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Phantom Periods & Astronomical Retrocalculation
Gunnar Heinsohn (TORONTO-Meeting, June 28-30, 2005, updated 02-06)


Nearly two decades ago I withdrew from Velikovsky’s identification of the Mitanni as –9th century Medes. I accepted his seminal identification of Mitanni and Medes but I rejected his Bible Fundamentalism which forced him to accept two Medish Empires, one in the –9th and the second one in the –7th/-6th century. By placing the Mitanni in the –7th/-6th century, where the Medes were dated ever since antiquity, this powerful nation was eventually furnished with an archaeology (now attributed to the Mitanni) whose supposed absence had never stopped to stun Assyriologists (Heinsohn 1987a+b). The Amarna period, of course, had to move together with the Mitanni=Medes. This allowed for identifying the rise of Aziru the Amurru/Martu (in contact with Amenophis IV=Akhnaton) in the final days of the Mitanni with the rise of Cyrus from the Persian tribe of the Mardians who eventually overtook the Empire of the Medes.

Soon, it became evident that archaeologically and technologically the entire Bronze Age had to be accommodated within the –1st millennium. Thus, more than 2000 years had to be cut from Egypt’s and Mesopotamia’s textbook chronologies. Yet, I refrained from giving precise dates for the early centuries of the –1st millennium. For the late –7th century onwards I simply used the traditional Greek chronology.  The Bronze Age returned to the period where its first Scandinavian identifiers (Thomsen 1837; Woorsaae 1844; 1878) were forced to place it to meet its stratigraphic shortness and immediate contingency with the Iron Age which did not emerge before –600/–500.

Since the European sources of tin (Cornwall, Pyrenees, Erzgebirge/Germany) were not mined before the –1st millennium, the Egyptian and Mesopotamian tin bronzes were obviously dated two millennia too early. Yet, we know that a chronological blend of Bible Fundamentalism and pseudo-astronomical retro-calculation won the day against metallurgy and archaeology. Today, Europe’s Bronze age is believed to have begun in the late –4th millennium, too, though not a single potsherd or hut post could be found deeper down in the soil to justify two to three more millennia which were eventually added on the patient pages of our history books.

Nearly fifteen years ago, when I first pondered the viability of Illig’s (1991) identification of the dark age in Europe’s early medieval period (+600 to +900) as another phantom period I drew on Simon Dubnow’s history of the Jewish people (Heinsohn 1991). Already in the early 20th century, this giant of a scholar had noticed an awkward textual silence of the People of the Book for that very +600 to +900 period (Dubnow 1921, 63 f.). Later, he sternly warned his colleagues to abstain from ruthlessly inventing “paper structures to bridge this chronological abyss” (Dubnow 1926, 561). Meanwhile, of course, we know much better that there are no Jewish texts from +600 to +900 though no other nation in the entire world has left us more medieval first hand texts than Jewry (Gotein 1967 ff., Mutius 1990).

Yet, Dubnow (1921, 44) had pointed to an additional awkward period of Jewish silence around –400 to –200. I mentioned this in my 1991 text because I had already wondered why the Hellenistic strata in Near Eastern archaeology do usually not set in around –330 when the accepted chronology has Alexander conquer that territory but more than a century later, i.e. not before –200/-180. A year later, in my defense of the Akhaemenid Empire against mainstream efforts to wipe it off the books as “elusive” (Sancisi-Weerdenburg 1990, 264), I identified all Assyrian periods after Mitanni dominated Assyria and before Hellenism as periods of the powerful satrapy Assyria (Athura) of the Akhaemenid Empire. All Babylonian periods after Ur-III and before Hellenism – stratigraphically and, therefore, historically these Neo-"Sumerians" roam parallel with the Mitanni=Medes – I identified as periods of the Akhaemenid satrapy Baberus/Babylonia (Heinsohn 1992).


