Ages in Chaos

Portret van I. Velikovsky A summary of the historical work of Immanuel Velikovsky

Part 4. The Assyrian conquest

In Ages in Chaos Velikovsky shifted the end of the 18th Dynasty from about 1300 to 850 BC. Akhnaton was a contemporary of King Jehoshaphat of Jerusalem and of Ahab of Samaria. After the end of the reign of Akhnaton the 18th Dynasty fairly soon came to an end. Egypt was weakened for some time. According to the prevailing view of history, it was Horemheb who succeeded Ay at the end of the 18th Dynasty. Traces of a connection between the rulers at the end of the 18th Dynasty and Horemheb have not been found and we will see that Velikovsky gives Horemheb a different place in history. The section on the Assyrian conquest was not published, but can be found in the Internet archive of Velikovsky's work.

The Libyan dynasty
According to the legend of Oedipus, the Epigoni returned and conquered Thebes. That was the beginning of the Libyan dynasty in which Greek colonists played a part. They had settled on the Mediterranean coast of Libya. The Libyan dynasty is known as the 22nd Dynasty, in which we find names like Shoshenk and Osorkon. According to the Egyptian historian Manetho, Libyan domination lasted 120 years and was followed in the year 712 BC by about 50 years of Ethiopian rule.
Moving the 22nd dynasty to a place immediately after the 18th Dynasty is a rather drastic intervention in Egyptian history. If the 18th Dynasty is pushed forward about 540 years and if the Libyan dynasty (120 years) and the Ethiopian dynasty (50 years) are then inserted, the 19th Dynasty (that of Seti I and Ramses II), will be shifted 710 years.
This is a possibility, because on the one hand there seems to be a pretty big difference between language and culture of the 18th and the 19th Dynasties (which is a problem for historians), but on the other hand there are several striking similarities between cultural expressions from the 18th Dynasty and the Libyan dynasty.
The differences between the 18th and 19th Dynasties can be seen in the much less sophisticated techniques that were used during the 19th Dynasty in art and architecture and also in the fact that the written characters had changed and many new words were introduced that are obviously borrowed from other languages. These differences were much bigger than one would expect for a period of perhaps twenty years.
The similarities between the 18th and the 22nd Dynasties can be seen through the confusion that often arose about whether archaeological remains should be dated from the time of the 18th Dynasty or the Libyan Dynasty, 600 years later. One example is a memorial text found near the Sphinx of Gizeh, initially assigned to the 22nd Dynasty by the finder, but later another expert declared that it belonged to the time of Tuthmosis III, because the language and the characters were too much like those of the 18th Dynasty. There are also images that were originally assigned to the 18th Dynasty, which were later "without any doubt" decided must belong to the 22nd Dynasty.
And so, after the 18th Dynasty, came the Libyan and Ethiopian dynasties, that were more-or-less correctly placed by historians. These two dynasties ruled during the time when the power of the Assyrian kingdom was growing, between 850 and 700 BC

The downfall of Samaria
To unravel further developments we need to make a jump to history as related in the Bible and in the annals of Assyrian kings. After the decline of Egyptian power, Palestine remained in a state of disquiet. Hazael, king of Syria was initially the strongest power and conquered a large part of Israel. The kings of Israel tried to make an alliance with Assyria against Damascus. In 798 BC Joash was king of Israel and during his reign and that of his successor, Jeroboam II, the king of Syria is pursued and Israel even conquers the capital of Judah, Jerusalem.
In the year 747 BC the entire area was affected by natural disasters and then Tiglath-pileser III became king of Assyria. With him begins the rise of the Assyrian empire. Tiglath-pileser conquered parts of Israel and demanded great tribute. Israel tried to evade this tribute in collaboration with the king of Syria. When the king of Israel tried to strengthen his position by attacking Jerusalem, Ahaz, king of Judah, askedTiglath-pileser for support. Tiglath-pileser invaded Israel again and once more demanded a huge tribute. In turn, in 726 BC, Hosea, the new king of Israel, tried to seek support from the Egyptian king 'So'.
Who was king So that is mentioned in the Bible? Velikovsky says that at this time the Libyan dynasty ruled in Egypt and that it is logical that one of the Shosenk's was this king So. Conventional historians have identified Shosenk as the biblical Shishak, the man who plundered the temple of Solomon in about 920 BC. To make this possible these historians needed to assume that the Libyan dynasty came to power almost 100 years earlier.
(As a reminder, Velikovsky said that Shishak was the same as Thutmose III and that Thutmose III plundered the Temple of Solomon and did not plunder the riches of Canaan before the Jewish people arrived there).
The Egyptian steles seem to confirm this: Thutmose mentions the payment of tributes by cities, particularly in southern Judea, while the steles of Shosenk speak of payments made by cities in northern Israel, which corresponds with the biblical account that Israel is seeking help from So.
The prophet Isaiah criticised king Hosea sharply when he sought help from the Egyptians. The help did not come and instead the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V was angry because Israel had stopped payment to him. Shalmaneser began a siege of Samaria. His successor Sargon II conquered the city after three years and drove the entire population of Israel away into exile in 722 BC. The people of Israel never returned and disappeared into history. Sargon 'filled' the land and the cities of Israel with people who had been deported from elsewhere.

