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VELIKOVSKIAN                                                                                                        Vol. I, No.  1

Reflections of the Persian Wars
Charles Ginenthal

Both Hammurabi and Darius I are the sixth kings in a line of 11 kings.  They conquered large territories and held the reins of large administrations.  In Our Oriental Heritage, Will Durant states that "Hammurabi and Darius I were separated by differences of blood and religion, and by almost as many centuries as those that divide us from Christ; nevertheless, when we examine the two great kings we perceive that they are essentially and profoundly akin."[1]

This article is a continuation of research into Professor Gunnar Heinsohn's hypothesis [2] presented in Sumerians and Akkadians Never Existed.[3]  One of the claims Professor Heinsohn makes is that the 11 kings of the First Babylonian Dynasty are the alter egos of the real 11 kings of the Persian Dynasty. [4]  Having satisfied myself that the stratographical record, as presented by Heinsohn, shows no clear correlations with conventional chronology, it seemed proper to go to Mesopotamian history and examine whether or not the First Babylonian Dynasty was merely a reflection of the real Persian Dynasty.  Using relatively simple source materials, what I discovered was astounding.

The method employed was to determine whether the events of the Persian wars that spanned Persian history, from Darius I to the conquest of Mesopotamia by Alexander the Great, would be reflected in a comparable series of events spanning the history of the First Babylonian Dynasty, from Hammurabi to its last king, Samsuditana.  If the same battles were fought in the same chronological order by the same kings in the same chronological order, and the victories and defeats were correspondingly alike, I felt that Professor Heinsohn's theory must have validity.  Herodotus' Persian Wars and Arrian's Anabasis of Alexander are so well known and the probability of finding another set of kings involved in the same series of conflicts is so highly improbable that Heinsohn's conclusion could be tested.  It is in the details that the validity of this analysis is found.

Thus, the first question is, Did the Babylonians of the First Dynasty engage in a long series of wars with a distant, sea-going people?  Yes.  They did.  The people they fought were known as the Sea Country[5] or Sealand[6] people.  However, it is claimed that the Sealand was located at the northern edge of the Persian Gulf, to the southeast of Babylon.  What is the basis for such a claim?

Dougherty declares:

On account of the appellation applied to it, scholars have been disposed to identify the Sealand with the marshy area north of the Persian Gulf ... The fact that certain texts are in harmony with such a conclusion has discouraged endeavor to advance a different view.  A lack of concrete data prevents easy inferences.  Geological treatises in cuneiform giving specific information concerning districts, provinces and countries known at the time are exceedingly rare.  In fact, no such general document entirely satisfactory in character has been found.  Furthermore, the scribe whose recording stylus left its impress upon soft clay referred to lands in a very casual manner.  There was little attempt to describe their real extent or to name their precise borders.  Ancient cuneiform writers assumed that those for whom they wrote understood the geographical terms which they used.  There is an additional difficulty in this field of research.  So far as our present knowledge is concerned the history of the Sealand cannot be based upon records which had their origin in that country .... Our knowledge of the Sealand depends, therefore, upon texts which originated in other lands.[7]

But how can the dominant nation of an area exist, as we are told, for six centuries and not leave a single remnant or document of its existence?  This in itself is unimaginable, and leads to the conclusion that the Sealand must have had an origin other than that assigned to it by the historians.

Immanuel Velikovsky, in Peoples of the Sea, identified the Sea People as the Greeks.  His identification is based on several lines of inquiry and seems very well documented.  Thus, if the First Babylonian Dynasty is the Persian Dynasty, it is a reasonable assumption that the Sea Country people are also the Greeks.[8]

