Rohl (was: yrw$lym)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Fri Sep 24 19:31:24 EDT 1999

Dear Dave,

Pardon me if I seem slightly underwhelmed by the puerile Velikovskian
regurgitations that Rohl has emitted, but it seems mindbogglingly clear
that the reason that no-one in the field of Egyptology listens to his
convolutions is that there is a tide of evidence for the status quo.

First Rohl would like us to ignore the fact that Sheshonq I, who according
to the status quo reigned for about 25 years from around 950 BCE, claims to
have had a campaign that took him through the Negev and Palestine, the
account of which can be found on the southern end of the pylon of Ramses I
at the temple of Karnak. This is in order for him to make his claim that
Shishak is not in fact Sheshonq I, but Ramses II. (It might be worth
pointing out here that the cartouche for Sheshonq I reads $$nq, Sheshonq II
$$ and Sheshonq IV reads $$q. If linguistic serendipity has anything to do
with this, the lovers of such detail would have to go against Rohl's
conjectures in favour of Sheshonq I.) 

However, why should anyone want to revise Egyptian chronology (other than
because such sensation sells)? It would seem because it makes things seem a
little more acceptable to fundamentalist Christians who have been bearing
the brunt of a more systematic approach to the pursuit of history, which
had shaken the pillars of received wisdom about the historicity of the bible.

Such a redating as implied by Rohl's bringing of Ramses II to the beginning
of the first millennium BCE would have profound effects on world history,
not just with internal Egyptian history, which is being asked to absorb
about three hundred years at the late end!

Let me just mention some of the historical links between Egypt and the ANE.

In the Amarna archives we find treaty negotiations between Kassite Babylon
and Egypt which started between Amenhotep III and Kadashman Enlil I and
were finalised between Akhnaten and Burnaburiash II c.1350. These Kassites,
who took power in Babylon about 50 years after Murshilish I raided the city
around 1600 BCE, are known from their distinctive Indo-European
archaeological remains.

It was not long after this that Suppiluliumas, who had regained northern
Syria at the time of Tushratta of Mitanni, received the strange request
from the queen of Egypt (whose husband had died) asking for him to send a
son who might become her husband. This was around 1315, the time of death
of Tutankhamen. The queen was almost certainly Ankhesenamen. But Horemheb
disposed of the Hittite prince before he arrived in Egypt -- causing the
Hittite king to invade northern Syria where he took Egyptians as slaves who
bore a plague that the Hittites suffered for quite a while after that.

During the reign of Ramses II he fought a battle against the Hittites at
Qadesh. From what can be understood from the Hittite account Ramses was
lucky to have survived.

Some time after this the Hittite kingdom suffered a worse fate at the hands
of the same people as had left a trail of havoc throughout the eastern
Mediterrannean, the Sea Peoples, whose material culture appears on the
Palestinian coast in the twelfth century BCE (and brought about the demise
of other material cultures around the same time, including Ugarit and
Cyprus). The material culture that appears on the Palestinian coast is
quite accurately datable due to the similarities with Aegean prototypes
which were disappearing at the time similar wares were being produced in

It was a successful series of campaigns against the Sea Peoples that is
recorded on the northern wall of Madinat Habu, the mortuary temple of
Ramses III. The progress of the Sea Peoples from the Aegean around the
Mediterrannean coast was halted at the eastern delta of the Nile and it
would seem that Ramses III came to some arrangement with them that left
them virtually in control of the Palestinian coast, which had been Egyptian
before that time.

We pass over the campaign of Sheshonq I in Palestine, already briefly
mentioned and move on to Osorkon II who sent a small contingent of 1000
troops to participate in the battle of Qarqar in c.850 BCE against
Shalmaneser III of Assyria. Qarqar was principally a conflict between a
coalition of Aramaic states of Syria including Israel that stopped the
Assyrian westward progress for about twenty years.

I have listed a number of clearly datable historical links between Egypt
and the ANE. If we are to believe Rohl, all these events are misdated,
which would imply that the historical information that we have for Hatti,
Babylon, Assyria, Mitanni, Syria and even Greece is also misdated. This is
mindless Velikovskian revisionism running rampant. Rohl sells his works
because he is writing to an audience that zealously wants to believe him
and trenchantly ignores the sea of data to the contrary.


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