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KRONOS Vol VI, No. 1



Editor's Note: The following article has been reprinted from STUDIES IN HONOR OF GEORGE R. HUGHES [Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, 39 (Jan. 12, 1977), pp. 177-189] by permission of Professor Richard A. Parker. - LMG

Recently Ronald D. Long has taken modern scholars to task for placing uncritical and undeserved reliance upon the earliest Sothic dates as firmly establishing the chronological setting of the Twelfth and Eighteenth Dynasties.(1) His point is that when these dates were first published the Eighteenth-Dynasty date in 1873 and the Twelfth-Dynasty date in 1899 scholars debated them vigorously and reached no certain conclusions; but over the years the hypotheses proposed have come to be taken as facts now so firmly accepted that they are used as secure checks against other Near Eastern chronologies, as well as against carbon-14 dating.

Long examines all the known Sothic dates, seven in number, but his strictures are reserved essentially for the first and second in time. Thus in his conclusion he states:

The two remaining Sothic dates are subject to serious doubt. Admittedly, they seem to fit the Sothic pattern and coordinate with the other dates. Have chronologists, however, juggled the reigns and figures in order to reconcile the evidence? To a certain degree this has definitely occurred. The Sothic date in Dynasty XII cannot be assigned to any one pharaoh until the papyri are made available for investigation. The identification of the Ebers papyrus hieratic cartouche, still the subject of speculation, will probably never be firmly and solidly resolved.(2)

Let it be admitted at once that it would be easy to document Long's thesis that over the years what first appeared as a qualified statement about a historical event may have undergone a gradual transition to an unqualified statement. But how well has Long made his present case? Have modern Egyptologists really gone so far astray as he claims? Since his charges have appeared in such a reputable journal as Orientalia these are important questions that require answers.


In 1899, on the basis of two papyrus fragments found in the precincts of a temple at Illahun, Borchardt proposed that together, one before and one after the event, they confirmed a heliacal rising of Sirius on the sixteenth day of the fourth month of the second season (the eighth month of the Egyptian civil year) of the seventh year of a pharaoh whose name appeared on neither fragment. They were nevertheless to be assigned to Sesostris III because their handwriting was the same as that found on other fragments of a temple register for years five to nine, securely dated to Sesostris III.(3) This conclusion by Borchardt, according to Long, has been uncritically accepted by his successors so that present-day studies take it as an unequivocal fact, instead of the mere supposition that it really is. Long argues (1):

The truth is that no name of a ruler, not even a partial cartouche, or any other evidence of a pharaoh is to be found in the Illahun papyrus. Thus, year seven could apply to almost any pharaoh of Dynasty XII a dynasty which was 200 years long.

and (2):

Thence, the assignment of both fragments to Sesostris III is based on an assumption. In fact, the fragments may belong to two different pharaohs. Any doubt as to the Sesostris III arrangement or desire to read the hieratic itself is hindered and frustrated by the fact the papyri have not as yet been published.(4)

Taken together these seem strong arguments, quite sufficient to invalidate the accepted chronology for the Twelfth Dynasty and leave that dynasty floating in a range of two hundred years, plus or minus. Unfortunately for Long, however, he committed the cardinal sin for a scholar of not having gone back to the original sources. Had he done so, he never would have made such a sweeping statement for his first point. There were two finds of papyri at Illahun (Kahun). The earlier, in 1889, was published in 1898 by F. Ll. Griffith under the title Hieratic Papyri from Kahun and Gurob.( 5) The second find, still unpublished, was made in 1899. In quantity of papyri the second was some seven to eight times larger than the first. Both finds were made in the precincts of the pyramid temple of Sesostris II, who evidently founded the town of Illahun when he built his pyramid. From neither find has there come to light any papyrus dated to a pharaoh earlier than Sesostris III. Besides him there are papyri dated to Amenemhet III and Amenemhet IV (though none to Queen Sobek-nefru, the last of the dynasty), and to two of the earliest pharaohs of the Thirteenth Dynasty, Sekhem-Re' Khu-tawy (the third ruler)(6) and Sekhem-ka-Re' (the fourth).(7) Moreover, had Long checked Borchardt's 1899 article, he would have found that the first papyrus fragment, announcing the forthcoming heliacal rising of Sothis, was a letter addressed to "the staff of the temple of Sekhem-Sesostris, justified, of Anubis ..., of Sobek...." The staff in question was that of the mortuary temple of Sesostris II, deceased, and no amount of wishful thinking can ascribe the fragment to a pharaoh prior to Sesostris III, the immediate successor of Sesostris II. The only other possible candidates to whom the fragment might be assigned, then, would be Amenemhet III and Amenemhet IV, since neither Queen Sobek-nefru nor the early rulers of the Thirteenth Dynasty reigned for as long as seven years. In view of these considerations the possible range for the Sothic date is immediately reduced from Long's two hundred years to less than ninety . Is the argument based on palaeography substantial enough to assign the fragment to one of the three above-named pharaohs? Edgerton, in an article from which Long quotes in an effort to make his first point, had this to say about Borchardt's assignment of the date to Sesostris III:

