“Chronological Framework of Ancient History”: Reply

“Chronological Framework of Ancient History”: Reply

The views expressed in this paper are those of the writer(s) and are not necessarily those of the ARJ Editor or Answers in Genesis.


The authors respond to critics by pointing out the Sumerian-Egyptian chronology problem that challenges all attempts at historical revision of the Ancient Near East and Egypt. Additionally, the historicity of Semiramis I and II is defended. Porter’s stratigraphic challenge to making the Old and Middle Kingdom’s of Egypt parallel to each other is also addressed.

Keywords: Egyptian chronology, revisionism, Semiramis, Courville, Old Kingdom of Egypt, Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Chronological Framework of Ancient History, CFAH

We are grateful for the scholars who took the time to read and respond to our first three “Chronological Framework of Ancient History” papers (Griffith and White 2022a, 2022b, 2023a). We appreciate their work as well as their concerns for accuracy. This kind of discussion improves our knowledge and helps us to strengthen and adapt our positions.

Before answering their specific objections, we must reiterate that our goal in publishing this series of papers is to conduct a comprehensive review of what the ancient chroniclers recorded about ancient history, and to critically assess their claims in comparison to Scripture, as well as to compare them to each other. Where two or three sources provide data that converges on a single date for an event, we have marked those as anchor points, even in cases that seem to contradict what we think we know.

When taking a comprehensive approach to the problem of reconciling ancient history with the Bible, not everything can be covered in one paper. Hence, this comprehensive approach is being published in the form of 20 papers along with several appendices. The first five papers in the series are the most general and seek to establish dates for major events which the chroniclers considered to be turning points in history, and from which durations to other events are given.

The papers that will follow focus on specific nations and time periods and delve into the details, many of which have been supplied by archaeological finds. As Egypt is used as the measuring rod by which archaeologists date nearly all other cultures, papers 6–12 will focus on Egyptian chronology. Those in turn will be followed by papers on the chronology of the Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, NW Europeans, and nearby kingdoms that interacted with them, such as the Elamites, Guti, and others.

At the end of the series, after considering the available historical evidence, we will propose a revision to the “Three Age Model” of archaeology that agrees with the Ussher-Jones chronology of the Old Testament, and appears to solve several thorny problems of ancient history.

Most of the objections raised thus far have been to the use of the Ussher-Jones chronology and the dates found in our third paper, Anchor Points of Ancient History, in which we showed durations from multiple sources to 22 events, which included the Fall of Troy, the Fall of Akkad, and the reigns of two different individuals referred to as “Semiramis” by the Greek chroniclers, as well as Berossus and Philo of Byblos (Griffith and White 2023a).

We expected objections to the anchor points in this paper because we merely noted where the ancient chroniclers placed the events, and did not go into detail on the support for the events themselves. Thus, in some cases the anchor points appear to be standing on the “skinny branches” of the tree. The anchor points that we chose for that paper are all treated in much greater detail when we reach the appropriate place in the series, and they are important because they fit precisely with other sources that will be brought to bear. While we will answer the objections here in a cursory manner, most of them will be thoroughly handled in the appropriate papers in the series.

Osgood (2024) objects to the use of ancient chroniclers giving dates to a Queen Semiramis as mythology, as opposed to the more certain sources found by archaeologists. However, we must point out that archaeology alone is an unreliable and inadequate source for history. What we know of the reign of Emperor Nero comes almost entirely from the writings of historians, some of whom were his contemporaries, which have been passed down through manuscripts to the present day. The oldest manuscript of Tacitus currently known dates to the ninth century, which is thus eight centuries removed from the events he describes. Yet, we consider these Roman accounts of the first century to be reliable, in part because we have several witnesses to those events.

While archaeology can confirm several inscriptions and bricks dated to the reign of Nero, without the witness of the chroniclers we would know nothing of how he came to the throne, his persecution of Christians, his homosexuality, the debate over the burning of Rome, or his probable murders of his wife, mother, and several others. Thus, archaeology serves an important purpose in the study of history, but archaeology cannot be allowed to replace the testimony of chroniclers in the work of historians.

The ancient chroniclers who wrote prior to the Islamic invasion of Egypt and the destruction of the Great Library had access to between 40,000 to 400,000 documents on the widest array of subjects ranging from history and religion to math and science. The priests of Babylon in the Seleucid period had access to similar archives on cuneiform tablets. Nearly every major temple in the ANE (Ancient Near East) had records dating back to its founding, some carved on stone, some baked on clay tablets, and others written on more ephemeral media such as vellum and papyrus scrolls.

The use of clay tablets for administrative and diplomatic purposes meant that even fires did not destroy the records in many cases. It is for this very reason that we have access to much of the library of Ashurbanipal and the records from the palace of Sargon II in Khorsabad. The tablets survived the fire when Nineveh was destroyed, waiting in the dirt for 2,500 years to be rediscovered. Therefore, many of the ancient chroniclers had access to high quality information dating back centuries and millennia before their time, particularly if they were informed by priests at the temples, which many of them stated that they were.

We have been taught to discount and ridicule the testimonies of ancient chroniclers such as Ctesias, Herodotus, and Diodorus as myth by the same school of academia that considers the history recorded in Scripture to be myth.

While creationists have pushed back against the discounting of biblical history, we should also be willing to consider what the ancient chroniclers had to say. We do not do so in a gullible manner, but critically. We compare the testimonies of the chroniclers to the scriptural account, to each other, and to archaeological finds. And we tend to accept their testimony unless we have a good reason not to. The chroniclers who wrote about events one or two thousand years before their time were no further removed from the events than historians in our day who write about the events of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In both cases historians rely on both written and oral histories that were passed down, often preserved by religious institutions such as monasteries.

We have also seen a bias from archaeology in favor of the historical sources found on tablets buried in the ground as a higher quality witness than the testimony of historians such as Berossus who wrote about three centuries later on scrolls. However, the late Assyrian histories such as the Assyrian King List and the Babylonian Chronicles are compositions similar to those written on scrolls by later historians in the Hellenistic period. This means that they are still centuries removed from the events they describe.

For all of these reasons we approach the testimony of ancient chroniclers critically and with care, but we do not find that the late Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles are significantly better in quality than the later Hellenistic sources such as Ctesias, Berossus, and Manetho who wrote official histories from the state and temple archives. The tragedy is that we do not have the original works from the Hellenistic chroniclers. We have only redactions and epitomes by later historians who cited them only in part. Using the extant rags and tatters to criticize the original works is akin to using a pencil sketch of “Adam and Eve by Giorgio Martini to criticize the original lost work by Leonardo Da Vinci.

These things being said, let us take a look at the objections that have been raised.

