[The AMAIC does not accept all of Emmet’s revised dates]
Hattusilis, King of Lydia
In his Ramses II and his Time (1978) Velikovsky argued that Ramses II, the great warrior pharaoh of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty, reigned in the first half of the sixth century BC, and not in the thirteenth century BC, as conventional scholarship believes. In support of this dating Velikovsky brought forward manifold proofs, from many different disciplines; and, from an archaeological perspective at least, the case he presented was compelling.
There were however two major problems: First and foremost, if Ramses II was to be placed in the sixth century, this meant opening a gap of two centuries between the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty (which Velikovsky placed in the latter ninth century) and the beginning of the Nineteenth Dynasty (which Velikovsky placed in the latter seventh century). Critics were quick to point that an overwhelming body of evidence showed the Nineteenth Dynasty to have directly followed the Eighteenth, with no hiatus of any kind.
The second problem centred round the identity of Hattusilis, the Great King of the Hatti or Hittites, against whom Ramses II waged war for many years. Velikovsky argued that Hattusilis was none other than Nebuchadrezzar, the King of the Chaldaeans, who is said to have deported the population of Judah to Babylonia sometime in the first half of the sixth century BC. But this identification caused immense problems, as Velikovsky’s critics (and some of his allies) were quick to point out. Most pressingly, how could Hattusilis, whose capital city was in the middle of Anatolia and who never claimed to rule Mesopotamia, be identified with a king of Babylonia who never claimed to rule Anatolia? This was a crucial point; one which, notwithstanding the ingenious arguments presented by Velikovsky, he could not counter.
The answer to the conundrum was finally provided, I believe, by the stratigraphic evidence brought forward by Gunnar Heinsohn in the 1980s. Essentially, Heinsohn found that the Nineteenth Dynasty did come directly before the Persian Age, as Velikovsky claimed (ie in the sixth century), but that the Eighteenth Dynasty immediately preceded the Nineteenth Dynasty – which therefore placed it in the seventh century (actually, late eighth and seventh centuries). This meant bringing the whole of the Eighteenth Dynasty down the timescale by a further two centuries from the position accorded it by Velikovsky. If Heinsohn was right, then both the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties must have been contemporaries of the Medes, the great Indo-Iranian nation which had overthrown the Assyrians during the seventh century, and with the Lydians, the mighty power which controlled much of Anatolia in the same epoch.
As a matter of fact, the greatest power in the Fertile Crescent during the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty was that of the Mitanni, or Mita. These kings, who bore Indo-Iranian names and worshipped Indo-Iranian gods, were famous for having conquered the Old Assyrian kingdom, whose two most notable kings were named Sargon and Naram-Sin. It goes without saying that Heinsohn thus identified the Mitanni with the Medes, and the evidence he mustered for this was extremely compelling. It is an identification fully supported by the present writer.
Ancient writers insisted that during the period of Median supremacy much of Anatolia was controlled by Lydia; and indeed the Lydians were great rivals of the Medes. Now, whilst the monuments and diplomatic correspondences of the Mitanni period apparently make no mention of the Lydians, they do refer repeatedly to a mighty rival power centred in Anatolia. This was the kingdom of Hatti; the Hittite Empire.
