty-First Dynasties, should, he argued, be brought forward in the timescale by several centuries and should rightly be placed in the first millennium B.C., not the second.
Velikovsky proposed a complete rewrite of ancient history, and commenced the project in 1952 with Ages in Chaos, volume 1 of a series intended to do just that.
In Ages in Chaos, Velikovsky reduced the date of Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty by just over five centuries, to make the great pharaohs of the time contemporary with the early monarchies of Israel. This resulted in the identification of Hatshepsut with the Queen of Sheba and Thutmose III with Shishak, plunderer of Solomon's Temple.
What went wrong
Many people, even professional archaeologists, greeted Velikovsky's reconstruction enthusiastically. But problems were soon to emerge. The next volume of his general reconstruction, Ramses II and his Time, which appeared in 1978, separated the Nineteenth Dynasty from the Eighteenth by almost 200 years - a separation that neither archaeology nor historiography could support. One by one, Velikovsky's supporters drifted away.
What was the solution?
In Ages in Chaos, Vol.1, Velikovsky brought the Eighteenth Dynasty forward by five centuries to synchronize with biblical history, whereas in Ramses II and his Time he brought the Nineteenth Dynasty forward by over seven centuries. There was a very good reason for this. Velikovsky was in fact right to put the Nineteenth Dynasty in the sixth century B.C., just before the Persian Conquest of Egypt. This followed the pattern of Middle Eastern history as reported by the Greek authors. In Ages in Chaos 1, however, he brought the Eighteenth Dynasty into alignment with biblical history; but the problem is that biblical history, as Gunnar Heinsohn demonstrated in the early 1990s, is not properly aligned with classical history. Biblical history, in fact, is too long by over 200 years. None of the kings or potentates mentioned in the Old Testament actually lived at the times given. David and Solomon, for example, should not be placed in the tenth century B.C., but in the latter eighth and early seventh century. (How the Jews managed to add just over 200 years to the length of their history is a topic that will be dealt with later). In this way, the entire history so wonderfully put together in Ages in Chaos 1 needs to be brought forward by a further two centuries, lock, stock, and barrel, into the late eighth and seventh centuries, where it rightfully joins with the Nineteenth Dynasty - which in turn commenced early in the sixth century B.C.
Medes, Scythians and Lydians
All of the important nations of the seventh and sixth centuries mentioned by the Greek authors occur in Egyptian documents of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties. The Mitanni, who rose to power simultaneously with the Eighteenth Dynasty, and who conquered the Old Assyrian Empire (of Sargon and Naram Sin), were the "mighty Medes" - an identification first made by Gunnar Heinsohn and crucial to the whole debate; the Scythians, who waged war against the Assyrians and the Medes at the time, occur in the Amarna Letters as the Sa.Gaz (the normal Persian word for "Scythian" was Saka); and the Lydians, who took control of Anatolia after the fall of the Old Assyrian Empire, appear as the Hittites.
Ramses II and Alyattes
Ramses II, greatest pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty, ascended the throne of Egypt around 570 B.C. This was a disturbed epoch; a great war raged in northern Mesopotamia between the Medes and the Lydians, with the rebel population of Assyria supporting the Lydians. Egypt was traditionally an ally of the Medes and so, in his second year as pharaoh, Ramses II led a great army north to confront the Lydians - who are named Khatti or Hittites in the Egyptian documents. The Lydian king is called Hattus-ili on the monuments; though his name should properly be read as Ili-hattus or Ali-hattus. He is one and the same as Alyattes, the mighty Lydian king who, according to Herodotus, waged war against the Medes and conquered the Greeks of the Aegean shore.
AGES IN ALIGNMENT: EGYPT'S NEW KINGDOM IN REAL-TIME HISTORY
THE ARTICLES WHICH FOLLOW WILL PRESENT A STEP-BY-STEP RECONSTRUCTION OF ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN HISTORY AS IT ACTUALLY OCCURRED.
WHEN THE HISTORIES OF EGYPT, ISRAEL AND ASSYRIA ARE PROPERLY ALIGNED WITH EACH OTHER THE PICTURE THAT EMERGES IS AT ONCE STARTLINGLY NEW AND YET STRANGELY FAMILIAR. PERSONALITIES WHO FIGURED PROMINENTLY IN THE WORKS OF THE GREEK AUTHORS, SUCH AS PHRAORTES, CYAXARES, ZOROASTER THE PROPHET, SANDANAPALUS AND SEMIRAMIS, WILL ONCE AGAIN EMERGE INTO THE CLEAR LIGHT OF HISTORY - AFTER BEING CONSIGNED TO FOOTNOTES FOR OVER A CENTURY.
The empire of the Old Assyrians (a.k.a. "Akkadians" and Hyksos) crumbled and fell sometime around 730 B.C. Out of its ruins emerged a number of powerful nations. First among these were the Mita (Mitannians), the Medes. It was this Iranian-speaking people who first, under their Great King Parattarna or Parsattra (Phraortes of the Greeks), challenged the might of Assyria and divested them of their empire. But the Assyrian heartland took another generation to conquer, when King Shaushtatar, or Shaushattra (Cyaxares I), conquered Nineveh and Ashur and carried off the latter cities' treasures, with which he adorned his own capital, Washukanni (Ekbatana).
Simultaneous with the rise of the Medes, the Scythians (also known as Kassites, Sa.Gaz, Qutians, etc.) seized power in Babylonia. Meanwhile, far to the north, the Lydians (also called Hittites) seized control of Anatolia, whilst in the south the mighty Eighteenth Dynasty took control of Egypt and the United Kingdom of Israel, under its first monarchs Saul and David, rose to prominence in Canaan.
Friendly relations existed between the pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the Israelites. They had been allies against the Hyksos/Assyrians and they now entered into relationships of kinship. Pharaoh Amenhotep I gave his daughter in marriage to king Solomon, and after the death of the pharaoh another daughter named Hatshepsut took the throne. Initially she ruled as regent for her nephew, Thutmose III, but soon claimed the throne for herself and reigned as a pharaoh. In her fourth year, probably around 700 B.C., she launched a well-remembered trading expedition to the Holy Land, which she also called Punt.
Hatshepsut and Solomon
The expedition to Punt has become one of the most celebrated journeys of Egyptian history, and Hatshepsut herself regarded it as one of the central events of her reign, for she had a record of the journey carved onto the walls of her famous funerary temple at Deir el-Bahri, on the west bank of the Nile. Velikovsky proved beyond reasonable doubt that the incense trees, which were depicted growing on terraces in Punt, must have been cultivated in the tropical Jordan Valley, where, to this day, vegetation normally associated with equatorial regions can be found.
Before the discovery of Hatshepsut's reliefs, scholars had assumed Punt was in Asia, because the name is always linked to the east. However, the discovery of the Hatshepsut carvings caused a rethink. Apparently African animals, such as a giraffe and leopards, are illustrated on the Deir -el-Bahri reliefs, whilst date-palms line the shores of Punt and the inhabitants appear to live in rustic-looking houses on stilts.
Yet it has now been established beyond doubt that in Hatshepsut's time the Jordan-Dead Sea Valley (the Arabah) supported all the animals typical of modern Africa, such as giraffes, gazelles, lions, etc., whilst the shore at Elat, at the north of the Gulf of Aqaba, is even now lined by date palms. (The Queen of Sheba's expedition, the Bible informs us, reached Israel by way of the Gulf of Aqaba and the port of Elat). Furthermore, the cities of Elat and Aqaba have always been subject to flash-flooding from wadis which pour down from the Edom and Sinai mountains. Indeed, the region acts like a funnel, with great amounts of flood-water pouring into the narrow valley. In such circumstances, houses on stilts would have been a very sensible precaution.
The Egyptian term Ta-Netjer ('Land of the God') given to Punt is explained by the fact that not only was the Jordan Valley considered sacred by reason of the frankincense (essential for temple ritual) grown there, but also because the Dead Sea was the primary source of natron salt and bitumen, both indispensible in the mummification process.
Egypt's capital during Hatshepsut's epoch was named Thebes by the Greeks, though the Jewish writer Josephus mentioned that the capital of 'Ethiopia' (i.e. Nubia) was named Saba or Shaba. It would appear that the Egyptian name for Thebes, currently given as Washe(t) should actually be read as She-wa and pronounced 'Sheba'. The Greeks then lisped this into 'Theba'. In short, Hatshepsut was indeed the queen from Sheba.
Events in Mesopotamia
The Old Assyrian Empire still survived in its Mesopotamian heartland during the time of Hatshepsut (roughly between 700 and 680 B.C.). The Assyrians however were now faced with the ever-present threat of the Medes, and it was Shaushtatar (or Shaushattra, known to the Greeks as Cyaxares), the Mede or Mitanni king of that time, who finally reduced the cities of Assyria, probably around 690 B.C. As ruler of Assyria Shaushattra adopted Assyrian (i.e. "Akkadian") titles, such as 'Great King' and "King of the Four Quarters'. He also adopted a Semitic name, and signed himself on his Assyrian monuments as Shamshi-Adad. Although the Medes were now the greatest power in the Middle East, they still maintained friendly relations with the Egyptians, with whom they had been allied against the Assyrians (or 'Hyksos').
The people of Israel too maintained friendly relations with the Medes, and there is no record of any conflict between David or Solomon and the great power to the north.
While Shaushattra (Cyaxares I) the Mede ruled Assyria and the north, further to the south the city and country of Babylon was ruled by a king of Scythian extraction named Hammurabi. A generation earlier Shaushattra's father Parsattra (Phraortes) had robbed the Assyrians of their empire, and Lower Mesopotamia had been seized by the Scythians, who are variously named Cuthians, Gutians, Kassites, or Sa.Gaz in the cuneiform documents. The Scythian kings adopted Semitic and Sumerian (Chaldaean) names, but also retained their own, Indo-Iranian names. These formed what has come to be known as the Kassite Dynasty. The Kassite (Scythian) name for Babylon, found on many of the cuneiform correspondences of the period, was Karaduniash.
Thutmose III Plunders Solomon's Temple
Hatshepsut had usurped her nephew Thutmose III and for twenty years he suffered the humiliation of watching his aunt sit on the throne which should have been his. When she died, Thutmose III launched a devastating war against Hatshepsut's friends in Asia, particularly against the land of Israel. His monuments show that he took Gaza and immediately proceeded to Joppa (Jaffa), which he besieged. With the fall of that city he proceeded, along the dangerous 'Aruna Road' to the fortress of mykty - normally regarded as Megiddo. However, mykty is far more probably Al-Makdis - Jerusalem; and this is made all the more probable by the fact that the Beth-Horon Road, which leads from Jaffa to Jerusalem, is indeed a dangerous and treacherous defile. The Aruna Road, in short, must be the Horon Road. The King of Kadesh, the greatest monarch in the whole of Palestine, was besieged at Mykty and eventually forced to surrender.
Thutmose III carved a record of his brilliant victories in Canaan during his first year. The city of Kadesh is named at the top of the list and all the cities and towns of Palestine follow. The vast plunder Thutmose took from the temple of Kadesh is illustrated on his monument at Karnak.
It is clear, as Velikovsky said, that Kadesh must be one and the same as Jerusalem, a city which is repeatedly called 'Kadesh' ('Holy') throughout the Old Testament, and which is still known as Al-Kuds in modern Arabic. The treasures of the city of Kadesh, shown on Thutmose III's monument, are undoubtedly the treasures of Solomon's Temple.
Archaeologists now accept that in the time of Thutmose III Jerusalem was the mightiest citadel in all of Canaan, yet according to conventional ideas, Thumose III didn't even bother to mention it!
Amenhotep II - Zerah the Ethiopian
After the death of Thutmose III the peoples of Syria and Palestine rebelled against Egypt. Amenhotep II, the new pharaoh, was an athletic and powerful man, and was proud of his physical strength. He carried a great bow, which he boasted no man could draw but himself. His Golden Horus name began with the words, 'User-aa', which was pronounced something like 'Zeraa'.
Amenhotep II was determined that Syria and Palestine should remain under Egyptian control, and commenced annual raids against the peoples of the region. Finally, in his ninth year, the local kings formed a coalition under Asa of Judah and delivered a crushing defeat to the Egyptians in southern Israel.
Amenhotep II never ventured into Asia again.
Amenhotep, like all the pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty, was partly of Nubian (i.e. 'Ethiopian') race, and so the biblical writers described him as 'Zerah the Ethiopian'. It was for the same reason that Hatshepsut was described as Queen of Sheba or Queen of Ethiopia (Nubia) rather than Queen of Egypt.
The Amarna Letters
After the death of Amenhotep II his son Thutmose IV re-established Egyptian control over Palestine and Syria. The princes and kings of the region maintained a regular correspondence with the pharaoh. These letters were written on clay tablets in the Akkadian language, and a huge store of them, dating from the time of Thutmose IV's son Amenhotep III and his grandson Akhnaton, have survived. These are the famous Amarna Letters.
What struck scholars who translated the Amarna documents was the fact that much of the language found therein was strongly reminiscent of Old Testament Hebrew. Ideas, idioms, and metaphors occurring in the Books of Kings occurred with great frequency in the texts. Even more worrying was the fact that the names of characters and even cities which should not have existed for another five centuries, were encountered. Thus the documents referred to Jerusalem (Urusalim), though it had hitherto been believed the city only received this name after its conquest by King David, supposedly four and a half centuries after the documents were written. Again, historians were surprised to find the city of Botrys (Batruna, modern Batroun) mentioned in the Letters, since this settlement was known to have been founded by King Ahab's father-in-law Ithobaal of Tyre, supposedly five centuries after the letters were written. Other texts mentioned a character named Abdi-Ashirta or Abdi-Astarte, king of Amurru (Syria), who seemed to be the same person as Abdastartus, grandson of king Hiram of Tyre, who also supposedly lived five centuries after the composition of the Letters.
But of course the names of people and cities from the time of the Hebrew monarchies are to be expected in Velikovsky's scheme of things, and the King of Jerusalem who wrote to Amerhotep, Abdi-Hiba, is one and the same as King Asa, whilst his arch-enemy, Labayu ('Lion-man') of Shechem, is none other than Asa's arch-enemy, Baasha of Israel.
Akhnaton Brings the Zoroastrian Fire Cult to Egypt
The Amarna Documents survived because they were left behind in Akhnaton's new capital of Akhet-Aton when the site was abandoned after his death or exile.
Akhnaton, who came to the throne as Amenhotep IV, was one of the strangest characters ever to wear the Double Crown of the pharaohs. Shortly after ascending the throne, he moved the royal court hundreds of miles to the north, to a new city he was having erected. This city, Akhet-Aton, was to be the cult-center of a new religion; a religion involving a monotheistic worship of the sun-god, the Aton. The latter was portrayed as a shining disc whose rays terminated in hands.
It would appear that Akhnaton, who was physically deformed, was sent into exile in his youth in the land of the Medes. His father Amenhotep III was married to a Mitannian princess named Gilukhepa, daughter of the Mitanni Great King Shuttarna II (the latter being a grandson of Shaushattra). Since Akhnaton was born around the middle of the seventh century B.C., he would have been a contemporary of the Median prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra). This man taught a strict monotheism and his god, Ahura Mazda, was portrayed as a winged solar disc. The Greek authors placed him around the middle of the seventh century B.C.
It would appear that during his years in Mitanni Land the young Akhnaton heard of the solar cult of the One God and became a devotee. When he returned to Egypt he brought his new religion with him.
The Kings of Asia
The Amarna Letters show that during Akhnaton's time the Hittite (or Lydian) Empire achieved the status of a great power under its energetic ruler Suppiluliumas. This man conquered several cities in the strategic region of Northern Syria and gave them to his sons. A state of tension existed between him and the Mitannian king Tushratta. Sometime near the middle of Akhnaton's reign Tushratta was murdered by his own son, a prince variously known as Kurtiwaza, Mattiwaza, or Shattiwaza. This latter then fled for protection to Suppiluliumas, who put an army at his disposal. With these forces, Kurtiwaza and the Hittites conquered much of the Mitanni Land and Suppiluliumas gave the young prince the land of Assyria as his personal fiefdom.
From his base in Assyria, the parricide prince soon gained control of the Mitanni heartland, Hanigalbat, and turned against his erstwhile benefactor Suppiluliumas. He also, upon becoming ruler of Assyria, adopted the Assyrian name Ashuruballit and, under this name, corresponded with Akhnaton, from whom he requested gifts.
Kurtiwaza also called himself Ashurnasirpal (ancient kings normally had more than one name), and began the contruction of a great new capital for himself, the city of Calah. In the foundations of the palaces and temples he erected at Calah he placed scarabs of the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaohs with whom he was contemporary, particularly Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III.
A New Phase of the Mede Empire
The so-called 'Neo-Assyrian' Kingdom established by Ashurnasirpal was in reality just a new phase of the Mede or Mitanni Kingdom. Ashurnasirpal (Kurtiwaza) and his famous son Shalmaneser III saw it as their primary task to re-establish the primacy of the Medes against their old adversaries the Lydians, or Hittites.
Shalmaneser III, whose Mede name was Khwashatra (Cyaxares II), launched a series of devastating wars against Suppiluliumas and the Hittites almost immediately after being crowned king. On the monuments of his first and second years he mentions how he 'conquered the land of Hatti to its full extent' and had made the region look like a wasteland. He names Suppiluliumas (Sapalulme) as his chief opponent at this time.
Throughout his reign Shalmaneser III waged continual war against the Hittites and also against their allies, the Urartian or Hurrian kingdom, a state lying just to the north of Assyria.
Until the time of Tushratta the Hurrian or Urartian homeland had formed part of the Mede (Mitanni) kingdom, but when Suppiluliumas defeated the Mitanni he made the Hurri Land part of the Hittite (Lydian) Imperium. The Hittite kings were in any case partly Hurrian and the Hurrian language was apparently used in the Hittite capital of Hattusas.
After the time of Suppiluliumas, Hittite kings began to use Hurrian, as well as Lydian, names. And so Suppiluliumas' successor Mursilis III (Myrsilos) also appears in the records of Shalmaneser III as Sarduri.
End of the Theban Dynasty
Because of his various eccentricities, Akhnaton destabilized Egypt. He was eventually deposed and may have fled south into Nubia. Before this however he seems to have made his eldest son Smenkhare joint ruler. Within a short time however Smenkhare was also deposed and Tutankhamun, a child of eight, was crowned in his stead.
It would appear that in exile Smenkhare sought help to regain the throne, and that he returned to Egypt with an army of allies gathered from several Asiatic nations. In the ensuing war both Smenkhare and Tutankhamun were killed.
Having died in the defence of his country, Tutankhamun was given a hero's funeral. Smenkhare, however, who had brought foreign armies against Egypt, was denied burial. For the Egyptians, this was a fate worse than death; and to prevent his soul being damned forever, it seems that Smenkhare's young wife Meritaten buried her husband in secret. However, her actions were discovered, and the new pharaoh Ay had the young girl entombed alive in the Valley of the Kings.
Ay himself reigned only a short time, and when he died, after only four years, his tomb was desecrated on the orders of the new pharaoh, Horemheb.
With Horemheb the Eighteenth Dynasty came to an end. He was succeeded by Ramses I, first pharaoh of the Nineteenth or Tanite Dynasty.
Sardanapalus of Assyria rebels against the Medes
The reign of Shalmaneser III (Cyaxares II) coincided roughly with those of Tutankhamun, Horemheb and Seti I. During most of his time on the throne Shalmaneser III waged aggressive wars against his neighbors in Anatolia and also in Babylon. However, about five years before his death, the people of Assyria rebelled. The leader of the rebellion was Shalmaneser's own son, Ashur da'in apla, the Sardanapalus of the classical authors.
The figure of Sardanapalus looms large in the histories of the ancient writers. He was regarded as the last king of an independent Assyria, and was described as a decadent and corrupt ruler.