Osgood—Ahab and Shalmaneser III

In response to the following paragraph in our first paper (Griffith and White 2022a, 388–389), Osgood (2024) seeks to debunk a point of chronology concerning the identification of Ahab in the Assyrian records:

Example: One-sided Synchronism

The Kurkh Monolith records that Shalmaneser III fought a coalition of 12 kings at the city of QarQar, one of whom was Yaub Srilit. This has been interpreted to mean Ahab of Israel. However, this is a low-quality synchronism for two reasons. First, there is no record of this battle or campaign in the annals of Israel, and the normal Assyrian word for Israel was Khumri not Srilit. Second, the Bible has five chronological data sets covering this period for Israel and Judah, all of which place the death of Ahab over 40 years before the accession of Shalmaneser III. Therefore this is a weak one-sided synchronism that contradicts the chronology of the Israel side. A better explanation is probably possible.

In this paragraph we did make an error. We meant to write that the death of Ahab was over 40 years before the Battle of QarQar in the sixth year of Shalmaneser III. Kudos to Dr. Osgood for catching that.

The point of listing the Battle of QarQar account as a weak synchronism was to provide an example of a “one-sided synchronism” which is not recorded from both of the kingdoms it concerns. It was not intended as a treatise on the errors of the Albright-Thiele school of biblical chronology, or even that particular synchronism. Even if Osgood were correct in all of his assertions about the Assyrian synchronisms, the example given is still a “one-sided synchronism” because it is not recorded in the annals of both kingdoms in question, Assyria and Israel.

The battle lines have been drawn for over a century between the Albright-Thiele chronology and those who follow the Ussher chronology for the Divided Kingdom. While we could debate Osgood’s Neo-Assyrian synchronisms, this subject has been treated in detail by Goodenow (1896, 185–195), Jones (2019, 152–158), and Gertoux (2015, 49–52). Of the three, we consider Goodenow’s solution to be most plausible, and Gertoux’s chronology of the Kings of Aram to be the most accurate.

Moreover, our project has bypassed the contentious Ahab synchronism (fig. 1) by using the durations of the ancient chroniclers to count back to the Dispersion in 2192/2191 B.C. and then count down by durations in Egyptian history to the sack of Jerusalem by Shishak in 972 B.C., and from there we can confirm the date of the death of Ben Hadad in 887 B.C. two years prior to the reign of Jehu in 885, thus placing Ahab’s death in 897 B.C.

Figure 1

Fig. 1. Systematic durations to Solomon, Ahab, and Shalmaneser III

It is by this method, confirmed by multiple additional durations and synchronisms, that we find the same dates, within a year or two, for the Exodus and the death of Solomon as were obtained by Ussher and Jones in their biblical chronologies.

Osgood—Tukulti-Ninurta Defeated Kassites not an Arab Dynasty

Osgood accuses us of “exceeding ignorance of Mesopotamian archaeology.” Having privately corresponded with Dr. Osgood in the past, we understand what he means by “downgrading the archaeological record” to be his objection to the placement of the Fall of Akkad to the Gutium in the year 1477 B.C., 245 years before the conquest of Babylon by Tukulti Ninurta I. That is because he places the Fall of Akkad in 1776 B.C., three centuries before we do. This in turn exposes a greater rift between our positions, which is the fire behind the fuss here.

The Near East—Egyptian Synchronism Problem

Porter (2024) has raised the issue that there is an unavoidable problem when placing the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt in parallel as Courville tried to do, and which Osgood, Habermehl, and the present authors also attempt. The problem is how to synchronize the Near East with the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt.

In the chronology of the Near East there is a 767 year period from the reign of Sargon of Akkad down to the death of Samsuditana of the First Dynasty of Babylon that cannot be compressed. Within that time period occurred the Rise and Fall of Akkad, the Neo-Sumerian Renaissance, the rise of Rim-Sin, Shamshi-Adad, and Hammurabi, and the downfall of Zimri Lim.

The reason that it cannot be compressed is that archaeologists have found records of the year names for nearly the entire period, which confirm the witness of the Sumerian King List and the Babylonian King List for the dynasties of Akkad, Ur, Isin, Larsa, and Babylon. And incidentally, we have argued in Griffith and White (2023b) that Berossus agrees with them to the year.

Using the Sumerian King List (Pritchard 1969, 265–266) and modifying the Isin dynasty as per Fitzgerald (2002), the year names of Hammurabi (Pritchard 1969, 270), and the Babylonian King List B (Pritchard 1969, 271), the following summary of the chronological segments of this duration can be constructed.

141 y Sargon to Fall of Akkad d. Sar Kari Sharri
30 y Uruk IV Dynasty
91 y 40 days Gutium
7 y Utu-Hegal
108 y Ur III dynasty
210 y Isin Dynasty (Fitzgerald 2002, Appendix 1)
30 y Fall of Isin to defeat of Rim-sin in Hammurabi y 30
2 y to Hammurabi declares submission of Mari
2 y to Hammurabi destroys wall of Mari
621 y from Sargon the Great to destruction of Mari by Hammurabi in yr# 34

Continuing from Hammurabi y-34
8 years to d. Hammurabi in y-42
35 y Samsuiluna
25 y Ebishum
25 y Ammiditana
22 y Ammisaduga
31 y Samsuditana
146 y destruction of Mari to d. Samsuditana

Total 767 y ±6 y error from accession of Sargon to d. Samsuditana

Why is the period from Sargon to Samsuditana relevant to this discussion in this journal? The current orthodox chronology recognizes three major synchronisms between the Sumerian world and Egypt which cannot allow the Old and Middle Kingdoms to be contemporary with each other, if all three are valid. These are:

  1. Cartouches of Pepi I found in Akkadian Destruction layer of Ebla synchronizing either Sargon or Naram Sin with Pepi I.
  2. Assumed identity of Yantin-Ammu who sent a gift to Zimri Lim with Intin, governor of Byblos under Neferhotep I, synchronizing early Dynasty 13 to Zimri Lim.
  3. The Placement of Shamshi Adad I, a contemporary of Hammurabi, in the Assyrian King list prior to 1776 B.C., sometimes placed as high as 1900 B.C. depending on whether one uses the High, Middle, or Low Chronology of the ANE. He died a year or two before the reign of Zimri Lim.

When revisionists such as Courville, Osgood, Habermehl, and the present authors explore evidence that the Old and Middle Kingdoms were contemporary rather than in sequence, we encounter a collision between the three numbered synchronisms above. The synchronism between Pepi I of Dynasty 6 and Neferhotep of Dynasty 13 doesn’t allow them to be placed closer than five centuries to each other, if the Near Eastern synchronisms and sources are correct.