This statement was printed after Borchardt had devoted a considerable amount of study to the originals of these and the related papyri in Berlin and, presumably, to the photographic facsimiles of those in London. The claim that he could recognise an individual handwriting is inherently plausible and has never, as far as I know, been challenged by anyone who has seen the originals. It has been endorsed by Moller and by Scharff. In any such case the personal equation must weigh heavily. Until Borchardt's, Moller's, and Scharff's identification is questioned, after examination of the originals or sharp photographs, by some equally high authority on Middle Kingdom hieratic, I am compelled to accept the identification as a fact.(8)

Although Long neither quotes nor counters this decision by Edgerton, by his silence and his call for the publication of the papyri as the only real possibility of judging the validity of Borchardt's conclusion he appears to suggest that the palaeographic evidence is too dubious to serve as the decisive factor in the acceptance of such an important date, and his own conclusion, as we have seen, is that it is "subject to serious doubt".

I do not, of course, agree with Long, since some years ago, in a study of the various Egyptian calendars, I attempted to fix the date of the Twelfth Dynasty by combining Edgerton's calculated date for the seventh year of Sesostris III as 1870 BC ca. 6 years with the dates of certain lunar events as given in the civil calendar for the reigns of both Sesostris III and Amenemhet III.(9) All the data I could assemble fitted together nicely to establish 1872 BC as the correct seventh year, and from this fixed point the other reigns of the Twelfth Dynasty could be worked out. In the years since 1950 I have not seen any evidence to challenge the validity of this date for Sesostris III.

Let us assume with Long, however, that palaeography by itself is too weak a reed to support such an important conclusion. The problem then sets itself in this fashion: There are three pharaohs to one of whom the Sothic date for Year 7 must be assigned Sesostris III, Amenemhet III, or Amenemhet IV. As we have just seen, a completely acceptable solution can be proposed for Sesostris III. Can the other two candidates be ruled out by any other means than the argument from palaeography? I believe that to be possible in both cases, again by the combination of the Sothic date and the various lunar data available.

The most important of the lunar data comes from the reign of Amenemhet III. It is the Illahun temple account (Berlin Museum, Pap. 10056, verso) that lists alternate months of phyle-priests according to the lunar year and thereby provides a sequence of twelve dates (one emended) for the beginnings of lunar months over the civil/regnal years 30 and 31. There is no question of ascribing these dates to any pharaoh other than Amenemhet III since the phyle-leader, Meket's son Nekhtisonb, is mentioned both in the Berlin papyrus and in Pap. Kahun IV 1, in the latter in association with a Year 40 which must be ascribed to Amenemhet III.(10) On the assumption that the Sothic date belonged to Sesostris III, the twelve lunar dates for years 30/31 of Amenemhet III were calculated as having occurred during 1813-1812 BC; ten of the twelve papyrus dates are the same as those calculated on the basis of this assumption.