Historians are aware of course that the only person whose name could be equated with Sardanapalus is Ashur da'n apla, but they struggle to understand the connection with the character of Greek tradition, since they believe that Shalmaneser III was also an Assyrian and that he as well as his son Sardanapalus lived in the ninth century B.C. - long before the rise of the Medes and the fall of Assyria. But Shalmaneser III was no Assyrian; he was a Mede ruler and oppressor of Assyria. Ashur da'n apla may have been his son, but he was the satrap of Assyria and regarded himself as an Assyrian. His mother may also have belonged to the Old Assyrian royal lineage.
Ctesias of Cnidus mentioned a great war which he called the 'Battle of the Nations' involving the Medes and their rebellious Assyrian vassals. According to Ctesias all of the nations of the Middle East joined in the conflict, with the Lydians and the Babylonians assisting the Assyrians. Only the Persians, said Ctesias, remained loyal to the Medes. However, if we are correct, the Egyptians also sided with the Medes.
Egypt takes part in the Battle of the Nations
Towards the end of his reign Seti I led a great army into northern Syria and fought a battle against the Hittites. Since historians believe Seti I lived five centuries before Shalmaneser III and Sardanapalus they see no connection between Seti's actions and the war between the latter two. However, from the perspective of the revised chronology, it is apparent that Seti I moved into northern Syria in support of Egypt's old allies the Medes, and that his action against the Hittites or Lydians was part of the Battle of the Nations spoken of by Ctesias of Cnidus.
The outcome of Seti's action against the Hittites (Lydians) is unclear, though it seems to have been a defeat. Shortly after the battle Seti died and his young son Ramses II was crowned pharaoh.
Almost immediately Ramses II resumed hostilities against the Lydians, and in his fifth year he marched into northern Syria with a great army. His Lydian (Hittite) opponent was Muwatalli II, though the army was under the command of the crown prince Hattus-ili (Alyattes).
Ramses II was young and inexperienced, as well as vain and foolhardy, and he marched into a well-prepared trap. The Egyptians suffered a major defeat and the pharaoh was lucky to escape with his life. Indeed, he had to personally fight his way through massed Hittite chariots.
Ramses II was very proud of his personal courage and commemorated it in many monuments. For this reason the Battle of Kadesh is one of the best-documented conflicts of ancient history.
On his monuments, Ramses II provides the names of enemy peoples who participated in the action. Right at the top of the list, immediately after the Hittites (Lydians) themselves, we find the people of Naharim - the Land of Assyria.
The Battle of Kadesh was just one incident in the great Battle of the Nations mentioned by Ctesias.
Semiramis comes to the Aid of the Medes
Shalmaneser III (Cyaxares II) died whilst the battle for Assyria still raged. His son Shamshi-Adad IV was crowned king and continued the fight. Shamshi-Adad was known to the Greek authors as Arbaces (Mede Arbaku) and he was eventually successful in defeating the Assyrian rebellion. However, in order to secure victory he was compelled to forge an alliance with Babylon - an alliance cemented by his marriage to Babylonian princess Sammuramat - the Semiramis of legend.
Like her contemporary Sardanapalus, Semiramis loomed large in the histories of the classical authors - though is strangely absent from the histories written by modern authorities. The ancient writers made it very clear that Semiramis lived during the days of Mede supremacy - therefore in the seventh or sixth century B.C. However, because Semiramis and her husband Shamshi-Adad IV have been placed over two centuries too early, modern scholars struggle to make sense of her story.
In reality, Semiramis/Sammuramat married Shamshi-Adad IV (Arbaces) sometime around 570 B.C. and took an active part in the Battle of the Nations then raging. The Babylonian troops she brought with her proved decisive, and Sardanapalus was forced to commit suicide. The Medes were victorious and the Lydian allies of the Assyrians were compelled to withdraw into Anatolia.
Astyages the Mede at War with Alyattes of Lydia
When Shamshi-Adad IV died his son Adad-Nirari III was too young to take on the responsibilties of kingship, and so his mother Semiramis acted as regent. However, like Hatshepsut in Egypt, she exceeded her remit, and soon assumed kingly powers.
There is much evidence to suggest that Semiramis was an energetic ruler, and the traditions about her reign hint that she oversaw major military action not only against the rebel Assyrians, but also in Central Asia and elsewhere.
When her son Adad-Nirari III (the Mede Astyages or Ishtumega) at last mounted the throne, he reacted much as Thutmose III had done with regard to Hatshepsut. The monuments of the usurping queen were defaced and demolished.
During his long reign Adad-Nirari III sought to re-establish Mede control in northern Syria and so came into conflict with the Lydians/Hittites, who had ruled the region since the time of Suppiluliumas. Adad-Nirari wrote a letter to Hattusili (Alyattes) calling him a 'brother' - to which the Lydian king responded with a sarcastic letter repudiating the term.
Another Word on the 'Neo-Assyrian' Kingdom
Velikovsky found that Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty needed to be brought forward by just over five centuries. Manifold varieties of evidence pointed in this direction. Researchers of the Velikovsky school, the so-called 'Glasgow chronologists', later argued that the entire New Kingdom and not just the Eighteenth Dynasty needed to be brought forward by the same margin.
Now, if we reduce the age of the Eighteenth Dynasty by 500 years, we make Queen Hatshepsut a contemporary of King Solomon, Thutmose III a contemporary of Solomon's son Rehoboam, and Amenhotep II a contemporary of King Asa. We also make Akhnaton a contemporary of the first important Neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II.
In the Amarna Letters however the Assyrian king who writes to Akhnaton is named as Ashuruballit (I). This means, in effect, that Ashuruballit I must be the same person as Ashurnasirpal II.
Ashuruballit founded what has come to be known as the 'Middle Assyrian' Kingdom; and so, if we are on the right track, the Middle Assyrians must be the same as the Neo-Assyrians who come after Ashurnasirpal.
The Middle Assyrian king who called Hattusili his brother was called Adad-Nirari (I). He was the great-grandson of Ashuruballit I.
The great-grandson of Ashurnasirpal II was called Adad-Nirari (III). Clearly Adad-Nirari I and Adad-Nirari III must be the same person.
Adad-Nirari I had a son named Shalmaneser; commonly designated as Shalmaneser I. Adad-Nirari III had a son named Shalmaneser; commonly designated as Shalmaneser IV. Again, Shalmaneser I and Shalmaneser IV must be one and the same.
After the time of Shalmaneser I, Assyria was ruled by a great warrior monarch named Tukulti-Ninurta. After the time of Shalmaneser IV, Assyria was ruled by a great warrior monarch named Tukulti-apla-esharra (Tiglath-Pileser III).
Clearly Tukulti-Ninurta I and Tukulti-apla-esharra III must also be the same person.
King Cyrus conquers Lydia and Babylon
In the scheme of things outlined here, Tukulti-Ninurta and Tukulti-apla-esharra would be the Assyrian titles of Cyrus the Great, conqueror of the Medes and founder of the Persian Empire.
How curious then that both Tukulti-Ninurta I and Tiglath-Pileser III are regarded as mighty warriors who transformed Assyria into a world power.
The career of Tukulti-Ninurta I precisely matches that of Cyrus. According to cuneiform documents, shortly after becoming king of Assyria, Tukulti-Ninurta was provoked into a war by the Hittite ruler Tudkhaliash IV. In the ensuing conflict, Tukulti-Ninurta inflicted a stunning defeat on the Hittites, capturing 28,000 of their warriors. The Hittite king himself, it seems, was also taken prisoner.
Shortly after the defeat of the Hittites, the Assyrian king made war on Babylon, a stronghold which he took when he delivered a devastating blow to the Babylonian army some distance from the city. The king of Babylon himself, Kashtiliash IV, was captured and taken in chains to the city of Ashur.
The sequence of Tukulti-Ninurta's wars and victories corresponds precisely with those of Cyrus. Shortly after making himself master of the Medes and Assyrians, Cyrus was attacked by Croesus, King of Lydia. The Lydians however came off second best, and the Persian Emperor captured Croesus alive.
In the scheme of things presented here, the Hittite king Tudkhaliash IV (son of Hattusili/Alyattes) would be the same person as Croesus; and it would appear that the name Tudkhaliash should be read as Tud-Khariash, with element Khariash equivalent to Croesus (Greek Kroisos).
After his victory over the Lydians, Cyrus turned his attention to the Babylonians, whom he defeated in a great battle some distance from the city. After this, Cyrus captured the Babylonian king Nabonidus and took him in chains to Anshan in Persia.
Clearly the Babylonian king conquered by Tukulti-Ninurta - Kashtiliash - must be the same person as Nabonidus. After his victories against the Hittites and Babylonians, Tukulti-Ninurta described hismelf as 'King of the Four Quarters' and claimed to rule from Meluhha (Egypt) to Dilmun (India), precisely as did Cyrus the Great.
Merneptah's 'Israel Stele'
Ramses II died, probably around 525 B.C., just as Cyrus seized the throne of Media and began his war of conquest against the Lydians. Cyrus (Tiglath-Pileser III) was also very active in the direction of Egypt, where he made the kingdom of Israel tributary and began the deportation of many Israelites to the east.
The new pharaoh, Ramses II's son Merneptah, had to fight invaders who threatened Egypt from the west - Libya. To commemorate his victory over this people he erected a stele which not only spoke of his own actions but of the situation in and around Egypt at the time. In one line the inscription mentions how 'Israel is cut off; his seed is no more'. This is held to be the one and only mention of Israel in all of the Egyptian hieroglyphic literature. And because Merneptah, the last important pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty, is believed to have lived in the thirteenth century B.C., some scholars have surmised that the 'Israel Stele' might refer to some event or other relating to the Exodus. However, in the view of the chronology outlined here, it is clear that the Israel Stele must date to the period immediately preceding the Persian Conquest of Egypt (say around 515 B.C.), and that the 'cutting off' of Israel mentioned in the text was not the work of Merneptah but of Tiglath-Pileser III (Cyrus), who had begun the deportations of Israel's people to Babylon and Persia.
Merneptah was to be the last pharaoh of an independent Egypt (if we discount the short four-year reign of the usurper Amenmesse - 'Amasis') before the country's conquest by the Persian king Cambyses.
(I date the rise of Persia and the conquest of Egypt about 25 years later than the date found in the textbooks, since there is good reason to suppose that the Ptolemaic Age is too long by around 25 years and that all earlier events need down-dating by a commensurate amount. In this way, Alexander the Great would have died around 295 B.C. and the Persians would have conquered Egypt around 500 B.C.).
Sargonids and Achaemenid Persians
All of the Neo-Assyrian kings who followed Tiglath-Pileser III are alter-egos of the Persian Great Kings. In this way, Tiglath-Pileser III's successor Shalmaneser V, who reigned about seven years and campaigned in the direction of Egypt, is one and the same as Cambyses, who is said to have reigned six years and conquered Egypt.
Similarly, Shalmaneser V's sucessor, Sargon II, who was a usurper on the throne and who recorded clearing the Ionian Greeks from their islands, is the same person as Cambyses' successor Darius I, who was also a usurper and who also cleared the Ionian Greeks from the Aegean islands.
Events in Egypt
Following the conquest of Egypt, the Persians permitted surviving members of the Nineteenth Dynasty to reign as client kings. Sure enough, near the end of the Nineteenth Dynasty, we find Egypt administered by a foreign potentate named Bey, who arranged the marriage of a Queen Tewosret - apparently a grand-daughter of Merneptah - with a young man also of royal blood named Siptah. Siptah reigned but a short time before being replaced by Seti II - the king Sethos of Herodotus.
From Herodotus we learn that Sethos gathered an army and set out to battle the Assyrian king Sancherib (Sennacherib). Before battle could be joined, however, thousands of field mice came in the night and devoured the bow strings and quivers of the Assyrian troops, who were compelled to withdraw.
Historians find it strange that Herodotus should make a pharaoh named Sethos (Seti) contemporary with the Neo-Assyrian king Sennacherib, who supposedly lived five centuries after Seti II. However, from the point of view of the revised chronology, this is exactly what we would expect.
Just to confirm the link, shortly after the death of Sennacherib, his son Esarhaddon marched against Egypt. Right on the border he encountered an Egyptian fort called Ishhupri - evidently named in honor of Seti II, whose throne-name was Usikheprure. This is accepted by most scholars, who again find it strange that an Egyptian fort in the time of the Neo-Assyrians should be named after a pharaoh who lived five hundred years before.
But there is no mystery: The fort was named after Seti II because he was a contemporary of both Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. And, since the latter two are identical to the Persian kings Xerxes and Artaxerxes I, Seti II was a contemporary of these two Persian monarchs. From the pages of Herodotus we know that an Egyptian prince named Inaros gave the Persians much trouble at this time, and it is surely no coincidence that Seti II's Golden Horus name was Inaru-emtawnebu. He and Inaros were one and the same person.
After Artaxerxes I (Esarhaddon) reconquered Egypt, Seti/Inaros surrendered on the promise that there would be no reprisals. However, Seti had caused the death of Artaxerxes' uncle, who was satrap of Egypt, and Artaxerxes' mother demanded Seti's death. The Great King resisted her demands for a while but eventually delivered the hapless Egyptian patriot into her hands. Seti suffered the terrible death of impalement.
The Nubian Dynasty
Historian agree that during the 'Neo-Assyrian' age a dynasty of kings from Nubia - commonly designated as the 25th Dynasty - became involved in the affairs of Egypt. However, because the Neo-Assyrian epoch is placed two centuries too early, the context within which the Nubians became involved in Egypt is not properly understood.
However, when we remember that the Neo-Assyrians are in fact Persians, all becomes clear. Herodotus tells us that after conquering Egypt, Cambyses attempted to invade Nubia (Ethiopia), but was compelled to turn back owing to the excessive heat.
The evidence suggests that the Nubian kings, who were partly of Egyptian extraction, saw themselves as the upholders of Egypt's independence in the face of Persian aggression, and that, at every opportunity, they stirred up rebellion in Egypt against the Persian authorities.
Their first intervention came in the immediate aftermath of Cambyses' (Shalmaneser V's) death, when king Shabaka occupied Upper Egypt and perhaps even Lower Egypt as far as Heliopolis. Darius I (Sargon II) was compelled to send troops to reoccupy the country.
A more serious intervention came after the defeat of Xerxes' expedition to Greece. On this occasion the Nubian ruler Tirhaka allied himself with patriots in Lower Egypt such as Seti II and also called in the assistance of Greek troops from Athens and Sparta. Xerxes (Sennacherib) proved unequal to the task of reconquering the Nile kingdom on this occasion, and it was left for his successor Artaxerxes I (Esarhaddon) to retake the country.
It is surmised that the pharaohs of the Nubian Dynasty may have been descended from a branch of the Eighteenth Dynasty which had, at an earlier time, fled southwards. That such is the case is suggested by the survival in Nubia of Akhnaton's Aton cult down to the time of Tirhaka. The latter king mentions on one of his inscriptions the shrine of Gem Aton - the Aton center of Nubia established by Akhnaton.
Once again, however, historians struggle to explain the survival of the heretical cult in Nubia over six centuries after its extinction in Egypt. However, from the perspective of the revised chronology this is, once again, something we would expect. The Nubian dynasty was indeed established by refugees from Egypt during the suppression of the Aton heresy; but that was a mere century before the time of Shabaka and Tirhaka, not six centuries. Whilst Akhnaton died around 615 B.C., Shabaka invaded Egypt around 495 B.C.
The 'Libyan' Dynasties
The textbooks inform us that, after the end of the Twenty-First Dynasty (supposedly in the eleventh century B.C.) Egypt was occupied by a dynasty of kings who hailed from Libya. This 'Libyan' Dynasty, the Twenty-Second, would be followed by two more Libyan lines, the Twenty-Third and Twenty-Fourth, until Egypt was occupied by the Nubians of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.
But the 'Libyan' kings were not Libyans at all; and they did not come before the Nubians: they were in fact contemporary with them.
The evidence for identifying these kings - whose names are most certainly not Egyptian - with Libya, is tenuous to say the least. They call themselves 'Chiefs of the Ma', and the word Ma has been interpreted as a contracted version of the word 'Meshwesh' - Libyans. However, in view of the fact that these kings have, as we shall see, apparently Asiatic names, it is much more probable that Ma is short for Mariyanna - the normal Indo-Iranian word for 'nobleman'.
About a hundred years ago Flinders Petrie strongly suggested that the names of the 'Libyan' kings - Sosenk, Osorkon, Nimrot, and Takelot, pointed to an Asiatic rather than Libyan origin. Thus Petrie linked Sosenk with Akkadian 'Shushank' - 'man of Susa'; Osorkon with Akkadian 'Sharru-kin' - 'legitimate king'; Nimrot with Akkadian 'nimr' - 'leopard; and Takelot with Akkadian 'Tukulti' - 'helper'. Although he did not suspect the 'Libyans' to be contemporaries of the Persian Empire, he wondered whether they had arrived in Egypt along with some 'Persian adventurer'.
Petrie did not suspect how right he was. In fact, the 'Libyan' monarchs were members of the Persian aristocracy given portions of Egypt as their personal fiefdoms; client kings of the Great King who sat in Persepolis. They arrived in Egypt with the conquering armies of Cambyses and remained there till the coming of Alexander the Great.
The Twentieth and Twenty-First Dynasties
I need not cover the so-called Twentieth and Twenty-First Dynasties in any great detail, since they have already been dealt with very thoroughly by Velikovsky in his Peoples of the Sea (1977). Briefly, the Twentieth Dynasty, whose most important pharaoh was Ramses III, was identical to the so-called Thirtieth Dynasty, whose most important pharaoh was Nectanebo II.
As Velikovsky showed in Peoples of the Sea, Ramses III (whose throne-name incorporated the title Nekht-a-neb) is most famous for his defeat of the invasion of the so-called 'Sea Peoples' - a group of maritime invaders of obviously Greek origin, who fought a major naval engagement with the Egyptians somewhere in the Delta. Yet, as Velikovsky mentions, the Sea Peoples are accompanied by another group known as the Pereset, who sport distinctive helmets shaped like a feathered crown. Now, the feathered crown was the characteristic symbol of Persian royalty and divinity, and Velikovsky argued that these Pereset, who are allied with the Greek Sea Peoples, are none other than regular troops of the Persian king.
The battle displayed by Ramses III on his temple at Medinet Habu is in fact the famous naval engagement between the Egyptians under Nectanebo II and the Persian forces of Artaxerxes II, who were seeking to re-establish their control over the country after it had been broken by the rebellion of Nepherites a decade or so earlier.
Greek historians inform us that on this occasion the Persians suffered a major defeat - as did the Pereset and Sea Peoples, according to the inscription of Ramses III. Shortly after the death of the latter however Egypt was again incorporated into the Persian Empire by the brutal Artaxerxes III.
As regards the Twenty-First Dynasty, Velikovsky brought forth a great mass of evidence to show that this line of 'kings' were in fact nothing other than priest-kings who reigned contemporary with the Persians - and with all the dynasties of client kings established by the Persians. The Twenty-First Dynasty 'monarchs' were therefore contemporaries of all the other dynasties from the Twenty-Second right through to the Thirtieth - and they even continued to 'reign' into the time of the Ptolemies. Thus Si-Amon, one of the later rulers of the Twenty-First Dynasty, is also mentioned at the Siwa Oasis, where both he and his son are portrayed in very obviously Greek-style dress.
The evidence would suggest that this Si-Amon, one of the last 'rulers' of the Twenty-First Dynasty, flourished around 250 B.C.
How Jewish Chroniclers added 200 Years to Biblical History
A fundamental proposition of the above reconstruction is that Old Testament history is too long by a little over 200 years. In this way, King Solomon didn't live in the latter tenth century B.C., but in the latter eighth and early seventh century. Likewise the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian kings who are mentioned in the Old Testament, and who are dated according to Old Testament chronology, need to be brought forward by two centuries. Tiglath-Pileser III, for example, is therefore rightly placed not in the mid-eighth century B.C., but in the latter sixth century B.C. and is identified as Cyrus the Great of Persia.
