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The Hittite Empire
The Greeks and the Hittites
Excavating the Capital of Hattusha
King Lists
Hittite seal at Megiddo
Hittite seal at Kusakli-Sarissa
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Hatti


Introduction

The so called Hittite empire is that of the Chaldean/Babylonians and that is why Greek historians never mention it. While one of the early Hittite kings was one named `Labarnas' (Who was succeeded by Hattusilis I and Mursilis I), we shall concentrate on the later history of these people. We find confirmation that their pictographic writing belongs close to the Greek period by examining coins minted by Antioch IV who reigned up to 72 AD which have pictographic symbols reading `gul-lugal' (Great King) and next to it `basileus megas' (the great ruler).[1] & [2]

Hittite royal ideogramsThese signs are regarded as the Hittite royal ideogram and appear slightly modified on coins of the Commogene kings.

We do well to recall that the Chaldeans as a tribe lived long after the fall of the Babylonian empire in the mountains of Cappadocia and Cilicia and as a class of priests continued on. Similarly the latest cuneiform and pictographic scripts are from about 72-75 AD. [3]

We also do well to remember that the pictographic script of the Syro-Hittites had local, city state roots, and had nothing to do with a Hittite empire.

The so-called Hittite Empire

At the end of the 18th century AD bas-reliefs with pictographs were discovered by travelers passing near Ivriz, on the plateau of Asia Minor. These same peculiar signs were seen in the area of Jerablus-Carchemish on the bank of the Euphrates, and later on the site of ancient Babylon and in other places. Hittite Pictographic WritingThey are completely different from hieroglyphics. It was then not known which people had left them.
However, mention of Kheta in the texts accompanying the bas-reliefs of the battle of Kadesh, in the poem celebrating this battle, and in the Egyptian text of the peace treaty stimulated conjecture about the identity of the rivals of Ramses II in the struggle for dominion over their world. Who were the `HtBreasted, `Records', V. III, Sec. 306', Kheta? [4] An Egyptian hieroglyphic word which according to Budge means `a rectangular plot of land', while the verb form `khetta' means `to wander about the earth'.

In the 1870's a solution was offered and accepted. Kheta were the Hittites, occasionally mentioned in the Scriptures. It was the phonetic similarity of the names that prompted this identification.

William Wright, a missionary in Damascus, came to this conclusion and also decided that the mysteries signs are Hittite writings.[5] Since almost nothing was known of Hittite history, it was like resurrecting an empire from oblivion, and it was called `a discovery of a forgotten empire.' These were sensational matters in the 1880's.



However warning voices were also heard among scholars who opposed the idea, very strange to them, that the ancient world of the empires of Egypt and Assyro-Babylonia should be increased by a newly discovered empire of the Hittites.

The Egyptian documents that mention Hatti [6] are the war annals of Thutmoses III [in a few lines only] and of Seti and Ramses II [extensively] [7]. The El Amarna letters, written in cuneiform, refer frequently to Hatti. This period in the conventional chronology covers the time from about 1500 - 1250 BC. Merneptah who followed Ramses II, said that Hatti was pacified. Ramses III, supposedly of about 1200 - 1180 BC, wrote that Hatti was already crushed or wasted:

"The countries ... the Northerners in their isles were disturbed, taken away in the fray ... at one time. Not one stood before their hands, from Kheta, Kode, Carchemish, Arvad, Alasa, they were wasted..." [8]

A Babylonian chronicle mentions the Hatti in connection with an invasion of Babylon at the close of the ancient dynasty of Hammurabi supposedly in the 17th or 16th century before our time.

The Assyrian annals mention the Hatti for the first time in the days of Tiglath-Pileser I, who undertook a campaign against them, supposedly in 1107 BC. These annals refer to the Hatti sporadically until 717, when Sargon II conquered them and reduced them to full dependency by occupying Carchemish. It is asserted by modern scholars that whatever remained of them was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar when he occupied Carchemish shortly before the battle with Necho; he claimed to be the overlord of the Hatti lands.

In a double identification the Kheta of the Egyptian annals and the Hatti of the Assyrian annals were said to be the Hittites of the Scriptures, and the monuments with the pictographic script were attributed to them. Among these monuments are pieces of sculptured work, especially relief cuttings in rocks.