The most favorable interpretation for both Osgood and Porter is to assume that Naram Sin was the king who destroyed Ebla, and assume that Yantin-Ammu sent a gift to Zimri Lim in the year that he was crowned. Subtracting the reigns of Sargon, Rimush, Manishtushu, and all but the last year of Naram Sin’s reign, and assume that Zimri Lim received the gift from Yantin Ammu in the first year of his 13 year reign, we can lower the years from the Akkadian destruction of Ebla to the time of Yantin-Ammu by 127 years, thus shortening the total duration from Pepi I to Neferhotep I to about 494 years. This is the “incompressible” duration that cannot be shortened.

This reduction fails to avoid the collision for Courville or the present authors. If Dynasties 6 and 12 were contemporary with each other and with the start of Dynasty 13, then Pepi I will be contemporary with Naram Sin of Akkad, and Neferhotep I contemporary with Zimri Lim of Mari. There were at least 494 years between Naram Sin and Zimri Lim, and they cannot be compressed. Courville’s chronology places less than a century between them, and the authors’ CFAH chronology places the reign of Neferhotep I only 20 years after the death of Pepi I, while Sargon was still living.

If Courville’s parallel placement of Old and Middle Kingdoms is to stand in any form, then at least one, and possibly two, of the three synchronisms listed above must be wrong, or the incompressible period must be compressed.

Here are the three solutions that have been proposed in the debate in this journal:

Osgood’s Chronology

Osgood places Zimri Lim at the time of Joshua’s Conquest, dating his death to 1434 B.C. (Osgood 2020, 37), yet he places the reign of Sargon of Akkad in 1917 B.C. (Osgood 2020, 41) which leaves only 367 years between the death of Naram Sin and the death of Zimri Lim. To achieve this reduction of 127 years from the “incompressible” 494 years above, he reduced the Guti Dynasty by 61 years placed it in parallel to the Uruk IV Dynasty, eliminating 91 years from the Sumerian King List. It is unclear where exactly he cut out the remaining 36 years of the 127.

On the Egyptian side, Osgood places the end of Dynasty 6 just before the reign of Amenemhat III of Dynasty 12, and then places the Exodus in the reign of Khaankhra Sobekhotep, whom he identifies as the same person as Khahotepre Sobekhotep of the Turin Canon, whose death he places less than 40 years after the end of Dynasty 12 with the death of Sobeknefrue. However, he places Neferhotep I between the death of Sobeknefrue and the reign of Khaankhrre, no more than 24 years after the death of Sobeknefrue (Osgood 2020, 274). If we understand Osgood’s chronology correctly, he has about 261 years on the Egyptian side as the longest possible time between Pepi I and Neferhotep I. Thus, Osgood’s chronology as currently published has an internal mismatch of more than a century, with 367 years on the Near-Eastern side being measured as only 261 years on the Egyptian timeline. His solution to this problem was apparently to disregard the synchronism between Pepi I and Naram Sin, thus disconnecting Dynasty 6 from the Akkadian Empire.

Osgood cries foul at our, as yet unpublished, argument that the Shamshi-Adad I synchronism is in error, because that is the synchronism that he tries to preserve. However, his complaint that we have not been true to the Assyrian King List rings a bit hollow considering his own unorthodox interpretation of the Assyrian data.

Osgood alters the chronology of the Shamshi-Adad I synchronism in a more extreme way than we do. He folds the Assyrian King List between Shamshi Adad I and Shalmaneser I into several parallel dynasties in order to reduce the 580 years recorded by Shalmaneser I between Shamshi Adad and himself down to 223 years (Osgood 2020, 27–28).

Porter—1560 B.C. Exodus

Porter tries to keep all three synchronisms while arguing that the length of time between them must be compressed. He places the Exodus in 1560 B.C., and argues that the LXX chronology would have to be adopted to allow enough time from the Flood to the Exodus to accommodate the Egyptian history prior to the end of the Early Bronze Age III (Porter 2022a, 6). Porter’s chronology requires the reign of Pepi I to begin no later than 1726 B.C., which would require the reign of Zimri Lim to fall five centuries later around 1226 B.C. and the end of the First Dynasty of Babylon 146 years later than that in 1080 B.C., in the reign of Samuel, as he uses Thiele’s chronology.

CFAH Chronology

We identify the errors in Near-East-Egyptian synchronisms as #2—the Neferhotep to Zimri Lim synchronism because Yantin-Ammu was not the same person as Intin; and #3—the Shamshi-Adad I synchronism, which we view as correctly belonging to Shamshi Adad IV in the Assyrian King List. That is to say, there was a Shamshi Adad I who repaired a temple 580 years before Shalmaneser I; but we find that it was Shamshi Adad IV who conquered both Asshur (1053 B.C.) and Mari and installed his sons as kings. Hoeh (1967, 129) was the first to suggest placing Hammurabi contemporary with King David, and Hickman (1986) was the first to identify a cluster of synchronisms between the kings of Israel and Shamshi Adad. Curnock (2021, 46) has identified the sack of Babylon by Mursilis as occurring in 851 B.C. during the civil war in Babylon recorded by Shalmaneser III. Thus our proposal, though unorthodox, is not entirely novel (fig. 2).

Figure 2

Fig. 2. CFAH solution to the incompressible period between Sargon and Samsu-Ditana.

We will argue those points thoroughly at the relevant places in our series. Suffice it to say that we have found a tight fit for the entire Sargon to Samsuditana segment of Chaldean history without compressing it, and by finding strong synchronisms to Assyrian, Egyptian, and biblical chronology at the beginning, middle, and end of that period. However, we won’t get to that until papers 14 and 15 in our series. So far we have simply noted that Berossus appears to date the Fall of Akkad to 1477 B.C. In Grifith and White (2023b) we made a stronger case for that. Then in papers 14 and 15 we will construct complete chronologies for Assyria and Babylon which address the Shamshi Adad and Kassite synchronisms.

Conclusion to the Near-East-Egyptian-Synchronism Problem

Osgood must reject our 1477 B.C. Fall of Akkad, because he has placed Zimri Lim at the time of the Exodus using Thiele’s 1446 date for that event, and therefore the Fall of Akkad must be centuries earlier than the Exodus. Hence, he passionately objects to our identification of Semiramis II with Tukulti Ninurta and our identification of the Fifth “Arab” Dynasty of Berossus as the Guti-Amorite coalition that conquered Akkad and dominated the region for 245 years.

However, his own solution has a century mismatch between the synchronisms on the Near Eastern side and the Egyptian side, forcing him to ignore the synchronism between Pepi I and the Akkadian destruction of Ebla. The end of the Early Bronze Age is typically assigned to the Fall of Akkad in the Near-East and the end of Dynasty 6 in Egypt. Osgood places Moses and Joshua in the Middle Bronze Age I, but places the fall of Akkad centuries earlier, creating a 342 year disjunction between the end of the Early Bronze Age in Egypt versus the Near East.

Porter’s solution does not work with a 1560 B.C. Exodus unless he has an explanation for the sack of Babylon by Mursilis I in the reign of Samuel.

