A Chronology of the Holocene Period†

By Stephen E Franklin


Introduction: The Patriarchs and the Pharaohs

After certain specified periods, he said,
the same events occur again,
for nothing is entirely new ....
—Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras

... A vast tapeworm of bring down word and image
moving through your mind screen
always at the same speed on a slow hydraulic-spine axis
like the cylinder gimmick in the adding machine ....
—William Burroughs, Nova Express

Wheels within wheels, Bendreth.
―F. Paul Wilson, Wheels within Wheels

There are two basic problems with trying to align the Egyptian and Hebrew chronologies, as well as those of a broader range of ancient civilizations. The first is that there is no Egyptian history as such to align with. There are various more or less fragmented king-lists, mostly derived from that of Manetho who wrote in the Hellenic or Ptolemaic Period, that have come down to us. And there are monuments and papyri that record the deeds of one or another pharaoh with little reference to the context in which these deeds were performed. On the Hebrew side there are purportedly religious texts that intersperse supposed chronological details where people live to be 120 years old with tales and stories the significance of which is called into question by their openly miraculous nature.

There are other problems with the Hebrew account of events. The most obvious is that despite occasional references to "Pharaoh," he (or they) is rarely named. This may be explained by the fact that, as Adolf Erman says in his Life in Ancient Egypt, "the Egyptians avoided using the name of the reigning monarch ... 'The palace, the king's house, the great double hall' and above all the 'great house' (pero) ... the last was used so commonly that the Hebrews and Assyrians employed it (Pharaoh) almost as the actual name of the Egyptian monarch." Neither do locations specified in the Jewish Holy Scriptures often equate with actual locations known to us from Egyptian texts and records. It is almost as if the two series of events occurred in alternate realities. And despite references to large numbers of people, entire tribes in some places, the actual stories revolve around a severely limited number of individuals, and the lifetimes of these individuals, if their ages had not been artificially inflated, would have extended over a relatively short period of time. In fact, between Terah, the father of Abraham, and Moses one counts only eight generations. What could possibly be going on here?

The most obvious point to begin any alignment of the two cultures is with the Jewish hero and liberator, Moses. Indeed, many words have been written about this very subject, from the psychological explication of Freud to the catastrophic cosmological description of his pupil's pupil, Immanuel Velikovsky. Neither scholar, and no one in between their two extreme views, has managed to successfully and accurately place Moses in a specific time period of ancient Pharaonic Egypt. Again, why is this?

The earliest clue to this mystery comes from Godfrey Higgins, he who attempted to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis and inquired into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions in his book, the Anacalypsis. For it is Higgins who tells us, referring to the Abbé Guerin de Rocher and his Histoire des Temps Fabuleux, that he had

observed...that the kings of Egypt, whose names ended in cheres, were renewed incarnations of the Χρης.... On these kings the Abbé says,

Mycérinus, successeur de Chéphren ou Chabryis, appellé par Diodore, Menchérinus ou Chérinus; par Eratosthène, Caras ou Ocaras; par Manéthon, Men-cheres, et de quantité d'autres noms terminés en cerès ou cherès ...; roi plein de douceur, de religion et d'équité, qui rend au peuple opprimé la liberté de sacrifier, qui le soulage dans ses maux, qui se rend recommendable [sic] par son extrème exactitude à rendre la justice ....

[Mycerinus, successor of Chephren or Chabryis, called by Diodorus, Mencherinus or Cherinus; by Eratosthenes, Cara or Ocaras; by Manetho, Men-cheres, and by a quantity of other names ending in ceres or cheres ...; a king full of gentleness, of religion and fairness, who renders to the oppressed people the freedom to sacrifice, who relieves their pain, who recommends himself by his extreme exactitude in rendering justice ....]

I think few persons will fail to see in this early chres or Χρης, the prototype of a later one. The same mythos is here, and this cannot be disputed. We have here in the mourir avant le temps, the person crucified in Egypt in the Apocalypse. The Abbé after this proceeds to shew [sic], that the Cheres was Moses, but this only tends to strengthen the proof that Moses was an Avatar, a Messiah, a divine incarnation, saving his people, in fact a Χρης.

