3150 BCE - 2613 BCE
Early Dynastic Period in Egypt. First Kings.
c. 3150 BCE
King Menes unifies Egypt through conquest.
c. 3150 BCE - c. 3100 BCE
Reign of Menes, a.k.a. Narmer, first king who is thought to have unified Upper and Lower Egypt.
3150 BCE - c. 2890 BCE
First Dynasty in Ancient Egypt.
Timeline History Of Plumbing
Water is an important element for survival and the advancement of plumbing has made providing water much more convenient.
Plumbing originated during ancient civilizations such as the Greek, Roman, Persian, Indian and Chinese cities as they developed ways to irrigate their crops and provide public baths, wastewater removal and portable water. Here is a timeline of historical events that have shaped the modern plumbing systems that we know today.
The earliest plumbing pipes were made of baked clay and straw and They dug wells as deep as 300 feet and invented the water wheel. We know this because bathrooms and plumbing features have been found in the pyramids for the dead.
4000-3000 B.C. – Archaeologists put the first water pipes in the Indus River in India, dating back to 4000-3000 B.C. Egyptian ruler Menes also supported a thriving civilization by constructing canals, irrigation ditches, and basins. The first copper pipes were made by the Egyptians.
Around 52 A.D. – Rome boasted an estimated 220 miles of aqueducts, pipes and water channels that carried water from the mountains to the city to supply baths, homes and public wells. The water channels were powered by gravity and carried 300 gallons of fresh water for Romes citizens.The Roman Empire developed complex ancient plumbing systems along with aqueducts, underground sewers, public baths, bronze and lead piping systems, and even marble fixtures. The Greeks mastered the science of hot and cold running water. They made shower technology for athletes to bathe in after their Olympic games.
The Roman baths heated their hot water with wood furnaces. Public latrines had 20 seats arranged in a single room while water constantly ran beneath them and carried waste to the nearest sewer. As cities grew, the waste caused outbreaks and diseases. After the fall of the Roman and Greek empires, plumbing technology came to a standstill until many decades later.
Traces of early sanitary practices existed in monasteries and castles of feudal lords in England. Most castles in England had Garderobes, a Garderobe being a projection with a seat on which you sat, and the waste simply dropped into the soil, moat or river below. Menials were made to scrape and carry away this waste.
A drainpipe at Chateau Pierrefonds, 12th century castle in France.
1596 – Rudimentary Flush Toilet invented.
1664 – King Louis XIV of France ordered the construction of a cast-iron main plumbing line. The line carried water approximately 15 miles from a plumbing station to the palace fountains as well as surrounding areas.
1738 – The first valve-type flush toilet invented by J.F. Brondel. In that same year, John Harington gifted Queen Elizabeth I with the first flushable toilet. She was too scared to use it because it made terrible rushing water sounds.In America,
1775 – Alexander Cumming patented the flush toilet, the beginning of the modern toilet.
The first shower was invented. It continually pumped the same wastewater from the lower basin to the top and dumped water directly above the bathers head. It was considered a novelty and performed only once or twice a year.
1815 – Philadelphia was the first to undertake a safe water supply in . Steam turbines were used to draw water from the Schuylkill River into Centre Square.
The first public water main was installed under New York streets. Multiple fires meant there was a need for an adequate water supply for fire fighting.
1833 – The first floor of the White House received running water.
1848 – The National Public Health Act was passed in England and became the role model in plumbing codes around the world.
America built its first integrated sewer system in Chicago as an alternative to waste being dumped into Lake Michigan, which also supplied the city’s drinking water. It caused a deadly outbreak and claimed nearly 75,000 lives.
1883 – John Kohler created the first cast iron bathtub. It was made from an iron horse trough.
1939 – World War II restricted the use of iron, steel and copper and forced the plumbing industry to start using new materials like plastics.
1978 – Water saving laws start to be introduced.
About This Timeline’s Curator:
Jeff Tucker is a Social Media strategist at X1Plumbing.us
You can follow Jeff on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook
“I go into my library and all history unrolls before me.” – Alexander Smith
What is a meme?
The easier question is, what isn’t a meme?
According to an analysis by Smithsonian Magazine, memes can be anything something as monumental as a belief in God to catchphrases or idioms to a type of music can be a meme.