Modern textbooks describe the Hittites as a mysterious people, a nation whose history and even existence had been forgotten until revealed by archaeologists in the nineteenth century. The “rediscovery” of the Hittites is held to be one of the great triumphs of modern archaeology. In the early days of archaeology, however, travellers to Anatolia were often inclined to associate the monuments and remains we now call “Hittite” with the ancient Lydians, and several carved bas-reliefs at Yazilikaya, just outside Boghaz-koi, were actually linked to specific events from Lydian history. Thus for example W.J. Hamilton in his Researches in Asia Minor, Pontus and Armenia (1842) remarked that in his opinion one of the major reliefs commemorated a treaty signed by Croesus with Cyrus around 550 B.C. “I am rather inclined to think that it represents the meeting of two coterminous kings, and that it was intended to commemorate a treaty of peace concluded between them. The Halys, which is not many miles distant, was long the boundary between the kingdoms of Lydia and Persia and it is possible that in the figure with the flowing robes we may recognise the king of Persia, and that in the other the king of Lydia, with his attendants, Lydians and Phrygians, for their headdress resembles the well-known Phrygian bonnet. This spot may have been chosen to commemorate the peace.” (W.J. Hamilton Researches in Asia Minor, Pontus and Armenia (1842) 393-95)
Another scholar of the same period also identified the monuments as Lydian, but inclined more to the view that the bas-relief commemorated a treaty signed by Croesus’ predecessor Alyattes with the Medes under Astyages. (H. Barth “Versuch einer eingehenden Erklärung der Felssculpturen von Boghaskoei in alten Kappadocien” Monatsberichte der Königlichen Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin, 1869) 128-75) According to Herodotus these two kings had met with their armies near the river Halys, but fighting broke off when the sun was eclipsed. (Herodotus, i, 74) Afterwards, through the efforts of the kings of Babylon and Cilicia a peace was negotiated and signed.
The more our knowledge of Hittite civilisation and history has grown, the more clear-cut the Lydian connection has become. The Boghaz-koi documents for example showed that a number of Hittite kings had borne the name Mursilis; identical to the name (Myrsilos) given by Herodotus to one of the greatest kings of Lydia. The language of the Hittite Empire, known as “Hittite” to us, but actually called “Neshili” in the Boghaz-koi texts, was found to be Indo-European. Further research into the linguistic make-up of ancient Asia Minor found that Lydian too was an Indo-European dialect – a dialect identical to “Hittite”. In the words of one scholar, “Linguistically Lydian is related to the Hittite-Luwian group, but the curious thing is that unlike most of its contemporaries it seems to be Hittite rather than Luwian.” (J. G. Macqueen, The Hittites (London, 1975) p. 59) In other words the Lydian language is one and the same as that of the Hittites in their Cappadocian heartland – Nesha/Neshili – rather than Luwian, a related tongue employed by many other peoples of Asia Minor and Anatolia, such as the Phrygians and Lycians. In explanation of this strange anomaly, the writer quoted above continues,
“One has to assume that in the disturbances following the collapse of the Hittite Empire a central Anatolian group had seized power among the ruins of Arzawa, and a memory of this may be preserved in the Herodotean story of a Heraclid dynasty with eastern connections which gained power in Lydia about 1200 BC.” (Ibid.)
Arzawa, of course, is the name given to the Lydian district in the Hittite documents, and indeed the word may be identical to Lydia, given the interchangeability of “l” and “r”, and the conjectural nature of vowels in cuneiform. Thus Arzawa may reasonably be reconstructed as “Lyzawa”.
The relationship between Arzawa/Lydia and the greater Hittite world has in fact caused considerable confusion amongst scholars, a confusion highlighted in the following statement;
“And so we reach the final position that the language originally known as Arzawan [Lydian] is in fact the language of the Hittites, while the language written in ‘Hittite Hieroglyphs’ is a dialect of the language of Arzawa.” (Ibid. pp. 24-5)
Thus the Lydian and Hittite kingdoms used the same language, occupied the same geographical space, and were, as we shall argue, contemporary.
It is generally presumed that the Hittite Empire took in only the eastern part of what was later to constitute the Lydian kingdom – a domain supposedly centred more on western Asia Minor. However, it is untrue to say that Hittite rule did not extend as far as the Aegean coast. The documents of Boghaz-koi show quite clearly that the regions comprising Lycia, Caria, Ionia and Aeolia were considered to be part of the Empire, and this has been confirmed by the discovery of Hittite monuments at Karabel near Smyrna, and on Mount Sipylus overlooking the Aegean.