The Sealand "...politically attained ... a broad arena in which its forces developed and found expression .... [Thus,] it seems necessary to posit a larger area of activity and wider base of operation for the potency exhibited by the Sealand."[9]  In order to broaden this area, historians assume that the Sealand people conquered Arabia.  But this is purely ad hoc in that it is needed to enlarge the range of power and influence of an unknown people's territory.  We are also told that "Sargon of Agade made war on the Sealand."[10]  Since the Sealand is supposedly part of Mesopo­tamia, it could not be separated by both sea and land.  In this respect, the translation of the chronicle of Sargon, which states that "booty of the Westland brought him by way of the Sealand,"[11] contains "[t]he words ina-ma-a-ti famtim (Italics mine.) 'by way of the Sealand,"[12] [which] match the expression ina ma-a-ti tamtim (Italics mine.) in the Neo-Babylonian chronicle."[13]  According to Dougherty, Leonard W. King suggests that "(this expression) may have been used by the cuneiform copyist to mean 'by land and by sea."[14]

If we assume the booty came by way of land and sea, it could not have come by way of the northern Persian Gulf.  The other problem, if we accept the translation that booty came by way of the Sealand, is the location of Westland.  The chronicle's version of Sargon's excursion to Westland is:

"The sea of the setting of the sun he crossed and in the third year in [the land of] the setting of the sun his hand conquered Sargon [Then he again] crossed the sea of the setting of the sun, i.e., the Mediterranean Sea.  Some take it to mean that he journeyed as far as the island of Cyprus.  Others hold that it implies only a coastwise traversing of the Mediterranean Sea."[15]

Neither interpretation of the chronicle leaves any doubt that Westland lay somewhere in or along the Mediterranean Sea.  Thus, booty sent to Akkad or Persia had to be transported eastward.  But the location of the Sealand is said to be southwest of Akkad and south of Persia.  Therefore, neither interpretation of the chronicle will permit booty to come through the Sealand from the west.  However, it is also posited that the Sealand occupied Arabia, and thus booty could have come via the Mediterranean Sea across the Sealand's territory.  Here we run into a further contradiction.

Sargon of Agade made war on the Sealand and also on the Sumerians, who occupied the same marshy region at the northern end of the Persian Gulf.  In fact, we are told that he conquered all of Sumer: "To show that he had conquered Sumer in its totality, he made a symbolic gesture, a gesture which will later be repeated by other monarchs on other shores; he washed his weapon in the lower sea, the Persian Gulf."[16]  In order for the Sealand not to be more influential than Sumer during this early period, we must assume that it was not a powerful state and thus could not occupy the Arabian peninsula.

Ultimately, if the Sea Country people are the Greeks, that fact must be exhibited clearly in the account of the Babylonian conflicts with them.  One additional point: Professor Heinsohn has presented the view that "Hammurabi's mysterious [far away] provinces Hana [Eshunna] and Subartu [Subartum] are really Darius I's [far away, northwestern] provinces Yauna and Sparda, i.e., Ionia and Lydia."[17]  What I suggest instead is that Sparda is a cognate of Sparta, and that all of the area beyond Ionia in the earliest period was identified by Persia as the largest and most powerful state on the Greek mainland--Sparta: "Subar-tu ... in later tradition was regarded as having ranked with Akkad, Elam, and Amurra as one of the four quarters of the civilized world...."[18] Thus, Subartu could be considered the most distant state in the northwest known to be civilized.  This would clearly fit the Greek mainland.  It could not fit Lydia because Ionia (Eshunna) lay beyond it.



In the year 512, Darius I of Persia crossed the Bosporus and invaded Sythia.  Then, marching westward, he conquered Thrace and Macedonia.  As Darius I conquered Thrace and Macedonia, which we identify as Subartu or Subartum, we learn that the "32nd year of Hammurabi's reign takes its name from the great victory won against Eshunna [Ionia] and its allies." [19]  Then, during the next year, "[the 33rd] year-date [records] victories over Subartum."[20]  If, as Heinsohn believes, Subartu is Lydia, it would lie closer to the east and thus closer to Babylonia or Persia.  Therefore, it would have to be conquered first by an army marching west.  But we are told it was conquered after Ionia and thus could only lie west of Ionia; therefore, Hammurabi's conquest was like that of Darius I: A taking of lands in Greece, Ionia first and then mainland territory--Subartum.