Let us look a little closer at this Moses, then. We know that in Christianity the "Christ" is the son of God. Despite Freud's inclination to see Moses as a father figure in the classical psychoanalytical manner, later overshadowed by the notion of God the son, we would be justified after reading the above to wonder whether Moses might be the son of someone significant himself. The answer to this question is multifaceted, and one is amazed that even Higgins managed to miss the affiliation of the family of Joseph and their descendants with a certain geographically constrained religious organization in Egypt. It turns out that the father of Moses was Amram, whose name a certain Ove von Spaeth, author of a Danish work whose title is translated as Assassinating Moses, has identified as an abbreviation of Amon-Re in the manner one finds, peculiarly enough, the names of the cities of Eastern Europe shortened in the language of Eastern Yiddish. And "Sir Flinders Petrie," as quoted by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, "holds that Moses is an Egyptian word meaning 'unfathered son of a princess.' " This story becomes more familiar by the moment.

As Thutmoses III of the 18th Dynasty says in an official report, as quoted by Gerhard Herm in his book on The Phoenicians, "When my army returns, they bring as tribute the cedars [of Lebanon] of my victory, which I have won according to the designs of my father [the god Amun-Re {bracketed comment due to Herm}], who has entrusted all foreign lands to me." Susan Redford quotes Ramses III in The Harem Conspiracy, "Then my father, Amun-Re, lord of gods ..., crowned me as Lord of the Two Lands on the throne of him who begot me ...." As we can see, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom often thought of themselves as sons of Amon-Re. Erman tells us that "each king was of divine birth, for as long as he was acknowledged sovereign, he was considered as the direct descendant of Re. This belief was not affected by the fact that in the course of time the throne passed frequently from one family to another..." As Freud says, "In the best period of the 'New Empire' the main god of the city of Thebes is called Amon-Re, in which combination the first part signifies the ram-headed city-god, whereas Re is the name of the hawk-headed sun-god of On." Now it is precisely Joseph, the half-brother of Levi, supposedly the great-grandfather of Moses, who is given in marriage by the Pharaoh (whichever one that may be), Asanath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest of On (which the Greeks called Heliopolis). According to Manetho in the version quoted by Josephus, Moses himself was born at Heliopolis where he became a priest under the Osirian name "Osarsiph" and only later changed his name to "Moses." Manetho should know. He himself was a priest at Heliopolis. Josephus further relates a story from Cheremon that calls Moses, the scribe "Tisithen" and Joseph, the sacred scribe "Peteseph." The Scriptures have Joseph appointed viceroy of all Egypt under the name Zaphnath-paaneah: This in all of five generations beginning with Terah. As we shall see later, there is another less mystical and more practical explanation of the name of Amram, and this explanation will finally nail the lid shut on the coffin of the priestly notion that the Hebrews chronicled in the Old Testament were simply wandering shepherds who had no rational reason for hobnobbing with the Egyptian elite as they are purported to have done in the bible.

So here we have a family supposedly allied with the royal house of Egypt, specifically with its priestly class at Heliopolis and whose deliverer is from all obvious indications thought of as an incarnation of God in the same sense that the Pharaohs were thought of as recurring incarnations of the Sun God, and there is supposedly not a single indication in the history of Egypt that this family ever existed. Let me just say that this is quite annoying to someone with my interest in genealogy. Those who I can only describe as renegade scholars have gone to great lengths to try to remedy this problem by throwing over whole sections of Egyptian history, as did Velikovsky, or by ascribing various psychological conditions to the authors of the Old Testament and then inventing great conferences in the desert where the representatives of the various religious systems of the participants, all tribes of the Sinai and Arabian deserts, hammered out a single unified story of their history that included the sojourn in Egypt of only a small part of their number, as did Freud, all in the service of expanding a single fact or fragmentary reference to someone, who sounds like he might fit into the biblical story, into an entirely new redaction of the history of Egypt. Again, is there some obvious solution to this incredible quandary?