“The hula hoop is not a meme it is made of plastic, not of bits,” the publication says. “When this species of toy spread worldwide in a mad epidemic in 1958, it was the product, the physical manifestation, of a meme, or memes: the craving for hula hoops the swaying, swinging, twirling skill set of hula-hooping. The hula hoop itself is a meme vehicle. So, for that matter, is each human hula hooper𠅊 strikingly effective meme vehicle.”
The generally understood definition of a meme today is anything that’s a joke on the internet, usually wrapped in a layer of self-deprecation, sarcasm, or irony. Memes can be image, video, or text based, and can be reproduced, republished, or reinterpreted by others, leading to an entirely different rhetorical message.
He Who Endures
By 500 B.C., Menes is mentioned as receiving the throne of Egypt directly from the god Horus. As such, he comes to occupy the role of a founding figure, much as Remus and Romulus did for ancient Romans.
Archaeologists agree that it is likely that the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt occurred over the reigns of several First Dynasty kings, and that the legend of Menes was, perhaps, created at a much later date to represent those involved. The name “Menes” means “He Who Endures,” and it may have come to connote all of the proto-dynastic kings who made unification a reality.
Menes Timeline - History
I've had several people ask me how I arrange our timeline cards and what do I determine to be the most important events, so I am posting the sheet that I refer to as I read Hillyer's Child's History of the World aloud. This is what we do for Year 1 of our curriculum. I hope this helps someone.
Fall of Man
Menes (Narmer) 2500BC
Cheops (Khufu) 2000BC
The Kingdom Divides 920BC
Trojan War 900BC
Lycurgus and Sparta 900BC
First Olympics 770BC
Founding of Rome 750BC
Assyrians Rule (Nineveh) 700BC
Babylonians Rule 600BC
Persians Rule 540BC
Buddha of India 500BC
Confucius of China 500BC
Draco and Solon 500BC
Jews return home
& Temple is rebuilt (Cyrus) 540BC
End of Kings of Rome 500BC
Battle at Marathon 490BC
Queen Esther 480BC
Thermopylae & Salamis 480BC
Golden Age, Pericles 480BC
Peloponnesian War 430BC
Alexander the Great 330BC
Punic Wars (Carthage) 200BC
Maccabees Revolt 170 BC
Orange cards= Israel, Green cards= Egypt, Blue cards= Greece, Pink cards= Rome, White cards (black type) = Other
All dates are approximate and based on David Rohl's dating plan. (The Shearers of Greenleaf also recommend his dates) I don't write the dates on the timeline cards. I found that young children don't need them. The order of events is more important at this age, not the year. When we study history a second time around in the upper years, we add dates to individual century books.
Social Changes Can Take Place Quickly
The investigators also concluded that the Pre-Dynastic time preceding Egyptian unification was a few centuries shorter than traditionally thought. They calculated that 600 to 700 years passed between the development of agriculture in the Nile region and the First Dynasty.14
“The time period is shorter than was previously thought—about 300 or 400 years shorter,” Dee said. “Egypt was a state that emerged quickly—over that time one has immense social change. This is interesting when one compares it with other places. In Mesopotamia, for example, you have agriculture for several thousand years before you have anything like a state.”15
“The origins of Egypt began a millennium before the pyramids were built, which is why our understanding of how and why this powerful state developed is based solely on archaeological evidence,” Dee explained. “This new study provides new radiocarbon dating evidence that resets the chronology of the first dynastic rulers of Ancient Egypt and suggests Egypt formed far more rapidly than was previously thought.”16
Akhenaten’s reign as Pharaoh lasted from 1353 to 1336 BC.
Akhenaten was an ancient Egyptian ruler (a pharaoh) of the 18th Dynasty whose reign lasted for 17 years. His reign likely started from 1353 to 1336 BC. Akhenaten means, “Effective for Aten” (an aspect of the ancient Egyptian god of the sun, Aten). Egyptians remember Akhenaten as a monotheistic pharaoh, a ruler who dismantled the the polytheistic worship of gods and goddesses of Egypt.
Pharaoh Akhenaten planted Aten – the sun god – as the supreme god of ancient Egypt. This made him quite an unpopular figure in ancient Egypt. His son and successor Tutankhamun would later reverse all the “heretic” ideologies perpetuated during Akhenaten’s reign.