Persia exercised its influence over these distant, conquered territories by imposing annual payments of tribute; however, it did not exercise its influence over the whole Hellenic peninsula.  "Only one important nation remained outside this vast system of government and trade, and that was Greece.  By 510, Darius had hardly heard of it outside Ionia.  'The Athenians,' he asked, 'who are they?'"[21]

We assume that the same condition existed regarding Babylonia's relationship with the Sealand and are told as much.  "The fringe territory [at] the extreme [of] Babylonia always exhibited a tendency to detach itself from Babylonia proper."[22]  "The early kings of Babylonia had always been content to leave the swamp-dwellers [the Sea Country people] to themselves and at most to exact a nominal recognition of suzerainty."[23]

Thus, Darius I and Hammurabi held Ionia, Thrace and Macedonia, but not all mainland Greece.

The cause of the Persian wars is well known.  The Athenians encouraged Ionia to resist Persia by stopping payment of tribute.  The Babylonians refer to the leader of the Sealand as King Illumailum.  Thus, it is important that he be dated to reign during the leadership of Hammurabi if he did indeed spark the Ionian rebellion.  His date, in fact, is not accurately known.  "His [Illumailum's] accession has been placed as early as Hammurabi's [26th] year .... As we have no evidence that Illumailum was Hammurabi's contemporary, it is safer to place his accession in Samsuiluna's reign."[24] My analysis tells me that it was "Illumailum who probably ... headed a revolt ... and declared his independence of Babylon."[25]  Now, if the Sealand was not directly under Hammurabi's rule as we were informed, how can a king lead a revolt against a non-existent ruler?  A revolt implies the removal of territory from Babylonian control and rule.  This is indicated by Dougherty: "More Iikelihood may be attributed to the view that he [Illumailum] actually invaded Babylonia."[26] Dougherty further states: "There is some evidence that part of Babylonia was controlled by the First Sealand Dynasty for a time, but it cannot be demonstrated that the First Sealand Dynasty should be described as Babylonian."[27]  What is implied is that the Sealand, without direct rule, influenced an area ruled by Babylonia and took it from Babylonian control.  This indicates either an alliance or a war of conquest by the Sealand.  An alliance is clearly what is described, because we are told that the action was a revolt, not an attack.



Darius marched against Ionia and reduced it to less than its former position.  He then went on to attack Greece, but was defeated at Marathon.

Although the information regarding Babylonia, in texts substantiating these circumstances, is both succinct and fragmentary, "there can be no doubt that a definite but abortive effort was made to bring military disaster upon Illumailum."[28]  Hammurabi conquered Eshunna (Ionia), and, "the King proclaimed his victory over Elam, Gutium, Subartum .... The last echo of these distant campaigns resounded upon the head of the whole mass of enemies up to the land of Subartum."[29]  Hammurabi fought many battles during this period, as did Darius I. The battle at Marathon, fought in Greece, was merely one among many.  It is possible that "the end of Hammurabi's reign was clouded by disaster,"[30] a disaster thought to have been caused by the recovery from defeat of Hammurabi's enemy, Rim Sin.  However, the disaster may also have been caused by the defeat in Greece.


Xerxes, the son of Darius, carried on the war against Greece, launching an invasion by land and sea which culminated in an indeterminate naval battle at Salamis.  In reality, Salamis was a Persian defeat.  Even worse defeats were inflicted upon the Persians a year later at the land battle of Plataea and the naval battle of Mycale.  Xerxes had carefully prepared for this campaign.  When it was over, "Xerxes, Darius' successor, lost Macedonia.... Cyrenica then broke away and the Persians were driven out of Thrace and the coastal cities of western Asia Minor."[31] Thus, Xerxes lost all his land in Greece and Ionia.