It might be fruitful if we all recognize that one or more of the three big synchronisms must be rejected, and we have chosen different ways to try to solve that problem. We respect Osgood’s choice to discard or modify the first and third synchronisms, though we have pointed out some collisions that his choice causes. We find that it is the second and third synchronisms that are in error, not the first.

Osgood versus Berossus

Berossus was a Babylonian priest, a scholar, and the author of the official state history of the Seleucid Empire while Babylon still stood. He had access to the best sources. He knew what he was writing about far better than anyone living today possibly could.

Osgood (2024) oversimplifies what is known about Tukulti-Ninurta and his relationship to the Kassite Dynasty of Babylon. As stated in the paragraph he objects to, our primary argument for this was made in our fifth paper (Griffith and White 2023b). However, since the objection is already made we will respond here.

Osgood (2024) confuses the chronological dynasties of Berossus with the city dynasties of the Babylonian King List. The Kassite Dynasty was a city dynasty which ruled from Nippur over the region of Babylonia called Karduniash, and vied with Assyria for the power to choose the rulers of the city of Babylon for nearly six centuries.

The dynasties of Berossus were chronological, meaning that he divided history into time periods between major events, and called them dynasties. They were not bloodline dynasties as we use that term to mean today.

We argue that the Kassite Dynasty from the Babylonian King List began late in Berossus Dynasty 5 and lasted until nearly the end of Berossus Dynasty 6. Tukulti-Ninurta “interrupted” the Kassite control of Babylon by capturing a king named Kashtiliash, without a number by his name. The Kassites resumed control of Babylon a generation later. But that interruption of the Kassite Dynasty’s control of Babylon was the dividing line between Berossus Dynasties 5 and 6, because it was the beginning of the Assyrian rise to power and claim of right to rule Babylon.

For those interested in looking at the question of whether Tukulti Ninurta defeated the Guti-Amorite alliance which had defeated the Akkadian Empire 245 years earlier, we note that Tukulti-Ninurta I claimed to have defeated both the Kurti/Kuti/Guti, the same tribe that earlier overthrew the Akkadian Empire, and the Kassites in his first year on the throne (Luckenbill 1926, vol. 1, 143, 145, 149, 152, 164, 166, 170–172, 190).

This is strong evidence in favor of our claim that the “Arab Dynasty” of Berossus was a coalition of Guti/Kurti and Amorite tribes that Tukulti-Ninurta defeated in his first year as sole-rex, the same year that he defeated Kashtiliash the Kassite and took Babylon.

Contrary to Osgood’s assertion, archaeologists place the oldest evidence of the Kassites in the region between the Amuq Valley near Antioch and the city of Harran. Zadok (2013) writes:

J. A. Brinkman (1976–80, p. 465a) and W. De Smet (1990, p. 11) point out that the earliest evidence for Kassites is from northern Babylonia and west of it, viz., the Middle Euphrates and Alalah VII (see Brinkman, 1976–80, p. 466b).

Later they appear in the region of Babylon and regions further East sometime after the Semitic Amorites had conquered the region, where they became the ruling power for about five centuries.

Berossus called the Amorite and Kassite rulers of Babylon “Arabs” because he was using the third century Greek term for Semitic people who herded animals and lived in tents. He was speaking of people who lived over a thousand years before his time in terms that his Greek audience could understand. Neither the Guti/Kurti, the Kassites, nor the Amorites ever called themselves “Arabs.” But they were closely related tribes in both ancestry and mode of living to the Semitic people much later called Arabs by the Greek speaking world.

After losing their power to the Assyrians and Elamites, the last evidence of the Kassites indicates that they ended up in Iran.

Later in this series we hope to bring evidence that the Kassites were descended from either Arphaxad or Abraham’s nephew Chesed (Genesis 22:22), and they originated in the region of Harran before establishing the dynasty that ruled Babylon. Their name for Babylon, “Karduniash,” was the source of the term “Chaldean.” We will attempt to show that their placement in history by academia is based on a misunderstanding of the Babylonian King List, which like Manetho’s dynasties, was a list of contemporary city dynasties in the same region.

While we only partially agree with his chronology, we recommend three papers by Reilly (2016a, 2016b, 2016c) that critically examine the Kassite Dynasty and the problems surrounding Tukulti-Ninurta I and II, which are a good introduction to the material we will get to in later papers.

When we date the Kassites using durations and strong synchronisms from the ancient chroniclers, we will find that not only do they fit perfectly, but their penultimate king is named and dated in Scripture, forming a strong two-sided synchronism.

Did Berossus simplify a complicated political relationship between several tribes into the “Arab Dynasty” of Babylon? Certainly, it appears so. But that does no damage to the chronology.

Osgood—8th Century Trojan War

Osgood objects that most revisionists date the Trojan War to the eighth century as a result of lowering Egyptian chronology, and therefore we are wrong to keep the 1183 B.C. date for the Fall of Troy. This is viewed as necessary because the Trojan war is assumed to have occurred in the Late Helladic archaeological age, also known as the Mycenaean, which is tied to the Late Bronze Age period in Egypt, when Amenhotep III and Akhenaten reigned. Thus if one moves the Eighteenth Dynasty down in time, as we do, then the Trojan War must necessarily be moved down with them, or so it would seem.

However, this objection is based on two large assumptions. First, they assume that Hissarlik was the site of ancient Troy; and second, that the Trojan War occurred in the Late Helladic archaeological period. We consider both of those assumptions to be incorrect.

No inscriptions naming Troy or the characters in the Iliad have ever been found at Hissarlik. The geography described in the Iliad fits the site of Pergamos far better than Hisarlik, as argued by Crowe (2011) and Lascelles (2021). Homer himself called the acropolis above Troy where Apollo’s temple stood by the name, “Pergamos,” six times in the Iliad (1968, §4, §5, §6, §7, §24). And, according to Vellius Paterculus, Agamemnon commemorated his defeat of Troy using the name Pergamum (Velleius Paterculus 1924, 1.1):

Agamemnon, king of kings, cast by a tempest upon the island of Crete, founded there three cities, two of which, Mycenae and Tegea, were named after towns in his own country, and the other was called Pergamum in commemoration of his victory.

Because Homer described Agamemnon, the leader of the Danaans, as the king of the city of Mycenae, archaeologists named the Late Helladic subdivision that they assumed dated to the thirteenth century after that city, the “Mycenaean Age.”

Based on multiple durations from Greek history, we date the Trojan War to the Middle Bronze Age, when the Hyksos dynasties were ruling Egypt, not the Late Bronze Age. Thus in the relevant destruction layer at the true site of Troy we would expect to find Middle Helladic pottery, not the Late Helladic pottery which was found at Hissarlik. Therefore, there is no dark age problem caused by our use of the 1183 B.C. date from Eratosthenes for the Trojan War, despite our reduction of the chronology of Egypt. We agree that the Mycenaean archaeological period probably ended by the dawn of the eighth century, when the Greek tribes were growing in strength and unifying into a single culture. But we deny that the Trojan War occurred in the archaeological period called the Mycenaean.