Pharaoh Akhenaten also vested a lot of power in his queen, Nefertiti. This made her very famous as she acted like a co-ruler of the main pharaoh. After the death of Akhenaten, Egyptians went back to their previous forms of polythestic worship.
King Menes life and biography
Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Egypt
Nationality : Egyptian
Category : Historian personalities
Last modified : 2011-10-11
Credited as : King of Egypt, Ohe and Mena, conqueror who first united Egypt
Menes's reign of Egypt from 3407 to 3346 B.C. was treated as the dawn of Egyptian civilization in many classical histories. In earlier Egyptian lore he was called Ohe and Mena, "The Fighter," and then was referred to as "The Established." He is remembered as the conqueror who first united Egypt under one rule and established the famous capital of Memphis, the seat of Egypt's unparalleled cultural achievements during the time of the Pharaohs.
In the fourth century B.C., Ptolemy II Philadelphus ordered the priest Manetho to compile a complete history of Egypt for his great library at Alexandria. Menes was the earliest man that he mentioned by name, as the first king of the First Dynasty of Upper and Lower Egypt. Modern archaeological findings have since displaced Menes as the first name in Egyptian history, and though experts today agree that Mena is the correct name for one of the first kings of Upper and Lower Egypt, there is some doubt that Menes was the military "Unifier of the Two Lands." Discerning the role of Menes in the "hazy outline of the general drift of events" in predynastic Egypt has been a major topic of discussion for J. H. Breasted and other twentieth century Egyptologists, and the reader of modern histories of Egypt will find that Menes is still a favorite subject for creative hypothesis and scholarly debate. He is still regarded by some scholars as the legendary military conqueror who unified Egypt through war, but others now hypothesize that Lower Egypt had already been conquered at least a generation before Menes, and that Menes was actually a savvy politician who consolidated the legal claim to the throne of the southern "Hawk-kings" by assuming the gods and rituals of the north, and by marrying into their most prominent royal family.
Manetho's treatment of the generations before Menes as "prehistoric" or "predynastic" has fostered the misconception that Menes was the first king in Egypt. Today it is
known that Egypt contained a number of advanced and organized societies as early as the sixth millennium B.C. The ancestors of Menes, named "Horus-people" or " Hawk-people" after an early king who became one of their chief gods, consolidated the disparate southern districts around the First Cataract of Aswan in the Nile Valley into the Upper Kingdom, named for its location upstream on the northward-flowing Nile. The Hawk-people established their center at Theni during the reigns of as many as 50 kings while they gradually fought their way northward (down the Nile) against the "Set-people," presumably a wealthier and more advanced civilization who controlled the enviable farmland in the Fertile Crescent. Besides ideal farmland that never required irrigation, the Delta region also had the advantage of proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the ancient highway of commerce, for trading with the ancient Syrians and Libyans. In roughly 3400 B.C. after a very long period of war, the Horus-worshipers defeated the north in a battle near Anu (Heliopolis), and established their rule over the Delta region and the entrance to the sea.
By the account of Manetho, recorded three millennia later, the victorious Hawk-king was Menes. Egyptologists in the twentieth century, however, try to give Manetho as little credence as the availability of more reliable evidence allows. J. H. Breasted, the premier Egyptian scholar of the early 20th century, even called Manetho's writings "the compilation of puerile folk-tale…. hardly worthy of the name history." In the case of Menes, however, the most informative artifacts have actually confused his identity by providing the descriptions of two other kings that correspond in name or in deed with his legend: Narmer and Aha.
The most famous piece of evidence concerning the "Unifier of the Two Lands" is a predynastic slate palette found among the ruins of Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) and entitled 'Narmer.' The slate depicts a king wearing the signature White Crown of the south with a mace held over his head, preparing to club a kneeling figure wearing the Red Crown of the north. Scholars all agree that Narmer was the king who took control of the north, but because it was traditional for Egyptian kings to be known by as many as five names, some Egyptologists are comfortable with the simple explanation that Menes and Narmer were two names used by the same man. The complications with the archaeological record arose when a piece of ivory label was found near Thebes, bearing the first and only contemporary mention of the fabled Menes.