Like Xerxes, "Samsuiluna's answer [to the revolt] was to raise further levies and lead them against his new foe."[32]  We are also informed that "Samsuiluna twice marched against [Illumailum of the Sealand], the first time fighting a costly but indecisive battle, the second time suffering a defeat."[33]  It is well known that, at the Battle of Salamis, "the Persians managed to extricate a large portion, at least, of their ships from Themistocles' trap.  They abandoned the scene of the battle strewn with wrecks and floating men, whom the victors clubbed with oars or spitted like tunny.  The slaughter, but probably not the fighting, went on till nightfall."[34]

It is quite interesting to find that the battle of Samsuiluna against the Sealand king "was fiercely contested in the very shore of the gulf, for a later chronicler records that the bodies of the slain were carried off by the sea; yet it was either indecisive or resulted in the discomfiture of the Babylonians."[35]  What is described appears to be a naval battle fought on the shores of the gulf.  The slain were carried out to sea because they were not killed on shore, but at sea.

We know that Xerxes retreated after the battle of Salamis.  As for Samsuiluna, King states: "If the Babylonian army [had successfully retreated] in comparative good order,"[36] that "would have formed a sufficient justification for Samsuiluna's boast that he ha[d] given the rebellious [Sea]land a lesson."[37]

Like Xerxes, Samsuiluna lost his northern possessions.  According to Raymond P. Dougherty, "indirect evidence [indicates] that this reconstruction is not imaginary.  Cuneiform records seem to demonstrate that Samsuiluna's suzerainty over certain Babylonian cities ceased long before the time when he was followed by Abeishu."[38]  These cities were thought to be in the south.  However, we are specifically told by Roux: "At the end of this [Samsuiluna's] disastrous reign Babylonia was safe and the  kingdom amputated of its northern and southern provinces."[39]   Thus, northern territories were also lost.


Velikovsky, in Peoples of the Sea, tells us that Artaxerxes inherited the throne when his father, Xerxes, was assassinated, and, much later, when a local chief led a revolt in Egypt,

The Athenian fleet of two hundred triremes sailed up the Nile to help Egypt against the Great King.  At first the [routed] Persian garrison... took refuge in the citadel of Memphis, but after a few years a new Persian army freed the beleaguered garrison.... defeated the Athenian fleet, [and left it] high and dry by diverting the flow of a canal.  The Athenians burned their fleet and retreated to Cyrene.[40]

Thus, the Greeks escaped Artaxerxes' trap.

The Babylonian account describes another expedition, sent by Abeishu, against the southern rebel (the Sealanders).  Abeishu, son and successor of Samsuiluna, had a 28-year reign "marked by no known external event other than this spectacular failure, which is related only in the chronicle ."4[41] During the battle, he sought "to trap Illumailum by damming the Tigris, but although the earthwork was successful the rival leader escaped."[42]  Hence, these battles are precisely alike.  We learn that, in fighting this battle, Abeishu took the initiative.  If the battle was fought in the South, then Egypt seems to be the proper location for the conflict and the Tigris is a later interpretation by the scribe.


It is well-known that Alexander accepted Babylonia's surrender, received or took much of its wealth and, with it, paid his soldiers amply.  He also accepted the Babylonian gods and bowed before their images, restoring, by decree, their sacred shrines.  Hearing of such great magnanimity, the people of Susa, in Elam, accepted and welcomed Alexander into their city, which he defended against pillage.  His warriors received a share of the 50,000 talents (almost $300,000,000) taken from  Darius' treasurer.  Afterwards, Alexander repaid the cities of Ionia the money demanded of them prior to his campaign.

The chronicle of the fall of Babylonia states that "'men of the Khatti marched against the land of Akkad'; in other words that Hittites from Uatolia marched down the Euphrates and invaded Babylonia from the [northwest]."[43]  However, in the footnote to this passage, King informs us: "We may confidently regard the phrase as referring to the Anatolian Hittites, whose capital at Boghoz Keui must have been found earlier than the end of the [15th] century."[44] (Emphasis added.) King's identification of the Hittites, then, is conjecture.