"Those who studied these rock reliefs in the middle of the 19th century viewed them in the context of the History of Herodotus. The nearby Halys River suggested to them that the processions were the meetings of contemporary kings of perhaps Lydia and Persia. The headdresses were different for each side with tall Phrygian mitre caps on the left and Persian tiaras on the right. They might be either Alyattes and Cyaxares (Lydians and Medes) or Croesus and Cyrus (Lydians and Persians)." [9]

Comparing 2 Hittite (left) with an Assyrian (right) battle ax and 2 Hittite war clubs. `The club and battle-ax [10] appear for the first time on the Assyrian sculptures in the war pictures of the grandson of Sennacherib, who probably was the last king of Niniveh, and therefore the contemporary of Cyaxares.' [11] [12]

The famous line up of priests, rulers and kings at Yazilikaia. Hittite art [13] and script are regarded as material witnesses of an empire that played a role as great as that of Egypt, Assyria, or Babylonia but that, for some reason, was forgotten so that only late in the 19th century of our time it was reestablished in its historical place.

Monuments with Hittite sculptures and pictographic script were found in Asia Minor, mainly in its eastern part, and in the region around Carchemish, in Hamath, in northern Syria, but also in western Asia Minor, on Mount Sipylus and at Karabel, near Smyrna. They were not found in southern Syria or Palestine, though biblical references to Hittites possessing land in ancient Palestine [Hebron , Genesis 25:9] should have made the discovery of some `Hittite' monuments in these places quite probable. [14]



"When scholars refer to the Hittites, they will distinguish between the Hittite empire of the 14th-13th centuries BC (and their ancestors) and the so-called Neo-Hittites of Eastern Asia Minor in the 9th-7th centuries BC. Conventional Chronology sees the Neo-Hittites as successors of the empire following a `dark age' hiatus of several centuries. The Synchronized Chronology reverses this sequence with the Hittite Empire succeeding an earlier age of city-states sharing a common `Khaldi' or `Hattic' culture. In the Hittite Empire can be seen a stage of art at the end of a long history of evolution. The attempts by art historians to describe this evolution with the Empire period as the beginning has been a tortured exercise: the starting and ending points are the same." [15]

Then something happened that really puzzled them. Out of a steep slope facing a river bed beneath the ancient ruins of Boghazkoi crept tablets inscribed with cuneiform signs. They were moved by sand and debris and their own weight. Boghazkoi, about 140 km east of Ankara, occupies a site with a few steep hills on which ruins of ancient buildings, among them a palace were found. Rock reliefs at Yazilikaya, a gorge within walking distance of the village of Boghazkoi came to light. Short pictographic legends accompany the figures on the rock reliefs.

The peasants sold tablets to travelers. In 1906 Hugo Winckler and Makridi-Bey, Hugo Winckler: Im kehren der Kreise wohin geht die Reise.two scholars, appeared on the scene. In three weeks excavations they hurriedly carried 2500 tablets and fragments from the slopes.
They tried to read them while new ones were brought in at the rate of 100 per day. Some were inscribed in the Babylonian [Akkadian] language. Other tablets bore cuneiform signs, too, but they spelled out some unknown tongue or tongues.

From Hattushash, Turkey, Hittites on a lion hunt The Babylonian tablets were read without difficulty. Hugo Winckler (1863-1913) was surprised to read there a copy or draft of the treaty between Ramses II and the king of Hatti, already known from its Egyptian version inscribed on the walls of the Ramesseum and of the great hypostyle hall of the temple of Amon at Karnak. [16]

That the Kheta and the Hatti were the same was seen from the hieroglyphic and cuneiform versions of the treaty between Ramses II and Khetasar [Hattusilis of the cuneiform]: in the hieroglyphic text the latter is called `the great chief of Kheta' and in the cuneiform text `the great king of Hatti.' [17] It became evident that the royal archives of the so-called Hittite Empire had been brought to light. The theory of the "forgotten empire" seemed fully confirmed.

In 1907 thousands more tablets and fragments were carried from the same slope in Boghazkoi, raising the number to about 10,000.
There was, however, a difficulty of a stratigraphic nature: the remains among which the tablets were found indicated a much more recent period than the age of these documents. But the existence of the treaty with Ramses II precluded even a consideration of the conflicting data, and a chronological place in accord with Ramses II was allotted to Hattusilis, the king of Hatti, and to the entire period.

