Monday, December 11, 2017

Horrible Histories: Missing Mitannians

Description: Image result for mitannian chariots



Damien F. Mackey



“The Mitannians are perhaps one of the most enigmatic Near Eastern Superpowers.

Despite their impressive empire, we know remarkably little about them,

especially compared to the Egyptians or the Hittites”.




Professor Gunnar Heinsohn (University of Bremen) and Emmet Sweeney, historical revisionists, have, in recent times, arrived at some startling conclusions about ancient history - some of these warranting further critical examination, whilst other of their views appear to me to be extreme and well wide of the mark. In order to account for an apparent lack of due stratigraphy for, say, the Mitannians, or the neo-Assyrians, or the Medo-Persians, this pair (not always in perfect agreement) will attempt to merge any one of these with a far earlier kingdom, for instance, the ancient Akkadians to be merged as one with the neo-Assyrians.

Lester Mitcham, however, was able to expose Sweeney’s choices for comparisons using firm archaeological data in his article, “Support for Heinsohn’s Chronology is Misplaced” (SIS Chronology and Catastrophism Workshop, No 1, May 1988).

The Akkadians and the neo-Assyrians were found to be two quite distinct peoples, well-separated in time, and speaking and writing quite different languages.

Mitcham demonstrated similarly the archaeological impossibility of Heinsohn’s and Sweeney’s bold efforts to fuse the Old Babylonian Dynasty of Hammurabi with the Persians – King Hammurabi supposedly being the same as Darius the Great.


Once again, different peoples, different geographies, different times.


Heinsohn and Sweeney do have, though, some degree of support for their argument that the Persian Empire, as classically presented, is seriously lacking in due archaeological strata. For professor Heinsohn, in his far-reaching article, “The Restoration of Ancient History” (, refers to the results of some conferences in the 1980’s pointing to difficulties regarding the extent of the Medo-Persian empires:


In the 1980's, a series of eight major conferences brought together the world's finest experts on the history of the Medish and Persian empires. They reached startling results. The empire of Ninos [pre-Alexander period (3)] was not even mentioned. Yet, its Medish successors were extensively dealt with-to no great avail. In 1988, one of the organizers of the eight conferences, stated the simple absence of an empire of the Medes [pre-Alexander period (2)]:  "A Median oral tradition as a source for Herodotus III is a hypothesis that solves some problems, but has otherwise little to recommend it ... This means that not even in Herodotus' Median history a real empire is safely attested.  In Assyrian and Babylonian records and in the archeological evidence no vestiges of an imperial structure can be found. The very existence of a Median empire, with the emphasis on empire, is thus questionable" (H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, "Was there ever a Median Empire?", in A. Kuhrt, H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, eds., Achaemenid History III. Method and Theory, Leiden, 1988, p. 212).


Two years later came the really bewildering revelation.  Humankind's first world empire of the Persians [Pre-Alexander Period (1)] did not fare much better than the Medes.  Its imperial dimensions had dryly to be labelled "elusive" (H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, "The quest for an elusive empire?", in H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, A. Kuhrt, eds., Achaemenid History IV. Centre and Periphery, Leiden l990, p. 264). ….



Enigma of the Mitannians


In their attempt to counteract what they have perceived to be the problem of the dearth of solid historical evidence for the Mitannians, professor Heinsohn and Emmet Sweeney arrived at the conclusion that the Mitanni and Median empires were one and the same.


Admittedly, the Mitannians seem to be a people without an adequate archaeology, a series of kings without precise geographical location.


“The Mitannians are perhaps one of the most enigmatic Near Eastern Superpowers. Despite their impressive empire, we know remarkably little about them, especially compared to the Egyptians or the Hittites”.


“[Mitanni’s] heartland was the Khābūr River region, where Wassukkani, its capital, was probably located”. But:

They established a capital at Wassukanni, the location of which remains unknown”.