In the same manner, the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II, who deported the people of Judah to Babylon - supposedly in the early sixth century B.C. - is revealed to be an alter-ego of the brutal Persian king Artaxerxes III, who made war on Egypt and her allies in the latter fourth century B.C.
In time, Jewish chroniclers came to believe these Persian kings were actually Assyrians and Babylonians because they used Assyrian and Babylonian names. When the people of Judah were deported to Babylon by Artaxerxes III, they were taken to a city where the king was known by his Semitic name of Nebuchadrezzar. Later, in Alexandria, Jewish scholars encountered the Greek historians, who spoke of a time when the Fertile Crescent was dominated by the Assyrian Empire. This empire was placed by them a couple of centuries before the rise of the Persians, and the Jewish writers mistook the Persian kings with Assyrian-style names (the 'Neo-Assyrians) with the real Assyrians of the eighth century B.C. - and pushed them back in time accordingly.
Thus 200 years were added to the histories of the Jews and all the other nations of the region. However, it should be noted that Jewish family genealogies always disagreed with the biblical timescales. In the Gospel of Matthew, for example, Jesus is placed 14 generations after the Babylonian Captivity. Allowing 25 years per generation (a very generous figure for ancient times) this would place the Babylonian Captivity around 350 B.C. - over 200 years later than the date found in the textbooks.
It is of interest to note too that a further 14 generations are placed between the Babylonian Captivity and King David - which would place David around 700 B.C. - precisely the date proposed in the revised chronology.
Finally, another 14 generations is placed between Abraham and David - which would place Abraham around 1050 B.C. And so, whilst I do not regard the generations before David as historical in the strict sense of the word, it is interesting to see that even a fundamentalist take on biblical dates would place the 'Abraham epoch' in the 11th century B.C.!
AGES IN ALIGNMENT: WHAT CAME BEFORE
THE ARTICLES TO FOLLOW WILL EXAMINE MIDDLE EASTERN HISTORY BEFORE THE EXPULSION OF THE HYKSOS (OLD ASSYRIANS) AND THE APPEARANCE OF EGYPT'S EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY. THE READER WILL FIND A STEP BY STEP RECONSTRUCTION OF EVENTS FROM THE RISE OF THE FIRST CIVILIZATIONS IN MESOPOTAMIA AND EGYPT RIGHT THROUGH TO THE CONQUEST OF THE FERTILE CRESCENT BY THE OLD ASSYRIAN EMPIRE.
AS WITH THE MORE RECENT HISTORY COVERED ABOVE, THE READER WILL FIND MUCH THAT IS STARTLINGLY NEW AND YET STRANGELY FAMILIAR.
As with the later history of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the earlier history of these lands is dated far too early - though in this case the margin of error is truly enormous. Placing Egypt's Old Kingdom, for example, in the third millennium B.C., has caused all kinds of unresolvable problems, problems which have in turn led to a veritable festival of weird conspiracy theorizing. Egypt's pyramids, to take one example, were erected during the Old Kingdom and therefore placed around 2500 B.C. in the textbooks. Yet the pyramid-builders carved granite blocks with mathematical precision and fashioned statues of exquisite workmanship from almost diamond-hard diorite. According to the textbooks, such feats were carried out with the use of copper tools!
The utter impossibility of this has given rise to much outlandish theorizing about the pyramids; the favorite two being that they were erected long before the third millennium B.C. by a now-forgotten civilization and the other (even more unhinged) that they were erected by aliens!
But truth be told, conventional historians are largely to blame for the proliferation of such ideas. Refusing to question the chronology, they have left people's imaginations all the freedom in the world to supply uncanny answers.
In reality, as Herodotus the Greek historian informs us, the pyramids were not built in the distant past: They were raised in the ninth century B.C., and their builders used, as common sense demands, good quality steel tools for the carving of granite and diorite. The secret of making these tools (which were worth much more than gold) was closely guarded by the people of Anatolia (Tubalcain of the Bible), who early discovered the smelting of iron and the case-hardening technique for steel production.
A Cataclysmic Beginning
Traditions from many parts of the world tell us that before the rise of literate civilization the earth had been struck by some kind of terrible natural catastrophe - usually described as a great Flood - which killed most of the earth's human and animal population.
Evidence that such an event did happen - at the end of what is now called the Pleistocene epoch - is plentiful and has been well understood for over 200 years. Nonetheless, such evidence is now studiously ignored in textbooks, and the Pleistocene mass extinction explained away as the result of 'climate change' or even (ludicrously enough) 'over-hunting'.
Be that as it may, the Pleistocene Age (which corresponds roughly with the human Palaeolithic epoch) came to a sudden and catastrophic end in the middle of the second millennium B.C., and the societies which grew up in the aftermath, in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, in south-east Europe, in India, in China, and in the Americas, shared many striking features in common: In all of these areas the first urban societies centered round temple-worship, presided over by priest-kings. An obsessive interest in the stars and the planets is observed, together with dragon-worship, blood-sacrifice, and mound-building.
The urge to observe the planets and stars and to chart their movements delivered to early societies the rudiments of mathematics and astronomy, whilst the desire to build elevated altars (pyramids) on which to perform blood sacrifices brought forth record-keeping and basic writing.
The Early Chaldaeans
The Great Flood, which was associated with the goddess Ishtar or Hathor (Venus), seems to have occurred sometime near 1400 B.C., and around a century later the first semi-literate temple-building culture appeared in Mesopotamia. This culture has come to be known as Jamdat Nasr, after the region of Lower Mesopotamia where it was first identified.
The Jamdat Nasr people spoke a language which we now call Sumerian; for their initially pictographic script quickly evolved into a semi-phonetic one - one which used the Sumerian tongue.
But Sumer or Shinar, as its called in the Bible, was only the name of a region: The people knew themselves as Chaldaeans - a nation that was to gain an unparalleled reputation as a race of astronomers and mathematicians.
Great advances were made by the Chaldaeans in all areas of knowledge, as they mastered working in metal, building in brick and carving stone. Their reputation spread far and wide at an early stage, but events were soon to propel them from their native land and spread their advanced culture even further than the lands of the Fertile Crescent.
The Tower Catastrophe
Biblical tradition tells us that eight generations after the Flood, men sought to build a great tower (the Tower of Babel) to the heavens. They were however frustrated in their designs when God confused their languages and scattered them throughout the earth.
Curiously enough, a similar tradition is found in many parts of the world. In the Greek legend, however, it is a race of giants which attempts to build a tower to reach the gods in Olympus. In Norse legend too it is the Frost Giants who construct a tower with the aim of assaulting the gods in Asgard.
A similar legend is found as far away as the Americas and China; and in these regions it often resembles the biblical account very closely. Everywhere we find a tradition of an attempt by the inhabitants of the earth to reopen communication with heaven after it had been terminated by the Flood, and of the erection of a great Tower intended to reach the skies. At some stage however the Tower is destroyed, in catastrophic circumstances, and the peoples are scattered throughout the world.
Various attempts have been made to explain this story, which evidently involves some form of catastrophic disturbance many generations after the Deluge. The most convincing interpretation is that the Tower was some form of enhanced aurora borealis or plasma funnel which appeared at the North Pole. (The idea of a "Pole" at the northern axis is itself derived from the legend). The destruction or disappearance of this pole or pillar or 'World Tree' involved a major disruption in the natural order which caused many deaths and mass migrations.
The cosmogenic interpretation has much to recommend it, but it is equally clear that the Tower legend was also influenced by the efforts of early communities, in the immediate aftermath of the great catastrophe, to raise elevated structures - mounds and pyramids - upon which to perform blood sacrifices.
The Great Mesopotamian Migration
In biblical tradition, the story of the Tower is followed immediately by that of Abraham, the 'father of many' and founding patriarch of the Jewish people.
The Book of Genesis tells us that Abraham's father Terah was instructed by God to leave his homeland - 'Ur of the Chaldaeans' in Lower Mesopotamia - and set out for a Promised Land to which he would be directed. Terah dies before he reaches his goal, but his son Abraham arrives in due course in the land of promise.
Because of the confused chronology of the textbooks, it is generally believed that the Abraham migration occurred in the Middle Bronze Age, when the great civilizations of the Middle East were already long established. However, any close examination of the story, together with a look at extra-biblical Jewish tradition, leaves no doubt that the entire context of the events related place them in a very primitive age.
First and foremost, human sacrifice seems to be of central importance. This is seen in Abraham's abortive sacrifice of Isaac on a mountain-top, but also in the extra-biblical tradition about Abraham's own birth and infancy. In this Jewish legend the tyrant king Nimrod wishes to sacrifice the child Abraham, but his mother substitutes her own child for that of a servant girl - which is then sacrificed.
Human sacrifice was a central feature of the earliest phase of urban civilization throughout the globe.
Again, we are told that it was Abraham who intiated the custom of circumcision - which operation seems to have been performed with a flint knife (for such was the custom much later in Jewish history). Now in Egypt circumcision is attested from the very earliest phase of pharaohnic civilization, and seems to have been linked to the worship of the phallic god Min (much honored in Early Dynastic times). This would apparently place the Abraham story right at the start of Egypt's history - an impression reinforced by much other evidence.
Last but not least, extra-biblical Jewish tradition is very specific that when Abraham arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians were primitive barbarians, and that it was the patriarch who taught them the rudiments of civilized life.
Now this claim seems to find dramatic confirmation in the discoveries of archaeology, which have shown a very clear Mesopotamian influence on the Nile Valley just before the beginning of the First Egyptian Dynasty.
Archaeologists were in fact astonished to discover this, for it was something they did not in the least expect. (Remember, it is still universally believed that the Abraham migration occurred long after the beginning of Egyptian civilization. In fact, Abraham is normally placed around the time of Egypt's Seventh, Eighth, or Ninth Dynasties). They found astonishing evidence of Mesopotamian input in all fields: in art, in architecture, in religion, and even in language. So pervasive was this Mesopotamian cultural impact that it is now an accepted fact of Egyptian history.
The Egyptians themselves, it seems, recalled the early culture-bearing migration from the east; for they always claimed the eastern land of Punt as their ancestral home. The Phoenicians too, it seems, had a memory of an ancestral migration from Mesopotamia at the dawn of their history.
Yet if once we accept that the Abraham migration was identical to the primitive culture-bearing migration from Mesopotamia to Egypt we are immediately involved in a massive realignment of ancient chronology. For according to the textbooks, Egyptian civilization was founded around 3200 B.C., whereas Abraham's migration to Egypt is said to have occurred around 2100 B.C. - a difference of almost a thousand years. Other evidence will show that both dates are too long by far, and that Abraham, as well as the beginning of Egypt's First Dynasty, need both to be downdated by a substantial margin.
For the moment, however, let's work on the premise that Egypt's early history is out of sync with regard to that of Israel by around a thousand years. If we reduce Egyptian dates by a thousand years, does the history of the Nile Kingdom, which has hitherto shown no agreement with that of Israel, match?
It does match, and in a most spectacular way.
Joseph and Imhotep
Biblical tradition tells us that a couple of centuries after Abraham the entire Hebrew people were welcomed into Egypt by the patriarch Joseph.
Joseph's story was and remains one of the best-known and most popular of biblical tales. We are told that, as his father's favorite son, he incurred the jealousy and hatred of his eleven brothers, who conspired to have him sold into slavery in Egypt. Whilst there, however, the young man's abilities as a seer and interpreter of dreams became known to the pharaoh, who was suffering from a recurring nightmare.
Joseph interpreted the king's dream as a warning of an impending seven-year famine and advised the pharaoh to prepare for it by storing large amounts of grain. The pharaoh followed Joseph's advice; the country was saved from catastrophe, and Joseph was rewarded by being appointed vizier and second in command to the pharaoh himself.
Biblical tradition makes it very clear that Joseph was regarded by the Egyptians themselves as the greatest seer who ever lived. As such, if there is any truth at all in the legend, we should be looking for a major character in Egyptian history.
How strange then that, according to Egyptian history, about two centuries after Menes and the start of the First Dynasty, Egypt was beset by a terrible famine which lasted seven years. During this disaster, the pharaoh of the time, Djoser, had a series of recurring dreams in which the god of the Nile spoke to him. The dreams were eventually interpreted by Imhotep, Egypt's greatest seer, and the famine of seven years was successfully resolved.
There are other parallels between Joseph and Imhotep, and these two characters would have been identified with each other a long time ago had not the accepted chronology, which separates them by a thousand years, confused the issue. As it was, scholars had to be content with the hypothesis that one story 'influenced' the other.
But from the point of view of the reconstruction proposed here we see that, once again, when a thousand years is removed from early Egyptian history, it begins to mirror that of early Israel, and the two fit together like matching pieces of a jigsaw.
The next match comes just a few generations later with the Exodus.
According to the Bible, the Israelites prospered and multiplied in Egypt until a new pharaoh, judging the foreigners a threat to his own country, enslaved them. After this, God sent a deliverer to the Hebrews, a man named Moses, who, in the midst of dramatic and cataclysmic upheavals of nature, led the enslaved Israelites from the land of bondage.
Clearly, if there is any truth at all in the story of the Exodus, it cannot have been forgotten by the Egyptians.
On the contrary, such an event, so dramatic in all its elements, must have left a deep impression on the country and its people. As such, historians should be looking for something major - not the emigration of a small band of Semitic shepherds - but something central to Egyptian culture and tradition. Most likely, the evidence for the Exodus has been staring us in the face all the time.
Now, it so happens that the end of the Third Dynasty (Imhotep's dynasty) was marked a dramatic transformation of Egyptian society. With the rise of the Fourth Dynasty under pharaoh Sneferu the people of the Nile embarked on the most dramatic episode of monument-building in history. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, Egyptians began to erect massive stone pyramids, whose sheer size and technical brilliance mark them as among the world's most iconic structures.
What could have prompted such a building mania?
The greatest of the pyramids, on the Giza Plateau, were erected on the spot associated with the legend of the phoenix. The phoenix, or benu-bird, it was said, was an immortal creature which, every thousand years or so, returned to Heliopolis (Giza) and was there consumed by fire. From the ashes of the old bird a new phoenix arose.
Scholars are agreed that the phoenix myth has a cosmogenic meaning, symbolizing in some way or other the death of the sun at the end of a World Age and its subsequent rebirth.
The Great Pyramid was originally capped by a gold-leaf-encased pyramidion called the benben (which name connects it with the phoenix or benu bird). Just before sunrise every morning light would strike the benben, sending brilliant rays throughout the land of Egypt - heralding the rebirth of the sun in the still-dark land of the Nile.
Clearly solar rebirth was central to the meaning of the pyramids.
The Pyramid Texts, which appear in the inner chambers of the pyramids of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, speak of a cataclysmic battle involving the sun-god Ra and Apep, the serpent of cosmic destruction. Ra eventually triumphs, but only after a period of universal darkness. The texts also speak of the 'death of the first-born' and various other catstrophic events.
Medieval and Coptic legends about the pyramids further confirm a connection between them and some form of cosmic catastrophe in which the sun was darkened and many people died.
It would appear that the Giza Pyramids were erected to commemorate and celebrate the 'rebirth' of the sun-god after the 'days of darkness' during the Exodus.
If we look at traditions associated with the last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty and the first pharaoh of the Fourth - who must, in our estimation, have been contemporaries of the Exodus - we shall find much evidence to corroborate this.
Pharaohs of the Exodus
If what we have seen above is correct, then Huni (also known, according to the Abydos King List as Ka-nefer-ra), last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, must have been the pharaoh of the Exodus.
According to Jewish writer Artapanus of Alexandria, who lived in the second century B.C., the pharaoh who oppressed the Israelites prior to their escape from bondage was named Khenephres. This is identical to Huni's title as given on the Abydos List.
Artapanus tells us that Khenephres died in the Plagues, just before Moses led the Israelites out of the country. Whatever the truth, it is clear that the next pharaoh, Sneferu - founder of the Fourth Dynasty - must also have been a contemporary of these events.
Sneferu was regarded by the Egyptians of later centuries with a special reverence; he was praised as a veritable savior of the country, and honored at many shrines. This is most peculiar from the point of view of conventional history, which sees his epoch as one of peace and prosperity. Yet there are several clues suggesting otherwise: A scribe named Neferty, who wrote a well-known "Prophecy" which spoke of a land in turmoil, of death and destruction, of the death of a pharaoh, and of a primeval darkness, was a contemporary of Sneferu. Whilst Neferty's "Prophecy" is said to warn of future events, it is clear that the very existence of such a document from Sneferu's epoch points to a disturbed reign.
It is entirely understandable, then, from the point of view of the chronology proposed here, that Sneferu should be highly honored. He steered Egypt through a tremendous crisis, restored royal authority, and repelled foreign invaders who sought to exploit the Nile Kingdom's weakness.
Several monuments and inscriptions record Sneferu's battles with enemies from the east and the west; and we should note at this point how the Bible also speaks of a horde of Amalekites from the Arabian desert who, moving westwards in the wake of the catastrophe, encountered the Israelites at Rephidim as they moved eastward.
One papyrus records a story of how a magician separated the waters of a magic lake during Sneferu's time, and this is undoubtedly a garbled memory of the parting of the waters at the Sea of Passage during the Exodus.
It was in Sneferu's time that the great age of pyramid-building began.
Horeb, the Mountain of God
Because the idea of catastrophes is now dismissed by most of mainstream academia, it is normally assumed that the Red Sea incident during the Exodus never happened, and that the Israelites actually crossed over one of the dried-up and shallow Bitter Lakes, which now form part of the Suez Canal. It is also asserted that Sinai or Horeb, the "Mountain of God", is the peak associated with that name in the Sinai Peninsula.
However, for anyone who bothers to examine the account preserved in the Book of Exodus, it is clear that neither of these identifications can be sustained.
To begin with, the Bitter Lakes are only a day's journey by foot to the east of the Nile Delta, whilst the Israelites had already traversed the desert wastes for a fortnight before they came to the Sea of Passage.
Next, we are told that immediately after the Red Sea crossing, Moses met and talked to his father-in-law Jethro, the Midianite, and the entire context of the story makes it clear that the Israelites were now in Midian - i.e. north-west Arabia.
Several things are suggested by this: (a) That the Red Sea crossing took place at the narrow Straits of Tiran at the southern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. (b) That the Mountain of God, or Horeb, was in Midian, and was most likely the Jebel al-Lawz which in any case has always been associated with Horeb by local Arab tradition, and (c) That the 'great and terrible wilderness' which the Israelites roamed for forty years was the Arabian Desert and not the small Sinai Peninsula.
The latter suggestion was supported by Velikovsky, who also noted that the name Midian is connected to the Arabian city and region of Medina, which was also called Yathrib - apparently identical to the name Jethro.
The Akkadian (Hyksos) Empire
The natural catastrophe which allowed the Israelites to escape bondage in Egypt was felt throughout the world, and the event is marked in Mesopotamia by the last in a sequence of 'flood' layers observed in the early startigraphic sequence. A short time after this the whole of the Land of the Two Rivers came under the domination of a Semitic-speaking people now generally known as the Akkadians.
The rise of the Akkadians is held to signal the appearance of the first international empire, and under its two greatest kings, Sharru-kin (Sargon) and Naram-Sin, the Akkadians did indeed subdue distant lands - including, it seems, the Kingdom of the Nile.
In Egypt, the catastrophe, as we saw, gave rise to the pyramid-building Fourth Dynasty, a line of kings which seems to have endured no more than around seventy years. After this, Egypt was briefly governed by a family of sun-god devotees from Upper Egypt who are listed as the Fifth Dynasty. But this line of kings enjoyed power only a short time before being replaced by a dynasty of pharaohs with very strong links to Asia, a line of rulers strangely reminiscent of the Hyksos.