One of their later chronicles reads as follows, "... the Hatti lands were sacked from beyond their borders. The enemy from Kaska came and sacked the Hatti lands and made Nenasse his frontier. From beyond the Lower Land came the enemy of Arzawa, and he too sacked the Hatti lands and made ... [a new] frontier." [18]

An Arzawa is also known from the El Amarna letters.

The tablets revealed the use of a multitude of languages on which I shall not elaborate at this time. The `Hittites' had in common with the Babylonians scholarly works, hymns, writings based on historical traditions, vocabularies, and other literary works. [19]

The Assyrian Empire is supposed to have risen after the fall of the `Hittite Empire.' But in some ways the `Hittites' were more advanced than the Assyrians, and consequently it is assumed that the Assyrians regressed culturally as compared with the `Hittites.' [20]

Scholars wondered about this unknown cause of this retrogression in cultural development when the age of the `Hittites' expired presumably about 1200 BC, and was superseded by the Assyrian Empire. They wondered how it could be that the `Hittite' culture of the 15th and 14th century BC, in all that concerns science, law, literature, royal annals, traditions, habits, and omens, so closely resembled the culture of the Assyrian Empire of the 7th and 6th centuries.

Conventional History books will say that the collapse of the Hittite empire in ca. 1200 BC removed for the Assyrians their threat from the north and only now they could begin to expand. They then credit Tiglathpileser I with rebuilding temples, palaces and contesting other tribes and city states. And it is this king who refers to Carchemish as being in the land of the Hatti. [21]

We may wonder today that we can find artifacts of the Hittites in many volumes on history, but where are the artifacts on the Chaldeans? Were there no Chaldeans? We encourage our readers to ask questions about the Chaldeans and the remains we can attribute to them. How would they differ from those of the Hittites? [22]

In revised chronology the `Great King of the Kheta,' against whom Ramses II moved his legions, was the king of the Chaldeans, and the signer of the peace treaty, Khetasar, or Hattusilis of the cuneiform version, was Nebuchadnezzar (Nabukudurri-usur). This conclusion is rich in consequences and collapses the `Hittite Empire' but in its place expands our knowledge of and reestablishes that of the Chaldean/Kassite/Babylonians to where it always should have been. It also makes Ramses II the same as pharaoh Necho known to us from Jeremiah and the Greek historians. For what Necho did and what Ramses II did are the same things just like we equated Ramses III with Nectanebo I.

Ramses II battle of Kadesh [Holy City] was Necho's march on Carchemish. Both descriptions, Ramses II annals and the book of Jeremiah have many parallels confirming this placement. For one simple one his army was divided into four groups or contingents.

Click here for a more detailed comparison look.

The Greeks and the Hittites

Since we place the Hittite/Chaldean empire into a later period than conventional historians we may expect some references in old Greek literature or ancient remains to their contemporanity. This search among Greek sources for an empire based in Asia Minor has been done. We read:

"In ancient times Greater Armenia ruled the whole of Asia, after it broke the empire of the Syrians (Assyria), but later, in the time of Astyages, it was deprived of that great authority by Cyrus and the Persians." [23]

This can be none other than the Neo-Babylonian Empire placed between the Assyrian and Persian Empires. We also learn from Strabo that he knew the region of Hatti as Cappadocia. In Egyptian hieroglyphics `Cappadocia' is written as Cappadocia, Getpetkai. [24]

Excavating the Capital of Hattusha

It was the French explorer Charles Texier who in the 1830's traveled to the forbidding uplands of Anatolia/Turkey and discovered high above the ruins of an ancient city the great gallery of Hittite figures we so often see today in history books on the subject. Texier thought he had found the ancient site of Pteria, scene of the famous conflict between the storied, rich Lydian King Croesus and the early Persian King Cyrus which took place ca. 546 BC. Later modern historians would say Texiers was in error but in our revision we concur with his identification. [25]

An artists drawing of the reconstructed inner and outer city wall of Hattusha can be seen in BA, 49, Mar 1986, p. 45.