MESOPOTAMIA                 EGYPT                                 GREECE

-3200          Timespan eliminated from conventional
                   Bronze Age chronology                                         -900         
(Heinsohn 1988; 1996; 1997; Heinsohn/Illig 2001)         
-900            Uruk-Period                            Naquada II                                         

-850     Ninevite 5-pottery                   0-Dynasty (pre-dyn.)                          Early Helladic

-800     Early Dynasties                       Gerzean                                               Middle Helladic                                 

-700     Old-Akkadians=                     2nd, 3rd, Snofru, 11th                             Mycenaean

            Hyksos=                                  early 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th

            Old-Assyrians                         early 18th dyn.

-610     Mitanni and Ur-III                  4th since Cheops, 6th, mid                    Archaic Greece

Neo-Sumerians                       12th, late 18th, early 19th ,                                                                                                                     21st, early 25th, late 26th dyn.

-525     Akhaemenid domination        5th, late 12th, 13th, late 19th,                  Classical Greece

            Middle to Late Assyrians       20th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, late 

            Old to Late Babylonians         25th, 27th to 31st  dyn.

-400            Phantom period with absence of architecture, burials, residential

-200            quarters, hearths, latrines, coins, and texts       

 -330    Hellenism (Seleuc./Parth.)       Ptolemies                                             Hellenistic Greece

+613                                                    End of Late Antiquity

+614           Phantom period with absence of architecture, burials,

+911           fire  places, toilets etc.  

+2005                                             Point of Retrocalculation                                


In the overview of chapter I above, mainstream chronology is accepted from -610 up to +600 AD/CE. After +600 follows another phantom period of at least three centuries which was and still is not taken into account in astronomical retrocalculations of modern astronomers. Yet, within the period –610 to +600 the time span between –525 and –200 is not on safe archaeological ground at all. It may be too long by some 200 years. This disquieting assumption is not only supported by the highly improbable muteness of the People of the Book from –400 to –200 or the 130 years missing archaeologically between Alexander’s conquest and the appearance of Hellenistic strata (period of -330 to -180). Already in 1992, I emphasized for the period of Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III, i.e. from -404 to –338, that every mistake made by ancient Greek chronographers after –525 will translate itself into an erroneous Akhaemenid chronology (Heinsohn 1992, 44 f.).

This cautioning was soon taken as encouragement to cut out of Akhaemenid history the rulers which have left neither inscriptions nor burials. Only the first Cyrus, Darius I, Xerxes “I”, Artaxerxes “II” and Darius II  have left mausoleums or rock tombs. Already Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, jumps from Artaxerxes I (-465 to –425; called Cyrus by him) via the so-called “other Artaxerxes” directly to the last Darius (-336 to –332). He omits two Artaxerxes, one Xerxes and one Darius. In a debate lasting five years (Illig 1993; Günther 1993; Zeller 1994; Martin 1995; Illig 1995; Radke 1997), a consensus was formed that some 60 to 70 years of Akhaemenid history is a fiction created by a duplication of Greek history whose connections with Persia and her rulers were duplicated in the same process. Athen’s period of –465 to –398 is neatly recycled for the years –404 to –332. One of the two time spans has to be deleted from the books (Völker 1997). In the Near East, thus, not only Jewry falls silent between –400 and –200 but also the combined history of Akhaemenids and Hellenism appears to be 200 years too long.

The numismatic evidence provides the strongest evidence that the suspicious 200 years are indeed not real but a phantom period which has to be cut out from history all the way from Portugal to Japan. Athens, of all places, remains without coinage from –404 to –180 (Martin 1995b+c). Coin experts were always surprised by the unchanged appearance and the hardly changing value of Athenian coins from the –6th to the early –2nd century (Fischer 1976, 165). In actual fact, coins covering a maximum of 200 years were stretched over 500 years to furnish two to three blank centuries before the –2nd century brings the first variations in coinage and value. Moreover, like Jewry, Athenian Greeks becomes mute after –400: “From the literary monuments the tragedies come to an end with the end of the Peloponnesian war [-405]. Of the comedies nothing is preserved after the last two plays by Aristophanes [died probably in –387]” (Meyer 1954, 266).