If then we accept the Hittites as Lydians, how do they fit into the history of the period, and do the historical records of the Hittite period speak of events known to us from the classical authors? Do the two histories match?
An examination of the lives and careers of the last two Hittite emperors, Hattusilis III and Tudkhaliash IV, reveals a close match with the lives and careers of the last two Lydian kings, Alyattes and Croesus. The Hittite Empire came crashing to destruction during the time of Tudkhaliash IV, and we find the “Assyrian” king Tukulti-Ninurta boasting of carrying off great numbers of Hittite prisoners. Since Tukulti-Ninurta was a contemporary of Ramses II and Merneptah, it follows that (if we credit Velikovsky’s own chronological measuring-rod and place these kings in the sixth century), Tukulti-Ninurta must be associated with Cyrus, the Persian conqueror of Lydia. As such, Hattusilis, who earlier waged a protracted war against Ramses II, must be the same person as Alyattes.
Classical sources inform us that Alyattes, was a mighty king who waged war against many of his neighbours, and who subjugated most of the Aegean coast of Asia Minor. This certainly does not contradict what we know of Hattusilis. We know that Hattusilis maintained and extended Hittite control over western Asia Minor, and his victories in the far west are commemorated in various surviving documents. The list of Hittite allies at the battle of Kadesh “mentions several peoples who all … are hitherto already familiar and recognisable from the Hittite imperial records as being the names of peoples of Western and Central Anatolia.” (R.D. Barnett “The Sea Peoples: Anatolians at the Battle of Qadesh” in CAH Vol.2 part 2 (3rd ed.) p.360) The writer of these words, R.D. Barnett, offers the following identifications of these names:
Drdny = Dardanoi (Homeric name for Trojans).
Ms = Mysia (a region of Asia Minor).
Pds = Pitassa (either Pedasa, near Miletus, or Pedasos, in the Troad).
Krks = Karkisa (Caria).
Lk = Lukka (Lycia).
If these identifications are broadly correct, and virtually no authority denies it, then the Hittites were at that time in control of most of western Asia Minor.
As part of his policy to strengthen Lydian control over Asia Minor, Herodotus tells us that Alyattes attacked the Greek port of Miletus, continuing a war initiated by his father Sadyattes. (Herodotus, i, 17) By our reckoning Sadyattes must of course be the same as Hattusilis’ father Mursilis, and we must expect this king to be involved in military action on the Aegean coast. Sure enough, Hittite records tell us that Mursilis attacked and conquered a city on the Aegean coast named Millawanda (generally agreed to be Miletus), a settlement which had been the property of the king of Ahhiyawa (generally agreed to be Achaea – ie. Greece). From the records of Mursilis we find that the king of Ahhiyawa at this time was called Antarawas, a name that has been identified with the Greek Andreus. Twelve years later he names another king of Ahhiyawa, this time Tawalagawas, who is also known as “the Ayawalawas”. This has been interpreted as Eteocles the Aeolian. (A. R. Burn, Minoans, Philistines, and Greeks (London, 1930) p. 121)
Yet these clear references to Greek settlements in Hittite documents of supposedly the 13th century BC. have caused the utmost embarrassment to scholars, since the Ionic and Aeolian colonies are not dated by anyone earlier than the 10th century BC. But if we are actually in the 6th century BC., there is no problem, and Greek settlements, as well as a Greek city of Miletus, are entirely to be expected.
During the time of Mursilis the province of Arzawa, the Lydian heartland, rebelled. Uhha-zitish, the rebel leader, was, we are told, defeated in a great battle, and pursued to the town of Apasa, identified with Ephesus. Mursilis followed him to Apasa, but Uhha-zitish had fled “across the sea”, no doubt to Greece.
Thus it would appear that during and directly preceding the reign of Hattusilis the Hittites were busy consolidating their hold over the peoples of the Aegean coast, a situation which agrees precisely with what we know of the Lydian kingdom in the time of Alyattes and his immediate predecessors.
