The following paragraph by P. Matthiae and its somewhat garbled
translation supplied by the electronic translator raise some
long-discussed questions about the chronological correlations
between Early Bronze Age and Old Kingdom Chronology--- I am
wondering if any progress has been made here in getting any
widespread agreement :
Questi sovrani risiedevano in un palazzo dalle scenografie grandiose
e tenevano rapporti con paesi assai remoti, dall'Afghanistan nel
lontano Oriente, dove era la leggendaria terra di Aratta, da cui
arrivavano enormi quantità di lapislazzuli grezzi, fino all'Egitto
dell'Antico Regno, che certo inviavano grandi quantità di oro nubiano
alla metropoli di Siria. Chefren, il costruttore della seconda
piramide di Giza aveva spedito doni preziosi ad Ebla e l'ultimo re
della città distrutta da Sargon, Ishar-Damu, poco prima della
catastrofe aveva ricevuto pregiati vasi in pietra da Pepi I, il
potente faraone che allora regnava a Menfi.
> These kings were residing in a palace from the scenes
> and had great relations with countries very remote,
> Afghanistan in the Far East, where he was the legendary
> land of Aratta, which came enormous amount of
> lapislazuli rough up the Old Kingdom Egypt, which
> certainly send large quantities of [Nubian]gold to the metropolis
> Syria. Chefren, the manufacturer of the second pyramid
> Giza had sent precious gifts to and the last king of Ebla
> City destroyed by Sargon, Ishar-Damu, shortly before the
> disaster had received precious stone jars from Pepi I, the
> powerful pharaoh at the time in Memphis.
Question: Has Matthiae always maintained that Sargon and Pepi I
were contemporaries? This passage makes it unclear if he thinks
that the six invasions of the Levant sent out by Pepi antedated
the alleged destruction of Ebla by Sargon or followed it?
In other words did the six Egyptian invasions have a causal
role in causing Sargon to invade the West? or vice versa, did
Sargon's intrusion into the Egyptian sphere of influence in
the Levant incite Pepi to send out so many military expeditions
in response? Pepi's reign was long, but the invasions took
place faily early in his reign, according to Uni's autobiography.
Do we have any idea of the order of events here, other than that
a city or palace destruction postdated the receiving of the stone
jars? If the Egyptian invasions came first, the jars might have been
gifts from triumphant Egyptian commanders based on the coast after
the final naval invasion and battle. If vice versa, the Eblan king's
commercial or diplomatic contact with the Egyptians may have provoked
Sargon to a kind of aggressive defensive war -- Ebla is in my
territory, don't let the Egyptians come this far inland! This
destruction of a vital commercial link in the Egyptian's lapis
lazuli supply route might therefore have provoked the Egyptian
Wasn't there a conference in Berlin this last October which was
to discuss the causes of the end of EBIII in the Levant? A sort
of long overdue look at the question of the elephant-in-the-living
room? Was there any resolution to the differences in the various
chronologies proffered by Astour, Matthiae, et al. as to the
contemporaneity of Pepi I with Sargon or Naram Sin?
Sorry to be so vague but I am away from home and my files...
Is there a website with abstracts from this conference...? I
remember it being announced on ANE sometime in the spring or
summer of 2008, then never heard any follow-up...