Here it is necessary to interject a few words about the repetitive character of Egyptian lunar dates.(11) In short, since 25 Egyptian years have almost exactly the same number of days as 25 lunar years (309 lunar months), any lunar date would have to repeat itself after 25 years. A single date might conceivably be repeated after 11 years (one day late) or after 14 years (one day early), depending on the accuracy of the observations. This hazard can be ruled out when a sequence of several dates is involved, and that is the peculiar importance of Pap. 10056. We can state with great certainty that years 30/31 of Amenemhet III fell either during 1813-1812 BC, or else 25 or 50 years earlier.

At this point a digression becomes necessary. We have noted above that Edgerton gave a possible range for the Sothic date of IIII prt 16 as 1870 BC ca. 6 years that is, from 1876 to 1864 BC The earlier date assumed the point of observation to be Heliopolis (latitude 30.1) and the arcus visionis B (the necessary height for visibility of the star above the sun, calculated with the sun in the horizon) to be 9.5. The later date had Illahun (lat. 29.2) as the point of observation and B as 8.6.(12) Edgerton added that even these limits might be too narrow and were subject to future verification. One comment can be offered immediately. Edgerton attacked the Sothic date as though it were a solitary example, with out taking into account any of the later discussion by Greek writers of the phenomenon known to them as the Sothic cycle, and as though the heliacal rising of Sirius itself had to be actually observed every year for the proper celebration of the festival. And yet the Egyptians of the Twelfth Dynasty must have been just as aware as those who lived at the time of the Decree of Canopus under Ptolemy III Euergetes that the festival of prt Spdt normally fell for four years on the same day of the civil year and then moved to the following day. Nor must we forget that the date with which we are concerned was announced in a letter to the temple staff, some days before the festival. Now such a letter would hardly have been written in Illahun, where the official could have addressed the staff directly. It is much more likely that he was in either Memphis or Heliopolis and writing the forecast from there.(13)

Before going further with this point we must review the various years - tropical, sidereal, Julian, Gregorian, and Egyptian that play a role in our problem. The tropical or solar or natural or astronomical or equinoctial year is the period that it takes the sun's center to pass from one equinox to the same equinox again; it has a mean length of 365.24220 days (365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.5 seconds). This is the year that all calendar years try to match. The sidereal year is the time in which the sun's center passes from the ecliptic meridian of a given fixed star to the same meridian again; its length is 365.25636 days (365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes, 9.54 seconds). The difference between the two is .01416 of a day, or 20 minutes, 24.04 seconds per year. The Julian year is a calendar year of 365.25 days and represents an attempt to keep in synchronism with the tropical year. That it does not quite do so resulted, as we know, in the Gregorian reform and a mean year very close indeed to the length of the tropical year. Nevertheless it is the Julian year, projected backward, that has remained the one in use for dates in ancient history and for astronomical calculations. Another calendar year is the Egyptian civil year, consisting of only 365 days. Being 1/4 day shorter than the Julian, it moved forward against the latter so that any given coincidence of dates would have been repeated for four years but then again only after 1460 Julian years (= 1461 Egyptian years).

Now from Censorinus (14) and coins of Antoninus Pius (15) it is safe to conclude that in the years AD 139 to 142 Sirius rose heliacally on I ' ht I Egyptian, corresponding to July 20 for AD 139 and July 19 for AD 140 to 142. From this anchor in time it would be quite simple to calculate the place of the yearly heliacal rising of Sirius in the Julian calendar if only that star were a fixed one whose position did not vary for long periods of time and so could be measured by the sidereal year. Unfortunately for simplicity, Sirius is not a fixed star but one with a motion of its own. Its year, measured from one heliacal rising to the next, is itself not constant in length, though throughout the millennia of Egypt's history it has always been very close to that of the Julian year. It was Theodor Oppolzer who, in 1884, first calculated the length of the Sirius year, and it was Eduard Meyer in 1904 who applied it. According to Meyer's figures, in 4231 BC the Sirius year was 365.2498352 days long, in 3231 BC 365.25 (exactly the length of the Julian year), in 2231 BC 365.2502291, and by 231 BC 365.2508804.(16)