Herodotus mentions the fact that one of Alyattes’ greater successes was his conquest of Smyrna, (i, 16) and sure enough, a stela of Mursilis, Hattusilis’ father, stands at Karabel, just outside the city. (A. R. Burn, op cit. pp. 134-5)
In the end, we are told, Alyattes failed to conquer Miletus, which would explain why Hattusilis makes no mention of a successful war against Millawanda. He recalls with pride however his successful fifteen-year war against the Gasga (whom I equate with the Scythians – see my Empire of Thebes, 2006), a fact which recalls Alyattes’ achievement of driving the Cimmerians out of Asia. (Herodotus, i, 16)
Alyattes, we have seen, was also involved in prolonged warfare on his eastern front against the Medes. Peace was however briefly restored in this region when a major battle was interrupted by an eclipse.
One final point. The name written in the cuneiform of Boghaz-koi as Hattusilis is composed of two elements; Hattus-ili. Since vowels are conjectural and the order in which cuneiform syllables should be read by no means always certain, the same word could be written as Ali-hattus. In short, Hattusilis and Alyattes (Greek Aluattes) are the same name.
Thus Egypt’s link with Lydian and Classical history. But the repositioning of Egypt’s Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties in the seventh and sixth centuries causes profound problems for Biblical history. If we agree with Velikovsky that the Eighteenth Dynasty was contemporary with the Early Monarchy of Israel, this means that the Early Monarchy must likewise be brought into the seventh and sixth centuries. If Hatshepsut, of the early Eighteenth Dynasty, really was the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon in Jerusalem, we cannot bring that same queen into the seventh century and leave Solomon in the tenth. Clearly Solomon must then also have lived in the seventh century!
How, the reader might ask, can Hebrew chronology be recalibrated in such a way? Is it not true that Hebrew history is well documented at least as far back as the time of David? Is it not accurately aligned, for example, with the histories of Babylonia and Assyria? How then are we to remove two and a half centuries from the span of that same history?
This is a problem I have examined in great detail in two of the Ages in Alignment books, most particularly in Empire of Thebes and Ramessides, Medes and Persians. There it is shown that Hebrew history is not aligned accurately to that of the Classical world, and that a “phantom time period” of over two centuries has been inserted into the Biblical timescale. The two phantom centuries are in fact located in the second half of the Persian Empire and the first century of the Seleucid epoch, a period of more than two centuries that in terms of Hebrew history is a complete blank. Between the time of Ezra, and the Book of his name, and the period of the Maccabees (circa 160 BC), Jewish history is totally silent: The Jews, greatest of record-keepers, apparently left not a single historical document to cover this enormous stretch of time. Yet things get even worse when we realize that archaeology has been no more successful at filling the gap. Between the middle of the Persian Age and the middle of the Seleucid archaeologists have found almost nothing in the land of Israel.
What is the explanation?
The explanation is straightforward; but it requires an imaginative leap in order to be successfully digested. The simple fact is, no three-century gap exists between Ezra and the Maccabees: one follows the other directly. And the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian kings who come before Ezra are Persian kings under the guise of Mesopotamians. Ezra therefore was active around 260 BC rather than 450 BC, and the king Nebuchadrezzar who took the Jews captive to Babylon shortly before his time was none other than the Persian king Artaxerxes III. In the same way, all the Hebrew kings who interacted with these Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian rulers must be brought forward in the timescale by two centuries. King Zedekiah of Judah, blinded and deported by Nebuchadrezzar, suffered that fate not in 570 BC, but around 340 BC. The prophets Elijah and Elisha, along with the Hebrew kings with whom they were contemporary, lived and worked in the late seventh century, not in the late ninth; and Solomon, who welcomed the Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem, did so around 680 BC, not 930 BC.
Last modified on Monday, 09 May 2011 12:29