There is a further problem with the chronicle.  The cuneiform sign for against is (ana), but the sign on the tablet is different.  Some claim this as a scribal misspell­ing of against.[45]  But, even in the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, ana is defined as a preposition meaning "to, for, up to, toward, against, upon."[46] Thus, the interpretation may be questionable.  The very next statement in the chronicle reports that "Ea Gamil, King of the Country of the Sea, [set out] against Elam."[47]  Thus, I conjecture the passage should read that "men from the direction of Khatti marched upon the land of Akkad.  Ea Gamil, their king of the Sea Country, afterwards set out against the land of Elam."[48]

King makes it clear that the chronicle does not record the result of the invasion.  But we may probably connect it with the fact that the Kassite king Agum Ka Krime brought back to Babylon, from Khami... on the middle Euphrates, the cult images of Marduk and Sarpanitum and installed them once more with pomp and ceremony within their shrine in E-sagila.[49]

This quite resembles the action taken by Alexander.  One may well suspect confusion by the scribe, because the Hittites, exactly like Alexander, took their "booty [and] ... for some obscure reason left [some of it] behind at Hana [Ionia]."[50]  Also, as in the story of Alexander, we are told that "Southern Babylonia may also have suffered in the raid."[51]  The Hittites at that time were supposedly a semi-barbarous people.  It is implied that they shared the same gods as the Babylonians and, while looting the city, honored its gods.  Then they retreated to their own land but left booty in a land with which they had no relationship or alliance.  What is most striking is that Samsuditana, the last Babylonian king, "may have fallen in defense of his own capital."[52]  Although some of the names are different in the chronicle, the actions taken are exactly alike.  We believe that this number of similarities cannot exist by coincidence.


One of the major phenomena of history is the imposition of Greek civilization on the Near East.  After Alexander's death, Greek dynasties were established and ruled by his generals.  Greek culture thrived.  The change was swift and far-reaching.  Thus, under Heinsohn's reconstruction of Mesopotamian history, we would expect to find a flourishing artistic culture and a new, stable government from the Sealand replacing the destroyed Babylonian administration.  In his review of Babylonian history, King states that other local kingdoms arose after Babylon's transient disappearance as a political force, but that there is no recorded trace of them, and that our only certainty lies in the continued succession of the Sea Country kings:

[About] one of these rulers, Gulkishar, reference is made upon a boundary stone in the [12th] century, drawn up in the reign of Enlil-nadin-apli, an early king of the Fourth Dynasty.  On it is ... the title of 'King of the Sea Country," which is also the late chronicler's designation for E-gamil, the last member of the dynasty [according to] the account he has left for us of the Kassite invasion.  Such evidence seems to show that the administrative centre of their rule was esta­blished at those periods in the south; but the inclusion of the dynasty in the King's List is best explained on the assumption that at least some of its latter members imposed their suzerainty over a wide area .... They were evidently the only stable line of rulers in a period after the most powerful administration the country had yet known had been suddenly shattered.[53] (Emphasis added.)

There is additional evidence that the rule of the Sea Country was actually the rule of Hellenistic Greece over Babylonia.  Historians have found that the evidence indicating a sudden change in Mesopotamia--the development of a flourishing art--is found in a cuneiform tablet "inscribed with secret recipes for making ... various kinds of glass, each bearing a trade name."[54] The glass-making technique was so advanced as to be a cherished mystery among glass makers, and so cryptic information was passed down in a language only decipherable to workers in the trade.  The precise date of the tablet is unknown, but "it would seem to be about a century earlier than the earliest glass vessels in Egypt, which appear under the rule of Tuthmosis III."[55]  Thus, this tablet is ascribed to the rule of Gulkishar, a Sealand king.