Over the years these values have been slightly refined. The most recent study of the Sothic cycle was made by Ingham in 1969.(17) With Memphis as the point of observation and a constant arcus visionis of 9 he calculated four cycles, between 4226 (4227 BC) and + 1591. The intermediate cycles began after 1458 years, in -2768; after 1456 years, in 1312; and after 1453 years, in + 141. The final cycle was 1450 years long. His first mean cycle year was thus 365.25025 days long and the last one 365.25164 days long, to be compared with those of Eduard Meyer. Ingham, on the plausible assumption that the arcus visionis might have been smaller in the past than it is today because the sun and Sirius were then farther apart in azimuth, also calculated the cycles for an arcus visionis beginning at 8 and increasing linearly to 9. On this basis the first cycle became 1456 years in length, ending in 2770; the second ended in 1316, after 1454 years; the third in + 136, after 1452 years; and the last in + 1585, after 1449 years. The corresponding increase in the mean Sothic year for the first cycle was to 365.25051 days and for the last cycle to 365.25181 days.

After this somewhat lengthy and arid discussion we are now in a position to check Edgerton's range of years for the Sothic date of the Twelfth Dynasty. Taking Censorinus' + 139 as the starting point, we reach the beginning of the preceding cycle by adding to it 1453 years (B of 9) and 1452 years (B variable), with results of - 1314 and - 1313, respectively. For the next earlier cycle we add 1456 years to 1314 and 1454 years to 1313, with results of 2770 and 2767. Now from I 'ht I to IIII prt 16 there are 225 days and from IIII prt 16 to the following I 'ht I 140 days. To allow for possible errors in observation we use the rounded figure of four years to one day (a cycle of 1460 years) and arrive at 900 years for the first interval and 560 for the second. From 2770 we take 900 for a lower limit of 1870; to 1314 we add 560 for an upper limit of 1874. Between these limits must have fallen the first year of the four in which our Sothic date must occur if the arcus visionis was constant at 9. For a variable B we take 900 from 2767 for a lower limit of 1867, and add 560 to 1313 for an upper limit of - 1873. To allow for both eventualities we combine these limits and arrive at 1874 as the upper and 1867 as the lower limits, with both extremes highly unlikely because the Sothic cycle, whether B was fixed or variable, was in fact shorter than 1460 years. The first year of four in which our date must have fallen then has to come between 1875 BC and 1868 BC, with 1865 BC as the latest year possible.

Now Amenemhet's thirtieth year has to be either 1813 BC, 1838 BC, or 1863 BC His seventh year would then necessarily be either 1836 BC or 1861 BC. Only the last comes at all close to the calculated range, and it is four years later than the latest possible extreme. The conclusion is secure. The Sothic date cannot belong to Amenemhet III. The date of 1872 BC already arrived at for Sesostris III, however, fits comfortably within the limits and involves neither of the extreme figures.

There remains to be considered the assumption that the Sothic date belongs to Amenemhet IV. Can he be excluded on astronomical grounds? This cannot be done simply by setting Year 30 of Amenemhet III back one more lunar cycle, to 1888 BC This would make his Year 40 1878 BC and it would be easy to work out a Year 7 for his successor within the range of 1875-1865 BC, with allowance as well for the known coregency between the two.

There is, however, another possible line of attack. In the ninth year of one of our three pharaohs there was celebrated a w'g-feast on II smw 29. If this feast belonged to Amenemhet IV, it is easily fitted into a chronology that assigns the Sothic date to Sesostris III.(18) The chronology breaks down, however, if the Sothic date be assigned to Amenemhet IV. The w'g-feast with which we are here concerned is a movable one, determined by the original lunar calendar. In this calendar it always falls in the first month of the year, thy , and most usually on the thirteenth day of the month, two days before the thy -feast on the day of full moon.(19) Now from IIII prt 17 (on the assumption that by Year 9 the rising of Sothis had dropped back one day) to II smw 29 there are 72 days. In the original lunar calendar the feast of the rising of Sothis, also called wp rnpt (Opener of the Year) had to fall in the twelfth month of the year (named wp rnpt), and only if the feast fell in the last 11 days of the month was the following month intercalary. Therefore the maximum number of days that could go by between prt Spdt and the w'g-feast and still have the feast occur in the first month of the next year, thy , would be the 11 days of wp rnpt (if that month had 30 days), plus the 30 days of the intercalary month of Dhwtyt, plus the number of days in thy that would have gone by up to the day on which the feast fell. At the very latest this day in thy could be only day 27, since the feast of thy followed that of w'g by two days and had to fall within the month it named. But these total at most only 68, and not 72 days.