“Very little of a definite nature is known about Mitanni’s leaders, internal history, and society. It appears that Mitannian society was dominated by a chariotowning warrior class known as the mary-annu, who owned large country estates and bred horses and sheep. Some or all of the members of this class may have been Indo-Europeans, suggesting some sort of cultural or political fusion of that group and the Hurrians in Mitanni”.


Who were the Mitannians?


And, might Emmet Sweeney have - amidst all of his unlikely conclusions - paved the way for an answer to this question in one of his bold claims: namely, that the Mitannian king Parratarna was Shamshi Adad I?  


I intend further to investigate this.




Description: Image result for mitannians






Thursday, December 7, 2017

Velikovsky, Thera, Venus and Exodus



Damien F. Mackey


Velikovsky suggested that the traumatic birth of Venus from Jupiter – as given in ancient myth – along with various ravages it ostensibly then wrought within our solar system, might provide an explanation for some of the seemingly miraculous events documented in the Bible around the time of the Exodus from Egypt. These events Velikovsky correlated to the mammoth eruption of Thera … and the end of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, which he surmised came to be known as the pillar of smoke by day and of fire by night as Moses led his tribe out of Egypt”.



Decades ago I read Dr. I. Velikovsky’s highly controversial book of supposed cometary wars in the celestial sphere, World in Collision (1950). I was initially interested because I had appreciated his biblically-friendly revision of Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt as set out in his Ages in Chaos series, and I had thought that Velikovsky’s notions of catastrophism might also help to explain some of the major biblical events, such as the Exodus and the smashing of Sennacherib’s Assyrian army.  

It was only later, after I had determined that the demise of the massive Assyrian army had nothing whatsoever to do with a Mars-generated catastrophe:


Finally, about 800 B.C., Venus nearly collided with the planet Mars. As a result, the Martian surface was devastated and its orbit was disrupted, while Venus settled into a new orbit where it became a planet and no longer menaced the earth.26

Unfortunately, however, the new orbit of Mars now made it a threat to earth in place of Venus. Although the Martian upheavals were not so violent as the earlier Venerian calamities,27 the red planet still succeeded in turning hack the shadow on the dial of Ahaz,28 wiping out the Assyrian hosts of Sennacherib besieging Jerusalem,29 providing phenomena for the striking catastrophes mentioned by several of the Old Testament prophets,30 changing the length of the month and the year,31 influencing the outcome of the Trojan War,32 and adding a new war god to the pantheon of many pagan religions.33


but was entirely set in train by the intervention of the Jewish heroine, Judith (see e.g. my):


“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”



that I considered Velikovsky to be well off the track on this.

Nor could I find any evidence whatsoever in the books of Moses for an ominous Venusian presence. However, I had entirely forgotten in the course of time that Velikovsky had also linked the Plague and Exodus at the time of Moses to the eruption of Thera (Santorini), which I think may indeed be a plausible scenario – especially as the dating of the vent has recently been revised to an era earlier than the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty.


Image result


Dr. Velikovsky’s novel ‘science’


We read a summary account of this controversy at:


In 1950, a Russian psychiatrist by the name of Immanuel Velikovsky published a hugely controversial book called Worlds in Collision, in which he posited, based on cross-confirming references taken from texts of a wide range of ancient cultures, that Venus must be a recent addition to our family of planets. In fact, Velikovsky argued, based on his sources, that Venus as we know it must only be around 3500 years old. Moreover, Velikovsky suggested that the traumatic birth of Venus from Jupiter – as given in ancient myth – along with various ravages it ostensibly then wrought within our solar system, might provide an explanation for some of the seemingly miraculous events documented in the Bible around the time of the Exodus from Egypt. These events Velikovsky correlated to the mammoth eruption of Thera around 1500 BC [sic] – at the time of the demise of the Minoan culture and the end of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, which he surmised came to be known as the pillar of smoke by day and of fire by night as Moses led his tribe out of Egypt.