Over 60 excavation campaigns have been conducted but much work still needs to be done. While interesting finds were made, so far archaeologists were unable to find the royal tombs or the cemetery of Hattusha. Until these are found, there is a painful lack of confirmation of lengthy king lists touted to be accurate. The ancient history of these regions and the king lists made in modern times based on data thought to be well understood, need to be critically examined with the most rigorous scholarly cautions for they may be based on scanty evidences and interpretations. Finding names on building blocks we don't always know if they all belong to kings vs. princes or local rulers, if they are contemporary, commemorative or were placed there for other reasons in societies who had a wide diversity in languages, habits, architecture and events. Finding grain storage areas, private dwellings and ritual objects or temples, while interesting, does little for chronology. Modern estimates of `in use' time spans for artifacts may be only just that, estimates. Connecting ancient sites with chalcolithic or other earlier periods could also just be areas were poorer populations lived simultaneous or in parallel with more developed sites. Like today, ancients also did not share their riches with their neighbors. When reading cuneiform inscriptions translated in modern times we need to be very aware of brackets, words included which are guesses and read such texts by using only the words which are there to recognize the limitations of what we really have before us in a given text vs. conjectured modern additions which may be plausible or they may not be so, especially if they lean on a given world view or chronological order. Complete king lists may be especially suspect if they have not been corroborated with archaeological evidences for these rulers from other sources. King lists may be interpreted vertically, horizontally or both. When we say `rulers' these may include the great king, kinglets, princes, usurpers, town mayors, local chieftains, military officers and who ever else had enough opportunities to influence things for a while.

Names found in conventional Hittite King Lists

# Hittite King's Name King's Origin Comments
1. Pithana unknown origins
2. Anitta son of Pithana
3. Labarna first known Hittite king
4. Hattusili I nephew/adopted son of Labarna
5. Mursili I grandson/adopted son of Hattusili I
6. Hantili assassin and brother-in-law of Mursili I
7. Zidanta I son-in-law of Hantili
8. Ammuna son of Hantili
9. Huzziya I son of Ammuna?
10. Telipinu son of Zidanta I?/brother-in-law of Ammuna
11. Tahurwaili origin unknown This `origin unknown' and the following `unknown origins' could represent a break in continuity.
12. Alluwamna son-in-law of Huzziya I
13. Hantili II son of Alluwamna
14. Zidanta II origin unknwon
15. Huzziya II origin unknown
16. Muwatalli I origin unknown
17. Tudhaliya II possibly son of Huzziya II but unsure
18. Arnuwanda I son-in-law of Tudhaliya II
19. Tudhaliya III son of Arnuwanda I
20. Tudhaliya son of Tudhaliya III
21. Hattusili II origin and reigning data unknown
22. Suppiluliuma I son of Tudhaliya III or Hattusili II
23. Arnuwanda II son of Suppiluliuma I
24. Mursili II son of Suppiluliuma I
25. Muwatalli II son of Mursili II
26. Mursili III son of Muwatalli II
27. Hattusili III son of Mursili II
28. Tudhaliya IV son of Hattusili III
29. Karunta son of Muwatalli/cousin of Tudhaliya IV?
30. Arnuwanda III son of Tudhaliya IV
31. Suppiluliuma II son of Tudhaliya IV
[`Biblical Archaeologist', June/September 1989, p. 64]

Other cautionary identifications are to equate `Seplel' [26] with `Suppiluliumas'. This assumption is merely based on a vague name similiarity which one might just as well interpret as a gross dissimilarity.

Hittite seal found at Megiddo

Itamar Singer: A tiny seal unearthed by the excavators of Megiddo in the 1930s belonged to Anu-ziti. Its inscription states his profession: "charioteer." This title, borne by official diplomats of Hatti and vassal states, offers further witness to the importance of this station on the diplomatic route between the Hittite and the Egyptian royal courts. From Near Eastern Archaeology [Archaeology] [Discoveries] [News] [Biblical]. This discovery does not change chronological viewpoints.