By the same calculations as outlined above, both Sesostris III and Amenemhet III can be eliminated as pharaohs to whom the w'g-feast on II smw 29 might be assigned. For these two pharaohs the results of the calculation could prove even worse. Since both preceded Amenemhet IV, the date of prt Spdt would have had to be even earlier for them than IIII prt 16, if that date be ascribed to Amenemhet IV.

We are left with only one possible solution to the problem of fitting Sothic date, lunar dates, and w'g-feast date with one another in an astronomically sound arrangement.

The Sothic date of Year 7 must belong to Sesostris III and fall in 1872 BC, Year 30 of Amenemhet III must fall in 1813 BC, and Year 9 of Amenemhet IV must fall in 1790 BC

When I first proposed this solution in 1950 I wrote: "In the chronology of the second millennium BC there is no such thing as absolute certainty, but I submit that there is strong probability that it is correct." Although we may still not have absolute certainty, the probability is now much, much stronger.


Heading a table of correspondence between calendars on the verso of the famous medical papyrus Ebers is a date that is commonly accepted by modern scholars as recording a rising of Sothis on III smw 9 in Year 9 of Amenhotep I. On the basis of early debate in the years between 1870 and 1890 by such scholars as Brugsch, Smith, Ebers, Eisenlohr, Lepsius, Goodwin, Naville, and Chabas (together with a misinterpretation of an opinion by Edgerton in 1937) over the correct reading of the name in the cartouche, Long has concluded that not only is the year still doubtful but, as already quoted above: "The identification of the Ebers papyrus hieratic cartouche, still the subject of speculation, will probably never be firmly and solidly resolved."

In 1890, however, Erman in his study of Papyrus Westcar subjected the reading of the name to thorough analysis and comparison with other hieratic documents and demonstrated conclusively, at least to the satisfaction of every competent scholar since his time, that the pharaoh in question must be Dsr-k,-R', Amenhotep I.(20) This judgment was specifically upheld by Moller in his monumental Hieratische Paläographie (1st ed. 1908, 2d ed. 1927) in these strong terms (p. 20): "Dass dieser name Dsr-k'-R' (= Emenophis I) zu lesen ist, hat Erman (Westc. II, 56 ff.) in über jeden Zweifel erhabener Weise beweisen." At the same time he confirmed the reading Year 9, which comparative palaeography had already put beyond dispute.

Against this weight of opinion Long could bring only two sentences from an article by Edgerton. "We must return, then, at least provisionally, to the view that the heliacal rising of Sothis occurred on the ninth day of the eleventh month in the ninth year of Amenhotep I. I do not claim that this view has been established with absolute certainty; new evidence may compel us to reconsider the question at any time."(21) What Long does not quote is the very next sentence, which reads: "For the present, however, Borchardt has conspicuously failed in his effort to upset the traditional translation of the text." But what Borchardt was trying to upset was not the name Dsr-k'-R' nor Year 9 nor III smw. His new interpretation and what was most successfully combated by Edgerton was taking "ninth day of the month," psd, to be "day of the new moon," psdntyw. As Edgerton wrote: "I cannot discern any difference whatever between the two publications in the form of the numeral 9 in 1.2, the only sign whose exact form concerns us here."(22) Whatever doubt lingered in Edgerton's mind was surely because of the repetition of the same sign with the following eleven months in the table of correspondence with no adjustment for the epagomenal days. This doubt might be justified to some degree if the list of months against those of the civil year was that of a fixed or Sothic year, always beginning on the day of the heliacal rising of Sothis. We now know, however, that the first column lists the months of the original lunar year. Properly it begins with the month of wp rnpt, the last month of the year and the one in which the rising of Sothis, prt Spdt, must be kept so that the lunar year remains in correct relation to the natural year. From the date of the Sothic rising was then projected the series of "day nine" in the civil calendar months, merely to serve as a guide to the physician, who must have dispensed his prescriptions with concern for the correct lunar month, which he could easily determine by checking to see into which month any "day nine" of the current civil month might fall.(23)