The Sixth Dynasty, whose two most important pharaohs were Pepi I and Pepi II, were contemporaries of the Akkadian Empire. This is agreed by everyone and is not in issue. What is in issue is the origin of the dynasty and its precise role in Egyptian history.
The name Pepi, borne by the two greatest rulers of the line, means 'He of Apep' - Apep being the dreaded serpent of chaos of Egyptian myth. The name is identical to that borne by the two greatest rulers of the Hyksos Fifteenth Dynasty, Apepi I and Apepi II. (Note, some Egyptologists now suggest there was only one Apepi pharaoh of the Fifteenth Dynasty) The only difference is in spelling - and this can be explained by the fact that the ancient Egyptians did not possess a national dictionary to standardize such things (English had no standardized spelling until the publication of Dr Johnson's dictionary in 1755).
Could it be that the Sixth Dynasty of Pepi I and Pepi II was the same as the Hyksos Fifteenth Dynasty of Apepi I and Apepi II? Strongly suggesting an answer in the affirmative are the multitude of cultural similarities observed between the Sixth Dynasty and the early Eighteenth. The most telling of these perhaps was the manner in which the mummy of Merenre I, fourth pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, was prepared. Elliott-Smith, the great Australian anatomist, insisted that the body was prepared in the manner of the Eighteenth Dynasty and refused to date it earlier.
If the Sixth Dynasty came immediately before the Eighteenth then there is no question that they were Hyksos and therefore of Asiatic origin. But which part of Asia did they hail from? In the late 1980s Gunnar Heinsohn argued that the Hyksos and the Akkadians were one and the same people, and brought forth much evidence to support the identification. Certainly the Akkadians, who were admittedly contemporaries of the Sixth Dynasty, claim to have conquered Egypt - a land they name Magan and Meluhha. Scholars recognized that in later epochs Magan and Meluhha meant Lower and Upper Egypt, but shied away from the idea that the Akkadians could have conquered these territories. However, these doubts were laid to rest by the discovery of a series of Egyptian alabaster jars, from the period of the Fifth or Sixth Dynasty, marked with the name of the Akkadian king Naram-Sin and desrcibed by him as 'booty of Magan.'
There seems little doubt then that the Sixth Dynasty was identical to the Hyksos Fifteenth, and that both were Akkadian. Most likely, the first Hyksos ruler, named Sharek on the Memphite priestly genealogy, is Sharrukin (Sargon I); but whether he is identical to Teti, first pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, is another question. In fact, for some time I was convinced that the Hyksos (Sixth) Dynasty pharaohs were indeed nothing other than alter-egos of the Akkadian/Old Assyrian rulers, with Pepi II/Apepi II being perhaps the same person as Naram-Sin. I am now convinced, however, that the Hyksos (Sixth) Dynasty was actuallly a cadet or junior branch of the Akkadian royal family which ruled Egypt and Syria from its capital in Avaris but owed ultimate allegience to the Great King in Nineveh.
If the Sixth Dynasty is the same as the Hyksos Fifteenth, this means downdating the Sixth Dynasty itself, and the entire Pyramid Age, by about eight centuries. But the Hyksos, as we saw earlier, were one and the same as the Old Assyrians, whose empire was destroyed by the Medes (known as Mitanni in the cuneiform documents) around 730 B.C.
In effect, then, the Sixth Dynasty came to an end in 730 B.C., and since this line of kings did not last more than around seventy years (contrary to the assertions of the textbooks), this implies that Sargon I conquered Egypt around 800 B.C.
The Fifth Dynasty was largely contemporary with the Sixth - controlling mainly Upper Egypt and usually at war with the Hyksos pharaohs stationed in Lower Egypt.
Taking everything into consideration, I suggest therefore that the Fourth Dynasty commenced around 870 B.C. - which is also the date of the Exodus - and the Great Pyramid of Cheops was constructed around the middle of the ninth century.
Looking further into the past we can then place Imhotep (Joseph) and his pharaoh Djoser around 950 B.C., and the beginning of the First Dynasty (and therefore the Abraham epoch) around 1100 B.C.
(It should be noted at this point that the textbooks allow around four and a half centuries for dynasties 1 and 2, but there are no good grounds for doing so. The number of pharaohs recorded for these dynasties would certainly cover no more than a century and a half at maximum).
From all this it is clear that while later Egyptian history (the New Kingdom) needs to be brought forward by a total of seven centuries, earlier Egyptian history (the Old Kingdom) needs to be brought forward by a far greater margin; a full two thousand years to begin with, reducing to about one thousand seven hundred years by the end of the period.
Jewish history, as we saw, is also grossly extended, though not by the same margin as Egyptian. However, as with Egyptian history, the margin of error is greatest at the start of Jewish history and least at the end. So, for example, Abraham, the founding patriarch, needs to be brought forward by a thousand years, whilst the later kings of Israel need be brought down the timescale by only a couple of centuries.
AGES IN ALIGNMENT: THE GREEK WORLD
EARLY GREEK HISTORY, LIKE THAT OF THE MIDDLE EAST, IS DISTORTED BECAUSE OF A FAULTY CHRONOLOGY. THE ARTICLES TO FOLLOW WILL PRESENT A RECONSTRUCTION OF THAT HISTORY IN LINE WITH THE ADJUSTMENTS PROPOSED FOR EGYPTIAN HISTORY.
The Heroic or Mycenaean Age of Greece was dated according to the chronology established in the nineteenth century for Egypt. Early archaeologists discovered that the great epoch of Mycenaean power and prosperity was contemporary with Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty. As such, the Mycenaean Age was placed roughly in the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries B.C. - with a long period of decline dating to the thirteenth and twelfth centuries. The fall of Troy, the most famous event of the Heroic Age, was and is fixed in the twelfth century B.C.
Such a dating - the one still found in the textbooks - caused innumerable problems for archaeologists and historians, problems which have never been resolved after a century of excavating and debate.
The most pressing issue by far was the fact that, in site after site, Mycenaean Age material was found in the same strata as Archaic Greek material known to date from the eighth, seventh and sixth centuries B.C. Not only that, the artwork displayed on Mycenaean artefacts often employed the same symbols and motifs as was found on the early Archaic Greek material; and it appeared that Mycenaean styles had existed side by side with the Greek styles and had influenced them.
All of this suggested, to many of the most renowned archaeologists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that the Mycenaean Age should be placed contemporary with the Archaic Greek - between the eighth and sixth centuries B.C., and that 'Mycenaean' culture represented a non-Greek culture which existed side by side with early Greek culture for several centuries.
As will be seen in the articles to follow, this was exactly correct.
The Age of Heroes
The Greeks of classical times dated their history, properly speaking, from the foundation of the Olympic Games - an event normally placed in the year 776 B.C. Everything before this was mythikon - the age of myths.
During the age of myths, it was said, the gods intervened frequently in the affairs of men, sending cataclysmic floods and earthquakes and changing the topography of the world. The greatest event of Greek legend, the Trojan War, is generally believed to have occurred during the age of myths. Yet the Greeks never claimed this: According to them, the war occurred in the Age of Heroes - a period of time which followed the mythical Ages of Gold, Silver and Bronze and which immediately preceded the Age of Iron. And anyone reading Homer might be surprised to learn that the Olympic Games were in existence before the time of the Trojan campaign (supposedly an event of the twlfth century B.C.). King Nestor, for example, who fought at Troy, is said to have won prizes at the Games, and many other Heroic Age characters are associated with the event. Thus one tradition attributed the founding of the Games to Heracles, whilst another associated them with Pelops, the grandfather of King Agamemnon - leader of the Greeks at Troy.
Clearly then the Age of Heroes was part of historikon, the age of history, which came after the founding of the Olympic Games; and in fact traditions about the Olympiads are only one form of evidence suggesting that the war against Troy did not occur in the 12th century B.C., but in the latter 8th century.
So, for example, King Midas of Phrygia was a contemporary of the war - yet all historians agree that Midas belongs to the second half of the eighth century B.C. Gordius, the father of Midas, was said to have been an associate of the elderly King Priam.
In the same way, the Phoenicians are listed as contemporaries of the war; yet this great seafaring people did not begin their voyages across the Mediterranean until the start of the first millennium B.C. And this is confirmed by traditions relating to Cadmus, the Phoenician adventurer who brought the alphabetic script to Greece. No one doubts that the earliest alphabetic writing appears in Greece in the middle of the eighth century B.C., yet Cadmus was said to have lived five generations before the Trojan War. If this is the case, it means that the latter conflict cannot have occurred until near the end of the eighth century.
Again, no artistic illustrations of the Trojan campaign occur until the mid-seventh century - suggesting that the war occurred shortly beforehand.
Many genealogies of noble Greek families survive, and all of them date the Trojan War to sometime near the third quarter of the eighth century B.C.
If this is correct, then the war against Troy occurred around the time of the fall of the Hyksos ('Old Assyrian') Empire and the rise of the Eighteenth Dynasty - events we have already placed near 730 B.C. Does archaeology reveal any evidence in support of this?
The Shaft Graves at Mycenae
When in 1876 Heinrich Schliemann began excavations at Mycenae, the city of King Agamemnon, he had the classical author Pausanias as his guide. The latter had mentioned how, after being murdered by his wife Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon and all his entourage were buried within the walls of the citadel. Trusting the word of the ancient writer, Schliemann began digging just a few yards from the Lion Gate - and almost immediately struck upon a circle of tombstones which marked a series of shaft graves. Within a short time, the excavators were uncovering immensely rich burials; kings, princes, and princesses, interred with all their finery and weapons, much of which was fashioned in gold.
Several of the monarchs had their faces concealed by golden death-masks, and the most striking of these - now known as the "Mask of Agamemnon" - revealed, for a few minutes, the still undecayed features of the dead king. Overcome with emotion, Schliemann telegraphed the Greek king with the words: "I have looked upon the face of Agamemnon".
Several objects of Egyptian manufacture, all dating from the start of the Eighteenth Dynasty, were also recovered from the Shaft Graves. These put a precise time-tag on the burials, and experts were soon pointing out to Schliemann that since the Eighteenth Dynasty arose in the early fifteenth century B.C., the burials could not possibly have anything to do with Agamemnon - who supposedly captured Troy around 1184 B.C.
Armed with the revised chronology, however, such doubts can now be laid to rest. Since the Eighteenth Dynasty arose around 730 B.C., the Shaft Graves must date to the same period - which is of course precisely the epoch that the internal evidence from Greece denotes as that of the Trojan War.
The Shaft Graves in fact were used over several generations, so it is impossible to be sure of who precisely lay in them. Nonetheless, it is highly likely that one of the kings covered by the gold death masks was Agamemnon, and it might even be that the man whose undecayed features Schliemann briefly gazed upon was indeed the Lord of Mycenae himself. A more dramatic finale could not have been devised by Homer himself!
Agamemnon in the Records of the Hittites
Because the Shaft Graves are said to have been dug three centuries before the time of Agamemnon, it is still doubted whether any man named Agamemnon - or any of his line - ever existed. However, from the point of view of the chronology proposed here, it is clear that the persons in the Shaft Graves are certainly members of Agamemnon's family. As such, we might expect contemporary written documents to refer to him by name. Do any such documents exist?
The capital of the so-called Hittite Empire, Hattusas, was found to harbor an enormous archive of cuneiform documents; documents which referred to events spanning many generations. Some of these texts, to the astonishment of the scholars who translated them, seemed to refer to the Trojan War.
The most explosive of these documents was the so-called 'Madduwattas Text', a bill of indictment against a prince from western Anatolia (the Aegean coast) named Madduwattas, who had been aided by the 'Hittite' king on several occasions - and who had betrayed him on several occasions.
The main threat to Madduwattas (who bears a typically Lydian name) came from one Attarsiyas, who is described as the 'man of Ahhiyawa'. The latter was said to have advanced against Madduwattas with a hundred chariots.
It was immmediately clear that Attarsiyas (or Attarshiyash) could easily be Atreus, whilst Ahhiyawa would be a perfect transliteration of the Greek Achaea (Archaic Greek Akhaiwa). In Homer's work the Greeks are regularly named 'Achaeans', whilst Agamemnon is almost always referred to as 'Atreides' - 'Son of Atreus'. Could it be, thought scholars, that Attarsiyas means the same thing? If so, this would be an actual reference to Agamemnon and events surrounding the Trojan War.
Such an interpretation however was soon dismissed, because it was found that the document dated to the time of Tudkhaliash II, a great-grandfather of Suppiluliumas and therefore a contemporary of the early Eighteenth Dynasty (supposedly three centuries before the time of Agamemnon).
Yet once again, armed with our new chronology, a very different picture emerges: Agamemnon was a contemporary of the early Eighteenth Dynasty and so the Madduwattas Text dates to precisely the correct period in history. And we now have in our possession an actual contemporary reference to the deeds of the legendary Lord of Mycenae.
The Madduwattas Document also refers to two other contemporaries of the Trojan War: One of these is Mita, the king of Pahhuva, who must be Midas, king of Phrygia, and the other is a freebooter named Muksas. This latter caused some comment because the name is undoubtedly cognate with that of Mopsus, a well-known ally of Agamemnon, who separated from the Mycenaean king a year before the end of the Trojan War and moved south to pillage the coastlands of Anatolia, Cyprus and Canaan. In Lydian tradition he was known as Moxos; and the link was put beyond doubt by the discovery of the bilingual Karatepe Inscription, which spoke of Muksas (in the Hittite text) and Mops (in the Phoenician) as the ancestor of the kings of Adana. The discovery of this document has, in the words of one authority, confirmed, for the first time, the real existence of a character from Greek mythology.
Yet though this is now more or less accepted by all, historians still struggle to explain the occurrence of an undoubted contemporary of Agamemnon on a document which is said to have been written three hundred years before Agamemnon lived.
Age of the Tyrants
Some time after the period of the Shaft Graves, the inhabitants of Mycenae began fashioning elaborate 'tholos' tombs, whose massive stonework and crobelled arches are much admired by the hordes of tourists who visit the site every year.
These wonderful structures, amongst which are the so-called 'Treasury of Atreus' and the 'Tomb of Clytaemnestra', were securely dated by Egyptian artefacts associated with them to the middle Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties. According to the chronology proposed here then they must have been erected from the mid-seventh century through to the end of the sixth century. As such, they do not date from what is generally termed the 'Mycenaean Age' (the period of Agamemnon's dynasty and earlier), but from the Age of the Tyrants.
Greek tradition tells us that two generations after the Trojan War, the Peloponnesian Peninsula was invaded by a people from north-central Greece known as the Dorians. These invaders established new dynasties throughout the region who formed an elite class which often severely oppressed the native Peloponnesians. As a result, from the late seventh century there occurred a series of popular revolts which put native rebel leaders back in power. These men came to be known as the tyrants.
During this time the city of Mycenae continued to be inhabited, but the center of power moved to the nearby city of Argos. And sometime near the end of the seventh century the government of Argos was seized by a tyrant named Pheidon - a man who established a powerful and influential dynasty in the city.
It seems virtually certain that the tholos tombs of Mycenae were therefore the burial places not of 'Mycenaean' monarchs (ie. of the line of Pelops, Atreus and Agamemnon) but of Pheidon and his family.
In striking confirmation of this, if we examine the stone carving-work which originally adorned the exterior of the 'Treasury of Atreus' we find decoration motifs arranged in geometric patterns - precisely in accordance with the art-style typical of seventh century Greece.
AGES IN ALIGNMENT: BRITAIN'S AND IRELAND'S LOST HISTORY
THE ARTICLES TO FOLLOW WILL APPLY THE REVISED CHRONOLOGY TO THE BRITISH ISLES AND WESTERN EUROPE IN GENERAL, WHERE IT WILL BE OBSERVED THAT THE SO-CALLED 'MEGALITHIC' CULTURE OF THE NEOLITHIC AND BRONZE AGES DID NOT BELONG IN THE REMOTE PAST OF THE SECOND AND THIRD MILLENNIA B.C. - WHERE THEY ARE GENERALLY PLACED - BUT IN THE EARLY FIRST MILLENNIUM B.C. THESE STRUCTURES WERE NOT BUILT BY SOME FORGOTTEN RACE, BUT BY THE ANCESTORS OF THE MODERN INHABITANTS OF EUROPE, AND THEIR LEGACY SURVIVED INTO MODERN TIMES IN THE TRADITIONS OF THESE PEOPLES.
In the middle of Salisbury Plain in England stands one of the world's most iconic ancient structures: Stonehenge. According to the textbooks, this circular monument was erected in several stages during the early to mid-second millennium B.C., by some unknown Bronze Age people whose very memory has been effaced from history. Excavations conducted over the years in and around the site have concluded that it was used over many centuries and that some of its most important features were added to during what is called the 'Mycenaean Age' in Greece. A Mycenaean-style dagger was found carved onto one of the great 'trilithon' stones, whilst in nearby graves excavators found several objects, including the famous Rillaton Cup and Pelynt Dagger, which looked as if they had been made in Greece. The finding too of several faience beads of Egyptian manufacture in one of the Wessex graves leaves no question about contact with that country.
In spite of Stonehenge's impressive appearance, historians insist that no geniune tradition relating to it has survived from the epoch of its erection and use. True, a story from Welsh legend claims that the monument was fashioned by Merlin, the magician and helper of King Arthur, who magically transported the great stones to Britain from across the sea in Ireland. This story, however, is dismissed as a medieval fantasy and is not held to contain any element originating in the 'Megalithic' Age.
Yet doubts exist. It has been shown, for example, that many of the stones did originate far to the west - not indeed Ireland, but the mountains of Wales - whilst many elements of Merlin's story mark him as an authentic pre-Christian deity.
As will be shown, Merlin and Arthur were well-known Celtic gods, whose stories parallel those of the gods of Greece. Examination of the evidence will reveal close contact between the eastern Mediterranean world and the British Isles during 'Megalithic' period, which will in turn be revealed to have begun around the tenth century B.C. and continued into the early centuries A.D.
The Bronze Sword in the Stone and Arthur's Round Temple
The Arthurian legend tells us of a magical sword embedded in a stone, known as Excalibur (or in the Welsh version Caliburn). This weapon, it was said, could not be pulled from the stone by anyone but the rightful king of Britain. Many heroes tried to retrieve the enchanted weapon, but only the youthful Arthur succeeded.
Scholars are generally agreed that this element of the Arthurian legend belongs in the remotest antiquity. Only bronze swords were extracted from stone molds (iron swords were made in an entirely different way), and that this should be a central feature of Britain's national myth is singularly approporiate, given the fact that the south-western tip of Britain - Cornwall - was just about the only source of tin, the essential ingredient of bronze, known to the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. It was to service the tin trade to and from Britain that the Phoenicians originally established the colonies of Carthage and Cadiz, in north Africa and Spain. These settlements, it is generally agreed, were established in the eighth century B.C.
The mineralogist John Dayton argued as early as the 1970s that, since in Britain tin and copper were found together ready mixed in ore form, in all likelihood bronze was actually first discovered in Britain and that for many centuries the country was the only source of tin bronze known to the peoples of the Levantine civilizations.
But it was not just Arthur's association with the Sword in the Stone that marks him as a Bronze Age deity. Everything about him in fact points in the same direction. Stonehenge belongs to the same era as bronze swords and the connection between the monument and Merlin should not have been dismissed. Britain's great circular temple would originally have appeared like a giant stone table to a traveller approaching the monument on foot. And strange to relate, Arthur's Round Table, just like Stonehenge, was said to have been created by Merlin; the former structure fashioned by the magician as a wedding-gift to Arthur and Guinevere. Was Stonehenge Arthur's Round Table, and did the monument celebrate the divine marriage of Britain's tutelary deities?
Such would seem to be the case.
Arthur, the Celtic Hercules
Everything about Arthur points to the fact that he was a deity and not a real person.
The story of his birth, for example, precisely marches that of the Greek Heracles. Just as Arthur's father Uther Pendragon ('Terrible Dragon Head') took on the form of Igraine's real husband in order to seduce her, so in Greek legend Heracles' father Zeus assumed the form of Alcmene's husband in order to seduce her.