Hittite seal found at Kusakli-Sarissa

Archaeologists also found a Hittite seal during excavations at the temple of the Hittite city of Kusakli-Sarissa. `At the base of a stairway archaeologists found 65 clay bullae, mostly belonging to leather sacks and similar containers. Most of these bear Hittite hieroglyphic signs for names, some well known like Suppiluliuma without the sign for `the Great King' indicating the owner was not royalty. Other seals bear the name „Mazitima" with the sign for „King" but without the additional sign for „great".' [Liberal translation from "http://staff-www.uni-marburg.de/~kusakli/sites/frames/grfr_tempel_1.htm"]

The Latest Excavations at Hattusa

Hattusa and Yazilikaya have seen archaeologists every year excavating carefully various sites. Much of the work is done by German teams and their reports could be seen at sites like:

University of Mainz - Not in use anymore.

or do a search under `Hattuscha'.

"The people that we call Hittites were Chaldeans. It is time to stop playing spelling games with derivatives of the Khaldi name. The false course of history caused by Egyptian dating makes (unintentionally backwards) quotations such as the following description of Uraryu:

`... the remains of Urartian civilization as revealed by the excavations of Toprak Kaleh show very clearly the influence of the superior civilizations with which they came into contact. Among their gods, called "Khaldi" gods - a term associated by some scholars with the (Chaldeans) who lived in Pontus - was Teisbas, the Hittite Teshub, and it is scarcely to be doubted that his cult was borrowed from the more ancient people.'" [27]

Impression

Once having embarked on a chronology leaning heavily on conventional Egyptian evidence of course their reports also reflect that same gap of some 600 years. Local comparative ceramic chronology with other Anatolian sites is usually the method used to date various epochs and locations.