Osgood cites Courville for the 788 B.C. fall of Troy, where Courville equated the Semiramis cited by Philo of Byblos with Sammuramat, whom we number as Semiramis III, the wife of Shamshi-Adad V, who lived toward the end of the ninth century (Courville 1971, vol. 2, 273). However, by summarizing the citation Courville left out critical information. Here is the entire passage from Eusebius that he refers to (Eusebius 2002, Pr. Ev., b.x., 484, 485):

[PORPHYRY] Of the affairs of the Jews the truest history, because the most in accordance with their places and names, is that of Sanchuniathon of Berytus, who received the records from Hierombalus the priest of the god Ieuo; he dedicated his history to Abibalus king of Berytus, and was approved by him and by the investigators of truth in his time. Now the times of these men fall even before the date of the Trojan war, and approach nearly to the times of Moses, as is shown by the successions of the kings of Phoenicia. And Sanchuniathon, who made a complete collection of ancient history from the records in the various cities and from the registers in the temples, and wrote in the Phoenician language with a love of truth, lived in the reign of Semiramis, the queen of the Assyrians, who is recorded to have lived before the Trojan war or in those very times. And the works of Sanchuniathon were translated into the Greek tongue by Philo of Byblos.

There are two date flags in this passage in addition to the references to Semiramis and the Trojan War. First, he dedicated his work to Abibalus, who may have been Abibaal, the father of Hiram I, who was contemporary with kings David and Solomon. Or, more likely it was his great-grandfather, as the second date flag places Sanchoniathon more than a century before King David.

Second, he “received the records from Hierombalus the priest of the god Ieuo.” While Gideon was not a priest, his God was called Yah[weh], and his nickname after destroying Baal’s altar was Jerubbaal (Judges 6:32). Since Bochart (1646), scholars have identified this Hierombalus as Jerubbaal, meaning Gideon. Certainly, there was no priest by that name in Jerusalem in the ninth or eighth centuries, as we know their names from Josephus.

Citing the same source, Philo of Biblos recorded the duration of 1,002 years from the founding of Babel until the reign of Semiramis (Rawlinson 1873, 189). Using 2233 B.C. for Babel, that places her reign around 1231 B.C., and proves that the Semiramis and the Trojan War that Philo mentioned were dated by him to the end of the thirteenth century, not the eighth century. That is, unless Osgood and Courville would move The Tower of Babel down to the nineteenth century, which is centuries later than even the Rabbis who use the shortest of all chronologies would date it.

We also note that Osgood holds the self-contradictory positions that Troy fell in 788 B.C., while also adopting Thiele’s chronology of the Kings of Israel. In support of Thiele’s chronology, Young argues from Josephus that the duration from the founding of Tyre to the founding of Carthage was 143 plus 240 years (Young 2017, 68–71), and he cites Justin that Tyre was founded one year before Troy fell. While we date the founding of Carthage to 869/868 B.C., Young places it in 825 B.C. Thus using Young’s dates, the Fall of Troy was:

825 B.C. founding of Carthage; plus,
143 years and 8 months to the founding of the Temple; plus,
240 years to the Founding of Tyre; minus,
1 year to the fall of Troy; gives:
1207  B.C. ±1 year Fall of Troy

Given that we have found five other durations from various chroniclers that place the founding of Tyre between 1251 and 1209 B.C., and the same references place the Trojan war a generation later, there seems to be no possibility for Osgood’s claim that the Trojan war occurred in 788 B.C.

Courville rests his argument for the 788 B.C. Fall of Troy on the chronicler Philistas who wrote in the eighth century A.D. that Troy fell 37 years after the founding of Carthage. Given the plethora of contradicting durations from other chroniclers, it would appear that Philistas or one of his later copyists confused the founding of Carthage with the founding of its mother city, Tyre, around 1251 B.C., and that he was using the 1208 B.C. date for the Fall of Troy which several other chroniclers used. Thus, his intention appears to have been to date the founding of Tyre to 1245 B.C., not the founding of Carthage. However, there is another record that the Greek colony nearest to Carthage was founded in the twelfth century, so he may have meant the original settlement of Carthage, as opposed to Dido’s refounding and renaming of that city in the ninth century.

In any case, Osgood’s 788 B.C. date for the Trojan War conflicts with his use of Thiele’s chronology of the Divided Kingdom, which in turn is based upon his identification of Ahab as the king named in the Khurk Monolith at the Battle of QarQar.

Osgood—Semiramis is a Myth

By now a common theme in this exchange is that Semiramis manages to get tangled up in every disagreement that Osgood has with us. This is because so many ancient scholars dated other things relative to her reign. His complaint is that the first two women so-named are fictional characters from late Greek historians who could not discern myth from history. However, in his objection he asserts that the myths of the goddesses Ishtar and Astarte were based on a real person who lived shortly after the Flood.

He also quotes Mellersh approvingly in his book (Osgood 2020, 3):

. . . Rohl . . . rightly quoted Harold Mellersh: “There are two things to avoid in dealing with a legend. One is to make too much of it, and the other is to disbelieve it entirely.”

Thus, it would appear Osgood’s objection is not really against mining historical data from mythology, but that we have identified the persons in question as being based on different historical characters or living at different times than he does. The difference between myth and history is rather subjective, and is more of a statement about our confidence in the source.

The Semiramis accounts came from six sources:

  1. Ctesias obtained his version from the Persian archives in Ecbatana, Babylon, and Persepolis.
  2. Berossus obtained his from the Babylonian archives, in which language he was native.
  3. Sanchoniathon was a contemporary of Semiramis II whose account was obtained by Philo of Byblos from the inscriptions in the Phoenician Temple of Tyre.
  4. Diodorus and Herodotus both cite a fourth duration to a Greek “Semele” who was worshipped in Anatolia.
  5. The priests of Egypt confirmed to both Diodorus and Herodotus, four centuries apart, that they considered the Greek Semele to be the same person as the first Semiramis, and for this reason some of the Greek myths about Zeus, Semele, and Dionysus are intermixed with the Egyptian Osiris, Isis, and Horus triad. This brings the number of cultures to five.
  6. The Irish accounts in the Annals of Clonmacnoise, compiled in A.D. 1408, seem to be a combination of original Irish data with material from Ctesias. The Irish durations to her reign from Creation, the Flood, and King David seem unlikely to have come from Ctesias, but they agree with the 1,600 year duration to Semele from Herodotus, and the 1,460 year duration from the death of Ninus to the death of Asshur Uballit in 608 B.C.