Velikovsky, who was educated in psychiatry by Freud’s famous student Wilhelm Stekel, was a longtime friend and colleague of Albert Einstein and had established himself as a figure on the international scene, partly through his work alongside Einstein and others during the founding of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

His thesis, which was popularized by a highly visible preview article published in Harper’s Magazine, was so very upsetting to the scientific community of the day that a group of leading astronomers, led by Harlow Shapley of Harvard University, launched a campaign to actively suppress Velikovsky’s book. What began first as a letter-writing campaign to the publisher, whose intent was to convince editors at MacMillan and Company to simply drop the book, soon turned into an overt threat by leading Universities to boycott the textbook division of MacMillan if they persisted in publishing it. Despite the financial success of the book (it quickly became a runaway bestseller), pressure from this campaign eventually resulted in the firing of the MacMillan editor who originally signed Velikovsky’s book and culminated in the highly-unusual decision by MacMillan to ultimately transfer its publishing rights to a competitor, one that did not publish textbooks.

In retrospect, it is easy to understand why Velikovsky’s book might have sparked such vehement upset in leading scientists of the day. First, Velikovsky had the audacity when presenting his theory to transgress the unspoken boundaries of several different academic fields – many of them not his own – and had the sheer chutzpah to offer up non-quantifiable references from ancient texts as evidence in support of a radical astronomic theory. Likewise, the very notion that Venus could be younger than billions of years old served to undermine the principle of uniformity – the notion that an unchanging universe has persisted for millions of years- an important concept that underpins Darwin’s theory of evolution. Furthermore, Velikovsky’s viewpoint threatened to resurrect a kind of fire and brimstone religion that modern science had actively worked to supplant for more than a century.


From the perspective of the conventional scientific wisdom of 1950, Velikovsky’s thesis was simply outrageous. Events Velikovsky described, such as the ostensible ejection of Venus as a comet from massive Jupiter, its near-miss with the Earth, its direct collision with Mars that, in turn, catalyzed a series of subsequent near-misses between Mars and the Earth, and the eventual rapid circularization of the orbit of Venus as it settled down to become a proper planet, seemed to violate fundamental principles of astronomic science and planetary motion.

Also, each stage of Velikovsky’s scenario for the recent birth of Venus carried with it a number of common-sense eventualities that ran directly counter to then-current beliefs. For example, Velikovsky’s vision of a young Venus (at that time thought by many to be quite Earthlike) implied that the planet must, in fact, still be very hot. Velikovksy’s description of the ostensible roamings of Venus implied that the planet would be found to have an anomalous rotation and/or revolution. Likewise, a young planet should present a markedly pristine surface as compared to other astronomic bodies in our solar system. A close approach of Venus to our moon such as Velikovsky envisions should have imparted magnetism to the moon’s rocks.

While discussing possible effects of theoretic encounters between Venus, Mars and the Earth, Velikovsky made a number of suppositions about the likely chemical composition of these bodies and the effects of likely chemical interactions that are, in my opinion, largely speculative and unquantifiable, and therefore suspect. I relegate these to the status of secondary issues, since they are both difficult to demonstrate and have no direct bearing on Velikovsky’s broader scenario.

There is hardly an argument or observation that has been made, either in favor of or against the controversial astronomic theories of Immanuel Velikovsky that has not been met with seemingly endless counter argument. Emphatic treatises – both in favor of and against Velikovsky’s perspective, and often given as definitive proofs – have been offered up by a long list of often qualified, thoughtful, intelligent commentators. Often these arguments, taken in the context in which they have been given (and sometimes justified to five decimal points) may seem wholly sensible and convincing, and the reader may come away believing that he or she has just unturned the final word on the subject – until, a few months later, some new scientific discovery or fact appears in print that can be seen to agree in some way with Velikovsky’s outlook, and so the monster (once thought dead) again somehow rears its head.

Whole books have been compiled and edited simply to present the wide-ranging arguments that have been offered up by various commentators about Velikovsky’s Worlds In Collision. Consequently, over the course of 60-some years since the book’s original publication in 1950, the subject has grown to encompass a fairly broad range of quite thorny – and often heatedly debated – issues

One popular conception is that Velikovsky’s thesis was put to rest in 1974 at a Symposium held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco during which a group of leading critics presented papers against Velikovsky’s scenario, with Velikovsky in attendance to answer. Likewise there have been numerous studies made on such wide ranging topics as tree-ring growth, isotope absorption by plants, climate records preserved in coral deposits,ice core studies, moon-rock magnetism, and changes in the magnetic field of the Earth, each again offered up as definitive proof for or against some aspect of Velikovsky’s thesis.

