AGES IN ALIGNMENT, INTRODUCTION: VELIKOVSKY'S 'AGES IN CHAOS'.

Immanuel Velikovsky, who first proposed that the chronology of the ancient civilizations was wrong.

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

Ramses II of the Nineteenth Dynasty, whom Velikovsky claimed lived in the sixth century B.C., not the thirteenth.

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?

The Queen of Sheba and Solomon

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

A Mede soldier, from bas-relief at Persepolis.

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

King Hattusili; Alyattes of Lydia

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

Naram-Sin, ruler of Old Assyrian Empire.

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, Sardanapalus 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

Hatshepsut's magnificent funerary monument, the Splendor of Splendors, on which is portrayed the journey to Punt, the Divine Land. The structure seems to have been modelled on Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

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

Seal of King Shaushattra

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

Thutmose III stands before the treasures he took from the Temple of Kadesh (Jerusalem) at the end of his first campaign.

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

Amenhotep II, User-aa (Zerah), fires his great bow.

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

One of the Amarna Letters, written in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the Middle East at the time. The letters mention Jerusalem, as well as Abdastartus, the grandson of Solomon's friend and ally King Hiram.

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

Akhnaton and his family worshipping the One God Aton.

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

King Ashurnasirpal (Kurtiwaza), a contemporary of Akhnaton.

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

Shalmaneser III receives tribute from King Jehu of Israel.

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

Tutankhamun, who seems to have died in battle against his brother Smenkhare.

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

Sardanapalus, satrap of Assyria, who led a great rebellion against his Mede father Shalmaneser III (Cyaxares II).

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

The Battle of Kadesh, as portrayed by Ramses II.

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

Semiramis, legendary Queen of Assyria and ruler 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

Adad-Nirari III - Astyages the Mede.

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

One of the gates of the Neo-Assyrian capital Nineveh.

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

Tiglath-Pileser III (a.k.a. Tukulti-Ninurta I), the Assyrian alter-ego of Cyrus the Great.

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'

Merneptah's Israel Stele, carved around 515 B.C.

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

Persian archers, from Susa.

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

Seti II (also called Inaru-emtawnebu), was a contemporary of and enemy of Sennacherib, who was one and the same as Xerxes. Seti II was Xerxes' great enemy Inaros.

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

Pharaoh Tirhaka, ally of Set II.

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

Osorkon I, vassal prince of the Persian King.

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

Ramses III's great victory over the 'Sea Peoples' - an invading force of the Persian Great King. The battle took place around 330 B.C.

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

Text of Hebrew Bible.

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

Early Sumerian Writing.

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 late tenth and 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

The Deluge, as imagined by an artist.

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 near the beginning 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

Early Sumerian temple of the Jamdat Nasr period.

The Great Flood, which was associated with the goddess Ishtar or Hathor (Venus), seems to have occurred sometime near 2000 B.C., and in the centuries that followed human beings established the first settled agricultural communities in south-east Europe, the Middle East, India, China, and Central as well as South America. Around 1300 B.C. these 'Chalcolithic' or Copper Age communities were shattered by a second great catastrophe, which was in turn followed by the appearance of the first literate or semi-literate temple-building cultures. 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 and they took their advanced culture even further than the lands of the Fertile Crescent.

 

The Tower Catastrophe

The Tower of Babel, as imagined by an artist.

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

The Gebel el-Arak Knife from Egypt, showing clear Mesopotamian cultural motifs.

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

Statuette of Imhotep, Egypt's greatest seer.

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.

Exodus

Crossing the Red Sea, as imagined by Cecil B. DeMille.

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

Giza pyramids as they would have originally appeared.

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

Jebel al-Lawz, in Midian. The real Mount Horeb.

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

Head of an Akkadian King, thought to be Sargon I. Sargon appears to have conquered Egypt and the dynasty he founded there is known as the Sixth and the Fifteenth - the latter two being identical.

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.

Chronological Considerations

Chariot of the type used by the Hyksos (i.e. 'Akkadians' or 'Old Assyrians') to conquer much of the Middle East.

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 960 B.C., and the beginning of the First Dynasty (and therefore the Abraham epoch) around 1200 or 1150 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 or two 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

The Greek hero Heracles with the mythical dogs of Diomedes, from an archaic vase.

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 and Mesopotamian 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

Earliest Greek illustration of the wooden horse of Troy, dating from circa 600 B.C.

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

The so-called "Mask of Agamemnon", the death mask of one of the kings in the Shaft Graves, behind which Schliemann, for a brief moment, beheld the undecayed features of a Mycenaean monarch.

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

One of the texts from the Hittite capital Hattusas, which mention Agamemnon, Midas, and Mopsus.

 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

The so-called 'Treasury of Atreus' as the exterior originally appeared - decorated with geometric patterns and motifs typical of seventh century Greece.

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

Stonehenge, Western Europe's most iconic pre-Roman monument, said to have been built by some unknown race of the second millennium B.C., but actually constructed in the eighth or seventh century B.C.

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

Bronze swords were pulled, fully formed, from a clay or stone mold.

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

The Cerne Abbas giant, who originally carried an animal skin, probably a bearskin, on his left arm, seems to be a portrayal of Arthur, or Artos, the Bear God.

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

One of the great tombs of Newgrange, not far from Tara; said to be the resting-places of Ireland's pre-Christian 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.

The Aztecs of Mexico; an artist's impression.

According to the scheme of things proposed here, the high civilizations of Central and South America would have arisen at the same time as those of the Old World, that is, around 1250 or 1200 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. But there was no head start: All the world's civilizations, including those of India and China, arose simultaneously around 1200 B.C., in the wake of the 'Tower' catastrophe. 

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 of the 'Tower' catastrophe, which followed the Deluge by about 700 years. 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 ten centuries which immediately followed it.

 

Ancient Transatlantic Links?

Mayan war-ships, from Mexico.

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 twentieth 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 920 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 ancient peoples of Libya used narcotic plants for glimpses of the Otherworld (Homer's 'Lotus Easters'); wore feathered headdresses; tattooed themselves; had a story of lost lands over the ocean in the west, and called themselves 'Atlantes'.

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.