The Horus-king inscription was that of Aha, previously known as a king who reigned shortly before or shortly after Narmer. Along with the Horus-inscription was a so-called Nebti title, which referred to the two great goddesses of the north and south, indicating that the label referred to a time after the unification of the two lands. This sign bore the name of Mena, and many scholars now argue that Aha is the Upper Kingdom or Horus-name, and Mena the combined kingdom or Nebti-name for the same king. In 1961 Sir Alan Gardiner gave a scenario in which Ohe Meni (Aha-Menes) was actually the son of Narmer, born a Horus-king, who took several important political steps in consolidating the kingdom after the military conquest that later earned him the title of Meni "The Established" in the north and in the south.
Gardiner posited that Menes followed Narmer as the Hawk-king at Theni when he was not much older than 15, at which time he was known as Ohe or Aha. Some time after he was recognized in the south he married Princess Neihotpe, the heiress to the throne of the Set-people of Fayum, just south of the Delta region and then took on the title of Meni. This strategic marriage could explain why Menes could become tradition's first king of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms even if Narmer had gained the surrender of the northern armies before Menes acceded the throne. According to Gardiner, "The Egyptians were ever sticklers for legal form," and the northern people would not be apt to recognize the power of a man who had no legal ties to their ruling family. Menes's name could easily have eclipsed Narmer's as the story was passed down through generations if his kingship was more widely recognized.
Menes left the temples and festivals of Set in place, and assumed the other gods of the north as well. His wise actions make it clear that the worshipers of Horus had no intention of wiping out the advancements of the Set-people, but attacked in order to establish a premise for the civilizations to merge, albeit under Horus's control. It was not until the fifth king of the unified kingdom, King Semti, that the combined hieroglyph meaning "King of the South, King of the North" was put into use, indicating that the First Dynasty kings did establish their power in the north gradually, and not in a single, decisive, imperialistic step.
The city of Memphis, a Greek rendering of the Egyptian Men-nofre, meaning "The Well-Established," was built on the site of an earlier stronghold of the Upper or "White" Kingdom known as White Wall. It was strategically located in the center of the unified kingdom, a few miles south of modern Cairo on the west side of the Nile. In order to capture "the sweet northern breeze" that blew south along the Nile from the Mediterranean, Menes built the city right in the Nile's flood plain, and constructed a great dam to divert the river during the annual inundation. Memphis was a nearly unassailable city, because the temperate valley of the Nile turned immediately into hot, barren desert on the East and West.
Diodorus recorded that Menes established the rituals of divine worship in the new city, and that he taught the citizens "how to adorn their couches and tables with rich cloths and coverings, and was the first that brought in an elegant and sumptuous way of living." The tradition continued that Menes founded the temple of Ptah, the divine Craftsman and Potter of the gods, and we can see from later events that Ptah was lavishly worshiped at Memphis. Some 600 years later the Third Dynasty vizier Imhotep, who became the divine son of Ptah, was said to have appeased the god by instructing his King Zoser to make an offering of 70 miles on either side of the Nile along with its full harvest, in addition to the temple's usual endowment of food and precious metals.
With the Upper and Lower Kingdoms continuing to stabilize as a single culture, the Memphites took advantage of the security of the capital and the superb farming conditions there to amass an unprecedentedly large surplus of food, a luxury which historians believe was the key to the rapid advancement of government institutions and the phenomenal leaps in technology that occurred at Memphis over the next thousand years. With easy access to the Mediterranean, the surplus food could be dearly traded with the Syria-Palestinians, Libyans, and Mesopotamians, and the Memphites quickly progressed from the elegant, sumptuous way of living introduced by Menes to the opulent displays of wealth and achievement that they are known for today.
The ancient Egyptians had a custom of honoring their kings by taking their bodies to the site of their rule for burial. For the kings who ruled exclusively at Memphis, the burial site was nearby Sakkara. Menes and the other kings of the First Dynasty who ruled during the construction of Memphis, however, were also recognized at Theni, posing a dilemma for those who had to decide where they should be enshrined. The First Dynasty kings, including King Aha, solved this problem by constructing tombs at both Sakkara and Abydos—a real tomb which would house the mummy, and a cenotaph, an empty tomb to serve as a shrine rather than an actual grave. Since no bones were found in either location, Egyptologists will never know which was the real grave and which was the empty marker, and the scant evidence that can be gleaned from Menes's burial is as duplicitous as the record of his life. Instead of providing new answers, the evidence of Aha's tombs has provided only another heated topic for discussion in the attempt to discover the identity of Menes.