Of the sources, the account of Ctesias through Diodorus conflates two women who reigned about eight centuries apart into one person. It is unclear whether this conflation was first committed by Ctesias himself, or if it was Diodorus combined the two characters into one.

Berossus and Sanchoniathon refer solely to the second Semiramis in the time of Tukulti-Ninurta.

Diodorus and Herodotus relate the account of Semele, whom the Egyptian priests apparently viewed as the same person as the first Semiramis. The Irish account speaks only of the first Semiramis, and agrees with the others for the time that she lived.

Osgood claims that “Griffith and White wish to use this later myth to overrule the Assyrian King List, the Middle Assyrian eponyms, and the well-known and comprehensive Assyrian Annals of Tukulti-Ninurta 1.”

Osgood misstates our position. And again, his disagreement is rooted in the different paths we have taken to solve the problem of the three major Near-East-Egyptian synchronisms.

First, Sanchoniathon dates the second Semiramis to the time of Gideon, and Berossus dates her conquest of Babylon to the year 1232 B.C. This agrees with the Assyrian King List for the reign of Tukulti Ninurta I. Second, there is no known Assyrian eponym list for the Middle Assyrian Period for us to contradict. Third, the annals of Tukulti Ninurta I are by no means “comprehensive” and merely retell the story of his first year conquest multiple times; and at any rate, we have written nothing so far that contradicts those annals. The Tukulti Ninurta Epic is a much later work, which Reilly (2016a) argues conflates the two kings Tukulti Ninurta I and II into one person.

In the case of Tukulti-Ninurta we did not even commit to the idea that this was a woman. Rather, we left open the possibility that the Semiramis myth could be based on Tukulti-Ninurta or a woman in that king’s family, whether sister or wife (Griffith and White 2023a, 139): “However, our thesis does not depend on that identification. She could also have been the sister of Tukulti Ninurta I.” In Griffith and White (2023b), we treat this question in more detail and also look at archaeological evidence that may shed more light on the question.

As with other sources, we have critically assessed the legends and the durations to the two people that the chroniclers called Semiramis. We found that there is both historical and archaeological evidence that, though heavily embellished, these were based on real people who can be dated by multiple durations from several different cultures.

Osgood—Uenephes not a Woman

Osgood (2024) objects that the first person known to the Greeks as Semiramis or Semele could not possibly have been Uenephes/Djet of the First Dynasty of Egypt because Djet was definitely a man.

Griffith and White however attempt to place this person (their Semiramis 1), as substitute for certain male rulers, most specifically Egyptian king Uenephres (Uadji), and his wife Merneith (both of whom they claim as the same person), a selection which has no historical basis, and clearly “pulled out of the air.”

Contrary to his claim that we pulled it from thin air, we cited Justin’s epitome of Pompeius Trogus as the source of the claim that Semiramis took the throne by pretending to be a man (Griffith and White 2023a, 147–148). Similar to Nero’s homosexuality, this is a subject that could only be preserved by historians, and is unlikely to be explicitly confirmed by archaeology. When we get to the First Dynasty of Egypt in this series, we will bring up additional archaeological evidence that leans in that direction, such as the fact that Merneith’s name was written with a serekh, indicating that she was a king.

The archaeological record knows of no person called Semiramis other than the five year rule for her minority son in Assyria of Sammuramat, a palace woman of Shamshi-Adad V and mother of Adad-neriri III.

Happily, Osgood agrees with us here, seeing as this is exactly what we wrote in the paper he objects to (Griffith and White 2023a, 135, emphasis ours):

The third Semiramis was Shamurammat the wife of Shamshi-Adad V . . . She is probably the only one of the three who was actually named Semiramis in her lifetime.

And finally, he says:

Semiramis is an invention of Greek chroniclers—using similar fictional ideas seen in the other Greek myths.

We have already noted that four of the six sources of the Semiramis accounts came from the Medes, the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, and the Irish; and the date and account of the Greek Semele was confirmed to both Diodorus and Herodotus by the Egyptian priests, making five non-Greek sources for Semiramis. Therefore, Semiramis was certainly not a Greek invention.

The name Semiramis was not even Greek. The Greek account used the native name “Semele” to refer to the woman identified as the first Semiramis by the other cultures.

We understand that the Semiramis accounts throw a wrench into Osgood’s chronology; but, they cannot be waved away. Any chronologist dealing with ancient history must deal with the durations to the reigns of the women referred to by this name. We have done our best to find reasonable explanations for them.

The identification of Uenephes as the male name under which Merneith ruled in Egypt is based on several parallels to the first Semiramis from other sources. In the Egyptian mythology, Osiris was the great founder-god of Egypt who was killed by his enemies and then avenged by his mother-sister-wife, the goddess Isis. By magic, Isis supposedly conceived a child by the deceased Osiris, and named him Horus the younger, with the implication being that he is somehow the reincarnation of the god Horus the elder, or the god Osiris, depending on the variant. Horus later battles with the god of chaos, Set, and then decapitates Isis for showing mercy to Set. Isis is then given a new cow head by Thoth, and becomes the goddess Hathor (Lichtheim 2019, 556).

The Middle Eastern version of the same triad is the account from Ctesias of Ninus, his wife Semiramis, and the child Ninyas Zames. In that account after the death of Ninus, the wife took the throne by pretending to be a man, and raised her son Ninyas to be coregent. She proposed to marry her son, but he killed her instead. From Ctesias we have reigns for the three, with Ninus reigning 52 years, Semiramis 42 years, and Ninyas reigning either 38 or 26 years, as there appears to have been a 12 year coreign between him and his mother, as confirmed by the Irish account which gives her 30 years, and him 38.

The Epic of Gilgamesh represents a third account, which omits the story of the Ninus/Osiris figure, but sees the mother-figure as the goddess Ishtar proposing marriage to Gilgamesh, who refuses, causing her to subject the world to a seven year famine. Gilgamesh and his friend kill the “Bull of Heaven,” which appears to be a substitute for him killing Ishtar herself, as that just would not do in Sumerian theology. The name Gilgamesh means “the ancestor has become a young man,” which conveys the same meaning as the Egyptian myth of Horus the Younger being the reincarnation of Osiris or Horus.

We recognize these three figures from Ctesias in the characters of Enmerkar (Rohl 1998, 231–219), Dumuzi, and Gilgamesh in the Sumerian King List for the First Dynasty of Uruk. The same three figures are recognizable in Egypt’s first dynasty as Athothis, Uenephes, and Miebidos/Den, whose reigns were 57, 42, and 26/38 years. (Note that Miebidos may be the Greek transliteration of another man who was appointed by Den to reign upper Egypt in his absence, but preserves the duration of Den’s reign in Manetho’s list.)