Selected years of period –465 to –398 compared with selected years of

  period –404 to –332 showing a duplication of 68 years in Athenian-Greek history with some Egyptian synchronisms (adapted from Völker 1997, 424 ff.)


-465     Artaxerxes I called Cyrus by Josephus          -404 Artaxerxes II against Younger Cyrus

Egypt of -400 with Psammetich “VI”= Psammetich “IV” of -465

-464                                                                             -398 Konon tries to win Artaxerx. II for Athens

-462     Konon archon in Athens                                -396

-461                                                                             -395 Konon travels to Persian court

Konon pressure on Sparta to stop assistance for Egyptian rebellion against Akhaemenids in –395

equals year –460 when Egypt’s Akhaemenid Satrap Achaimenes is murdered

-460     Wall built in Athens                                      -394

-459     Philokles archon                                             -393 Wall built in Athens

-458                                                                             -392 Philokles archon

-452                                                                             -386 Peace of Antalkidas

-450     Athenians win at Salamis (Cyprus)               -384 Ceasefire at Salamis (Cprus)

-449     Peace of Kallias                                              -383

-449     1st Attic Maritime Alliance strengthened      -383

Egypt of -380 with enigmatic Psammuthis= Psammetich “V” of -445

-443                                                                             -377 Kallias archon in Athens. 2nd Attic

        Maritime Alliance (against Sparta)

-437                                                                             -371 Peace conference in Sparta

-436                                                                             -370 End of Peleponnesian Symmachy,

                                                                                             Thebes attacks

-434                                                                             -368 Delphi peace conference fails

-432                                                                             -366 Satrap rebellion weakens Akhaem. Emp.

-431     Athens begins Peloponnesian War -365

            against Akhaemenid ally Sparta

-429                                                                             -363 Satrap rebellion widens. Phoenic. upheaval

-425     Brief rule of Xerxes II                                   -359 Artaxerxes II dead(10 months secret rule)

-424     Ochos-Darius II                                              -358 Ochos-Artaxerxes III

-419     Archias archon in Athens                             -353

Year –411  when Jews are killed in Egypt and write for help to Judah’s Governor Bagohi  equals year –346 when Persians are defeated in Egypt and Judah’s Governor Bagoas invades it in -345

-411                                                                             -345 Archias archon in Athens

-404     Artaxerxes “II”                                              -338 Artaxerxes “IV”

-401     Younger Cyrus (?)                                          -335 Darius “III”

-398                                                                             -322 Alexander rules


After Greece, ancient Rome is the best researched civilization of the West. It appears to be haunted with an archaeological blank of at least 220 years similar to the lacunae in Greece and Mesopotamia (Maier 1989; Albrecht 1995; Martin 1995: Illig 1994 and 1995). The legendary ab urbe condita date of –753 was archaeologically cut down by 175 years to -575 many decades ago (Gjerstad 1960 [III], 457 ff.). More bewildering are the Etruscans. These pre-Roman masters of the early city of Rome lethally decline not just once but three times: around-390, around -290 and around –200. It is, however, not before Rome’s war against the Federates that, in –82, the Etruscans are annihilated with some 100.000 killed or enslaved.

The glorious years of the Early Roman Republic (–510 to –440) are, commonly admitted,  a literary construct of the Late Republic of the –1st century. Between –440/400 and around –200, Rome has no archaeology, but also no history, with the exception of the Gauls burning it in –390. Yet, there is no mentioning of that war and of Rome’s legendary saviour Camillus before the –2nd century. Archaeology has not revealed any traces of the Gauls' big fire which historians have loved to blame for the absence of  material  finds for  –6th and –5th century Rome. For the period from –509 to –367, the later Roman writers list 62 laws out of which only two are considered genuine, a war declaration against Praeneste (Palestrina) of  -381 and the Twelve Tables of –450/-440 (Flach 1994, 284). Yet, the institution of the Decemviri, who have passed the famous tables, are not known in Rome before –200. Moreover, an undisputable war of Sulla against Praeneste is on record as late as –82.

