"Forgotten Empires" Remembered
Restoring the Hittites and Mitanni to Their Places in History
The concept of revising the history of the ancient near east is an audacious one. A vast amount of work has been done on the period, and the basic framework remains unchallenged by most of the scholarly world. If the chronology of the ancient world truly requires revision, and if we are to have any hopes of a revision being accepted in the mainstream of scholarship, such a revision must be comprehensive. A theory within the conventional chronology may be presented incompletely without being dismissed, because it at least accepts the basic framework. A theory outside of that conventional chronology does not have this luxury, and will inevitably be judged by much harsher standards.
In 1995, I wrote a paper entitled "On the Care and Feeding of Revision Hypotheses" and published it on a page on the World Wide Web. Despite the flip title, this paper, I believe, is the first attempt to look at the issue of revised chronologies and analyze the methods being used in them. Not very surprisingly, I concluded in this paper that my "Jerusalem Ancient History", or JAH, is currently the best working model for a revision. But this conclusion was predicated on the assumption that reasonable and convincing revision models would be arrived at for each of the kingdoms that existed during the period in question.
Velikovsky focused the bulk of his attention on Egypt, leaving the kingdoms of the north to be either ignored or dealt with almost frivolously, as in his equation of the neo-Babylonian Empire with the Hittites. Subsequent revision models have paid little attention to these kingdoms, leaving them more or less as in the conventional chronology; merely somewhat "squashed" into their new chronological constraints.
The purpose of this paper is to deal with the Hittites and Mitanni in a way that will fit the available evidence as well or better than the conventional chronology, as well as conform to the time frame demanded by the JAH.
For those unfamiliar with the JAH, the following is a very cursory and schematic overview of it, though enough, I hope, to set the stage for the following discussion.
The following discussion covers the Hittites and Mitanni in the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. While it does not focus on Egypt, it may be worthwhile to point out that the basic framework for Egyptian chronology is that proposed by Martin Sieff some years back. This framework retains the basic placement of the 18th Dynasty as proposed by Velikovsky (though with the Amarna Age approximately a generation later), but allows the 19th Dynasty to follow the 18th without a break. This was attempted in the now abandoned "Glasgow Chronology", though Sieff's model is far more plausible.
- Early Bronze Age
- Israel: Canaanite Period
- Egypt: Old Kingdom
- North: Early Dynastic, Akkadian
- Intermediate Bronze Age
- Israel: From the Exodus through the Conquest of Canaan
- Egypt: First Intermediate Period
- North: Fall of Akkad
- Middle Bronze Age IIA
- Israel: The Judges
- Egypt: Middle Kingdom
- North: Ur III, Amorite Kings of Babylon
- Middle Bronze Age IIB,C / Late Bronze Age I (coeval)
- Israel: The Empire of David and Solomon
- Egypt: The Second Intermediate Period, Early 18th Dynasty
- North: Nuzi, Rise of Assyria
- Late Bronze Age II
- Israel: Early Divided Monarchy to Jehu
- Egypt: 18th Dynasty through the Amarna Age
- North: Mitanni, rise of Hittite New Kingdom
- Late Bronze Age III
- Israel: Late Divided Monarchy to the death of Jeroboam II
- Egypt: 19th and 20th Dynasties
- North: Hittite Wars, Disintegration of Mitanni, Resurgance of Assyria
- Iron Age I
- Israel: The Assyrian Invasions and fall of Israel
- Egypt: Beginning of Third Intermediate Period
- North: Decline of the Hittites, Assryian Expansion
- Iron Age IIA
- Israel: Assyrian Hegemony, Samaritan settlement
- Egypt: Third Intermediate Period continues
- North: Fall of the Hittites, beginning of Babylonian Resurgance
- Iron Age IIB
- Israel: Manasseh king in Judah
- Egypt: End of Third Intermediate Period, beginning of 26th Dynasty
- North: Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal
- Iron Age IIIA
- Israel: Amon and Josiah kings in Judah
- Egypt: 26th Dynasty continues
- North: Fall of Assyria, Rise of neo-Babylonian Empire
- Iron Age IIIB
- Israel: Last kings of Judah
- Egypt: 26th Dynasty continues
- North: Babylonian Invasions
Finally, as a disclaimer, some of those cited below have since abandoned the hypotheses they proposed for reasons I feel are unrelated to the actual merits of the hypotheses. Most particularly, Phillip Clapham, whose work on the Hittites was the jumping board for what follows, has since apparently abandoned any and all radical revisions of ancient history. I have used his and others' works without regard for their later withdrawal.
Continue with Part I - The Hittites in History