March 8, 1957
Dear Professor Pfeiffer:
If you look fell by chance all these last years on the first volume of Ages in Chaos you must have wondered what happened to the second volume. You have advised me to publish both volumes simultaneously or in quick succession, and I often regretted of not having done so; but it was the fatigue after finishing one volume through the press that made me a procrastinator, first with the intent to be only a little tardive, and thenwith attending to Earth in Upheavalthe geological and prehistorical aspects of my worka procrastinator of the type I found only in Samuel Johnson, the lexicographer.
Last December I signed with Doubleday a contract for two more books, and the understanding is that first I finish the second volume of Ages. They agreed also that I shall introduce into the proofs (the proofs remained with me for over four years) all the necessary corrections: and clearly the archaeological finds and the decipherment of texts in the last few years demand reference in the book and some additional arguments. If I am right, new texts must increase the difficulties in the conventional scheme of ancient history. Thus, for instance, a Hittite pictograph on a coin from Commagene in the first century of the present era, must raise the question: How is it that neither the Greek authors or travelers, nor the Latin historians or Roman soldiers, knew anything of the Hittites? But, if I understood correctly the Hittite culture as Chaldean, no problem is raised by these coins of the first century. Actually I expected that Chaldean signs would be found to have been used until the time the cuneiform was used.
I have found a sympathetic reader in Claude Schaeffer. He wrote me last fall a ten-page letter, upon reading Earth in Upheavalso much he found in common between my ideas and his, as given in his Stratigraphie Comparée; and there are also some external circumstances that make us feel close one to another: he, too, feels isolated because of his insistence on archaeological proofs of a continental catastrophe that repeated itself and laid waste all the lands of the ancient East; the greatest of all of them took place at the end of the Middle Kingdom and actually terminated it and the invasion of the Hyksos was but an aftermath of the cataclysmall these things exactly as in my Ages and Worldswhich he did not know when he wrote his Stratigraphie in 1948; neither could I have borrowed from himyou have read my story in 1942. Of course, I must feel a strong support to my point of departure.
Schaeffer also invited me to come over to Syria and Cyprus and participate in his digging and see for myself how correct is the idea of catastrophic interruptions of the flow of history by the elements of fire, water, and tremor. I could not follow his invitation (he himself omitted to go to Cyprus from Ugarith, because of the political heat around the Middle East); he promised that should I come to Paris he would select with me a few objects for a radiocarbon test.
This and some other developments make me think that it may occur after all that it is not without a profit that the second volume will be published with such a delay, The interest of the readers did not subside, and judged by the letters I receive from my readers, it is kept alive, especially in England. Over a year ago my British publisher wrote me that he had one thousand advance orders, later, two thousand, later, over three thousands, and urged me to finish the book, so that the orders should not become canceled; last week I had another letter from him that orders accumulate every week . I do not think that there is a comparative interest in the U.S., where I and my books were subjected to unkind treatment by the scientists in the press, and where the public knows less the Bible and is more given to reading various digests and to following the opinions made for them by others. Yet it was an American boy of 17, a high school senior in Waco, Texas who solved the reconstruction contained in the second volume on the ground he had in volume I. He correctly (from my point of view) identified Pharaoh-Necho with Ramses II and the entire XIX Dynasty as the Saitic (XXVI) Dynasty. Since then he entered college and decided to become an historian. It gave me much pleasure: now I know that at least one young scholar in the future will uphold my viewsjust because he came himself to the right conclusion, it has a different degree of conviction for him.
I wonder if you have come across any new text or find that appeared to you as another chronological embroglio. I have not followed closely the historical press the last few years, and I do not know whether Bittle has published the cuneiform texts he found in Boghazkoi, and whether, if he did, there are historical references to the Neo-Babylonian history and kings in those texts? Did Benveniste publish the Carian inscription from Milasa that he was postponing to do, and how close is Carian to Hurrian? How perfected is the reading of the Hittite pictographs, do they contain references to the events in the reigns of Esarhaddon, Shamash-shum-ukin, or Nebukhadnezar?
Now it will be in August fifteen years since I visited you first in Cambridge. I am still at the same work; only it grew into many disciplines. Of the reaction in some scientific circles, you are aware; some brick narrowly missed your own window, for showing me a little benevolence.
With kind regards, also to Mrs. Pfeiffer,