Around –400 the Samnites take Pompeii which lies 220 km south of Rome and is the best preserved excavation site of all. Yet, more than 200 years of Samnite history, before Sulla takes the city for Rome in -81, rest without any archaeology whatsoever in this splendidly rich  urban jewel.

Phantom periods [framed] in the Ancient History of Rome

 (Maier 1989; Illig 1994; 1995)

-753     ab urbe condita date created by 1st century BCE writers results in some 175 blank years

-575     to archaeological beginnings of the Etruscan city in -575

-510/-450/-440 or –400 End of Etruscan rule over Rome

-400                 After end of the Etruscans some 200 years

-200/-180        without architecture, laws etc.

-200/-180    Beginning of Roman conquests and Carthaginian wars


Of course, the most popular events in the archaeological blank –400 to –200/-180 are Rome’s wars against Carthage. What can be saved of these events?

Carthage–Rome–Relations [phantom periods in frames]

-507    The treaties with Carthage over rule in Italy (-507) and maritime influence zones up to

-348    Gibraltar (-348) are –1st century inventions. Rome has no fleet before ”260” BCE.


-264     1st Punic War has as Roman hero Marcus Atilius Regulus who is never shown on coins

-241      - which are missing anyway - and only known from a legend.   


-218     2nd Punic War has against Hannibal i.a. Tiberius Sempronus Longus, Minutius Rufus, 

-201     Scipio Africanus+brother, Livius Salinator and Claudius Nero.  No coins or portraits.

-190     Another Punic War: Once again, the two Scipios chase Hannibal.

-183     Suicide of Hannibal by poison in Bythinia

-146     3rd Punic War: An additional Scipio Africanus defeats and

-143     exterminates Carthage

 -46      Caesar defeats a Roman competitor by the name of Scipio in Punic Carthage



Astronomical retro-calculations face two major problems. (i) Modern astronomers must be able to precisely translate celestial coordinates and data found in ancient texts into the coordinates used today. This is extremely difficult as may be illustrated by an admission of one of the leading men in the field: ”When this [retro-calculative] study was started some four years ago, the interpretation of each kudurru [stela with celestial and planetary imagery] was attempted separately and revised a few times until I was satisfied with the results” (Tuman 1987-88, 135; emphasis added). If the appearance of a peculiar celestial body is described in ancient texts its identification must be beyond doubt. (ii) If hidden worldwide phantom periods exist between the date of retro-calculation, let us say, 28 June, 2005, and an ancient text dating from, let us say, somewhere in the decade –760/-750, modern astronomers will be led astray. As long as the assumptions of two fictitious periods (i) from –400 to –200 and (ii) from +600 to + 900 are not refuted by presenting hard evidence for this combined timespan of 500 years, any retro-calculation which tries to reach behind 900 AD and, simultaneously, ignores the possible phantom centuries will be seriously flawed.


- Albrecht, G. (1995), „“Livius und die frühe römische Republik“, in Zeitensprünge VII/3

- Dubnow, S. (1921), Die jüdische Geschichte: Ein geschichtsphilosophischer Entwurf, Frankfurt/Main

- Dubnow, S. (1926), Weltgeschichte des jüdischen Volkes. Von seinen Uranfängen bis zur Gegenwart. In zehn Bänden. Orientalische Periode. Band III: Vom Untergange Judäas bis zum Verfall der autonomen Zentren im Morgenlande / Die Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Orient: Vom Untergange Judäas bis zum Verfall der autonomen Zentren im Morgenlande, Berlin

- Fischer, T. (1976), “Die ‚Eulen von Athen‘ in der Münzausstellung der Ruhr-Universität Bochum“, in hellenika, 1976, 165 ff.