Now the first reference to "Israel" as a people comes in a stele from the period of Merneptah (or Merenptah), the son of Ramses II ("the Great") of the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom, either father or son often thought of as the pharaoh of the Exodus. And Ramses certainly had a problem with rebellion in one of his stone quarries, but there are other elements that need to be taken into account before making any decisions about the time of the Exodus, if there was such an event. The most obvious was a chronological system that appears to have survived from the very beginnings of human civilization in which an avatar (or "messiah" or "savior") returned to rule mankind, or a specific people, especially in times of need, every 600 years. As described by Jean Sylvain Bailly in his Histoire de L'astronomie Ancienne and referred to by Godfrey Higgins, this neros cycle was based on a period of 7421 lunar months after which the moon returned to the same place in the sky and the earth revolved around the sun exactly 600 times. One can imagine the importance of this cycle to a civilization like that of the Sumerians who used a base-60 (sexagesimal) numbering system. Though various versions of this system existed at various times and in various places, some of the more recognizable members of this astronomically determined group of celestial representatives in the Near East would include Hammurabi, Cyrus the Great of Persia, Pythagoras, Jesus (supposedly of Nazareth), and possibly Muhammad. As we have seen already, there is some evidence that Moses was seen as one of these recurring avatars and from that evidence we can see that it might be convenient to ask ourselves at this point whether he was therefore born, depending on the accuracy of the birth of Cyrus at 600 BC and Jesus at 1 AD, somewhere about the year 1200 BC. But even if we could demonstrate the truth of this supposition, we would have to come up with a second point in time to create anything resembling an alignment between the two chronologies of interest to us, and even if we could, we would have to deal with the problem of the varying scales of those two chronologies in one of which people live normal lives and in the other of which they live to be 120. Fortunately, there is such a point, and amazingly enough it involved a marriage between King Solomon and the daughter of a pharaoh known in the Old Testament as Shishak. Shishak has been identified by modern historians as one Shoshenq I, the first pharaoh of the 22nd Dynasty. The nature of this identification will be developed in Chapter One where we will begin to assemble the pieces of this complex though quite interesting puzzle whose solution has managed to elude those who are too closely wed to its theological truth.

A few points of a structural nature need to be expressed at this point. In the case of my use of chronological indicators found in the first five chapters of the Hebrew bible, I have implicitly accepted the well-established principles of the Documentary Hypothesis. I have specifically made use of The Bible with Sources Revealed by Richard E. Friedman because of its accessibility, ease of use, and general accuracy of translation. As it turns out, most of the earliest chronological data made use of in this work falls outside the widely recognized J, E, P, and D documents as they have been extracted from the closely edited text of the Old Testament and consists almost entirely of that material Friedman calls other independent texts, which include mainly what he calls the Book of Records, which appears to have had its sources in the same documents used by Manetho, that is, the records kept by the priests at Heliopolis.

Also, in case it is not obvious from the text of the current work itself, and there have been various indications on the internet that it has not been so obvious to some, especially to those with a knee-jerk distrust of anything biblical or legendary in general, I would like to indicate here the nature of my viewpoint toward the veracity or lack thereof of the religious texts referenced in this work. First, I do not accept or reject a priori any claims of miraculous events except to the extent that certain data which appear to be indicative of divine intervention turn out to be the result of a distorted timeline. In this category would fall the birth of Isaac when Sarah was 90, which phenomenal age turns out to be the result of a doubling of the timeline; she was actually 45. I am, in essence, an objectivist. I have studiously tried to avoid any preconceived viewpoint in regards to the veracity or accuracy of the biblical (and Egyptian and Greek, for that matter) account of events. This is a chronological work. Let me say that again. This is a chronological work. It deals with when things happened or are purported to have happened, not with whether those events actually occurred, except to the extent that those events fit a pattern that serves to advance the development and extension of the chronology. Thus, if the Flood fits a broader pattern of global catastrophes of a clearly repetitive nature, it is assumed that that Flood occurred in some form or another. This is especially true when such events appear in more than one historical/legendary/mythological framework, as, for example, the Flood occurs in the Greek legends under the term "Flood of Deucalion" at the same time and in the same relationship to an earlier catastrophe during the lifetime of the so-called first man, Adam in the Hebrew, Phoroneus in the Greek, tradition. Neither have I rejected the reality of named characters in any of the ancient works that have come down to us from the ancient world simply because those names are eponymous, though it is clear that many of those characters may very well be fictitious. The fact is that some of them are definitely not fictional and are quite recognizable players on the stage of recorded history. This will become clear in the following chapters.