Given all that has been written against Velikovsky, it might seem reasonable to approach the subject from the perspective that his Venus theories must be wrong. However, the moment we adopt this stance, we begin to meet with a number of sometimes intractable difficulties. The first and most obvious involves the long and still-growing list of eventualities that are frequently cited in ostensible support of his theories. Contrary to expectations, Venus has turned out to be hot (hot enough at its surface to melt lead), its surface is surprisingly pristine, its rotation is anomalous, it does exhibit rotational resonance with the Earth, and so on. Our perspective against Velikovsky’s viewpoint would require us to conclude that considerations of this kind must then be the product of coincidence. But if our intent is to be fair, the longer this list of coincidental facts grows, the more intractable a credibility problem we eventually create for ourselves. Just how much recourse to compounding coincidence are we willing to tolerate before we effectively undercut our own viewpoint? The same is true for the many aspects of Venus study that might be interpreted as supporting Velikovsky’s outlook but for the proposal of some newly-anointed theory that effectively distances the new finding from him? I have often said that Velikovsky could be wrong, but if so, then he surely must be counted among the very luckiest researchers to have ever published, given the sheer number of controversies that seem to continue to fall in his favor. ….


More solid, in my opinion, would be Dr. Velikovky’s assertion that the effects of the Theran volcanic catastrophe could have produced the kind of phenomena described in the Book of Exodus:


Ages in Chaos:

The Exodus: The True Story of Moses and the Pharaoh According to Velikovsky


By Kemal Menemencioglu


According to the post presented below: “The theory that the Thera eruption was the source of the plagues described in the Book of Exodus, was first forwarded by the Egyptologist Hans Goedicke during the early 1980's, and has since become one of the most widely accepted explanations for the events of the Exodus in modern biblical scholarship”.


The struggle of Moses with the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was also his brother; the deliverance of his people from slavery; the ten plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea are related in sacred texts full of miraculous events. It is an integral part of the religious beliefs of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But what can we make of it in this scientific age with its precise chronology of history? Immanuel Velikovsky in his book written half a century ago, “Ages of Chaos”, has offered striking and ingenious solutions. He has presented challenging scientific explanations, which convincingly solve historical puzzles. Some recent historians have revived this thesis supported with new evidence.   

Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979) was born in Russia to a Jewish family. He graduated from the University of Moscow majoring in ancient history and sociology, he also received a degree in medicine, and later studied psychiatry in Vienna under Wilhem Stekel a pupil of Sigmund Freud. Later he studied cosmology, astronomy, geology, mythology, sacred literature and combined these disciplines to rewrite history in a series of astonishing books. His most important theory was that there have been a number of major catastrophes that have shaped the course of history. However, due to what he termed “collective amnesia”, the fact that people tend to push unpleasant event into their subconscious, these events have been forgotten. Science has also tended to ignore these catastrophes, for the same reason, even though they have left signs everywhere. Modern research has tended to confirm that these catastrophes have indeed occurred. One example is the discovery of huge meteor craters in Iraq dated to 2300 B.C. This is now believed to have caused the decline of major civilization in the Near East and to have triggered a dark age that lasted for centuries. It is believed that the Israelites migrated to the more hospital Nile delta at the end of this era. After some time a new Pharaoh who had forgotten the period when Joseph was vizier enslaved the Israelites.  to the Pentateuch / Torah the Exodus occurred in 1447 B.C. and since Ramses was mentioned. It was assumed that Ramses II was the oppressive Pharaoh of the Exodus. Gigantic monuments of Ramses’s time fortified this view in the eyes of Victorian scholars. It was assumed that the Exodus must have occurred during his time (1279-1213 B.C.). However, there is no historical evidence to support this view. Nor is there any sign of the catastrophic period mention in the Pentateuch. Ramses is also mentioned during the time when Joseph was vizier. But this was hundreds of years before the Exodus. For this reason it has been reasonably assumed that Ramses is merely a generic term and that another Pharaoh was in power at the time. Both Velikovsky and the historian David Rohl in his book “A Testament of Time” have designated the Pharaoh of the Exodus as Dudimose of the 13th Dynasty. ….