- Flach , D. (1994), Die Gesetze der frühen römischen Republik, Darmstadt

-Gjerstad, E. (1953-60), Early Rome, 3 vols., Lund

– Goitein, S.D. (1967-1993), A Mediterranean Society. The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, 6 Bände, Berkeley & Los Angeles

- Günther, K. (1993), “Widerspricht die Gleichsetzung Assyrerkönige = Perserkönige dem Befund der Bibel?“, in Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart, V/2

-Heinsohn, G. (1987a), “Withdrawal of Support for Velikovsky’s Date of the Amarna Period“, in Gesellschaft für die Rekonstruktion der Menschheits und Naturgeschichte/Bulletin, vol. III/4

-Heinsohn, G. (1987b), “Appendix zum Amarna-Datum“ in Gesellschaft für die Rekonstruktion der Menschheits und Naturgeschichte/Bulletin, vol. III/6

- Heinsohn, G. (1991), “Jüdische Geschichte und die Illig-Niemitzsche Verkürzung der christlichen Chronologie des Mittelalters“, in Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart, III/5

- Heinsohn, G. (1992), Perserherrscher gleich Assyrerkönige? Assyrien ist auch in seiner persischen Blütezeit nicht ohne Schrift und Städte, Gräfelfing

- Heinsohn, G. (1996), Assyrerkönige gleich Perserherrscher! Die Assyrienfunde bestätigen das Achämenidenreich, Gräfelfing

- Heinsohn, G. (1997), Wer herrschte im Industal?, 1st ed. 1993, Gräfelfing

- Heinsohn, G. and. H. Illig (2001), Wann lebten die Pharaonen?,1990; 3rd ed. 1999, Gräfelfing

-Illig, H. (1991), ”Die christliche Zeitrechnung ist zu lang“, in: Vorzeit - Frühzeit - Gegenwart, III/ 3-4

- Illig, H. (1993), “Juda und seine persischen Könige“, in Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart, V/1

- Illig, H. (1994), “Verliert Italien sogar drei ‚dark ages‘?“, in Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart, VI/3

- Illig, H. (1995), “Rom bis Athen: Was bleibt bestehen?“, in Zeitensprünge VII/3

- Radke, R. (1997), “Achämeniden und die jüdische Chronologie“, in Zeitensprünge IX/3

- Maier, H.H. (1989), “Auch Rom ist nicht ewig“, in Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart I/3

- Martin, P.C. (1995), ”Wie stark erhellen Münzen die ‘dark ages’ in Italien?”, in Zeitensprünge VII/3

- Meyer, E. (1954), Geschichte des Altertums, IV/1, Darmstadt

- Mutius, H.-G.v. (1990), Rechtsentscheide Jüdischer Gesetzeslehrer aus dem maurischen Cordoba, Frankfurt am Main et al.

- Sancisi-Weerdenburg, H. (1990), “The Quest for an Elusive Empire”, in Sancisi-Weerdenburg, H. and A. Kuhrt, eds., Achaemenid History IV: Centre and Periphery: Proceedings of the Groningen Achaemenid History Workshop, Leiden

- Thomsen, C.J. (1837), Leitfaden zur nordischen Altertumskunde, Hamburg

- Tuman, V.S., Hoffman, R. (1987-88),“Rediscovering the Past..., with appendix by Tuman“Astrochronology versus Brinkmans Historical Chronology, in Archaeoastronomy X

- Völker, T. (1997), “Grundrisse zur Rekonstruktion der Antike (I)“, in Zeitensprünge IX/3

- Worsaae, J.J.A. (1844), Dänemarks Vorzeit durch Althertümer und Grabhügel beleuchtet, Copenhague

- Worsaae, J.J.A. (1878), Die Vorgeschichte des Nordens nach gleichzeitigen Denkmälern, Hamburg

- Zeller, M. (1994), „“Assyrica II“, in Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart, VI/1

G u n n a r   H E I N S O H N
Prof. Dr. phil.Dr. rer. pol.; Dipl. Soz.
Raphael-Lemkin-Institut für
Xenophobie- und Genozidforschung
Universität Bremen/Fachbereich 11                Tel: 0421/218-3154
Bibliotheksstr.1                                                   E-mail: <gheins@uni-bremen.de>
D - 28359 Bremen                                                Fax: 0421/218 7069





Greek  Dates
-330             STUNNING                  RICHEST
-550             BLANKS                      REMAINS

Biblical Dates
-600             RICHEST                        STUNNING
-900             REMAINS                       BLANKS


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