There has also been a tendency of late on the internet to associate the current work with the notion that the "Hebrews were Egyptians" or that the "Egyptians were Hebrews." This is most assuredly not what I am saying or attempting to say. There were certainly strong relationships between the two groups: Hebrews did sit on the throne of Egypt and serve in other capacities among the Egyptian nobility, including serving as "judges," i.e. governors, of Canaan. Egyptian royal daughters did intermarry with Hebrew kings, and so on, as we shall see in the coming chapters. But one cannot simply replace one group with the other, even to the limited extent of replacing one royal family with members of the other, or replace the monotheistic religion of one with the solar religion of the other, though they were certainly closely related. Beyond this, the Egyptians did not even think of the Hebrews as members of a separate ethnic group. This is one of the reasons why there is so little reference to them in the surviving Egyptian texts. The bald fact of the matter is that the Egyptians thought of the Hebrews as Syrians, almost certainly because of their association with the Kingdom of Ugarit, as we shall see in Chapter Five, and wherever we read of the Egyptians marrying "Syrians" or battling "Syrians" or having economic relations with "Syrians" we may at least suspect the presence of Hebrews from Syria. Israel has often been a district of the latter province, from Abraham's battle with the allies of Amraphel until Roman times.

If it is not already obvious from perusing the table of contents, the title of the first part of this work is a compromise between accuracy and conciseness. The Hebrews, the Egyptians, and the Assyrians have been chosen for the title because they are most representative of the various national groupings around which the current work revolves. I have not, however, felt compelled to avoid other chronological questions involving the Sumerians and Akkadians, the Greeks and the Romans, the Phoenicians and the Indians and the Chinese, and even the rulers of Crete, about whom I will have much to say in Chapter Fourteen, where I take on the problem of the Phaistos Disc and its relationship to the Phoenician alphabet, about which I have written in the appendix to my previous work, the Origins of the Tarot Deck, which is available on the used book market and has also been reproduced as downloadable pdf files constituting Appendix C.

Again, if it is not obvious from the text, I should emphasize a point that often escapes those who come looking for a particular datum through the means of a search engine, that this is a unified work. Despite its episodic nature, certain theoretical elements run through the entire text—call them, in totality, the metatheory, or the foundation stone. This goes especially for the timeline, and specifically the notion that there was a cometary cycle that defined the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires. I was recently asked if there was direct evidence for the appearance of a comet in 1526 BC, as if this entire work were not evidence for an entire sequence of cyclical cometary events that included that very year. In short, the reader may actually wish to read the entire work before complaining that I have not documented a particular historical event.

I have been accused on at least one occasion of intellectual dishonesty, a charge I do not even comprehend let alone find myself in a position to defend against, except to the extent that I can assure the reader that nothing I write is intentionally invalid. I do have a tendency to quote my earlier writings in circumstances where I feel that a particular problem has already been solved, even if my conclusions have not yet been accepted by a broad range of scholarly opinion. There are also circumstances where I find a conclusion so obvious and compelling that I leave its detailed analysis and proof to others and other times. My objective is not to convince the inconvincible but to satisfy the truly curious and their hunger for clarity and understanding in a field fraught with a seemingly eternal fog of misunderstanding.

Neither am I a Velikovskian, nor necessarily a Catastrophist with a capital "C", as has been suggested by some. I simply follow the clues and assemble the data and draw conclusions where they are particularly obvious and compelling. If the clues point to a recurring series of disasters on a 600-year schedule that would make the Japanese rail system envious, it is not the result of any preconceived viewpoint on my part. Objectivity is not just a buzz word that makes scientists and scholars feel good about themselves. It is an invaluable tool that allows one to cut through the densest of historical underbrush to the hidden treasure within. Why would I want to throw this tool away so that I could validate some silly preconceived notion when I can use it to make discoveries that have so far eluded the most gifted of historical commentators of this and the most distant of previous generations? In short, I have no axe to grind, no sword to sharpen, no agenda to advance. If I bear any weapons at all, they are the flame of enlightenment and the book of knowledge, the latter of which, as Laurie Anderson might suggest, can be "thick enough to stun an ox." Hopefully, the current work will only be ponderous enough to give one a small headache.


A Note on My Sources

I make no apology for using sources from beyond the mainstream. What has, until now, remained unnoticed is that large portions of the research done by one independent scholar may often fit together with that done by another. Thus, to a certain extent, the current work may be seen as an attempt to integrate the discoveries and suspicions of these researchers into a unified whole, a kind of alternative history of the world, as someone once called it. What sometimes distinguishes these scholars is that they take religious history seriously, unlike secular historians who often chuck out the history with the mumbo jumbo; but they do not take it as superior to secular history, unlike religious historians, especially those of the 19th century and earlier who saw their local religious texts as superior to secular history. To use a term from interlinguistics, what I am presenting here may be thought of as the "central form" of ancient historical research as it has evolved beyond the consensus viewpoint at various times and in various places, a process analogous to the one that takes the words used in the Romance languages, many of which have evolved from Latin along similar lines, and extracts and standardizes them into the vocabulary of Interlingua and other auxiliary language systems.