According to the Pentateuch, because the Pharaoh did not release the Israelites from bondage, Egypt suffered a series of ten plagues. These were: 1)   Rivers and water sources turned into blood; 2) Frogs 3) Lice; 4) Flies; 5) Disease and death of Livestock; 6) Boils; 7) Hail mixed with fire; 8) Locusts; 9) Darkness; 10) Death of the first born. important argument set forth by Velikovsky involves the papyrus of Ipuwer placed into the Leiden Museum in the Netherlands in 1828. This papyrus appears to relate events that occurred in the early ages of ancient Egypt. According to academicians it contains riddles or prophecies, however it openly relates a number of catastrophes that befell Egypt. The Nile turning to blood, the waters being undrinkable, the death of animals, the sky becoming dark, fires, earthquakes, hungry and destitute Egyptians are among these. If Velikovsky is correct then it disproves the contention that there is no trace of the events related in the Pentateuch recorded in Egyptian history.   

The Eruption of the Santorini volcano in the Aegean Island of Thera was believed to have occurred at that age. Geologists have given such diverse ages as 1638 B.B. and 1360 B.C. for this catastrophe. Velikovsky claims that a chain of volcanoes exploded causing the plagues of Egypt. The Santorini explosion is known to have caused such radical changes such as the end of the Mycenaean civilization. It was many times more powerful than the eruption of Karakatoa in 1883, which [shook] the world and caused 35 thousands deaths. …. The Santorini eruption was believed to have been a thousand time more powerful than a nuclear bomb. In the Pentateuch, it is mentioned that there as pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide the Israelites in their journey. Velikovsky believes that the Sinai mountain, which is volcanic, erupted and as volcanoes appear to be pillars of smoke by day and pillars of fire by night, this would explain this enigmatic reference.


According to Velikovsky and recent theories, such volcanic eruptions would explain the darkness, and hail and lightning are known to accompany volcanic explosions of great magnitude. On a recent event, a river in America turned red. With the poisoning of waters, frogs and other amphibian reptiles would roam the land. Later they would die to create flies and lice, which would spread boils and disease. Recent discoveries of mass graves from this period in the Avaris region tend to confirm the theory of a plague.  

How then can we explain the parting of the Red Sea? Velikovsky suggests that the Israelites crossed the shallow Sea of Reeds. An earthquake triggered by the eruptions caused the waters to fall back, and then to rush back to swallow the chariots of the Pharaoh. 

[Velikovsky’s] claim that there are faults in standard excepted Egyptian chronology and that there is shift of a few hundred years is confirmed by a number of modern revisionist historians such as David Rohl. Rohl like Velikovsky offers hundreds of pages of evidence to support this claim. Other scholars have claimed that most of the Old Testament, including the stay in Egypt, Exodus, the fall of Jericho, the Temple of Solomon are works of fiction. Rohl’s answer to this claim is that the wrong period in history is sought for archeological evidence. If they went a bit further back all the evidence is there. catastrophes when the Exodus occurred would have resulted in major migrations. According to both Velikovsky and Rohl, the Hyksos conquered Egypt shortly after the Exodus. Egyptian historians call these people the “Amu”, and both authors claim that they are the same as the Biblical Amalekite hordes which the Israelites fought with and prevailed over. They were also called the Hyksos or [Shepherd] Kings, and according to Manetho, they conquered  Egypt without resistance. Their rule which was described as cruel and destructive ended after a few hundred years after which they were driven off by [Ahmose] I of the Southern Upper Egypt kingdom, which was free from their rule. ….