The major problem with this comparison of Persian and Babylonian history lies not with the order and nature of events, but with certain names associated with the events.  The chronological events of the wars are stunningly parallel.  The questions are, Why does Abeishu trap the Sealanders by damming the Tigris, while Artaxerxes traps the Greeks by diverting the Nile?  Why does the Hittite king, or possibly the Sealand king, do exactly the same things as does Alexander?  Both apparently invade from the northwest, both conquer, both honor and restore certain forms of religious worship, both go south to Elam, both leave booty in Ionia; at the last battle, or shortly thereafter, the opposing king dies.  The implication is that these actions were carried out by the Sealand king.  Velikovsky wrote about the coincidence of events in Ages in Chaos:

The biblical story of the last plague has a distinctly supernatural quality in that all the firstborn and only the firstborn were killed on the night of the plagues.  An earthquake that destroys only the firstborn is inconceivable because events can never attain that degree of coincidence.  No credit should be given to such a record.[56]

I paraphrase this view as follows: The Babylonian wars against the Sea Country show a distinct parallel with the events of the Persian wars against the Greeks in that all the battles are fought in a parallel chronological order by the same kings, in a parallel chronological order; and all the defeats and victories correspond with each other.  A series of events supposedly separated by a long period of time can never attain that degree of corresponding coincidence.  Therefore, credit should be given to the view that the Persian wars against the Greeks are the same wars fought by the First Babylonian Dynasty against the Sealand.

[1].  Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage (New York, 19.54), p. 291.

[2].  Charles Ginenthal, "The Sargonid Mirror," privately circulated paper (April, 1987).

[3].  Gunnar Heinsohn, Sumerians and Akkadians Never Existed (University of Bremen, 1986).


[5].  Raymond P. Dougherty, The Sealand of Ancient Arabia, Yale Oriental Researches Series, Vol.  XIX; Leonard W. King (A), A History of Babilonia (London, 1919).


[7].  Dougherty. op. cit., pp. 1-2.

[8].  Immanuel Velikovsky (A), Peoples of the Sea (New York, 1977).

[9].  Dougherty, op. cit., p. 24.

[10].  Dougherty, Ibid., p. 26.

[11]Ibid., P. 6.

[12]Ibid., pp. 5-6.



[15]Ibid., pp. 5-6.

[16].  George Roux, Ancient Iraq (New York, 1964), pp. 128-129.

[17].  Heinsohn, op. cit., p. 64.

[18].  Leonard W. King (B), A History of Babylonia and Assyria, 2 vols. (New York, 1915), Vol. II, pp. 139-140.

[19]Cambridge Ancient History [henceforth CAH, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, 1973), Vol.  II: Pt. 1, p. 15.

[20]Ibid, p. 182.

[21].  Durant, loc. cit.

[22].  King (A), op. cit, p. 200.

[23].  King (B), op. cit., p. 201.

[24].  King (A), op. cit., p. 105.

[25]Ibid., p. 199.

[26].  Dougherty, op. cit., p. 20.

[27]Ibid, p. 23.

[28]Ibid, p. 20.

[29]CAH, op. cit., p. 183.

[30].  Leonard W. King (C), Studies in Eastern History 2 (London, 1907):170.

[31]The Columbia History of the World [henceforth CHM (New York, 1986), p. 167.

[32].  King (A), loc. cit.

[33]CAH, op. cit., p. 222.

[34]CAH, Vol.  IV (Cambridge, 1930), p. 312.

[35].  King (A), op. cit., p. 197.

[36]Ibid., p. 20.


[38].  Dougherty, op. cit., p. 21.

[39].  Roux op. cit., p. 199.

[40].  Velikovsky, op. cit., p. 21.

[41].  CAH, (Cambridge, 1973), p. 223.


[43].  King (A), op. cit, p. 210.


[45].  King (C), op. cit., p. 22.

[46]Chicago Assyrian Dictionary [henceforth CAD] 23 vols. (Chicago, 1968), Vol. 1: Pt. 2, p. 100.

[47].  King (C), loc. cit.


[49].  King (A), loc. cit.

[50].  Roux, op. cit., p. 201.

[51].  King (A), op. cit., p. 211.


[53].  King (A), op. cit., p. 212.

[54]CAH, op. cit., p. 226.


[56].  Immanuel Velikovsky (B), Ages in Chaos (New York, 1952), p. 32.

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