In the work of reconstruction of ancient history and replacement of the conventional scheme by a synchronized version, The Assyrian Conquest belongs, in chronological order, after Ages in Chaos: From the Exodus to King Akhnaton, and before Ramses II and His Time and Peoples of the Sea. By offering it to the readers I fill the gap left by publishing the Reconstruction not in the chronological order, and rely on the indulgence of the readers, many of whom urged me to come out with what reaches maturity or a stage satisfactory for presentation.
The period of the Theban Dynasty (labeled Eighteenth )the subject of the first volume of Ages in Chaoswas followed by two and a half centuries during which the ancient East lived in the shadow of Assyrian domination. During this period the world experienced repeated outrages of nature, the theme of Part II ("Mars ) of Worlds in Collision and to a great extent also of Earth in Upheaval, dedicated to the evidence from the domain of the natural sciences.
The Assyrian military state thrust its sword into all four directionsto the north across the Caucasus into Scythia; to the east into Elam; to the west into Asia Minor, dislodging the Chaldeans and closing in on Phrygia and Lydia, but with the greatest tenacity to the south, into Syria, Phoenicia, Israel, Judah, Egypt, even the Sudan, in ancient times called Ethiopia, or Kush.
Although a military state, Assyria developed sculptural art of great power. The hunting scenes with portrayals of lions, wounded or dying, yet still attacking, are unequaled in power of expression in ancient or modern art. The Assyrians, troubled like the rest of the nations by the fear of a repetition of the close cosmic encounters in the disarranged planetary family, excelled in observing the events taking place in the sky. Repeated displacements of orbital planes and even small variations in planetary positions and motions, and abrupt changes in the position and direction of the earths axis, and the changes in the times of the equinoxes and solsticesall were registered on clay tablets, numbering in the tens of thousands. Despite this cultural progress at home, the Assyrians carried on wars of unusual brutality, and often wantonness.
In the double shadow of the brutality and wantonness spread by excesses of nature and the Assyrian weapons, the peoples on the land bridge between present Iraqthe home of Assyria and Babyloniaand Egypt, namely the Syrians, Phoenicians, Israelites and Judeans, acted each in line with their cultural instincts. The Syrians emulated the Assyrians, the Phoenicians heroically defended their maritime cities, but then retreated to build new colonies overseas; yet in parts of the Lebanon of today the proclivity for trade still survives, attesting to the persistence of a national character. To the south, in Israel and Judah, the said double shadow gave birth to a unique brand of prophets, actually a blend of religious reformers and social revolutionaries, who vigorously opposed the priests, the sacrifices, and even the Temple worship as long as the poor were exploited by the rich, and widows, orphans, and the downtrodden were not protected. Further, they were statesmen, trying to select the proper political orientation for the state, going with their message or warning to the people in the market places and in hamlets, but also mounting the steps to the kings palaces, and even abusing the kings, unafraid of the throne as they were unafraid of the altar. Finally they were poets, since equal poetic prose can be searched for in the old ages and the new, but will not be found. Miracles they did not perform, neither miraculous healings; their prophecies were limited to forebodings of political developments, and to their threatening with the arrival of more natural disasters to be brought about by renewed dislodgements in the spheres, but consistently ascribed to the Creator of man and watcher over his deeds and even over the thoughts of his soul, as if righteousness would keep nature in bonds.
The narrative of this volume comes to its close when the Assyrian conquest ended in a conquest of Assyria and extirpation of that state. There followed not quite a hundred years of Chaldean dominationthe theme of Ramses II and His Time. After that Persia ruled the ancient world for over two hundred years (-546 to -332)the theme of Peoples of the Sea.
The main and singular purpose of this composition, through all its volumes, was and is to replace what are ages in chaos by a revised, or synchronized, chronology and history. In this respect the present volume is pivotal.
The generations from the Exodus to King Jehoshaphat or, in Egyptian history, from the fall of the Middle Kingdom to King Akhnaton, were shown in the first volume of this reconstruction to be synchronical by mere juxtaposition of events and personalities: it is brought to light by moving in relation to one another the Egyptian and Israelite histories, a generation after generation, along the entire period, and always at the same interval of ca. 540 years, thus setting the two chronological columns at a synchronical level. At first we left the problem open, which of the two histories would require re-adjustmentis the Israelite history in need of finding lost centuries, or does the Egyptian history require excision of unreal ones? Jehosphat and his generals and Ahab and his adversaries in Damascus could not have exchanged letters with Amenhotep III and his heir on the throne, Akhnaton, across the centuries. Soon we realized that of the two time tables, the Egyptian and the Israelite, the former is out of step with historical reality by over five centuries.
The Assyrian Conquest is pivotal because the procedure no longer is a mere relative shifting of two chronologies. As I will show, the order of the dynasties, past the conclusion of the Eighteenth (Theban) Dynasty, needs to be altered.
The present volume dealing with the period characterized
by Assyrian contest for the domination of the lands of the ancient East
completes the narrative part of the reconstruction of ancient history
from the end of the Middle Kingdom to the spread of Hellenistic culture
after the fall of the Persian Empire.