Notes and References

[1] H. Bossert, `Wie lange wurden hethitische Hieroglyphen geschrieben', in `Die Welt des Orients, (1952), pp.480-484; See also C. Küthman, `Bemerkungen zu einigen Münzen des hellenistischen Ostens', Schweizer Münzblätter I (1950), S. 62ff; Küthman argues that on the reverse side of coins from Antiochus IV and his wife Iotape above a scorpion, the native sign of the king, another sign which is open at its end and has at the top a voluted pointed crown which so far is unique. Küthman regarded this sign as the Hittite royal ideogram. Küthman's prior knowledge of such signs was merely based on a book by Eduard Meyer, `Reich und Kultur der Chetiter', 1914, whose pictorial representations from Yazilikaya, Emirgazi, Nisantas (Bogazkoi) and Kara Dag he apparently knew. Had he known that the Hittite signs group on those coins, is made up of `GAL' (volute=great) and `LUGAL' (mitra=king) and that Antiochus IV [38-72 AD] calls himself on all his coins `Basileus Megas' his argument would have been strengthened. [W. Wroth, `Catalogue of the Greek coins of Galatia, Cappadocia and Syria', (1899) Tabel XIV-XV.
[2] See also Gregory McMahon's, `The History of the Hittites', p. 62-77; R. Gorny, `Environment, Archaeology, and History in Hittite Anatolia', p. 78-96; G. Beckman, `The Religion of the Hittites', p. 98-108; J. Vorys Canby, `Hittite Art', p. 109-129; A. Unal, `The Power of Narative in Hittite Literature', p. 130-143; in BA, Jun/Sep 1989. This article also features images from a Hittite site called `Eflâtun Pinar' and `Karkamis/Carchemish'.
[3] A.H. Sayce, `The Hittites: The Story of a Forgotten Empire', (1888).
3 ways of writing Khetasar, King, in records of Ramses II [4] Breasted, `Records', V. III, Sec. 306. For the name `Khetasar (H-t--r )' in the Egyptian records see Ibid., Vol. III, Sec. 371-375. Note: 3 versions of the name exist and are shown.
[5] W. Wright, `The Empire of the Hittites', London, 1886. Plate XXII shows a set of cartouches of Ramses II found at Jerablus.
[6] Later authors do not seem to attempt to explain why `Hatti' should be the same as `Hittite'. We read, "The term Hittite derives from the place-name Hatti used for the pre-Indo-European inhabitants of central Anatolia. The Hittites, who were Indo-Europeans referred to themselves as Nešites, or people of Neša (Kaneš), a tradition supported by the evidence of Hittite names in the tablets found at Kaneš." [G.McMahon, `The History of the Hittites', BA, Jun 1989, p. 65.]
(a) A stamp-cylinder seal was made in two registers, the lower one of which shows a complex hunting scenes of which the article in BA says, that such hunting scene are "not seen outside of Egypt until the lion hunts of 7th cent. BC Assyria." That, we may suggest, tends to support our chronology which would put this scene to be either contemporary with later period Assyria, or with Babylonia/Chaldea.
[7] J. Breasted, `Records', Vol. II, Sec. 485; Vol. III, several Sections.
[8] J. Breasted, `Records', Vol. IV, Sec. 64; Quoted in Roger Henry, `Synchronized Chronology', Algora Press N.Y., 2003, p. 179.
[9] These views were held before confusing Egyptian chronology was applied.
[10] See a href="http://classics.unc.edu/courses/clar047/YazAMainDr.jpg.
[11] Barth, Berlin 1859, translated by V. 4, p. 143. (I.e. 612 BC). For the image of an ax engraved on an ivory panel from Nimrud see also B.N. Porter, `Assyrian Bas-Reliefs at the Bowdoin College of Art', 1989, p. 4 Courtesy of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq. - Strange as it may seem, but may be not so strange, modern, secret societies like the `Knights of Columbus' use such an ax-head on their coat of arms as sort of a secret or cultic sign for initiated to recognize them.
[12] Roger Henry, `Synchronized Chronology' SC, N.Y. 2003, p. 179.
[13] David George Hogarth, `Kings of the Hittites', London, 1924. Otto Puchstein, `Pseudohethitische Kunst', Berlin, 1890, p. 13-22. O.P., `Die Bauwerke', Leipzig, 1912, p. 2, transl. by V. 4, 146. SC, p. 180f.
[14] E.Forrer, "The Hittites in Palestine", Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1936, pp. 190-203.
[15] Roger Henry, `Synchronized Chronology' SC, N.Y. 2003, p. 174.
[16] Hugo Winckler, `Vorläufige Nachrichten über die Ausgrabungen in Boghaz-koi.', p. 8.
[17] For images of Hattusa, Yazilikaya, a readable close up of the Hittite version of the `Peace Treaty' and finely crafted Hittite seals and their impressions see National Geographic's, `Splendors of the Past', p. 220-247.
[18] `Lost Worlds', NY 1962, p. 306.; The Lydian kingdom and its major city of Sardis was archaeologically explored by George M.A. Hanfmann (1912-1986).[BAR, Jul/1986, p. 8,9.]
[19] H.Güterbock, "Die historische Tradition und ihre literarische Gestaltung bei Babyloniern und Hethitern bis 1200", Zeitschrift für Assyrologie, Vol. XLIV (1938), p.45.
[20] G.Contenau, "Ce que nous savons des Hittites", Revue historique, Vol. CLXXXVI (1939), p.15.
[21] D. Luckenbill, "Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia", 1926, Vol. I, Sec. 239.
[22] But one may object and ask, "If Boghazkoy was the Hittite/Chaldean capital what is the meaning of a jar fragment found there with the name of the Hyksos king Khian on it?" "Doesn't that mean Boghazkoy belongs into the time from about 1450 to 1120 BC? according to revised dates too?"
Reply:We do not want to suggest that the city of Boghazkoy existed only in Chaldean/Babylonian times, it is an ancient city. What we do say is that the Hittites/Chaldean/Babylonians when they made history there, that occurred later and prior inhabitants surely may have had contacts abroad during previous centuries. After all Mursilis and Hattusils are only two rulers toward the end of the Hittite/Chaldean empire and the Chaldeans themselves are also an ancient people. Since we do not know in what context, layer, and associated materials the broken jar lid was found in we cannot make a better reply at this time but more likely it was brought to its location by trade, as a gift or booty item.
[23] Roger Henry, `Synchronized History', N.Y., 2003, p. 170 quoting Strabo, `The Geography', Vol. II, 13.5. - Astyages, grandfather of Darius, belongs in the mid to late 6th/5th century B.C..
[24] Ibid., 12.3.5; 12.3.9.
[25] The Lost Worlds', N.Y., 1962, p. 231; See also Herodotus, Book I, Sec. 76; Hattusha, Boghazkoi and Yazilikaya are three ancient cities the first two which are very close to each other while Yazilikaya is further north-east of them.
[26] J. Breasted, `Records', Vol. III, Sec. 373.
[27] `Cambridge Ancient History (CAH)', Vol. III, 9.; Quoted from Roger Henry, `Synchronized Chronology', N.Y. 2003, p. 175.


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