The one element of uncertainty in the Ebers dating and with this Long does not deal is the place of observation. The papyrus was found at Thebes, and Thebes was then the capital of the Empire. It is known that the heliacal rising of Sirius is visible one day earlier for each degree of latitude that one moves southward in Egypt. Thus Hornung, in his recent study, has the Sothic date falling in 1544-1537 BC if the observation point is Heliopolis, and in 1525-1517 BC if it is Thebes.(24) The latter date has been attracting much support of late, and Hornung himself suggests 1527-1506 BC as the most likely years for the reign of Amenhotep I.

In any event we can paraphrase Edgerton and state that for the present Long has conspicuously failed in his effort to upset the traditional translation of the text and the solidity of the first Sothic dates as well.


Having charged Long with neglect of scholarly duty, it is only fair that I admit to the same failing myself. For years now, along with others, I have been taking the date of the Decree of Canopus, Year 9 of Euergetes I, I prt (Tybi) 1 7, and the date of prt Spdt on II smw (Payni) 1 as necessarily falling in the same year, 238 BC, the one on March 7 and the other on July 19.(25) Yet one has but to read any of the three texts Greek, Demotic, or hieroglyphic - to learn that the festival had already been celebrated in Year 9.(26) The simple explanation is that the Decree's events were dated not by the Egyptian calendar, with Year 9 beginning in I 'ht (Thoth) 1, but by the Macedonian regnal year that began before Thoth 1 and consequently overlapped parts of two Egyptian calendar years. In all three versions, be it noted, the Macedonian month and day are given first after the year and are followed by their equivalent in the Egyptian calendar.

The most recent and thorough discussion of the chronology of the period is that by A. E. Samuel.(27) He has shown conclusively, in my opinion that the first year of Euergetes I was a very short one, with his accession falling on Dios 25 (= IIII 'ht [Choiak] 7) and his second year beginning on Dystros 24 (= I smw [Pachons] 4).(28) By Egyptian reckoning his Year 1 would run to the end of the epagomenal days and Year 2 would begin on Thoth 1, with a consequent lag of some four months. Further calculation would show that Year 9 (Macedonian) should begin on Dystros 24 in 239 BC, certainly before prt Spdt on II smw (Payni) 1, so that festival would indeed have already been celebrated by the date of the Decree proper, though still in Year 9.

With July 19, 239 BC thus established for the Sothic date, other questions arise. From Censorinus we have placed prt Spdt on I 'ht 1 in AD 139 (July 20) and AD 140-42 (July 19). Assuming a constant four-year cycle back to the Canopus Decree we have 95 days from II smw 1 to I 'ht 1 representing 380 years. Now 380 years before AD 139 is 242 BC and 239 is then the last year of the quadrennium, after which, in 238, the rising would fall on II smw 2. But one purpose of the Canopus Decree was to have, at four-year intervals, a sixth epagomenal day in order to keep the rising of Sothis on II smw 1. The date of the Decree, however, means that for the year of its publication the epagomenal days were already past, though it was exactly to these that the sixth day should have been added. The conclusion must be that 239 BC was not the last year of a quadrennium and that to some degree observation still controlled the date of prt Spdt.

