A Conversation for Ask h2g2

How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 181

Noggin the Nog

Hi Gif

You're right, of course, and I will try to remedy that a little. Velikovsky actually places the post-Merneptah 19th dynasty kings at the beginning of the 26th, in the exceedingly complex and difficult period between the end of the Libyan dynasty (c.712) and the Assyrian invasion of 664, which you'd need a book to elucidate (Vel died before finishing his), and for which there are many puzzles and unanswered questions in both the SC and Vel.

It's not necessary for Rameses II to have *actually* been co-regent, rather than just Crown Prince. It's enough that he claimed it, dated many of his monuments accordingly, and that Manetho accepted those dates. Still an open question, though.

The work of Virchow and Elliot-Smith on the mummy suggest that Rameses II was "relatively" young, based on the good state of preservation of the teeth, and the degree of ankylosing (fusion) of the bones.

I wanted to add something on the notion of "best fit", too, but lack the time right now. But try googling images for the Phrygian lion gate at Gordion and the Mycenae Lion gate, and we can get into that next time.

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 182

Noggin the Nog

In constructing or reconstructing the history of the Ancient Near East, it's key to achieve the best fit of the known facts with the chronology. We note that this will be the *best* fit, rather than an absolute fit of all the data (probably beyond either of us), and that this will necessarily involve some subjective judgements about interpretation, the plausibility of a number of ad hoc arguments (arguments for which there is no actual evidence, but which serve to explain things that are otherwise puzzling), the likelihood of "coincidences" and the reliability of sources, in both macro and micro contexts.

So, to go back to the beginning again.

A1. Can we agree that the "best fit" for Manetho/Josephus, Ipuwer, and the archaeology of Avaris and Crete is that "something out-of-the-ordinarily bad" happened at the end of the 13th Dynasty/Middle Kingdom, and control of at least lower Egypt subsequently passed to the Hyksos kings? If not (bearing in mind that this much of the story is common to Vel, Rohl, and the SC), why not?

A2. Can we then also agree that prior to this disaster Avaris (which would later be rebuilt as Pi-Ramesses, the biblical city of oppression) was inhabited by a settled Semitic population? Again, if not, why not? I will add here that Avaris was founded in the early 12th century, which ties in well with the date of the Beni-Hassan inscriptions, so a "best fit" interpretation would be that these people entered Egypt at that time, or shortly before, although our argument doesn't really hinge on this, and it's more by way of tying up a loose end.

This seems to leave us with two outstanding questions.

B1. Was the pre-disaster Semitic population the same as the Hyksos?

B2. If not, what happened to them? Were they wiped out, assimilated by the Hyksos, or did they leave?

If you answer "yes" to question 1 you need to have some sort of explanation (which will be ad hoc) as to how *both* Manetho and Ipuwer got this wrong. Ipuwer was an eye-witness, and the totally different perspective of Manetho suggests that Ipuwer was not his source (which was probably temple records), and it's normally accepted that agreement between two independent sources is strong evidence for the truth of both accounts.

If the answer is "no", then we are going to need additional sources to answer question 2.
Obviously, I am arguing that the biblical account of the exodus is one such additional source. It certainly gives us a disaster in Egypt and a Semitic population in Avaris, as part of an continuous story that carries through as a continuous narrative to a period when the general historical background can be verified. This (interpretative judgement alert) is enough not to dismiss the idea out of hand, but not enough to answer question 2. Three difficulties arise, I think.

C1. The chronological problem. 250-300 years separate the Biblical date of the Exodus and the SC date for the end of the Middle Kingdom, and while we can allow some leeway on the dates, it's not enough to close the gap without a substantial revision of one (or possibly both) of the chronologies.

C2. How close are the descriptions of the disaster? (And how close do they need to be? Given the length of time between the event - if real - and the writing down of the story, there is plenty of time for changes and embellishments). Ipuwer and the Bible certainly describe famine, plague and disruption in general, but the only specific seems to be the mutual reference to the Nile being turned to blood. This is sufficiently unusual to keep us intrigued, but we'd both like more definitive evidence, one way or the other.

C3. How reliable is the Bible? I think you're right to be initially sceptical on this one, but if the first two questions could be resolved positively, then the "principle of agreement" would give the account greater credibility. What we shouldn't do is use the probable unreliability of the Bible to dismiss evidence that agrees with it.

So what other evidence can we find? I freely admit that the next text is problematic, both on account of its late date unknown provenance, and the mythological or mythologized nature of its story of gods and wonders, but even though it isn't history in any modern scholarly sense, we have some clues as to its historical setting, and some similarities between it and other sources for which the explanation "coincidence" is strained.

The names of the Gods that appear in the text are those of Memphis in the Middle Kingdom.
The text speaks of "The Children of Apep" coming out of the desert "by all the ways of Yat-Nebes (reference unknown)". Apep (or Apop) was a god of the Hyksos (at least two Hyksos pharaohs were named after him). Taken together these two are an indication that the story takes place at the time of the Hyksos incursion, and that the Gods do battle with them indicate that this wasn't a peaceful event.
The place name "P'k'r't'" for which Pi-ha-Khiroth, the place by the Sea of Passage, is now accepted as a reasonable Semitic transliteration, and which is unknown apart from these two references.
The death of a "God" at the "Place of the Whirlpool".
A period of darkness during which no one was able to leave the palace.

Taken all together we now have a lot of data that can't be dismissed on the grounds that it doesn't *fit*, although it could still be claimed that it doesn't prove the point either.

That would leave the chronological argument outstanding. This can only then be resolved by seeing how good the fit is with "what happens next", for both the SC and the reconstruction.

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 183

Noggin the Nog

As a quick thought.

If the SC is correct we should expect to find connections between the Egypt of the Hyksos period and the countries and peoples in nearby areas. Velikovsky's reconstruction, on the other hand, should be devoid of such connections. Just so we know what we're trying to show.

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 184

Noggin the Nog

Bump


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 185

Noggin the Nog

Hi Gif

I know that, like me, you're not around here much, but as a way of bumping the conversation I want to go back and try and clarify the following from earlier in the conversation.

For instance, I reposted this <> as a belated response to Gif's post 15 <

The "datable objects such as royal scarabs" referred to are Egyptian objects of the Late Bronze dynasties, the 18th and the 19th. That "it is clear they are heirlooms or later copies..." shows that these objects often appear in later strata than expected (they wouldn't be heirlooms or later copies otherwise).

At a few sites, most notably Beth-Shan, an Egyptian military stronghold, the strata are dated by the Egyptian objects, because there aren't any others. At Lachish, the temple is also dated this way because of the large number of scarabs, but there is also local pottery of the 9th and 8th centuries, and the strata are said to have been "disturbed". In the majority of cases, however, the scarabs appear in what are clearly Iron Age strata.

It should be noted that the only reason for declaring these to be heirlooms or later copies is precisely that they appear in these later strata. There's no independent evidence for the claim, which in any case is not overly convincing.

An accusation often levelled at revisionists is that they ignore the archaeology in favour of written texts, but what we have here is the SC justifying ignoring the archaeology in favour of the lists of pharaohs derived from inscriptions interpreted according to late written texts.

Noggin


How Credible is Velikovsky's New Chronology?

Post 186

Noggin the Nog

Solar eclipse in Eastern Turkey Feb 12, 634 BC

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsearch/SEsearchmap.php?Ecl=-06340212

If Vel is right this is Mursilis' eclipse. Right on the button.

Noggin


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