Assyria conquers Egypt
The power of Assyria was growing and the Assyrian annals report the payment of a tribute by the king of Egypt. Some time later they reported that power in Egypt had been seized by the king of Ethiopia who lived far away. It is the beginning of the Ethiopian dynasty in Egypt which ruled for fifty years and which, as we shall see, was several times interrupted by Assyrian campaigns.
The successor of Sargon was Sennacherib, who continued the conquests of his predecessor. He captured the coastal areas of Palestine and fought a battle with an Egyptian / Ethiopian army at Eltekeh. He also besieged Jerusalem, but was finally satisfied with payment of a huge penalty. At this point the question arises whether Sennacherib conquered Egypt too. Jewish historians report a conquest of Egypt and Herodotus mentions that Sennacherib invaded Egypt with a large army during the reign of Sethos. Modern historians say that Herodotus must be mistaken because Sethos (Seti) was one of the most important kings of the 19th dynasty, who lived around 1280 BC. Sennacherib conquered Egypt in the beginning of his reign about 701 BC. He replaced the last of the Libyan Dynasty, King So, by someone who was sympathetic to him.
There is an Egyptian king who is not easy to place in history. It is not clear who his parents were and how he became king. His name was Horemheb and he is usually placed in the transition period between the 18th and 19th Dynasties. On his tomb he bears all the signs that normally only the kings of Egypt bore and he is named something like the head of state and commander of the army, but at the same time we read that he was chosen by the king and a delegate of the king. He is also depicted in a reverential attitude toward a greater King, whose image was removed in a later period. Who was the person who appointed Horemheb as king or head of state? It seems that this greater king is not Egyptian (there is an interpreter represented at the meeting), and the text states that he was the boss of Syria and that his conquests were accompanied by putting complete towns to fire and displacing entire populations from one place to another. These are characteristics of Assyrian domination and it seems that the Assyrian king Sennacherib appointed Horemheb as commander in chief. Horemheb was later crowned king on the day he married Mutnodjme, someone who, according to the text on a statue, had royal status herself. She was probably the daughter of Sennacherib and in this way Horemheb could obtain proper royal status. Horemheb was in power at the end of the Libyan Dynasty, when Egypt could offer no resistance against the growing power of Assyria.