Mertz, Barbara, Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs, Coward-McCann, Inc., 1964.
Breasted, James Henry, A History of the Ancient Egyptians, John Murray, 1928.
Budge, E. A. Wallace, A Short History of the Egyptian People, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1914.
Gardiner, Sir Alan, Egypt of the Pharaohs:, Oxford University Press, 1961. □
From 5550 to 3050 BC was the Pre Dynastic Period during which small settlements flourished along the Nile. Before the first Egyptian dynasty, Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, known as Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt (Egypt History). The notable rulers of Egypt were the mysterious ‘Scorpion’ and Narmer.
King Scorpion was believed to have ruled Upper Egypt and lived just before or during the rule of Narmer at Thinis. Egypt was undergoing the process of political unification. The Egyptian capital at the time was Thinis.
From 3050 to 2686 BC was the Early Dynastic Period in which the first and second dynasties ruled. This period witnessed the use of hieroglyphics. King Menes is considered to be the founder of the first Dynasty.
Memphis was established as the capital of Egypt, founded at around 3100 BC.
The old kingdom was established in 2686 BC. From this period to 2181 BC, 3rd to 6th dynasties ruled. A large number of pyramids was constructed during this period. King Djoser was one of the 3rd dynasty kings.
During the 4th dynasty, (which was founded by Snefru) the great pyramids were built in Gaza. The cult of god Ra gained importance during the 5th dynasty. The 6th dynasty was founded by Teti.
From 2181 to 2040 BC was the first Intermediate Period during which Egypt was ruled by 7th to 10th dynasties. This period witnessed the breakdown of central government. The 11th to 13th Egyptian dynasties ruled during 2040 to 1782 BC, the period being called the Middle Kingdom.
The Second Intermediate period, during which the 14th to 17th dynasties ruled existed from 1782 to 1570 BC. In this period, The Hykos introduced the Egyptians to the chariot.
The new kingdom was characterized by the rule of 18th to 20th dynasties. The tomb of the Valley of Kings was built. Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Tuthmose and Ramses II and Hatshepsut were the main Pharaohs of the time. The kingdom existed till 1070 BC.
From 1070 to 525 BC was the Third Intermediate period during which the Nubians conquered Egypt and restored traditional values and religion. The Late period was from 672 to 332 BC and the 26th to 31st dynasties ruled over this time. The 27th dynasty was established by a Persian king.
The Greco-Roman period is said to be from 332 BC to 641 AD. It was during this period that Egypt was invaded and conquered by Alexander the Great and the Ptolemic dynasty was established. The city of Alexandria was founded. Cleopatra VII reigned in 51 BC. The Roman period began at around 30 BC.
In 642 AD, Arabs captured Egypt and it became a part of the Islamic empire. From 868 – 969 AD, the Tulunid and the Ikhshidid dynasty ruled Egypt.
Fatimid rulers seized Egypt and founded the Egyptian city Al-Qahirah (modern Cairo) in 969 AD.
Menes Timeline - History
It is usually taken for granted by those interested in Biblical chronology that the year 4,004 BC as first proposed by Archbishop Ussher, give or take a few years, is the date the book of Genesis gives for the date of creation. The Jews use a slightly different chronology first proposed by Rabbi Yossi, a disciple of the great Rabbi Akiva which proposes a date of 3760 BCE largely on account of a misunderstanding of the Persian period.
This of course has created tremendous controversy in this age of science in which C14 dating has cast tremendous doubt on such figures. It is therefore interesting that another interpretation can be understood from the genealogies that the Biblical chronologists have used to determine the date of Adam. I am therefore including here some extracts from a book by Harold Camping "Adam When" which deserves a second look and warrants further debate.
THE BIBLICAL CALENDAR OF HISTORY
A Chronological Record of Events
According to the Holy Bible
By Harold Camping
Chapters 5 and 11 of the Book of Genesis have long been a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to students of the Bible. Inasmuch as they begin with Adam and end with Abraham, they have their roots in creation and their outreach into the era of the great civilizations of Babylon and Egypt, which flourished during Abraham's day. They therefore tantalize the scholar who is trying to reconstruct history. Unfortunately, because a solution to an understanding of these chapters has not been forthcoming, the events embraced within their scope -- creation, the fall of man, the Noachian flood -- are likewise often looked upon as accounts impervious to clear understanding.