Uenephes is associated with a severe famine by Manetho, as well as building a pyramid in Kokome, near Saqqarah. Courville places the reign of Uenephes in parallel to Khasekhemwy and his son Djoser in Dynasty 3, and identifies the alleged pyramid of Uenephes as the Step Pyramid of Djoser. Merneith’s tomb was also built as a miniature model of the Step Pyramid (Rice 2004, 175). From Djoser we have the record that the famine lasted seven years from his eleventh to eighteenth years. This links the famine of Uenephes to the seven year famine in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The chroniclers preserved several durations to the reign of the first Semiramis. Ctesias records that she reigned after Ninus, whose death was 1,460 years before the end of the Assyrian Empire, which we mark from the death of Asshur Uballit II in 608 B.C. Both the Sumerian King List for Uruk I and the Manetho’s First Dynasty place one king in between the character we identify as Ninus and the one we identify as Semiramis. Thus we date her reign as beginning about 32 years after the death of Ninus.

608 B.C. death of Ashur Uballit II; plus,
1460 years to the death of Ninus; minus,
32 years to the reign of Semiramis; gives:
2036  B.C. start of the reign of Semiramis

The Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise place her reign as beginning 1,969 years from Creation, and 313 years after the Flood. These, in addition to four other durations which are not as neat, agree in placing her reign as beginning circa 2036/2035 B.C. (fig. 3).

Figure 3

Fig. 3. Durations to Semiramis I.

In our second paper (Griffith and White 2022b) we argued that the First Dynasty of Egypt was founded either at the Dispersion in 2192/2191 or the founding of Thinis in 2188 B.C. In Manetho’s First Dynasty the reign of Uenephes began 150 to 156 years after the reign of Menes, circa 2035 B.C., about the same time as that of Semiramis. They both had reigns of 42 years. Both are associated with a severe famine, etc.

We consider the Isis and Osiris cycle of myths to be based on the deification of the rulers Athothes, Uenephes, and Miebidos/Niebais, whose original names in Egyptian were Narmer Hor-Aha, Djet and “his” wife Merneith, and Den. (We recognize that there is a heated debate over whether Narmer is to be identified with Min or Hor-Aha.) These three rulers were later deified into Osiris, Isis, and Horus in Egypt, and Dumuzi, Inanna/Ishtar, and Gilgamesh in Sumeria.

We also recognize that Neith-hotep, the wife of Narmer, and Merneith, the wife of Uenephes, may have been the same woman whose post-Dispersion name was Neith. She was probably either a passenger on the Ark, or was born in the first two generations after the Flood, and would have had a life expectancy of four or five centuries. The appellation “hotep” means “at peace,” and the appellation “Mer” means “beloved.” Thus, the two names Neithhotep and Merneith could plausibly belong to one woman named Neith who was so long-lived that she occasionally changed her title. Both women had their names marked with a serekh, indicating they ruled as a king. Neithhotep is even depicted as a “goddess” while she still lived on the Narmer Macehead. Both are believed to have been a regent for a young son who later inherited the throne. But we would argue that her son was Den, not Djer.

We will argue that Djer was the same person as Kenkenes, whom Courville identified as Ka-Sekhem or Khasekhemwy. We suggest that he was one of Mizraim’s seven sons and was loyal to Neith, and thus ruled as her ally in the time between the death of her husband Nimrod and her return to power about 32 years later, along with her young son, Den.

In both Egypt and Uruk the place in the list where the reign matching that of Semiramis would be, we find the name of a man instead: Dumuzi in Uruk, and Uenephes/Djet in Egypt. (And we find the same with the Queen Nitocris of Herodotus being recorded as the male name Netjerkare Siptah.) Whether Djet was a male consort of the woman behind the throne, Merneith, or as related by Pompeius Trogus, Semiramis impersonated a man in order to gain the throne, it is hard to say from this distance. We merely note their correspondence in time and their similarity in reported deeds (table 1).

Table 1. Myths and history of the triad of early rulers.

Myths and History of the Triad of Early Rulers
Source Ctesias Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh Egyptian Myth Manetho Native Greek Monuments
Hero Name Ninus Enmerkar [unnamed] Osirus Athothis Zeus Narmer Hor-Aha
Woman Semiramis Dumuzi Ishtar Isis Uenephes Semele Djet, Merneith
Son Ninyas Zames Gilgamesh Gilgamesh Horus Miebidos Dionysus Den
Duration to her reign 1969 from creation, 313 from Flood, 1428 to fall of Assyria 150–156 y after Dispersion 1600 y before Herodotus
Reigns 52, 42/30, 26/38 57, 42, 26/38 [13+], 42, [34+]
Reign of woman 2036–1994 2036–1994 –2084–
Famine 7 year famine Famine (7 years by connection to Djoser)
Proposition She proposed marriage to her son Ishtar proposed marriage to Gilgamesh
Son kills mother Ninyas killed Semiramis Gilgamesh kills Bull of Heaven (instead of the one who sent it) Horus cut off head of Isis Killed in childbirth of Dionysus
Mother deified after death Offering to Nammu wife of An[u], later Inanna Ishtar was the primary goddess of the ANE Isis transformed into Hathor after execution by son Joined circle of gods and given new name after death.
Sexual behavior of son Spent his time in company of women Claimed prima nocta in Uruk Unfit for publication Kept a horde of women for pleasure

A new discovery from the tomb of Merneith in Abydos was recently announced. In her tomb they found administrative tablets that showed that she was ruling Egypt, not merely a king’s wife (Manners 2023):

Further revelations came from Dr. Dietersh Rao, the director of the German Institute in Cairo. Rao explained that the excavations have provided fresh insights into Queen Merneith’s (or Maret Neth) life and her reign. Inscriptions on a plaque from Merneith’s tomb underscore her prominent role in the central government. These inscriptions state that she had a “great position as she was in charge of offices of the central government.”

Porter—Old and Middle Kingdoms not Contemporary

Porter (2024) objects to the Egyptian anchor points in our third paper for Nitocris of Dynasty 6 and Senusret III of Dynasty 12 because they place the Old and Middle Kingdoms as contemporary and ending around the same time between 1525 and 1479 B.C. (Griffith and White 2023a). Again, Porter’s objection is based on the same synchronisms we noted above as “the Sumerian Problem.”

We actually agree with Porter’s assessment that Merenre II was the pharaoh of the Exodus (Porter 2022a, 2), however, we use a completely different scheme for arranging the Egyptian dynasties to get that result. Our arrangement for the Egyptian dynasties 1–12 is quite similar to those of Courville (1971) and Osgood (2020) to which Porter has already objected (Porter 2022a).

In Porter’s reply to critics of his paper (Porter 2022b), he makes three stratigraphic arguments, and he adds a fourth one in his reply (Porter 2024) to our paper (Griffith and White 2023a).