We have seen from the recent calculations of Ingham (see above) that the Sothic cycle between 1314 and + 139 was 1453 years long. Over the whole length of the cycle, then, there must have been seven triennia, one of these occurring roughly every two centuries. Thus one triennium should have fallen between the Canopus Decree and AD 139. The result would be that the normal quadrennium at the time of the Decree would be 241-238 BC and there would be no conflict between II smw I as the rising in 239 BC and a sixth epagomenal day in 238 BC

I see no problem in reconciling the idea of a sixth epagomenal day with earlier observations of the annual rising of Sothis. It is true that for two centuries at a time the event did move by one day every four years and it is also true that in 238 BC the Egyptians had been using a 25-year lunar cycle for probably more than a century and were thus accustomed to the idea that lunar festivals could be fixed without the need for observation.(29) It must have been thought possible to establish a cycle for Sothis. But the truth of the matter is that the sixth epagomenal day was never actually introduced into the calendar. We must conclude that corrective observation of the rising of Sothis continued to remain the rule, and this had the effect of retarding the date by one triennium in the Ptolemaic Period.


Between the completion and publication of this essay I came across the results of Hintze's reexamination of the Nile inscriptions at Semna, as reported in a private communication to Barbara Bell and incorporated by her in her study "Climate and the History of Egypt:

The Middle Kingdom".(30) Hintze has found new high dates of Year 13 for Amenemhet IV and Year 8 for Sekhem-ka-Re', who may be either the second or fourth ruler of the Thirteenth Dynasty. A Year 13 for Amenemhet IV does not affect any argument made above and in that light may be disregarded. A Year 8 for Sekhem-ka-Re', however, raises a possibility that must be examined. Could the Sothic date of Year 7 be his? This assumption would place him in a situation exactly to that of Amenemhet IV (see above). It would indeed be possible, by setting Year 30 of Amenemhet III back another lunar cycle of 25 years to 1913 BC, to fit his Year 7 into the range of 1875-1865 BC Assuming roughly 15 more years for Amenemhet III, 13 for Amenemhet IV, 4 for Sebeknefru, 1 for Khu-tawy-Re', and 7 for Sekhem-ka-Re' (41 years in all) would bring us to 1872 BC However, the occurrence of the w,g-feast of Year 9 on II smw 29 raises exactly the same problem with respect to Sekhem-ka-Re' as it does with respect to Amenemhet IV. Even on the assumption that Sekhem-ka-Re' had a Year 9 not yet attested, the gap in days between IIII prt 16 and II smw 29 would be just too great. And what was true for the predecessors of Amenemhet IV would be just as true for those of Sekhem-ka-Re'. In fact, the gap could only be greater. The conclusion that the Sothic date must belong to Sesostris III has thus not been weakened in any way by Hintze's findings.