Bishop Ussher's attempt to understand these chronological notices has only worsened matters. His conclusions that Adam's date was 4004 B.C., the flood date was 2349 B.C., and that the Israelites spent 215 years in Egypt, agree neither with the Biblical nor the secular evidence.
But these chapters of Genesis are part of the Word of God, and therefore they must be true and dependable. The question is, can they be rightly understood? I would be so presumptuous as to suggest a solution to these chronologies. This solution will be compared with some of the pertinent archaeological evidence.
THE BIBLICAL CALENDAR OF HISTORY
The Clue Phrase "Called His Name"
In Genesis 4 and 5 we read of the birth of Enosh to Seth. Why did God use different language to describe this event in Genesis 4 from that in Genesis 5? In Genesis 4:26, "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son and he called his name Enos." (All Scripture references are from the King James Bible.) But the Bible says in Genesis 5:6, "And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos." Why did God use the phrase "called his name" in connection with Enos's birth in Genesis 4 but not in Genesis 5? It is obvious that the phrases "[Seth] begat Enos" or "Methuselah begat Lamech" did not ensure that Enos was the immediate son of Seth or Lamech of Methuselah. Many instances can be found where a father-son relationship appears to be indicated and yet other Scriptural evidence points to a more distant ancestry. Matthew 1:1, where Jesus is referred to as the Son of David, and David, the son of Abraham, is illustrative.
A more careful examination of the Scriptures reveals why the phrase "called his name," which is the Hebrew "qara," was used. In every place where this phrase is employed, there can be no doubt of the existing relationship invariably it is indicative of parent and child. Thus, the Bible says, for example, in Genesis 21:3, "Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him . . . Isaac." We read in Genesis 25:25, "And they called his name Esau" and Isaiah 7:14, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." In every instance where this "clue" phrase appears, one can be certain that an immediate son is being described and not a more remote descendant.
God's use of this "clue" phrase thus assures us that Seth was the immediate son of Adam (Gen. 4:25), Enos of Seth (Gen. 4:26), and Noah of his father, Lamech (Gen. 5:28-29). What about the rest of the names appearing in these genealogies under discussion? Two are decipherable. Other Biblical evidence shows clearly that Shem was the immediate son of Noah, even though the phrase "called his name" is not used.1 The Bible shows, too, by other information that when Terah was 130 he became the father of Abram.2 But in the case of all the other names listed in these chapters there is no Biblical evidence of any kind that points to an intermediate father-son relationship. In fact, there is internal evidence within these accounts that points to other than immediate father-son relationships.3
In further reflection upon this situation, two Biblical notices should be examined. The first is that of Genesis 7 and 8, where the dates of the flood events are referenced to the age of Noah. Thus Genesis 8:13 records, "And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth." Genesis 7:6 tells us, "Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth." Could the calendars of ancient peoples have been tied to the life spans of certain individuals?
The second notice is that of the New Testament where Christ declared in Matthew 24:34, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." In this reference Christ is speaking of events that will take place just before His return. He is therefore insisting that "this generation" will continue at least for almost two thousand years, for this much time has now elapsed, and all the events of which He prophesied in Matthew 24 have not yet happened. As a matter of fact, this is the generation of Jesus Christ. For instance, the year 1995 A.D. is the year of our Lord.4 The events of today are dated exactly as they were in Noah's day, by reference to the birth date of a person.
Since this method of dating events was practiced in Noah's day, and was suggested by Jesus Himself, and is actually the practice used today, could not this have been the method described in Genesis 5 and 11? Is it not possible that these accounts are a calendar which gives the name of the patriarch whose life span was the reference point of his period or generation in history? This would make abundant sense, for it would provide continuity and clarity in historical reckoning.