1. Bietak found a Twelfth Dynasty Palace in Bubastis built partly above a Sixth Dynasty cemetery.

Our placement of Dynasties 6 and 12 agrees with Courville and Osgood in placing them parallel, although we argue that Dynasty 12 ended with the death of Sobeknefrue in 1525 B.C., and Dynasty 6 with the death of Nitocris in 1479.

Porter’s citation is not specific enough to tell us which Sixth Dynasty king’s cartouche, if any, was found under the palace, nor which king of Dynasty 12 built the palace. If the cemetery dated to the reign of Teti, whom we date to 1682 B.C., and the palace dated to the reign of Senusret III or later, whose return from his last campaign we place in 1577/1576, then there is no stratigraphic problem, because the graves preceded the palace by a century.

2. A Dynasty 12 pavement over top of Dynasty 11 fill was found above a Dynasty 6 pavement at the temple of Satet in Elephantine.

This argument is unfortunately quite vague, again not telling us how the archaeologists determined which kings to attribute the layers of the floor to. A floor built in the first decade of the reign of Pepi II, whose reign began in 1586 B.C., could have been paved over in the reign of Amenemhat III, whom we place from 1584 to 1540 B.C., or as late as the last year of Sobeknefrue in 1526 B.C.

However, we do place Dynasty 11 as completely before Dynasty 6 in time, and therefore finding evidence of Dynasty 11 in the infill of a Dynasty 12 floor above the Dynasty 6 floor could be a serious problem for us. However, the infill was made from the rubble of other construction and renovation projects on the island. Finding Dynasty 11 material in the fill layer of a floor means that at the time of renovation, Dynasty 11 lay long enough in the past for its buildings to now be torn down and used for fill. Therefore, the example given doesn’t actually prove that Dynasty 11 came after Dynasty 6. It only proves that a Dynasty 11 building was demolished and used for rubble during or after Dynasty 6. This is perfectly consistent with Dynasty 11 preceding Dynasty 6 as we will argue that it does in our future sixth and seventh papers.

3. Also in Elephantine, the shrine of the warrior-saint, “Heqaib,” was believed to be the cult of a man named “Pepinakht” who served kings Pepi I and II of Dynasty 6. The shrine to Heqaib was renovated by king Intef III of Dynasty 11, and again by two nomarchs named Seranaput I and II who served under Senusret I and III, respectively, of Dynasty 12. Porter argues that too much time passed between the founding of the shrine in Dynasty 6, until the first renovation by Inteff III for Dynasty 6 to be parallel with Dynasties 11 and 12.

Upon closer examination, Porter’s Heqaib argument falls apart, because it is based on the assumption that a Sixth Dynasty nomarch named Pepinakht was the first person named Heqaib whom the shrine was built to honor. However, there are no mentions of Pepinakht in the renovations of the Hequaib shrine by Intef III and Seranaput I and II. It is only on Pepinakht’s own tomb facade, located across the river, that he claimed the title Heqaib for himself, which suggests the cult to Heqaib already existed before his time. In our papers on Egypt we will suggest that Pepinakht was actually the last person given the title “Hequaib,” not the first, and that he served as nomarch of Elephantine under Amenemhat III, contemporary with Pepi II. Therefore, there is no stratigraphic problem for our model here.

4. Porter’s fourth argument (2024), in response to our paper (Griffith and White 2023a), argues that the Middle Bronze Age in the ANE matches the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. This claim is based on Yantin-Ammu as a link between Dynasty 13 and the Middle Bronze Age city of Mari, a link which Osgood recognizes in his book. However, that supposed synchronism rests on the tenuous assumption that the King Yantin-Ammu who sent a gift to Zimri Lim was the same person as the governor Intin who served Neferhotep I.

The name Yantin/Intin is the older spelling of the name we know as “Jonathan.” Assuming that the Intin who served Neferhotep I was the same man as Yantin-Ammu makes as much sense as assuming that the same man was also the crown-prince Jonathan, son of Saul. That is to say, Intin/Yantin/Jonathan was a fairly common Western Semitic name back then, just as it is still common today.

There is no other supporting evidence for this name association. We do not have records of the names of the kings of Byblos in the second millennium before Christ, so the possibility that the Semitic name, Yantin, was held by more than one ruler in different generations or eras cannot be ruled out, and is in fact, quite likely.

Our findings will argue that Dynasties 1–12, and the first part of 13 and 14, were in the Early Bronze Age. Our model for The Middle Bronze Age in the ANE covers about 500 years including Dynasties 15 down to the middle of 18 in Egypt. But Dynasty 18 in Egypt is classified as Late Bronze Age. We find an overlap of about one century between Late Bronze Age in Egypt and Middle Bronze Age in the Middle East where archaeologists have assigned dates based on association to known kings, rather than by strict stratigraphy. That is a problem we will deal with in our series of papers when we get to that era.

In our future sixth and seventh papers we will present strong and precise evidence that the Memphite Dynasties reigned in parallel to the Theban dynasties.


Many of the mistakes made in the archaeology and chronology of the ancient world over the past two centuries have been rooted in the pride of modern man. We need to have the humility to admit that we all make mistakes, and approach ancient history with the understanding that we may not always know what we think we know from the textbooks. Every piece of evidence must be critically examined. The modern narrative for ancient history may be quite wrong in places, and definitely where it contradicts Scripture.

Often times those who are the closest together on a particular issue are the most passionate about their differences. Our chronology largely agrees with Osgood on the Flood, the Exodus, and the identification of the Eighteenth Dynasty as the contemporaries with the early kings of United Israel. We greatly respect and appreciate his work, even though we differ at a few significant points.

We hope that our readers will be persuaded to give more credit to the ancient historians of the Greek and Roman periods. Many of them were serious scholars with access to excellent sources and even practiced an early form of textual criticism. We have come to trust the ancient chroniclers, because we have found them to be surprisingly reliable over the two decades that we have been engaged in this project.

We are grateful to both Dr. Osgood and Mr. Porter for their critiques, as well as Anne Habermehl’s writings on these difficult historical problems. We highly value and appreciate their work and contributions to our knowledge of ancient history.


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Reilly, Jim. 2016b. “Paper #6: Arguments That The 10th/9th Century Kings of the “Dynasty of E” Were Vassals of the Kassite Kings of the 3rd Dynasty. (Arguments 4 and 5: The Campaigns of Tukulti-Ninurta II and The Kin-Group of Arad-Ea.” http://www.displaceddynasties.com/uploads/6/2/6/5/6265423/paper_6_-_arguments_4___5_tikulti-ninurta_ii_and_kin-group_of_arad-ea.pdf.

Reilly, Jim. 2016c. “Paper #8—Dating the Kassite Kings #1—16, The Sealand Dynasty, and the Amorite Dynasty and the Amorite Dynasty (including Hammurabi).” http://www.displaceddynasties.com/uploads/6/2/6/5/6265423/paper_8.pdf.

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