The parallels between the two characters are in fact so numerous that it would perhaps take an entire book to fully enumerate them. Just as Heracles, for example, visited an enchanted island with a magical fruit tree guarded by a group of maidens (the Hesperides), so Arthur visited the island of Avalon ('isle of apples') in the far west guarded by a group of seven maidens. Arthur hunted a fierce boar, Twrch Tryth; Heracles hunted the terrible boar of Calydon (the latter apparently even preserving the name of Scotland). Arthur hunted the white deer, or white hart; Heracles hunted the Cerynaean hind.
Most striking of all, however, Arthur, or Artus as he is known in Brittany and France, bears a name which links him to a Bear God; Artus means 'Bear' in the old Celtic language. It would seem that Arthur/Artos was originally portrayed with a bearskin over his head and shoulders and carrying a great club and a magical bow - precisely a Celtic version of Heracles. And we should note that this mythic character seems to be portrayed in the giant figure carved in the chalk hillside at Cerne Abbas in England.
This Celtic Heracles is also recalled in the uniform of the Roman standard-bearer, the aquilifer, and in the heroic Viking warriors, the berserkers ('bear-shirt men').
Anyone with a knowledge of Greek and Middle Eastern mythology who examines the Arthurian legend is immediately struck by the striking parallels; parallels which go far beyond the standard similarities observed in myths all over the world. For the British stories preserve not only the characters but even the names of important personages of Greek and Phoenician tradition. So for example Ludd or Loth, one of Arthur's contemporaries, bears the same name as Lotan (of the Phoenicians) and Latone or Ladon of the Greeks, the dragon-deity who entwined himself (or herself) around the Tree of Life. The British Ludd/Loth was also a dragon-character and also associated with the far north (where the Tree of Life was located).
But even more impressive than this was the fact that the Greeks, from the Mycenaean Age, seem to have preserved the names of British personages and locations. It has already been noted for example that Heracles hunted the terrible boar of Calydon; this latter being precisely the ancient name of Scotland, Caledonia. Again, the Greeks spoke of Boreas, god of the north wind, who also occurs as Sir Bors (or Boras) in the Arthurian tales.
It would appear that, from the ninth century B.C. onwards, the Greeks and Phoenicians made frequent voyages to the British Isles in purtsuit of tin bronze and that from then on the cultures of the two regions influenced each other to the extent that even linguistic exchanges occurred.
Ireland's ancient High Kings
The Irish, who were converted to Christianity in the fifth century A.D., possessed a history of their land which claimed to stretch over thirty generations into the pre-Christian past.
These histories, preserved in several medieval manuscripts such as the Books of Invasions, told of the migration of the ancestors of the Irish to the Emerald Isle amidst tremendous upheavals of nature. Great earthquakes, it was said, shook the world; rivers changed their courses, lakes appeared and disappeared, and the sea irrupted over the land.
Welsh traditions spoke of similar events, though the latter preserved no detailed record of their history from the beginning, perhaps owing to the disruptions brought by the Roman invasion.
The earliest characters named in the Irish histories are without question deities - as we would expect - but these soon give way to characters who bear all the hallmarks of real human beings - human beings who lived seven or eight centuries before Christ. These accounts have always been deemed unverifiable or outright fictitious. From the point of view of the new chronology presented here however, it would appear that they have every chance of being genuine.
The fact that the Irish histories recall catastrophic upheavals of nature around eight or nine centuries B.C. accords very well with the claims made by the Greeks and the Levantine peoples. And the fact too that the Irish annals speak of these events as gradually diminishing over the centuries entirely accords with what we would expect. These were, in the words of Colonel Percy Fawcett, the diminishing aftershocks of a 'great eruptive age'.
The Irish also had much to say about ancient links with Phoenicia and Greece, and always claimed regular contact with these peoples from the remotest period; a claim apparently confirmed by the discovery of Irish-made gold earrrings in a Hyksos age tomb in Egypt (as Flinders Petrie claimed).
AGES IN ALIGNMENT: THE CIVILIZATIONS OF THE AMERICAS.
ACCORDING TO THE SCHEME OF THINGS PROPOSED HERE, THE CIVILIZATIONS OF CENTRAL AND NORTH AMERICA WOULD HAVE ARISEN AT THE SAME TIME AS THOSE OF THE OLD WORLD, THAT IS, AROUND 1200 B.C. OR 1100 B.C. IT SO HAPPENS THAT HISTORIANS IN ANY CASE DATE THE RISE OF THE AMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS AROUND THIS TIME - THOUGH THEY CLAIM THAT THE OLD WORLD CIVILIZATIONS HAD A HEAD START OF ABOUT 2,000 YEARS.
The striking parallels observed between the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the Old World and the New are in part explained by identical reactions to the cataclysmic events surrounding the Deluge and subsequent (though lesser) natural upheavals. And so, for example, the fact that the peoples of the New World and the Old erected pyramids or raised altars ('high places') upon which to perform blood sacrifices to a Cosmic Serpent or Dragon deity are the natural consequence of a comet-induced catastrophe experienced all over the world.
However, not all of the parallels between the cultures on either side of the Atlantic can be explained in this way; and there are very good grounds for believing that there was substantial contact across the Atlantic both before the Deluge catastrophe and in the five or six centuries which immediately followed it.
Ancient Transatlantic Links?
Any visitor to the ancient cities of Mexico or South America is struck by the striking similarities to the Bronze Age civilizations - particularly the Early Bronze Age civilizations - of the Old World. Indeed, that is more than an impression: For when the Spanish arrived in Mexico at the start of the sixteenth century they stumbled upon a culture just at the beginning of the Bronze Age. The only metals employed by the Aztecs and their neighbors were gold, silver and copper - with just a few regions employing some kinds of copper alloys, or bronze.
It was as if the peoples of Mexico had been caught in a time warp: having developed all the characteristics of an Early Bronze Age civilization, with priest-kings, pyramids for sacrifice, organized agricultural systems to sustain the priest-kings and their entourages, developed systems of mathematics and astonomical observations for observing the heavenly bodies, etc., all further advancement had ended; a civilization frozen in time.
From the very beginning, Europeans wondered at the parallels with ancient Egypt and the rest of the Old World, and guessed at early transatlantic voyages to explain them. These ideas were supported by traditions among the Mexicans themselves, who claimed that such voyages had occurred. And debate over this issue - some of it heated - has continued to this day.
From the persective of the revised chronology proposed here, we can say that, given the major topographic changes which occurred throughout the planet since Deluge catastrophe of the fourteenth century B.C., it is not impossible that an archipelago of islands once existed in the Atlantic Ocean which could have served as stepping stones to the American Continent.
That such an archipelago did at one time exist is confirmed by an Egyptian tradition quoted by Plato; and from the account preserved by him we can say that, in all probability, the archipelago consisted of the peaks of the now largely submerged Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which, until the end of the Early Dynastic epoch (ie. around 880 B.C.) remained largely above water.
With the submergence of these mountain peaks the link between the Old World and the New was lost, and the civilizations of the latter region failed to benefit from later innovations, such as the wheel, glass, stringed instruments, iron and steel manufacture, new systems of agriculture, etc. They remained ossified in the Early Bronze Age, in which condition the Spaniards found them many centuries later.
The Evidence for Ancient Contact
The evidence for ancient transatlantic links is so extensive and of such a wide variety that it would take several volumes to examine properly. As such, only a small sample of what exists can be mentioned here.
First and foremost, archaeologists have discovered striking parallels between the Old Stone Age (Palaeolithic) cultures on both sides of the ocean - parallels not shared by the Old Stone Age cultures of eastern Siberia (which they should, if the earliest inhabitants of the New World came exclusively from there). A large amount has been written on this topic, which is now named the 'Solutrean hypothesis'. There is an extensive wikipedia page on the subject.
As well as cultural parallels, geneticists have now also identified apparent DNA links between the native peoples of Europe and the Americas - again, including links NOT shared by the peoples of eastern Siberia and the Bering region.
With the New Stone Age (Neolithic) and Early Bronze Age the transatlantic links and parallels only increased. Now there appeared, on both sides of the ocean, the axe, the bow, pyramid- and mound-building, and a host of other cultural traits. These included folk traditions of various kinds, as well as myths and legends. There existed a cult of the dead in the Old and New Worlds which strikingly resembled each other. Both had a dog or a dog-deity leading souls into the Underworld or guarding the entrance to the Underworld. Both practiced mummification or preservation of the body. Both had 'mystery cults' which involved the use of mind-altering drugs to attain a glimpse of the Otherworld.
Strikingly, most of the closest parallels, including all the above, were particularly associated with the peoples of North Africa and the Atlas region - a people who still called themselves, even into Roman times, 'Atlantes'.
All the peoples of western Europe and North Africa had a tradition of lost islands in the ocean as well as a western continent, and this tradition was paralleled by the peoples of the Americas.
Many plants and several species of animals apparently made it across the ocean before Colmbus, and these seem to have included at least two narcotic plants of American origin: cocaine and tobacco.
When in 1997 a team at Ulm University in Germany, headed by Svetlana Balabanova, examined an Egyptian mummy for traces of narcotics they did not expect to find the above two; but that is precisely what they did find. Unable to believe the results of their own tests, they repeated the procedure several times, and had samples sent to other laboratories to test. All came back positive. Only then did Balabanova and her team publish their results - and were shocked at the negativity and even abuse hurled at them.
Since then, cocaine and tobacco have been found in many other mummies and, predictably enough, the establishment has sought to minimize the fallout by innuendo of various kinds - including that all the samples have somehow or other been contaminated, or that some Old World plants might have been mistaken by the scientists for the American ones.
But such 'explanations' are unneccessary: Tobacco and cocaine were evidently sacred plants originating in the mysterious divine land of the far west and cultivated by the Egyptian priesthood for special ritual purposes - such as attaining an altered state of consciousness (as in the mysteries of Osiris and Isis) and for mummification.
AGES IN ALIGNMENT: EVIDENCE FOR THE DELUGE
THE ARTICLES TO FOLLOW WILL EXAMINE A SMALL PORTION OF THE EVIDENCE FOR A THE FLOOD OR DELUGE; AN EVENT WHICH, AS MENTIONED EARLIER, DIRECTLY PRECEDED THE RISE OF THE FIRST LITERATE CIVILIZATIONS. THE EVIDENCE FOR THIS EVENT IS SO EXTENSIVE AND OF SUCH A WIDE VARIETY THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE HERE TO PROVIDE MORE THAN A SMALL SAMPLE.
The world which preceded the Great Flood was very different from that which came after. This was the age of the so-called Pleistocene Megafauna; myriads of animal species, many of them much larger than later related species, which were exterminated by the Flood, and whose bones and sometimes entire bodies are still encountered throughout the world by geologists, miners, and construction workers.
But the Deluge catastrophe, which annihilated these creatures in a single day, did not occur ten or twenty thousand years ago: The event which killed the Pleistocene and its species occurred around 1400 B.C., in a time which human beings had already begun to settle in small agricultural communities, to produce pottery and to create wonderful works of art.
The Mammoths and their Last Meal
Throughout the permafrost regions of Siberia and Alaska, the frozen or partly-frozen bodies of various Pleistocene animals - particularly mammoths - are regularly encountered. In many areas the frozen ground consists of alluvial deposits many meters (sometimes hundreds of meters) in thickness. In Alaska, for example, in the Fairbanks region, these strata are called "muck" deposits, and they are composed of clay, gravel, sand, uprooted trees, and animal carcasses, all mixed together in a wildly confusing mass. The trees are smashed and splintered and the animals normally dsimembered, with bones broken and limbs ripped off.
Quite naturally, early miners and explorers, as well as geologists, who examined these remains, concluded that only gigantic and immensely powerful movements of water could explain what they were looking at. These were termed "waves of translation", because it was evident that entire herds of animals, as well as forests, rocks, clay and gravel, had been moved tremendous distances and thrown together in the Arctic regions. This was made all the more explicit by the fact that creatures of land and sea, as well as denizens of the tropics and temperate zones, were found together, cheek by jowel.
It later emegred that many of the mammoths and other herbivores, had traces of their last meals in their mouths and stomachs. These included flowering plants like buttercups and daisies, in full bloom. Evidently the catastrophe struck on a summer's day.
Subsequent exploration proved that the Antarctic too displayed evidence of these immense waves. Explorers regularly found the frozen bodies of whales, dolphins, fish and seals, hundreds of miles from the shore and hundreds of meters above sea level all over the Antarctic continent. As in the Arctic, the species encountered included both extinct and surviving genera.
For all that, the above information is generally concealed from the modern student of geology or paleontology. If he or she asks about the extinction of the Pleistocene fauna he is usually fed some duplicitious nonsense about "climate change" or "over-hunting" by humans. And the concealment of this evidence constitutes perhaps the greatest scientific cover-up of all time.
What then of the motive? That really is a question for a sociologist or even a psychiatrist, and not an issue to be examined here. There is however no doubt that the knowledge that out planet was recently (and it was recent) struck by a disaster of such magnitude is psychologically disturbing - especially to those who have placed all their hopes on the notion of human progress and the ability of science to create a perfect world in the future.
When did the Deluge Happen?
It goes without saying that the Great Flood left its mark not only in the Polar regions but throughout the planet. Large areas of the earth are covered by a deposit of clay named 'the drift'. The drift is comprised mainly of what is called 'boulder clay', because the clay is frequently found mixed with gravel or water-rounded rocks or boulders; and it is patently evident that such mixing of clay and rocks could only have been accomplished by the action of water. Attempts to explain the drift as the result of the action of glaciers are entirely fatuous.
In the early 20th century English archaeologist Leonard Woolley encountered this water-borne clay deposit at the bottom of the earliest phase of urban civilization in the Mesopotamian city of Ur. Here the clay deposit was three meters in depth, with a further four meters above that described as 'debris'.
When he came to this level, Woolley assumed he had reached the end of human habitation, but continued to excavate nonetheless. He was astonished to discover, underneath the alluvial deposit, further evidence of human occupation; fragments of pottery (named 'Ubaid) and tools of various kinds. Asking his wife what the silt-layer could mean, Woolley recieved the answer: "It's the Flood".
The literate civilization which appeared after the Flood is now named Jamdat Nasr, and is contemporary with the last predynastic culture of Egypt, Naqada. With Jamdat Nasr, Mesopotamia entered its Early Dynastic phase - an epoch which cannot have endured more than four centuries. The Early Dynastic Age came to an end with the rise of the Akkadians - whom we have seen were one and the same as the Empire Assyrians of the eighth century B.C. This implies that the Jamdat Nasr culture (immediate post-Flood) must have arisen around 1200 or 1300 B.C.
The pre-Flood culture of Mesopotamia, known as 'Ubaid, was contemporary with the Early Badarian culture of Egypt. However, as Flinders Petrie remarked, the Early Badarian epoch must have been contemporary with the Magdalenian of Western Europe, for he found typical Magdalenian flakes in Badarian graves. But the Magdalenian culture was the last of the Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age) in Western Europe, and was contemporary with the end of the Pleistocene - the age of the mammoths and the other megafauna.
Thus the extinction of the mammoths in Europe was contemporary with the Flood found by Leonard Woolley at Ur. Both occurred around 1400 B.C. And this date is compatible with a whole host of other evidence, archaeological and geological, pointing in the same direction. We can mention for example the formation of the Mississippi Delta, the erosion of rocks at Niagara Falls, the dessication of salt lakes in Arizona, Utah and other places - all pointing to a starting date of between three and four thousand years ago.
Again, the bones of Pleistocene creatures were found in several locations in Florida in association with pottery types very similar to those associated with the Mound Cultures of the Mississippi Valley; but these latter civilizations are dated to the first millennium B.C.
When the Flood occurred, men had already begun to settle in small village communities, to practice basic agriculture and to produce pottery and art.
Extinctions and Genetic Bottlenecks
As scientists continue to unravel the secrets of DNA many new mysteries have come to light. Among these is the discovery that, in relatively recent times, several species of animals have gone through what is termed a 'genetic bottleneck', a near-extinction catastrophe which left only a handful of survivors and which severely undermined the genetic health of that species.
The most frequently-cited example cited is that of the cheetah, an animal whose genetic diversity is so limited that scientists have to conclude that all members of the species are descended from only a handful of ancestors alive just a few thousand years ago. But as research has continued more and more species display similar traits. And so, for example, it was recently discovered that all American bison are descended from a single female who lived no more than four or five thousand years ago.
Research has concluded that African lions, too, suffered a serious genetic bottleneck just a few thousand years ago, which negatively impacted upon male lions in particular.
It would appear that the 'bottleneck' experienced by surviving species was contemporary with the extinction of the vast number of Pleistocene species which did not survive. The horse, for example, originated in America; yet every last member of the horse family disappeared from the American continent at the end of the Pleistocene. When the Spaniards arrived in the sixteenth century, the native Mexicans were astonished to see these creatures, which they regarded as large deer. Spanish horses soon became feral and flourished in the American wilderness; so it is evident that the environment of the continent was eminently suitable for them.
But it was not only in America that the horse needed to be reintroduced. We know from Magdalenian cave paintings that wild horses roamed freely throughout Western Europe during the Palaeolithic Age; yet here too, it would seem, they had to be reintroduced: For there is no evidence of the horse in Western Europe during the Mesolithic or Neolithic Ages, and they only reappear in the Late Bronze period.
The same can be said of the Middle East. Here the horse, which seems to have been brought from high steppes of central Asia, only appears in the time of the Old Assyrians - in the eighth century B.C.
The genetic bottlenecks and extinctions, which we find throughout the globe, all occurred sometime near the year 1400 B.C., and were caused by the Deluge.
Pleistocene Creatures in Myth and Legend
If the Pleistocene, the age of the mammoths, only came to an end around 1400 B.C., we might expect the strange and often very large creatures of the time to have left a mark of their existence in human tradition. Is this the case?
As a matter of fact, many of the Pleistocene megafauna found a place in myth and legend, and are to be identified with some of our most commonplace traditions. The Book of Genesis itself makes a passing reference to these animals when it says of the pre-Flood times: "There were giants on the earth in those days".
Traditions among the Native Americans clearly recalled the mammoth and mastodon. One story among the Delawares of the east, as recounted by Thomas Jefferson, spoke of a great creature which persecuted mankind, trampling and ruining crops in the fields, until the Supreme God rained down thunderbolts which destroyed them all. Another tradition spoke of how this enormous beast had an extra arm which appeared to grow out of its shoulder - clearly a reference to an elephant's trunk.
A rhinoceros-type creature with a single horn growing from its forehead named elasmotherium, which inhabited central Asia, is now recognized as being a contemporary of Palaeolithic man, and the likely inspiration behind the legend of the unicorn.
Palaeolithic man shared the earth with Neanderthals, as well as with various now-extinct species of hominids, and these seem to be recalled in the classical stories of satyrs and troglodytes, as well as in folk-legends from central Asia about the ape-like almas. The priapic reputation of the satyrs is explained by the fact that apes, like all animals, mate openly. If satyrs were Neanderthals, it could be that they displayed similar behavior.
During the Pleistocene a species of giant ape, named gigantopithecus, inhabited most of south-east Asia including India as far as the Himalayas, and it seems highly likely that the legend of the Yeti is a folk-memory of this enormous beast.
AGES IN ALIGNMENT: THE ANTEDILUVIAN WORLD
THE ARTICLES TO FOLLOW WILL EXAMINE VARIOUS QUESTIONS RELATING TO A WIDE VARIETY OF TOPICS, INCLUDING THE ANTIQUITY OF MAN, THE DURATION OF GEOLOGICAL AND PALAEONTOLOGICAL EPOCHS SUCH AS THE PLEISTOCENE, AND THE QUESTION OF EVOLUTION.
Examination of these questions will reveal that neither the human race nor life on earth is nearly as old as is claimed in the textbooks. It will be further demonstrated that Darwinian Evolution is a pseudo-science and that the mechanism by which new species of plant and animal life is produced remains a complete mystery.