As for specific references in this work, they are restricted to the name of the author and the title of the publication in which the reference may be found, plus a year if the bibliography contains more than one title by the same author. For example, if a particular quotation is ascribed to "Freud," and there is only one book by Sigmund Freud in the bibliography, it would be reasonable to suppose that the quotation is from that book.


A Note on My Methods

The work you are currently reading is a work in progress. It is unfinished. It may never be completely finished, though it may eventually reach a point where it is essentially complete in its broader outlines and only moderately incomplete in its finer details. This process is not simply the result of a lack of focus on my part, or the result of a lack of understanding of the topics under discussion, or even a psychologically based inability to finish a project. It is a direct result of the primary method I use to achieve a level of understanding of the distant past that has eluded a long series of brilliant scholars before me. This method is similar to one that has been known to, and used by, mathematicians for millennia. It is the method of iteration, or closer and closer approximations that lead, eventually, to the correct answer. Like its mathematical sibling, my method may yield wildly inaccurate results in the early stages of its application but will begin to yield reasonable approximations very shortly and will eventually lead to solutions virtually indistinguishable from absolute truth. In this regard, the reader should recognize at this point that the tables he will find throughout the current work are the first to be modified as I sharpen my understanding and exposition of the matters under discussion. Only after I have become satisfied with the chronological data found in the tables do I modify the attendant text in which I explain the tables and present the historical evidence upon which they are based.


On the Representation of Dates

The reader may assume that dates used in the current work are generally accurate within a range of plus or minus a year or two unless otherwise indicated. Dates preceded by ca (circa) tend to be less precisely well defined, though not necessarily less accurate.

The abbreviations BC and AD have been used rather than the more scientific and less theological BCE and CE to indicate years before or after the beginning of the Common (or Christian) Era, simply because they are more widely recognized and understood. There is no deeper significance to this choice.

Periods expressed in years generally refer to complete revolutions of the earth about the sun starting at some arbitrary point. No distinction is made between solar years, lunar years (accumulations of 12 or 13 lunar months), and repeating sequences of equinoxes and solstices. The data is simply not precise enough to make such fine distinctions.

Years that begin sequences of tree-ring (or dendrochronological) minima are assumed to be either accurate or one year late (too "low") depending on whether the underlying event occurred before or after the growing season. For example, if I state that the Battle of Gibeon was fought in the year of the tree-ring minimum of 1159 BC, the reader may understand this to mean that it happened sometime between the summer of 1160 and the summer of 1159.

And finally, in the tables, I normally number a sequence of years beginning with zero rather than one. These entries should be read, "After X years, such and such occurred." Hence, an entry for year zero should be read, "In the first year of this sequence, this event occurred." An entry for year one should be read, "After one year, this event occurred." Note that use of the term "after," as in "after such-and-such a date," in the main body of a table is an abbreviated form, meaning that the event occurred either during that year or sometime thereafter. This is what the academics would call the terminus post quem. The same goes for the term "before," being the terminus ante quem.



I would like to thank the following people for linking to this site, either from their own sites or in forums:

Gregory Bartholemew
"KK" in various tarot forums, specifically in regard to my earlier Origins of the Tarot Deck
Tony O'Connell at Atlantipedia
James D. Allen at Jamie Allen's Family Tree & Ancient Genealogical Allegations
Eric Westfall at Uroko

I would also like to thank those who have made comments, suggestions, and corrections by email, especially the latter.


*The word "Typhon" in the title refers to the predynastic king of Egypt and to the comet that was named after him,
and makes no reference to Aleister Crowley nor to the Ordo Templi Orientis.

†© 2004-2017 Stephen E. Franklin. Material in green and illustrations from Origins of the Tarot Deck are © 1988. All rights reserved. The material on this website may be copied for private use. It may be copied for academic use IF the author is properly credited. It may NOT be copied for any kind of commercial use WHATSOEVER, including inclusion on a website on which advertising is present, except for brief excerpts (up to 500 words as established by publishing precedent) where the author is properly credited. Larger portions, as well as the illustrations, may be reproduced with prior permission.


[Chapter One: Solomon and Shoshenq]


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