An army of field-mice
According to Velikovsky, Sennacherib put Horemheb on the throne in Egypt at the end of the Libyan Dynasty and the beginning of the Ethiopian Dynasty. Before that, Horemheb had fought, together with the Ethiopian king Tirhaka, against the Assyrians, but after the defeat at Eltekeh he changed sides and came into conflict with Tirhaka. Tirhakah retreated to the south, but returned several years later and defeated Horemheb, putting Sethos on the throne. Sennacherib organized a second campaign toward Palestine and Egypt, a campaign that ended in a great defeat under miraculous circumstances.
In the Bible we read that Sennacherib went to war against Jerusalem (and Egypt) and then: "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses".
The king of Jerusalem, Hezekiah, asked the prophet Isaiah for advice prior to the attack. Isaiah assured him that everything would be okay, but Hezekiah was in doubt and asked how he could know. Isaiah said that the Lord would give a sign, when the shadow of the sun would go ten degrees backward: "Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down".
Herodotus mentioned something similar: Sethos in desperation went to the temple for advice when the Assyrian king 'Sanacharibos' was advancing close by. The oracle reassured him and said he could go forward with an army of craftsmen and shopkeepers. "As the two armies lay there opposite one another, there came in the night a multitude of field-mice, which devoured all the quivers and bowstrings of the enemy, and ate the thongs by which they managed their shields. Next morning they commenced their fight, and great multitudes fell, as they had no arms with which to defend themselves".
Curiously, Herodotus mentions in the very next paragraph that Egyptian priests told him that four times in the past the sun had not risen in its ordinary place on the horizon.
Velikovsky assumes that the combination of a defeat of Sennacherib and a changing position of the sun, both in the Bible and in Herodotus, is no accident. In the year 687 BC major natural disasters again took place and destroyed the army of Sennacherib, at the same time driving entire populations away from their homes. The Cimmerians, for example, from the Black Sea area (Crimea), began a migration to the south of the Caucasus, followed by the Scythians who came from the land near the Caspian Sea. In Worlds in Collision Velikovsky discusses these events more fully.

Nineteenth and twenty-sixth dynasty
Sennacherib was unable to organize new campaigns after this. A few years later, Esarhaddon succeeded him and began to make new conquests. In his tenth year he marched to Ishupri, where he battled against Tirhakah and drove Tirhakah back to the south. Esarhaddon mentioned in his annals that he conquered Egypt, appointed new governors around the country and imposed heavy tributes.
Three years later Esarhaddon died and Tirhakah took the chance to return to Egypt. Ashurbanipal was the next Assyrian king and in in 677 BC he drove Tirhakah from Egypt and appointed Necho I as king. Tirhakah died and his successor Tanutamun returned to Egypt and, according to Herodotus, killed Necho. Ashurbanipal undertook a second expedition to Egypt and definitively chased the Ethiopians out of Egypt. That was the end of fifty years of the Ethiopian Dynasty, which is usually called the 25th Dynasty.
After this dynasty came the 26th Dynasty, which according to Velikovsky is the same as the 19th Dynasty. The first ruler of this dynasty, Ramses I, was the same as Necho I, both of whom ruled for only a short while. In his second campaign Ashurbanipal appointed new governors and one of them quickly took over power to himself with the help of Greek and Lydian mercenaries. Herodotus called him Psammeticus. He is the first one to give permission to Greeks, or people from the north, to settle on Egyptian territory, particularly the coastal areas that the Egyptians had always avoided. If it is true that the 19th Dynasty is the same as the 26th Dynasty, then Psammeticus was the same as Seti the Great, the son of Ramses I. Seti the Great (who conventionally lived in the 13th century BC) is known to have used mercenaries from the north which he called Sherdana, that is, men from Sardis, the capital of Lydia (south-western Asia Minor).

The downfall of Assyria
Meanwhile, Ashurbanipal was increasingly surrounded by enemies, the most important being his own brother, who became king of Babylon after the death of Esarhaddon. Ashurbanipal was at war with the Medes, the Chaldeans, the Babylonians and Syrians. Seti I, whose father Ramses I came to power with Assyrian help, sided with Assyria and marched several times towards Palestine.
In his annals Seti wrote that he defeated the men of Menate. Menate could well be Manasseh, who was king of Judea for 55 years. The Bible doesn't mention an invasion of Egyptian troops, but that may be explained by the fact that Manasseh chose Egypt's side and didn't think of it as an invasion by Egypt when the Egyptians came. The fact that he called his son Amon may indicate that he sympathised with Egypt.
Seti the Great went to the north where there was great disorder, because the Assyrians had removed the entire Israeli population a few decades earlier. Seti conquered Beth Shan situated between Israel and Syria and he put a memorial stele there that was discovered in the 19th century. Then he engaged in a war with the Hittites, residents of the area north of Syria, which in turn may well be the same as the Chaldeans, who lived in the same area 700 years later.
Seti the Great managed to make Egypt a major power again, but his ally, Assyria, was on the brink of collapse. When the Scythians chose the side of the insurgents, it was the end of the Assyrian empire. In 612 BC the capital Nineveh was destroyed.