Human Beings in the Pleistocene Epoch
During the Pleistocene (or Palaeolithic) Age, before the Deluge, some cultures had already moved beyond the hunter-gatherer stage: In Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt, as well as in parts of the Americas and East Asia, farming communities lived in small villages and practiced livestock-raising. Tools were of flint or other hard stones, but pottery was used for various utensils and art. Other regions, such as Western Europe, did not produce pottery, but created magnificent sculptures of bone, ivory and clay, as well as astonishing cave paintings.
There is clear evidence of religious beliefs, which seem to have centered round a Mother Goddess (who is represented in numerous bone and ivory carvings), as well as some forms of sympathetic magic which would now be described as 'shamanism'. Careful burials suggest belief in the afterlife. Completely missing, however, is worship of the heavenly bodies - sun, moon and stars, as well as comets. There is no evidence of the dragon or cosmic serpent cult, which would become so important in the immediate post-Palaeolithic epoch.
It would appear that the main racial types of modern man already existed, and there is clear proof, for example, that modern Europeans share a great deal of their DNA with the Magdalenians; who also looked very much like modern Europeans. This is turn would suggest that the human race, homo sapiens, diverged into racial groups long before 1400 B.C. - an impression reinforced too by the evidence of language, as will be seen.
It is apparent then that modern man appeared on the earth at least several millennia before the Deluge, almost certainly during an earlier catastrophic epoch.
The Pleistocene and Pliocene
According to conventional historians, the geological epoch known as the Pleistocene endured around 2.5 million years, coming to an end in recent times. Immediately prior to the Pleistocene scientists place what is known as the Pliocene (from the Greek meaning 'more new' or 'continuation of the new'), an epoch believed to have lasted around 3 million years. So the Pliocene is said to have commenced around 5.3 million years ago.
However, as Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson demonstrate in Forbidden Archaeology, the remains of fully modern humans - both skeletons and artefacts - have repeatedly been discovered in Pliocene strata and deposits. As a rule, however, when such finds are made, they are habitually explained away in some fashion or another and never make it into the textbooks.
But if modern humans really did exist during the so-called Pliocene this can only mean one of two things: Either human life on earth began about 5.3 million years ago, or the Pliocene has been grossly misdated and must be little more than a part of the Pleistocene.
The latter conclusion is the one supported by Derek Allen and Bernard Delair in their book Cataclysm, in which they argued that the differentiation between the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs is a gross error; that both in fact were one and the same, and that the so-called Pliocene species were in fact little more than warm-climate creatures who existed contemporaneously with the more familiar Pleistocene animals such as mammoth and woolly rhinoceros, who were denizens of the temperate zones.
But if the Pleistocene and Pliocene were one and the same, when did the epoch begin? Can modern humans really have existed 5.3 million years ago?
The evidence of radiocarbon dating, as we will see, demonstrates fairly conclusively that neither humans beings, nor any other form of life, existed on planet earth 5.3 million years ago. In fact, we should be measuring geological epochs in thousands of years rather than millions.
How Old is Humanity?
The question now arises: How old is the human race? According to the textbooks, modern man, homo sapiens, first appeared on earth around 50,000 years ago (slightly earlier, according to some, slightly later, according to others). But there exists compelling reasons to believe that homo sapiens has existed no more than five or six thousand years - and this has nothing to do with the Bible.
A radioactive isotope of carbon, known as carbon-14, occurs naturally in the earth's atmosphere. All living things absorb carbon-14, but cease to do so as soon as they die. From that moment, the carbon-14 in the body begins to decay, and does so at a constant rate. Organic material can therefore be dated according to the amount of carbon-14 still present in the body. The half-life of carbon-14 is 5,730 years, which means that by this time half the carbon-14 in a sample has decayed. After 100,000 years there would be none of the isotope left.
Since the discovery of the carbon-14 dating method in the 1950s more and more ancient material has been tested - with utterly astonishing results. Coal, for example, is composed of ancient vegetation. Coal deposits were formed at different geological epochs, but scientists agree that all of them are very ancient. Major coal deposits were formed at the end of the Cretaceous Period - the period of the dinosaurs. Coal (and oil) from this epoch was subjected to the radiocarbon test. Scientists did not in fact expect to find any of the carbon-14 isotope in this material, given the fact that the Cretaceous epoch is supposed to have ended about 65 million years ago. They were astonished therefore to find that not only was radioactive carbon present in the coal, but that it consistently yielded dates of between 22,000 and 39,000 years!
More recently, organic material has been discovered within the fossilized bones of dinosaurs, and this too has been radiocarbon dated - with the same result. In short, according to radiocarbon dating, the Cretaceous period, and the dinosaurs, only came to an end sometime between 22,000 and 39,000 years before the present.
Anyone would imagine that such a finding, so dramatically at variance with accepted theories, would make headline news. Yet the opposite happened. As with the evidence relating to the extinction of the mammoths, this evidence has been studiously concealed from the public and, if mentioned at all, explained away in some ad hoc way or other.
What all this means, of course, is that life on earth, including human life, is MUCH younger than stated in the textbooks. Since the dinosaurs lived well before the appearance of man (only small mammals such as cynodonts existed in the Cretaceous epoch), it is clear that the human race is a good deal younger than 22,000 years. In fact, evidence of various kinds would suggest that the Pleistocene/Pliocene epoch, the first epoch to reveal evidence of human beings, commenced around 6,000 years ago. During this period, modern man shared the earth with Neanderthals and various forms of apes - including several that are now extinct. It is these 'hominids', whose bones are found throughout east Africa, who are now claimed to be the ancestors of homo sapiens.
Yet the real ancestor of the human race lived before the Pliocene, in the epoch now called the Miocene.
Mass Extinctions and Timescales
The Flood recalled in human tradition was only the last in a series of mass extinction events which have struck the earth periodically throughout its history. The catastrophic extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period was followed by further similar events at the termination of the Eocene and the Miocene epochs. In all of these disasters old species disappeared overnight to be replaced, with apparent suddenness - or certainly with great speed - by myriads of new species.
It is apparent that catastrophism, as envisaged by Velikovsky, dispenses with the need to postulate vast timescales in earth's history. The extinction of early species did not take millions of years, or even thousands; it generally took a single day. But what about the appearance of new species?
One of the reasons why scholars in the late nineteenth century began to talk about life on earth lasting millions of years was because Darwin's theory of evolution through Natural Selection required huge timescales to work. It was believed that slowly changing environmental conditions 'selected' certain characteristics among living creatures as suitable for surviving in the new conditions. Essentially, Darwin imagined Nature doing what farmers and animal breeders had been doing for centuries - though at a much slower rate.
It was soon pointed out, of course, that neither farmers nor stock breeders had ever yet succeeded in producing a new species - so why, it was asked, should Nature be able to do so? Darwin could not answer that question, with the result that, after his death, his theory was modified and repackaged as Neo-Darwinism by J.B.S. Haldane (who now included genetic mutation in the equation).
That Haldane's Neo-Darwinism was every bit as unscientific as Darwin's original thesis is a point which will be considered later. For the moment, all that needs to be stressed is that new species appeared after mass extinction events almost as suddenly as old species were annihilated, and that the vast timescales needed to account for them in the Darwinian scheme need to be abandoned. If the Cretaceous dinosaurs died around 25,000 years ago, and further catastrophic extinctions occurred during the Eocene and Miocene epochs, this would suggest that the Miocene catastrophe probably occurred around 8,000 years ago, or so. It was during the Miocene that the first apes appeared, and it was from among these that the genetic line which led to the human race appeared.
Timescales and Darwinism
Scholars originally began speaking in terms of millions of years rather than thousands because it was realized that for Darwin's theory of evolution through Natural Selection to be workable, vast amounts of time would be necessary. If minor variations in a given species were to be enhanced and eventually give rise to a new species, it was felt that an extremely long period of time would be needed.
When the rules of genetics were more fully understood, in the early twentieth century, it was realized that no amount of time could make minor variations in a stable genetic pool into a new species. As a result, Haldane proposed that random genetic mutations, which turned out to be beneficial, could (along with Natural Selection) produce a new species. But even this Neo-Darwinian solution still required vast stretches of time to operate. After all, if mutations were entirely random, it might be hundreds of millennia before a beneficial one would appear. Yet how long would it take before an entirely fortuitous mutation would produce a gene to turn an Arctic fox or hare white in the winter and then brown again in the summer? Would billions, or even trillions, of years be sufficient to produce such a happy accident?
Yet if the cataclysms described by Velikovsky and other authors happened, and if they happened as recently as the evidence would suggest, then the world and Nature did not have billions or even millions of years to produce new species. If the only mammals that existed during the Cretaceous epoch were small dog-like or rodent-like creatures, and if the Cretaceous epoch ended only 25,000 years ago, then Nature had but a short time indeed to produce the great mammals and birds which populated the earth in the Eocene period.
New species, in short, appeared almost as quickly as old species were destroyed, and the whole Darwinian edifice collapses.
The articles to follow will examine a variety of topics touching on some of the more intriguing and intractible mysteries of ancient times.
Where is the Tomb of Pharaoh Cheops?
According to received academic wisdom, the pyramids of Giza were built by megalomaniac kings who thought they were gods to serve as tombs for themselves. It will be clear, however, from the perspective of the historical reconstruction presented here, that the pyramids were not designed primarily as tombs, but as monuments celebrating the rebirth of the sun-god, in the wake of a tremendous cosmic catastrophe during which the light of the sun was obscured and it appeared to 'die'.
The location of the pyramids, at On (Heliopolis), further confirms this, as the latter spot was intimately connected with the legend of the phoenix, an evidently solar deity which periodically 'died' and was reborn after a long span of time. A benben (pyramid capstone) from the time of Amenemhet III, shows the original form of the phoenix - a winged solar disc.
So, the Great Pyramid was not built as a tomb, and the fact that Cheops was not buried in it is confirmed by our earliest written source - the Greek writer Herodotus. That Herodotus told the truth is confirmed by the testimony of Arab writers, who report that when Caliph Al-Mamun ordered an exploration of the monument in the ninth century A.D., it was found to be quite empty. The Caliph's men, we are told, entered through the famous ascending passage and found it blocked by two massive granite plugs. They could only proceed by tunneling around these iron-hard barriers, which had been placed there centuries before by the builders. Yet when they got to the so-called "King's Chamber", they found nothing but four walls and an empty and lidless sarcophagus.
Establishment academics have tried to get round this inconvenient fact by suggesting that the pyramid must have been entered before the time of Al-Mamum. However, any forced entry of the monument would undoubtedly have left its mark. The tunnel or tunnels excavated by such intruders could not have been concealed. The only real way into the pyramid was by the ascending passage, the route taken by Al-Mamun's men; yet the latter intruders found the tunnel blocked by the granite plugs placed there at the time of the monument's construction.
It seems fairly clear then that Cheops was never interred in the pyramid - which begs the question: Where then was he buried? According to Herodotus, the pharaoh was actually laid to rest on an island in a water-filled cave or chamber 'beneath' the pyramid. This chamber, or cave, we are informed, was connected by an underground passage to the Nile.
Over the centuries, legends of chambers and cave systems beneath the Giza Plateau have proliferated. We now know for certain that such passages and caves do exist, for at least one has recently been explored. And indeed the Giza Plateau is composed of limestone - a porous rock typically susceptible to cave formation through the action of water. Until the end of the Early Dynastic period, Egypt's climate was much wetter than now, and the Sahara was a well-watered savannah; so it is entirely possible that the action of rain water could have formed many subterranean passages in the region.
It seems highly likely that the tomb of Cheops (and of Chephren) awaits discovery under the Giza Plateau. Taking into account the testimony of Herodotus, we should perhaps be looking for a natural cave-system not too far from the base of the Great Pyramid.
The Flood of Ur was a World-Wide Event
The discovery by Leonard Woolley of a 3.5 (11 feet) meter-deep layer of waterborne silt or mud underneath the Early Dynastic settlement of Ur in Lower Mesopotamia was heralded at the time (1932) as dramatic confirmation of the biblical tale of the Universal Deluge. A flood-deposit three and a half meters deep, it was reasoned, must have been the signature of a truly catastrophic event, and must have left its mark all over the Land of the Two Rivers and beyond.
In the years following this historic find, however, enthusiasm dimmed as archaeologists claimed that no evidence for this event could be found outside of Mesopotamia. The Flood of Ur, it was said, had left its mark throughout the Land of the Two Rivers - particularly in the south - but nowhere else.
Yet the catastrophe unearthed by Woolley did in fact leave its signature far beyond Mesopotamia; indeed its effects are visible throughout the earth. The problem is that the cataclysms and deluges detected elsewhere were dated differently to that of Mesopotamia, with the result that a simultaneous event experienced throughout the earth was transformed into a series of supposedly local events that happened at different times and epochs.
Let's begin first with a look at the Flood's impact on Syria. During the 1940s French archaeologist Claude Schaeffer conducted a series of excavations at the Syrian port of Ugarit, modern Ras Shamra. Underneath what he termed the strata of the Middle Bronze Age he found a four-meter deep destruction layer composed of what he described as calcined or hardened ash. Beneath this level, Schaeffer uncovered the remains of what he described as the Early Bronze Age in Syria. The destruction layer and the event which caused it was therefore dated by Schaeffer to circa 2200 B.C. - the date normally given for the end of the Early Bronze Age in the Middle East.
On the face of it then Schaeffer's "great fire" of Ugarit had nothing to do with the Great Flood of Ur - an event dated by Leonard Woolley to circa 3300 B.C. - a thousand years before the destruction of Ugarit.
Owing to the fact that dates and terminologies are rarely questioned by researchers, it has therefore entered the textbooks that a local flood in Lower Mesopotamia destroyed Ur around 3300 B.C. and a great fire in northern Syria destroyed Ugarit a thousand years later.
However, closer examination reveals a striking flaw in the narrative. The culture destroyed by the 'fire' at Ugarit, which Schaeffer assigned to the last phase of the Early Bronze Age, produced a crude form of hand-made pottery known as 'Ubaid - precisely the same type of pottery associated with the 'Neolithic' culture overwhelmed by the Flood at Ur.
So, in Ur, 'Ubaid pottery and culture was dated to 3300 B.C. and called Neolithic, whilst in Ugarit 'Ubaid pottery and culture was dated to 2200 B.C. and called late Early Bronze Age. Furthermore, the cultures which appeared above the destruction-layers in both regions, named Khirbet-Kerak in Syria and Jamdat-Nasr (or Uruk) in Mesopotamia, also displayed striking affinities; though these too are separated in the textbooks by a thousand years.
In fact, subsequent experience showed that there was roughly a thousand-year discrepancy in the dating and classification of cultures and pottery styles between Mesopotamia on the one hand and Syria/Palestine on the other - a fact illustrated very clearly by James Kaplan in 1971. Kaplan showed, for example, that the pottery of the Akkadian epoch in Mesopotamia - dated to circa 2300 B.C. - is identical to that of the Hyksos epoch in Syria/Palestine - where however it is dated to c. 1600 B.C. (This means, among other things, that the Akkadians and Hyksos were one and the same people; though that is a subject examined earlier and not the issue at present).
It would seem certain then that the cataclysmic 'fire' (or whatever it was) that left a 4-meter (13 foot) destruction layer in Syria occurred simultaneously with the flood which left a 3.5-meter (11 foot) destruction later in Lower Mesopotamia. The two events then were evidently local manifestations of a cataclysmic upheaval which affected the entire globe.
The Missing Empire of the Medes
Over the past hundred years archaeologists have sought to shed light on the great civilizations and empires mentioned by classical authors such as Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus. Some of their efforts have been crowned with success, but more often than not what they have found has begged more questions than produced answers.
In this regard, the non-appearance of the Medes and the Mede Empire in the archaeological record is surely one of the most urgent problems. According to the ancient authors, the Medes were forerunners of the mighty Persians; sometime in the seventh century B.C. they smashed the power of the Assyrians and established an empire which took in most of Persia, northern Mesopotamia and Syria, thus controlling much of the known world. When the Persian King Cyrus I defeated the Medes and occupied their throne, it was viewed by many as little more than a dynastic change, and indeed the Greek authors casually referred to the Persian Empire as a "Mede" Imperium. The war against King Xerxes, for example, was popularly known as the 'Mede War'.
On the testimony of the Greek authors, therefore, archaeologists had expected to find ample evidence of a Mede Empire in Iran and northern Mesopotamia during the late seventh and sixth centuries B.C. They found nothing of the sort: Not a brick or inscription, it seems, that could be attributed to the Great Kings of the Medes - Phraortes, Cyaxares, Arbaces, and Astyages - has ever come to light. Not too long ago a conference in Italy, convened to discuss this very topic, expressed frustration at the absence of evidence. In the words of one speaker, northern Mesopotamia during the late seventh and early sixth centuries - the height of the Mede Empire - was a "dark age" in the history of the region.
Strange to relate, though, historians do know of an empire whose leaders were known as the people of Mita or Mitanni and who seemed to speak a language similar to that of the Medes - ie. Old Persian. The only problem is that the Mitanni - contemporaries of Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty - are currently dated over seven centuries before the rise of the historical Medes in the seventh century B.C.
As early as the 1950s Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that the Mita or Mitanni could be Medes, though - owing to the fact that he placed the Eighteenth Dynasty in the tenth and ninth centuries B.C. - postulated an early flowering of Mede power unknown to the Greek authors.
It was left to Gunnar Heinsohn, in the late 1980s, to take the next logical step and bring the Mitanni a further two centuries down the timescale and identify them with the Medes of the seventh century B.C.
If we look at the Mitannian kingdom and its culture everything suggests that Heinsohn was correct and that the whole history of the so-called Late Bronze Age in the Middle East, including Egypt's Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties, needs to be brought down the historical timescale by a full seven centuries.
Let's have a look at the facts:
The Mitanni, famously, conquered what is called the Old Assyrian Empire. We know this because their kings boasted of it: Shaushatar (or Shaushattra), second of the Mitanni Great Kings, records how he carried off the treasures of the Assyrian capital Nineveh to adorn his own capital of Washukanni. Some time later another Mitannian king, Tushratta, sent the cult statue of Ishtar of Nineveh to his Egyptian ally Amenhotep III.
Judging by the evidence of their names, it would appear that the Mitannian rulers were of a nation that spoke Indo-Iranian (Old Persian). Scholars agree that the Medes too spoke this language - supposedly seven hundred years after the Mitanni. But not only did the Mitannians speak the same language as the Medes, their kings seem to have borne the same names. So for example the first prominent Mitanni king was called Parsatatar (or Parsattra); he it was who initiated hostilities against the Old Assyrians and stripped them of their possessions in Syria and elsewhere. This sounds exactly like the Mede king Phraortes, whom Herodotus credits with reducing the Assyrians to their north Mesopotamian heartland.
The next Mitannian ruler, Shaushtatar (or Shaushattra), actually completed the conquest of the Assyrian heartland. This again sounds exactly like Cyaxares (Khwashatra), the successor to Phraortes, who, according to Herodotus, subjugated Assyria proper.
Another ethnic and linguistic group, commonly known as Hurrian, also formed part of the Mitannian kingdom, but since the names of the Mitannian rulers and their gods - Mithra, Indra and Varuna - are clearly Iranian, it is surmised that the Iranian element comprised a ruling aristocracy that dominated a subservient Hurrian population. This surmise is made all the more probable by the fact that the knightly or chivalric class in the Mitanni state were known as 'mariyanna' - from the Indo-Iranian 'marya', a nobleman.
So, it would appear that the Mitannians had the same names as the Medes, conquered the same enemy as the Medes, worshipped the same gods as the Medes, and spoke the same language as the Medes.
The evidence seems incontrovertible: The Mitanni, and with them the entire Late Bronze Age, needs to be moved down the chronological timescale by over seven centuries.