1. "A Re examination of the Sothic Chronology of Egypt," Orientalia n.s. 43 ( 1974), pp. 261-74. [Reprinted in KRONOS II:4 (Summer-1977), pp. 89-101. LMC]
2. Ibid, p.274.
3. Ludwig Borchardt, "Der zweite Papyrusfund von Kahun und die zeitliche Festlegung des mittleren Reiches der agyptischen Geschichte," ZAS 37 (1899), pp. 99-101.
4. Orientalia n.s. 43 (1974), p. 265.
5. 'The Petrie Papyri" (London, 1898).
6. Following Griffith, I had, in "The Beginning of the Lunar Month in Ancient Egypt" (JNES 29 [1970], P. 220), erroneously taken Sekhem-Re' Khu-tawy to be the first ruler of the Thirteenth Dynasty. Jurgen von Beckerath (Untersuchungen zur politischen Ceschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in Agypten ["Agyptologische Forschungen," Vol. 23 (Cluckstadt, 1964)], pp. 30-36) has shown that he is actually the third. This does not invalidate my argument, since according to von Beckerath the first three rulers of the dynasty ruled only about eight years in all.
7. Georg Moller, Hieratische Palaographie I (2d ed.; Leipzig, 1927), p. 13.
8. William F. Edgerton, "Chronology of the Twelfth Dynasty," JNES I (1942), pp. 307-8.
9. The Calendars of Ancient Egypt ("SAOC," No. 26 [1950]), Excursus C. 56
10. Ibid., sec. 330 and see also Parker, JNES 29 (1970), pp. 217-20.
11. A full discussion appears in Richard A. Parker, "The Lunar Dates of Thutmose III and Ramesses II," JNES 16 ( 195 7), pp. 39-40.
12. Edgerton, JNES 1 ( 1942), p. 309.
13. One control of the forecast could very well have been the star clocks still in use in the Twelfth Dynasty. Sirius, as a decanal star, was preceded in the clock by other decans whose heliacal risings would mark the end of the twelfth hour of the night 10 days or 20 days before that of Sirius. See O. Neugebauer and Richard A. Parker, Egyptian Astronomical Texts I: The Early Decans (London, 1960), chap. 3.
14. De die natali, chap. 21.
15. Ludwig Borchardt, Die Annalen und die zeitliche Festlegung des Alten Reiches der a'gyptischen Geschichte ("Quellen und Forschungen zur Zeitbestimmung der agyptischen Geschichte," Vol. I [Berlin, 1917]), pp. 55-5h.
16. Eduard Meyer, Aegyptische Chronologie (Berlin, 1904), p. 14.
17. M. F. . Ingham, "The Length of the Sothic Cycle," JEA 55 ( 1969), pp. 36-40. 59
18. Parker, Calendars, secs. 336-37.
19. Ibid., secs. 182-85.
20. Adolf Erman, Eie Ma;chen des Papyrus Westcar II ("Mittheilungen aus den Orientalischen Sammlungen," VI [Berlin, 1890] ), pp. 56-60. Long erroneously ascribed these pages to Ebers as representing a second reversal of opinion by him (Long, Orientalia n.s.43 [1974] 267,n. 19).
21. William F. Edgerton, "On the Chronology of the Early Eighteenth Dynasty (Amenhotep I to Thutmose III)," AJSL 53 (1937), p. 192.
22. Ibid., p 190,n. 5.
23. Parker, Calendars, secs. 188-218.
24. Erik Hornung, Unrersuchungen zur Chronologie und Geschichte des Neuen Reiches ("AgyptologischeAbhandlungen,"Vol. II [Wiesbaden, 1964]),pp. 20-21.
25. Richard Parker, "Sothic Dates and Calendar 'Adjustment,' " RdE 9 (1952), p. 103; idem, review of Untersuchungen zur Chronologie und Geschichte des Neuen Reiches, by Erik Hornung, in RdE 19 (1967), p. 186, n. 1.
26. Tanis stela, Greek, 1. 39; Demotic, 1. 38; hieroglyphic, II. 19-20. This was brought out long ago by G. H. Wheeler, "The Chronology of the Twelfth Dynasty," JEA 9 ( 1923), p 198.
27. Ptolemaic Chronology ("Munchener Beitrage zur Papyrusforschung und antiken Rechtsgeschichte," Vol. 43 [Munich, 1962]).
28. Ibid., pp. 95-96.
29. Parker, Calendars, chap.2
30. AJA 79 (1975), p. 229, n. 11.

[Editor's Note: The reign of Sesostris III may very well fall within the mid -l9th century BC but not for reasons that have anything to do with Sothic dating. In a series of recent scholarly articles (SIS Review III:3, Winter 1978/79, pp. 64-69; SIS Review IV:I, Autumn 1979, pp. 11-18), the British historian John Bimson has "attempted to reconstruct the chronology of the XIIth and XIIIth Dynasty without depending on the usual Sothic dating methods". Instead, he has begun "to sketch out a chronology for the Middle Kingdom based on synchronisms with biblical history ". The end result is a tentative dating of Sesostris IX to ca. 1868-1850 BC and "a wealth of correspondences between biblical history and Egyptian evidence, something which the conventional chronology has always failed to do for this early period ". Furthermore, unlike the conventional chronology, the XIIIth Dynasty is shown to have endured for over three centuries with its collapse occurring in ca. 1450 BC, being synchronous with the Exodus and the beginning of the Hyksos invasion. These last three events fit perfectly the chronological scheme first proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky in 1945 and again in 1952 (Theses and Ages in Chaos). - LMG ]

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