Rohl (Peter)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sun Sep 26 19:30:48 EDT 1999

Dear Peter,

Thanks for your post.

>I have no brief to defend Rohl. But he does examine many of the links 
>you mention here. There does seem to be a problem with the Sea Peoples 
>in his thesis as far as I have read it, he seems to identify the 
>Philistines in the Biblical accounts with Hittites.

When one is prepared to play linguistic bingo, what's the problem of saying
that the Philistines were really the Hittites? He's already said that
Ramses II was Shishak, can he make things any better or worse?

>I do want to defend Rohl against the charge that he has ignored the 
>account of Sheshonq I's campaign in Palestine. He looks in detail at a 
>list of cities attacked which is on "the Bubastite Portal" on "the 
>southern outer wall of the hypostyle hall at Karnak".

There are very few of the 60 odd that are still clear enough to read!

Is this the same 
>as your "the southern end of the pylon of Ramses I at the temple of 
>Karnak"? It is odd that the account of Rameses II's invasion of 
>Palestine is at the other end of the same wall!

Not particularly. First, you'll find Ramses II leaving traces amongst the
Thutmosid constructions at Karnak. He was even the person who finished the
hypostyle hall on which these inscriptions are found -- all along both
sides, with nice clear cartouches giving his names that can be found all
over temples throughout Egypt -- he liked plastering has names all over the
place. You find Ptolemaic statues in the passage through the same pylon.

Then, of course, the splendour of Ramses II was so long-lasting that people
wanted to follow in his steps. Ramses III took his names and attempted to
emulate his stature as pharaoh. His mortuary temple was even bigger than
his unrelated predecessor. An assault in the lands that were once those
held by Ramses II, for which Ramses II had fought important campaigns, must
have been seen as in some respect emulating the deeds of Ramses II, so
Sheshonq I was only trying to get a bit of glory by squashing his story
alongside that of Ramses II -- for the narratives of Ramses II are also on
the same side as those of Sheshonq I. (Interestingly, in his last year he
started to construct a new forecourt to the temple at Karnak on a grandeose

NOw what do you find odd about it?

>Rohl gives eight pages 
>to Sheshonq's campaign ("A Test of Time" pp.120-127) and especially to 
>the list of cities attacked (admittedly partly illegible). Rohl shows 
>that Sheshonq mostly kept north and west of Judah, attacking only one 
>(Aijalon) of Rehoboam's 15 fortified cities of Judah listed in 2 
>Chronicles 11. Rohl speculatively reinterprets this campaign to fit the 
>reign of Joash of Judah and Jehoahaz of Israel, with Sheshonq as the 
>mysterious "saviour" of 2 Kings 13:5 c. 800 BCE (pp.307,377).

As he like everyone else cannot read the majority of names it's difficult
to make any generalised statements about the list.

As to Sheshonq I being the mysterious "saviour" of 2 Kings 13:5 c. 800 BCE,
how is this possible if his great grandson had sent troops to the battle of
Qarqar in 853 BCE?

Unverifiable and unfalsifiable conjectures (such as who the mysterious
"saviour" was) are wonderfully safe and useless.

>I am looking forward to getting on to Rohl's sections on the Conquest 
>and the early monarchy, to examine his data on how the Biblical data 
>ties up with such things as the Amarna letters and the archaeology of 
>Jericho. Of course another approach to such correspondences could be to 
>redate the Biblical narrative e.g. to push the time of Saul and David 
>back to the Amarna period.

Then again another approach would be to abandon them for the moment as not
being shown to be trustworthy in any major respect. There is a host of
incredibly interesting tie-ups spinning ferociously around the internet.
Linguistic similarities in questionable sources don't truck much value.

>There are of course many problems with Rohl's theory. He has also 
>identified a number of problems with the traditional theory, enough to 
>suggest the need for closer study of the problem. I would have 
>expected you, who are so keen to reject accepted interpretations of 
>Israelite history and go back to the raw data, would welcome those who 
>try to do the same with the history of Egypt, and would at least study 
>their proposals carefully.

I have given a fair amount of raw data on the subject in previous posts
already, Peter. I was hoping to get some shreds of raw data from Dave, and
I hope to get some from you.



I'll leave you with a few more bits of raw data.

There was a letter amongst the Amarna cache from a king of Assyria called
Ashur-uballit I. This king was four generations before the Assyian king,
Shamaneser I, who was responsible for bringing an end to the Mitannian
kingdom, Khanigalbat, thus bringing Assyria into direct contact with Egypt.
This was the reason why the Hittites (Hattusilis III) and the Egyptians
(Ramses II) entered into a treaty (a copy of which was found in both Egypt
and Hatti). Now this Shalmaneser I is *25 generations* before Shalmaneser
III, the king who fought in the battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE. Give 20 years
per generation and we go back 500 years, but as we have some
correspondences between the rulers of various kingdoms it allows us to see
that in certain periods there were more Assyrian kings than would normally
follow, so it's not hard to accept the 420 year figure provided in the
status quo. If Shalmaneser I is 420 years before Shamaneser I then it
follows that Ramses II is also of that period, ie circa 1270 BCE. (You can
probably find all information in any university level foundation text for
Assyrian history.)

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