The Mysterious Land of Punt
Hatshepsut's expedition to the land of Punt, recorded on her splendid funerary monument at Deir El-Bahri, is one of the most celebrated journeys of ancient times.
Until the discovery of the 'Punt Reliefs' on Hatshepsut's monument, Egyptologists had assumed that Punt was located in Asia, since numerous texts associated the country with the Rising Sun and not a few indicated that it be located in the region of Syria/Palestine. Thus one official of the Sixth Dynasty casually reported having visited 'Byblos and Punt' eleven times.
But the reliefs at Deir El-Bahri caused a major rethink. Here archaeologists found illustrations of an apparently tropical country. The shoreline of Punt was lined with date palms; the Puntites seemed to live in rustic-looking houses on stilts; African animals such as giraffes and panthers seemed to inhabit the country; and last but not least frankincense trees, which can only flourish in tropical environments, were cultivated by the inhabitants. Since in modern times frankincense only grows in Yemen (southern Arabia) and Africa (especially Eritrea and Somalia), Egyptologists now began to speak in terms of Punt as a southern land, and in time this became received wisdom. Modern textbooks do not even mention the once-prevalent theory that Punt be located in Syria/Palestine.
All the more shocking then when in 1953 Velikovsky published his theory that Punt was ancient Israel and that Hatshepsut's journey there was one and the same as that of the Queen of Sheba, who famously visited King Solomon in Jerusalem.
Velikovsky argued his case in great detail, and for many years the equation of Hatshepsut with the Queen of Sheba was one of his most attractive ideas. However, following the emergence of seemingly insurmountable problems in his overall reconstruction, the Hatshepsut = Queen of Sheba equation was (like the others) abandoned by most of his supporters. Yet this was a major error: The equation of Hatshepsut with the Queen of Sheba and Punt with Israel was rock solid and should have assumed a pivotal role in the reconstruction of the ancient world's fascinating history.
The Queen of Sheba is reported to have arrived in Israel via the port of Elat, on the northern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. The shoreline of Elat has always been fringed with date palms - a striking feature noted by travellers throughout the centuries. The town itself is periodically subject to violent floods as seaonal rains fill the wadis of the Sinai and Edom mountains which enclose Elat on the east and west. Indeed, the Elat region forms what might be described as a funnel in which large amounts of rainwater converge before falling into the sea. In such circumstances, houses on stilts (as depicted at Deir El-Bahri) would have been a sensible precaution.
Travelling north from Elat the Queen of Sheba entered the Dead Sea/Jordan Valley, the Arabah. In ancient times this region still harbored many of the wildlife nowadays associated only with Africa, such as giraffes, lions, cheetahs and gazelles. The existence of many of these species in that region was confirmed by numerous writers over the years, with some disappearing only in modern times. So, the occurrence of such animals on the Deir El-Bahri reliefs in no proof whatsoever of an African location.
The Arabah is the lowest point on the surface of the earth and has a tropical climate; a climate ideally suited to the cultivation of warmth-loving plants such as frankincense. That frankincense, as well as many other exotic tropical shrubs grew in the Dead Sea/Jordan Valley has been attested since ancient times. One of our earliest sources is that of the Book of Genesis, which tells us that the Ishmaelites (Arabs) who took Joseph into Egypt, were on their way to the latter country with 'incense of Gilead'. Gilead was the Arab region just to the west of the River Jordan and the Dead Sea, corresponding to the modern state of Jordan. Various writers of the classical age, Greeks and Romans, confirm that frankincense was a major and valuable product of the region - for which reason the territory of coveted by Queen Cleopatra, no less.
The ancient terraces, upon which these frankincense shrubs were grown, can still be seen all along the road leading up to Jerusalem from Jericho. These were the 'incense terraces' mentioned by Hatshepsut at Deir El-Bahri.
Another name for Punt, mentioned throughout the Deir El-Bahri reliefs and in other hieroglyphic texts, was Ta Netjer, variously translated as "God's Land" or the "Divine Land", though literally meaning "Land of the God." Now in many Egyptian documents Ta Netjer is clearly and unequivocally associated with Syria/Palestine. In the records of his various exploits in the latter region, for example, Thutmose III repeatedly refers to Syria/Palestine as Ta Netjer. On several occasions he speaks of taking cedar wood from the region of Byblos, which he describes as "adjacent to God's Land." So, it is not doubted that Ta Netjer, God's Land, is in Syria/Palestine; however, since Hatshepsut describes Punt as God's Land, Egyptologists have now had to postulate two "God's Lands", one in Syria/Palestine and one in Eritrea or Somalia. The implausability of such a scenario should be obvious to all.
Over the years there has been considerable debate about the origin of the term Ta Netjer, 'God's Land'. On one level, it seems to indicate a close link with the god Osiris and his cult, since netjer, or "god" was a name particularly associated with that deity. Thus Egyptologist Siegfried Morenz suggested Ta Netjer was a pun on Osiris' name and meant literally the "Land of Osiris."
In Egyptian myth Osiris was the first mummy, and it so happens that the Dead Sea Valley furnished the Egyptians with two of the ingredients essential to the mummification process: natron salt and bitumen. (It is interesting to note that our word natron is actually one of the few direct borrowings from ancient Egyptian and is etymologically connected to the word netjer, "god"). Archaeologists now accept that from the very beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty there existed a flourishing trade between Thebes and the Dead Sea Valley, with the Theban embalmers importing vast amounts of bitumen and natron from the latter territory.
In summary, we can say that the Dead Sea Valley was the "Land of the God" and that deity was Osiris, since it was from this region that the materials of mummification were derived.
Before finishing, it should also be noted that in Egyptian legend the body of Osiris, who had been murdered by his brother Set, was washed ashore at Byblos, where it grew into the trunk of a tamarisk tree; and this story connects Osiris with Adonis (the Hebrew/Phoenician Adonai "the Lord") who emerged fully formed from a myrrh or frankincense tree. Again, Osiris was represented by a natron-covered pillar known as the "Djed Pillar" (said to represent Osiris' spine) and this seems to connect him with the Hebrew story of Lot's wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt at the Dead Sea. To this day, its shores are dotted with numerous natron salt pillars.
Who were the Sea Peoples?
According to conventional ideas, the "Sea Peoples", against whom Ramses III waged a famous war, were a confederation of barbarian or semi-barbarian tribes who attacked Egypt in the twelfth century B.C. and brought to an end the great empires of the Late Bronze Age - especially that of the Hittites.
The above scenario was comprehensively debunked by Immanuel Velikovsky in his 1977 book Peoples of the Sea, and I would not feel justified in revisiting the question at all were in not for the fact that Velikovsky's work was almost completely ignored by mainstream academia, which on the contrary continued to repeat the various canards exposed so eloquently in the above volume. This repetition of error has now deceived a new generation of readers who are not even aware of Velikovsky's work.
In his great temple at Medinet Habu Ramses III proudly records his campaigns against both the Sea Peoples and their allies, the Prst. The latter word has variously been reconstructed as Peleset or Pereset (since Egyptian did not distinguish between 'l' and 'r'). According to establishment academia these were Philistines of the 12th century B.C.; according to Velikovsky, they were Persians of the 4th century B.C. Who is right?
It will be obvious that, if the chronology outlined in the present work is correct, then the Pereset must have been Persians, and Ramses III, as well as his entire dynasty, must have lived sometime after the initial Persian Conquest of Egypt by Cambyses, generally dated to 525 B.C.
On the Medinet Habu bas-reliefs, the Pereset, as well as their Sea Peoples allies, are armed with long slashing swords and their bodies protected by a sophisticated form of body armor closely resembling that of the Roman legionaries' 'lorica segmentata'. On their heads the Pereset wear a helmet shaped like a feathered-crown. The latter headdress was a classic symbol of Persian divinity and royal authority and is found in countless illustrations of Persian kings and soldiers from Persepolis and elsewhere. The 'Sea Peoples', who are clearly allies of the Pereset, sport a horned helmet sometimes surmounted by a disc. Again, the horned disc was a classically Persian symbol which can be seen in numerous depictions of Achaemenid and Sassanid kings and deities.
It is normally asserted that the 'Sea Peoples' were Mycenaean Greeks, or at least inhabitants of the Aegean world. Certainly their names are suggestive of an Aegean origin. There are the Denyen, who could be Athenians, or perhaps Homeric Danaans; the Tjeker, who could be Homeric Teucrians (but who were historically settled in Cilicia); the Sherden, who are perhaps from Sardis in Lydia; the Shekelesh, who perhaps are natives of Sagalassos, also in Asia Minor, and the Weshesh, a tribe perhaps from Assos or Iasos, again in Asia Minor. According to Velikovsky, the Greek/Aegean connection is true; these were indeed Greek-speaking warriors, but their invasion of Egypt was part of the attempted Persian reconquest of that country under Artaxerxes II, early in the fourth century B.C.
It is well-known that from the beginning of the fifth century B.C. the Greek city-states interevened continually in the affairs of Egypt, periodically supporting Egyptian rebellions against Persian rule. Towards the end of the fifth century the Egyptians finally succeeded in regaining their freedom, taking advantage of the civil war raging in the Persian heartland between Cyrus the Younger and Artaxerxes II. When the rebellion of Cyrus had been finally crushed, Artaxerxes sought to bring Egypt to book, and launched a mighty army against the country. However, Egypt's new pharaoh, Nectanebo I, had had plenty of time to prepare, and succeeded in inflicting a stunning defeat on the Persians in a naval battle on the Nile Delta. This, said Velikovsky, was the battle illustrated so triumphantly on the walls of Medinet Habu.
In his Peoples of the Sea, Velikovsky produces a superabundance of proofs that Ramses III's Twentieth Dynasty rightly belonged in the fourth century B.C. So plentiful is this evidence that it is impossible to give even a summary of it here. However, a couple of points should suffice to illustrate.
The word Prst, used at Medinet Habu in connection with the Sea Peoples invasion, is virtually identical to the word normally used for "Persia" in inscriptions of the Ptolemaic Age, Prstt (as for example on the Canopus Decree).
The language of Egypt during the time of the Twentieth Dynasty was permeated with loan-words from Semitic and other tongues. Egypt's hieroglyphic script had also developed. On a bracelet of Psusennes, for example, who lived shortly after Ramses III, the artisan used the word nsw for "king". However, according to archaeologist Pierre Montet, "king" is here spelled exactly "as in the Ptolemaic period", ie. in the third or second century B.C. The same artefact also displayed the word "god" which was written with the hieroglyph of a hawk "as often found in the Ptolemaic period."
The palace of Ramses III at Tell El Yahudiyah revealed a multitude of artefacts which looked distinctly Persian. This was true, for example, of a series of ceramic tiles many of which, in addition, displayed Greek letters on their reverse sides. Archaeologists easily identified an alpha (A), an epsilon (E), a lambda (L), a chi (X), and several others. Repeated attempts to explain these letters as some form of hieratic Egyptian ciphers met with no success.
And the list goes on. If one wishes to view an in-depth study of the evidence, then Velikovsky's book is the place to go.
Just one final point: one of Ramses III's Horus names contains the element nekht-a-neb. This is precisely the same as Nectanebo, whom we know from the Greek authors was the pharaoh who repulsed the Persians in the time of Artexerxes II.
Was the Story of Atlantis an authentic Egyptian Tradition?
No mention of Atlantis or of anything that could reasonably be equated with Atlantis has yet come to light in the surviving hieroglyphic literature of Egypt. According to Plato, who provides us with our earliest written reference to the legendary lost island, the story was first given to the Athenian lawgiver Solon by an Egyptian priest in the Delta town of Sais sometime in the sixth century B.C. Plato received the story from a descendant of Solon's friend Critias, and ever since the publication of his report it has attracted unremitting controversy. The general trend in the academic establishment – of all ages since Plato's – has been skepticism if not outright scorn.
Although definitive proof will have to await the discovery of an Egyptian reference to Atlantis, there are, I would suggest, very good grounds indeed for arguing that Plato recorded a real Egyptian tradition and that the story was not an invention of his. This evidence has, naturally, been ignored by the academic establishment – though that is by no means an unusual procedure amongst the latter.
The first thing to note is that the Atlantis story was said to have been recorded in a temple of the goddess Neith. Neith was a deity of Libyan origin, and the Libyans, it so happens, are right at the center of the whole Atlantis debate. A hundred years before Plato, the historian Herodotus was informed by the Egyptians that the westernmost nations of Libya – those living on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean – were named Atarantes and Atlantes. It is evident that both names were originally identical and that Atarantes is but a corruption of Atlantes. This by itself proves that the name was not invented by Plato and that Atlantis is not a word of Greek origin (as has been argued endlessly by establishment writers).
The Libyans, or Berbers, had, in the testimony of Diodorus Siculus (first century B.C.), a legend of an island in the far west ruled by Amazons (almost certainly the Berber Amazigh). These Amazigh waged war on the Atlantians of the mainland and set out to conquer the whole of Libya or northern Africa. Their island home, whose precise location is unclear, is afterward destroyed.
It is evident that this story of Diodorus represents a somewhat garbled account of the story recorded in Plato's Critias, though it is equally clear that Diodorus has not copied Plato, for the two accounts are very different. Indeed, in all respects it is apparent that Diodorus is recording a tradition current in north-west Africa in his own time – the first century B.C. As such, we can say the following with certainty: (1) Between the fifth and first centuries B.C. the peoples of north-western Africa, the region of the Atlas Mountains, called themselves Atlantes or Atlantians, and (2) They had a legend of an island or homeland in the ocean which disappeared following some terrible cataclysm. (It should be noted that traditions among the Berbers of the Atlas still speak of such an event).
So, it would appear that the Atlantis story was not invented by Plato; and when we look at the details of that account we find much circumstantial evidence to suggest that it spoke of real events. First and foremost, the legendary main island of Atlantis stood “opposite the Pillars of Hercules”, in the Atlantic Ocean. This would suggest a location in the region of the Azores. Secondly, the island was volcanic, with many hot springs – a rather good description of the Azores archipelago. Thirdly, beyond the main island – whose given dimensions made it roughly the size of Ireland – there existed a string of other islands leading to an “opposite continent.” This sounds very much like islands projecting from the undersea mountain chain of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. If the latter Ridge were raised somewhat then its mountain peaks would indeed form a string of islands stretching towards the coast of Brazil. We know this because scientific surveys of the Atlantic Ocean have mapped the undersea topography. But how could Plato or Solon's Egyptian informants have known it if they were not recording geographical and historical realities?
We can say then that if the story of Atlantis was an invention then its inventor made a series of incredibly lucky guesses.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century the Atlantis debate was reignited by Ignatius Donnelly, who famously argued that cultural traits common to the civilizations of the Old World and the New proved ancient contact – with Atlantis being the conduit for these. From the beginning, mainstream academia came out strongly against Donnelly. Four main reasons were given: (1) The cultural parallels identified by Donnelly, such as pyramid-building, mummification, dragon-worship, etc., could not be significant, since many of these things – such as pyramid-building – had already ceased in the Old World well before the rise of the New World civilizations. (2) Even worse, according to Plato, Atlantis had disappeared 9,500 years before the time of Solon. In that remote age, no one built pyramids or practiced any of the civilized arts. (3) Cataclysms of the type said by Plato to have destroyed Atlantis do not happen and never have – not within the experience of mankind at least. (4) Geology proves that no large island ever existed in the region of the Azores and that, on the contrary, both the Azores and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge are now higher than they have ever been in the past.
Not one of the above statements is accurate or presents a real problem for the Atlantis theory.
First and foremost, the question of chronology: It is true, of course, that Solon's Egyptian informants claimed Atlantis had sunk 9,500 years earlier. But this was normal procedure for the Egyptian priesthood (as well as for the Mesopotamians), who regularly presented grossly exaggerated estimates of their own antiquity. Herodotus, for example, was told that the Egyptians could count 345 generations (about ten thousand years) of pharaohs before his time. The context of the Atlantis story makes it perfectly clear that Atlantis was a civilization contemporary with early Egypt and, as such, must have commenced (in accordance with the chronology presented in this website) around 1300 or 1200 B.C. at the earliest. And this answers the other objection: namely that pyramid-building etc had already ceased in Egypt before it even began in the New World. Since the Great Pyramid was actually contructed in the ninth century B.C., and since the peoples of Mexico and Peru were building pyramids around the same time, then the objection is null and void.
The next major objection – that cataclysms of the type said to have destroyed Atlantis do not happen – is of course only valid if the currently accepted uniformitarian model of earth's history is accepted. All the evidence however (usually carefully suppressed in mainstream publications) is that this is not the case, and that immense catastrophes of nature have afflicted our planet within the period of recorded human history.
Which brings us onto the final objection: namely that geology proves that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Azores archipelago could never have been the site of landmasses greater than those presently in existence. The deception involved in this proposition is truly quite blatant, since numerous geological surveys of the Atlantic Ocean have repeatedly revealed the existence of sunken shorelines all around the Azores. This was dramatically revealed, for example, by the National Geographic expedition of 1948, led by Professor Maurice Ewing of Columbia University. The report of the expedition, published in 1949, furthermore mentions evidence of immense volcanic activity in the Azores region in the not too distant past. In addition to this, other researchers have found clear proof that much of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge stood above water as late as the end of the Pleistocene and detected an abundance of continental type rock (mainly granite) underlying the Azores. Indeed, the Azores area is now known as the Azores Microplate. Much has been published on these topics in Scandinavia and Russia, but very little in Britain or the United States, where the relevant evidence tends to be suppressed. A comprehensive overview of all the research was published in Russia in 1963 by Professor Nikolai Zhirov, with an English translation (Atlantis: Atlantology, Basic Problems) appearing in 1968.
Indeed, all the evidence suggests the existence of an island roughly the size of Ireland centered on the Azores, plus an associated archiplego of islands emerging from the peaks of the Mid-Atlantic Range, right down until the end of the Early Bronze Age. Thus Atlantis was not a “lost continent”; it was a lost island – as the dimensions provided in the Critias make perfectly clear. The idea of a lost continent is a product of the half-forgotten memory of the Americas – which are in fact clearly referred to as the “opposite continent”. It was this “opposite continent” that was home to large herds of elephants (ie. mammoths and mastodons) mentioned in the Critias.
Once again, it should be stressed that this “Atlantean” civilization was contemporary with that of early Egypt – specifically Egypt of the Early Dynastic Age. It was not a “lost” civilization with an advanced technology: It was a typical Early Bronze Age civilization, with all the characteristics typical of the latter: ie. Mound and pyramid-building; star and planet worship; blood sacrifice and priest-kingship, etc. This Atlantean culture encompassed not only the Atlantic islands but also Spain and much of North Africa – where its imprint can still be seen in the surviving “megalithic age” structures. Some of the most dramatic of these can be observed in southern Spain, especially around Los Millares and Antequera in Malaga.
The Atlantic main island and associated archipelago were sunk in the final great catastrophe of the Early Bronze Age – an event precisely contemporary with the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. As the Hebrew slaves fled the land of their bondage, amidst tremendous upheavals of nature, the seafaring civilization of the far west was devastated by immense earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. These events impacted the entire world, and even regions not volcanically active, such as the British Isles, saw land sinking into the ocean – and rising out of the ocean. To this day, raised beaches, as well as sunken forests and Neolithic villages, are found all around the coastal regions of western Europe – to mark the day that saw the end of Atlantis.
"Forgotten Empires" and Real Civilizations of the Middle East
When archaeology as a science was established, around 200 years ago, scholars already had a history of the ancient kingdoms and peoples of the Near East. First and foremost, they had the works of the Greek and Hellenistic authors, men such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Diodorus Siculus, Ctesias of Cnidus, Berossus, Manetho, etc. They also had the Old Testament.
Authors writing in Greek, such as Herodotus and Berosus, provided an overall image of the early history of the Near East. They named the Chaldaeans as the earliest civilization of Mesopotamia. After several centuries of Chaldaean rule, the land of the Two Rivers was conquered by the Assyrians, under their great king Ninos. The latter ruler apparently gave his name to the city of Niniveh. After an undefined period of time the Assyrians were conquered by the Medes, who occupied the northern parts of Mesopotamia. Southern or Lower Mesopotamia was seized by the Neo-Chaldaeans. About a hundred years later, the whole of Mesopotamia, and indeed much of the known world, was conquered by the Persians, who reigned supreme until the coming of Alexander the Great, in the fourth century B.C.
The Greek authors therefore were aware of only four peoples or empires in control of Mesopotamia before the coming of the Macedonians: Early Chaldaeans, Assyrians, Medes, and Persians. Other great nations of the Near East, such as Phrygians, Lydians and Neo-Chaldaeans, were contemporaries of the Assyrians and Medes.
When British, French, and German archaeologists began systematic excavations in Mesopotamia, during the course of the nineteenth century, they expected to find evidence of all the above early peoples. What they did find, however, seemed to contradict the Greek authors and in fact posed a number of apparently intractable problems. For not only did they fail to find any trace of several of the nations mentioned by the Greeks, but they also found - sensationally enough - evidence of several peoples and civilizations which the Greeks had never heard of: "lost empires" and "lost civilizations".
The first of these, occurring right at the beginning of Mesopotamian civilization, were the so-called "Sumerians". These Sumerians, who spoke a language apparently unrelated to any other, dominated the Land of the Two Rivers for several centuries, during which time they laid the foundations of urban civilization. Their dominance came to an end however with the rise of a Semitic speaking people known as the Akkadians. Under their great king Sharrukin (Sargon), the Akkadians conquered all of Mesopotamia as well as much of Syria/Palestine and Anatolia. Akkadian domination lasted around a century, after which their empire was overthrown and the Sumerians reasserted their independence in the south under the "Neo-Sumerian" dynasty.
None of these kingdoms of empires were known to the Greek authors, and all were placed by scholars in the third millennium B.C. This was due to the fact that in the Bible the patriarch Abraham, who came from Ur (a Sumerian city), was said to have lived around 2000 B.C., and in his epoch Ur was already a long-established settlement - or so it seemed.
After discovering three lost civilizations and empires in the third millennium B.C., scholars soon claimed to have found even more lost civilizations in the second. It was claimed that after several centuries the "Neo-Sumerians" were conquered by another Semitic people, the "Old Assyrians", whose two greatest kings were named Sharrukin (Sargon) and Naram-sin - identical to the names of the two greatest kings of the Akkadians - who were said to have flourished about seven centuries earlier. The "Old Assyrians" were in their turn conquered by the Mitannians - another hitherto unknown people - who occupied the cities of northern Mesopotamia. In the south, a people known as the Kassites assumed power. Contemporary with the Kassites and Mitannni, archaeologists uncovered another great empire centered in Anatolia - the Hittites. The Hittites too were unknown to the Classical Age authors.
Whilst archaeologists and linguists could be proud of discovering so many "lost civilizations" and "lost empires" in the Middle East, they were also conscious of great disappointment and failure: For whilst the excavators had revealed the existence of nations unknown to the Greeks, many of the peoples known the Greeks seemed to be missing. This was most urgent in the case of the Medes, the mighty conquerors of the Assyrian Empire in the seventh century B.C. Yet the Lydians too, contemporaries and enemies of the Medes, seemed to have left little trace of their existence - aside from a few mound burials in western Asia Minor. And the Persians, who ruled Mesopotamia for two centuries, left almost no trace of themselves in that region.
During the 1980s, Gunnar Heinsohn began a detailed and critical study of ancient Mesopotamian stratigraphy, and came to the conclusion that the three thousand-odd years allotted to the pre-Christian history of the region could not be correct. The depth of strata necessary for such a long period of time simply did not exist. As such, he reasoned that a dramatic shortening of Mesopotamian chronology was necessary. He noticed that the sequence of Early Sumerians, followed by Semitic Akkadians, followed by Neo-Sumerians, sounded very much like the sequence of Early Chaldaeans, followed by Semitic Assyrians, followed by Neo-Chaldaeans, recorded by the Greek authors. Could it be that the whole of third millennium Mesopotamian history actually belonged in the first millennium?
Around 1987 Heinsohn came to a further startling realization: The Mitanni of the second millennium B.C., who conquered the Old Assyrians, must be the otherwise missing Medes of the first millennium, who conquered the Imperial Assyrians. This meant, among other things, that the actual history of Mesopotamia, as recounted by the Greek authors, had been duplicated in the second millennium B.C. and triplicated in the third millennium. Thus the Akkadians of the third millennium, who conquered the Early Sumerians, and whose two greatest kings were named Sargon and Naram-Sin, were identical to the Old Assyrians of the second millennium, whose two greatest kings were also known as Sargon and Naram-Sin. Both nations were in fact alter-egos of the Imperial Assyrians of the eighth century B.C., who were eventually conquered by the Medes.
It was evident from this that the real history of ancient Mesopotamia cannot have commenced much before the year 1000 B.C., and that in all probability the Flood layer which underlay the Early Sumerian epoch was the Venus/Ishtar Flood which Velikovsky rightly placed around 1400 B.C. The Sumerians must have been the otherwise missing Chaldaeans, the Akkadians were Assyrians, the Mitannians were Medes, the Kassites were Neo-Chaldaeans (ruled by a Scythian dynasty), and the Hittites were Lydians.
There was just one problem with all of this: If the Akkadians and Old Assyrians of the third and second millennia were actually the Empire Assyrians of the first, who then were the "Neo-Assyrian" kings currently placed by academics in the first millennium B.C.? The remains of the Neo-Assyrians lie well above those of the Akkadians. If the Akkadians are brought down to the eighth century B.C., then the Neo-Assyrians would need to be brought into the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. at the earliest. In short, the Neo-Assyrians would need to become alter-egos of the Persians. This was a point I made to Heinsohn in 1990, when I criticized his equation of Akkadians with Assyrians. I did not expect the answer he provided shortly afterwards: The Neo-Assyrians were indeed alter-egos of the Persians - and thus is explained the apparent absence of Persian material in Mesopotamia.
The last of the Lost Empires was lost no more.
Nebuchadrezzar and Artaxerxes III were one and the same Person
As mentioned earlier, one of the gravest problems uncovered by archaeology has been the almost complete absence of Persian remains in Mesopotamia. The ancient authors were very clear that the Land of the Two Rivers was a central and prosperous satrapy of the Persian Empire. Indeed, Herodotus claimed that the region contributed as much in taxes to the royal treasury as all the other satrapies put together. In such circumstances, excavators had expected to find abundant Persian archeology in the region.
In fact, much to their puzzlement, they found almost nothing. In Babylon, for example, which became the virtual capital of the Achaemenid state after the time of Darius II - whose mother and chief wife were Babylonian - all that has been found to date are a small palace (described as a "kiosk" by Koldewey), an armory, and a collection of cuneiform tablets. This in a city which served as the seat of the Achaemenid court during the reigns of Darius II, Artaxerxes II, Artaxerxes III and Darius III.
Outside of the city of Babylon the situation is worse. Virtually nothing that can be recognized as Persian has been discovered. What has been found, in site after site throughout the region, is rich Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian strata underlying that of the Hellenistic (Seleucid) epoch. Immediately beneath the Neo-Assyrians, excavators found material of the Kassites and Neo-Sumerians in the south and material of the Mitanni in the north. Of the Medes and Persians they found nothing.
The only reasonable conclusion that could be drawn from this is that the Neo-Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians must represent the missing Persians and that, in Mesopotamia, the Persian kings must have adopted Assyrian and Babylonian names. This would be a rational assumption: Ancient kings frequently had several names - a well-recognized fact. In Mesopotamia, kings took names that had religious significance. Names such as Xerxes (Khyasharsha) and Artaxerxes (Artakhyasharsha) would have been for them religiously meaningless - and probably unpronouncable. (Note, even establishment academics are now coming round to the idea that in Mesopotamia we should be looking for the Persians under the guise of local rulers. See eg the comments of top Iranologists Heleen Sancisis-Weerdenburg, who in 1990 admitted that since almost no trace of the Persian Empire could be found in Mesopotamia, "we should clearly be looking for something else", namely the Persian kings using "elements from the various venerable traditions that preceded the rise of Persia." (Sancisi-Weerdenburg, "The Search for an elusive Empire", Leiden, 1990) ).
As I have argued in great detail in my Ramessides, Medes and Persians (2008), the lives of the Neo-Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians, beginning with Tiglath-Pileser III, match those of the Persian Great Kings in detail. The following equations are implied: Tiglath-PIleser III = Cyrus the Great; Shalmaneser V = Cambyses; Sargon II = Darius I; Sennacherib = Xerxes; Esarhaddon = Artaxerxes I; Ashurbanipal = Darius II; Nabopolasser = Artaxerxes II; Nebuchadrezzar = Artaxexres III; Nabonidus = Darius III.
The parallels between all the above characters are striking, but for the present I'll concentrate on just one set: that of Nebuchadrezzar and Artaxerxes III.
Both Nebuchadrezzar and Artaxerxes III were the penultimate rulers of their respective empires. Both men were credited with conquering Egypt, after an initial failed attempt at such. In both cases the conquest of Egypt was said to have occurred in the sixteenth or seventeenth year of the king. Both men were noted for their savage cruelty. Both men had a general named Holofernes and a eunuch courtier named Bagoas. This latter information on Nebuchadrezzar comes from the Book of Judith, whilst the information on Artaxerxes III comes from Diodorus Siculus.
On top of all this, at least one ancient writer specifically stated that Nebuchadrezzar also used the name Xerxes.
And one final point: The genealogy of Jesus, as provided in the Gospel of Matthew, places the Babylonian Exile fourteen generations, or around 350 years, before the birth of Christ. It was of course King Nebuchadrezzar who took the people of Judah into captivity in Babylon, but if there is any truth at all in Matthew's genealogy, then Nebuchadrezzar must have been the same person as Artaxerxes III, for it was the latter ruler who reigned in Babylon in 350 B.C.
Who were the Amalekites?
In his Ages in Chaos (1953), Velikovsky argued that the Hyksos, who conquered and ruled Egypt for several generations prior to the rise of the Eighteenth Dynasty, were the same people as the Amalekites, whom the Bible names as inveterate enemies of the Israelites. Velikovsky further claimed that the war of liberation waged by the Egyptians against the Hyksos was contemporary with the war waged by the Israelites under King Saul against the Amalekites. The Amalekite king Agog, whom Saul captured and set free, was one and the same as the Hyksos ruler Apopi, whose final defeat signaled Egypt's independence. (Velikovsky also stressed that in the old Phoenician/Hebrew alphabet the letters 'p' and 'g' are almost indistinguishable).
Velikovsky's identification of the Amalekites with the Hyksos was dependent upon his wider proposal to bring Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty down the timescale by five centuries. If that is done, then Egypt's war with the Hyksos and Israel's war with the Amalekites become contemporary, and the Hysos/Amalekite equation becomes almost inevitable.
Although I agree with Gunnar Heinsohn in equating the Hyksos with the Old Assyrians (or Akkadians), I also accept the Amalekites as another alter-ego of the same people. But if this is the case, where did the Israelites get the name Amalekite, and where can we find mention of the Assyrian conquest of Syria/Palestine in the Old Testament?
The first thing to note is that the name Amalekite is found only in the Bible. One other source, the Arab historians, do mention them, but it has to be remembered that the Arabs were heavily under the influence of the Bible; so much so that they can scarcely be considered an independent source. Nonetheless, it is of interest to note that the Arab genealogies name the Amalekites as Assyrians and Egyptian pharaohs. (See eg. Ali ibn al-Athir, The Complete History, p. 67) This is significant, since in the reconstruction of history proposed here, the Hyksos were an Assyrian dynasty that ruled Egypt. The name Amalek may well be a pejorative one implying “people of Moloch”, Moloch being the Canaanite god condemned in the Bible for requiring child sacrifice. Moloch derives from the Hebrew/Phoenician melek, 'king' and is cognate with the Akkadian malku. Melek/Malku formed a component part of several of the gods of Syria and Mesopotamia. One thing is certain: outside of the Bible there is no record of any nation going by the name “Amalek”, so it would seem certain that this was a name given to them by the Bible authors. This then begs the question: By what name did the Amalekites know themselves, or, what Malku or god did they worship?
Throughout the Book of Judges and the Book of Samuel the Amalekites are presented as a mighty power, as first among the nations. A sorcerer's wish for Israel says, “and his king shall be higher than Agog [the Amalekite] and his kingdom shall be exalted.” From the time of the Exodus until the reign of King David we hear no mention of Egypt or the Egyptians, with one exception: In the Book of Samuel we are told how an Egyptian slave of an Amalekite defected to the Israelites. This by itself would suggest that the Amalekites controlled Egypt.
The normal Egyptian word for the Hyksos was Amu, a name which Velikovsky associated with 'Amalekite'. The Amalekites may have been the Amu, but it is unlikely that the two words are connected. The Egyptians told how the Amu retreated to their capital Avaris, in the north-eastern quarter of the Nile Delta, and how, after a long siege, some of them escaped eastwards to Sharuhen – presumably somewhere in southern Palestine. These events took place during the reigns of the Egyptian princes Kamose and Ahmose, whilst the Hyksos pharaoh at the time was Apopi (apparently the second ruler of that name, though this is now denied by some Egyptologists). It is at this point that Egyptian history meets Israelite, according to Velikovsky. One description of the siege of Avaris was found on the wall of a tomb of an Egyptian officer involved in the action. Naturally, he extols his own valor, yet he also gives credit to an unnamed and apparently foreign ally, who is referred to as “One”. In the end, the intervention of this ally is decisive, for we hear that, “One captured Avaris.” Now it was just at this time, according to Velikovsky, that the war between the Israelites under Saul and the Amalekite King Agog reached its climax. The Bible tells us that Saul “captured the city of Amalek” along with its ruler Agog. Instead of killing the latter, however, as was expected, he spared his life and let him go. The result was that the war was prolonged and, in Velikovsky's reconstruction, the Amalekites/Hyksos retreated to Sharuhen in the Negev region, where another siege took place. Only then was Amalekite/Hyksos power broken. For Velikovsky, then, the “One” who assisted the Egyptians against Apopi the Hyksos was King Saul.
Velikovsky's surmise may be correct, but there is another possibility. Since the Hyksos/Amalekites were one and the same as the Akkadians/Old Assyrians, the war to overthrow them involved not just Egyptians and Israelites, but also the Mitanni – the Medes. From the Amarna Letters, written late in the Eighteenth Dynasty, we find officials with Mitannian names in positions of power throughout Syria and Palestine. These persons – one of whom bears the well-known Persian name Bardiya – are designated as part of the mariyanna, the chivalric class of Mitannian society. Clearly then Mitannian forces had been active against the Hyksos/Old Assyrians throughout Syria/Palestine and probably as far as the border of Egypt. Could it be that the “One” who assisted the Egyptians at the siege of Avaris was a Mitannian general?
This is a distinct possibility, though for the present it must remain speculative. The Bible of course makes no mention of Mitannian/Mede (or Egyptian) help against the Amalekites, but this presents no real problem. We have seen the Egyptians just as reluctant – in a contemporary record – to credit the assistance of foreigners in the war against the Hyksos.
In the reconstruction of history proposed here, the Assyrian/Hyksos/Amalekite conquest of Syria/Palestine and Egypt would have occurred at the start of the Sixth Dynasty – contemporary with the rise of the Akkadian Empire. Pepi I and II of the Sixth Dynasty were the same persons as Apopi I and II of the Hyksos. In terms of biblical history, this would have occurred shortly after the Israelite Conquest of Canaan – ie. shortly after the time of Joshua. And in fact the Bible clearly states that immediately after the death of Joshua the whole of Canaan was made subject to a great conqueror from Mesopotamia:
“The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, forgetting the Lord their God, and serving the Baals and the Asheroths. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the people of Israel served Cushan Rishathaim eight years.” (Judges 3: 7-8)
Josephus the Jewish historian actually calls Cushan Rishathaim “king of Assyria.” It is just at this time too that chariot warfare, which we associate with the Akkadians/Assyrians (and with the Hyksos), makes its first appearance in the Bible. (The one and only earlier mention of chariots, at the time of the Exodus, is clearly an anachronism). We are told that shortly after the Mesopotamian conquest, the Israelites were oppressed by King Jabin of Hazor in northern Canaan. Jabin, it was said, had “nine hundred chariots of iron.” From this time onwards chariots are a frequent and decisive feature of warfare in the Bible.
We are told that after eight years Othniel the Judge freed Israel from the power of Cushan Rishathaim. Yet in our reckoning the Assyrian (Hyksos) kings remained more or less in control of Syria/Palestine for almost a century. How is their apparent absence to be explained?
The answer, of course, is that the “Amalekites” were the people of Cushan Rishathaim – who can only have been Sargon I of Akkad. Throughout the period of the Judges, the Israelites, we are told, were “oppressed” by this nation – as well as by their allies the Philistines. The latter people were not natives of Canaan: They were a race of overseas immigrants who settled on the coastlands of Canaan and battled for control of the uplands. The Scriptures inform us that their original homeland was the island of Caphtor and hint very strongly that the conquest of central Canaan by Joshua coincided with the arrival of the Philistines on the coastal regions. Certainly they are not mentioned until after Joshua's death. Now Caphtor is usually identified as Crete, so that the Philistines are popularly viewed as a race of Aegean immigrants. However, the great flood of immigration to the Canaanite coastlands during the Palestinian Middle Bronze 2 (ie. the Hyksos epoch) comes from Cyprus, and for this reason the present writer identifies the Philistines as Cypriots. Nevertheless, this seafaring nation did have close relations with the Minoan Cretans, as shall be seen presently.
Aside from the fact that the Philistines were great exponents of the chariot, two other considerations in particular make us suspect that they became a client nations of the Assyrians/Hyksos. Firtstly, Sargon I mentioned Kapturu as one of his imperial domains. Kapturu can only be Caphtor, the Philistine homeland, and since a seaborne invasion by the non-maritime Assyrians seems improbable, we can only suspect that the people of Kapturu/Caphtor voluntarily forged an alliance with the Assyrians.
Secondly, the Hyksos kings of Egypt adopted the twin titles "Rulers of the Nations" and "Lords of the Sea" (See Petrie, The Making of Egypt, p. 143). The latter claim always seemed a strange one to make until a scarab of the Hyksos king Khyan was found at Knossos in Crete. In addition to this, scholars began to note that many of the Hyksos scarabs - large numbers of which occur in the Philistine cities of Palestine - bear typically Minoan-style spiral motifs. So pervasive was the Minoan influence upon the Hyksos in Palestine that some scholars even began to suggest a Cretan origin for the dynasty - a suggestion which became even more believable after the discovery of substantial Minoan remains, including an apparently Minoan palace, complete with frescoes, in the Hyksos capital Avaris. Yet the Asiatic, indeed Mesopotamian, origin of the Hyksos is beyond question, so that the Minoan influence can only indicate a strong alliance.
It was the Philistines, then, allies of the Amalekites/Assyrians/Hyksos, who extracted tribute from the twelve tribes of Israel and who crushed the periodic rebellions of these tribes during the hundred years or so of the Judges epoch.
Before leaving this topic there is another point that needs to be stressed: In the Book of Exodus a tribal group called "Amalekites" is said to have attacked the Israelites in the land of Midian, shortly after the crossing of the Red Sea. In the reconstruction proposed here, this event would have occurred during the reign of Sneferu, at the start of the Fourth Dynasty, and these "Amalekites" cannot possibly be the same people which later oppressed the Israelites in Canaan. It cannot be forgotten that "Amalekite" is a term used only in the Bible and is almost certainly a pejorative one. The "Amalekites" who attacked the Israelites in Midian were evidently an Arabian people uprooted by the recent catastrophe, who may have been - like the Israelites themselves - wandering in search of a new home.