Calendar Confirmation from Egypt
God gives additional evidence to support this reasoning. In Exodus 6 God gives genealogical information concerning some of the descendants of Jacob. The information given does not appear very meaningful to our present day and age, but hidden among these verses are three numbers. The first is found in verse 16 where it is stated that Levi's three sons were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, and the years of Levi's life were 137. The second is in verse 18, where it says Kohath's four sons were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, and the years of Kohath's life were 133. The third is in verse 20, where it says Amram was married to Jochebed, and she bore him Moses and Aaron, and the years of Amram's life were 137. At first reading, it appears that Levi was the great-grandfather, Kohath the grandfather, Amram the father, and Moses and Aaron the sons. But is this so? There is no other Biblical evidence that indicates this is the case, and there is no use anywhere in the Bible of the phrase "called his name" in reference to these men that would point to an immediate father-son relationship. Why would God give the life spans of only three individuals among so many?
To solve this puzzle, let us assume that God is giving us the calendar for the Israelitish sojourn in Egypt. One might recall that Jacob came to Egypt with his sons including Levi, and that the Israelites went out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Both Levi and Aaron are mentioned in Exodus 6 and the age of Aaron at the time of Israel's departure from Egypt is given as 83 (Exodus 7:7). It can be shown from the Biblical references that when Levi entered Egypt he was 60 to 63 years of age, with the burden of the evidence pointing to 60 years.5 Since he died at the age of 137, he lived 77 years in Egypt. If this is a calendar giving the names of the reference patriarchs or generations, we would expect that Kohath was a descendant of Levi and was born the year of Levi's death and that Amram was a descendant of Kohath, and that he was born the year of Kohath's death. Aaron in turn was born the year of Amram's death, and was descended from Amram. Let us add these time spans together:
83 years in Egypt
430 years total time
Turning now to the Biblical record, we discover the following interesting information in Exodus 12:40-41, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt." God thus shows us clearly that the calendar used to record the passage of time during the Egyptian sojourn was based on the lives of Levi and his descendants, Kohath, Amram, and Aaron. This also explains the prophecy given to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16, that his descendants would be oppressed 400 years (they were not oppressed during the beginning of their sojourn) in a land that was not theirs, and that they would return to their own land in the fourth generation.
Aaron's was the Fourth Generation
I believe that God in His wonderful wisdom has given us the key that unlocks the hitherto perplexing genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. These chapters are a calendar. The time was divided into patriarchal periods or generations, even as the New Testament period is the generation of Jesus Christ, and as the Egyptian sojourn was so divided. Thus, for example, when Methuselah died, bringing to an end his generation, a man who was born in the year of Methuselah's death was selected to be the next reigning patriarch, or at least the next man for calendar reference. After Methuselah, this was Lamech. None of the conditions of his selection are given, except that he had to be a descendant of Methuselah. The Bible indicates that Methuselah was 187 years old when he begat Lamech i.e., when he was 187, the forefather of Lamech was born to Methuselah (Gen. 5:25). This notice establishes the certainty of Lamech's blood descent from Methuselah by showing where his forefather tied into the life of Methuselah.
The selection of the next patriarch had to include a birth date coinciding with Methuselah's death date to ensure a rational history. Had he been born one or more years earlier, an overlap would have occurred that would have blurred history. If Lamech had been born one or more years later than Methuselah's death, a gap would have occurred that would have confused history. Therefore, when a citizen of the world of that day spoke of an event occurring in the year Methuselah 950, only one year in history coincided with that date. Again, if he spoke of the year Lamech 2, only one year coincided with that date, and he knew precisely how many years transpired from Methuselah 950 to Lamech 2.
At the beginning men were comparatively scarce. Thus it seems apparent that when Adam died, there was no one born that year who was qualified to become the next reference patriarch. When Seth died 112 years later, the same situation prevailed. But when Enosh, grandson of Adam, died 98 years after Seth, a child who was a descendant of Enosh was born in the same year, and this child was eventually named as the next reference patriarch. This was Kenan. Kenan's life span thus became the calendar reference for that period of history. The calendar was continued in this fashion until Methuselah died and Lamech was born.
When Lamech was born, he became the one to whom the calendar was referenced. His descendant, who was born the year of Lamech's death and who would have become the next patriarch, died in the flood. This can easily be known, for Lamech died five years before the flood and only Noah and his immediate family survived the flood. Noah, who was an immediate son of Lamech, of necessity became a substitute calendar reference, even though he was not born the year of Lamech's death. Thus, the flood events are all dated by the life span of Noah (Gen. 7:6, 7:11, 8:4-5, 8:13-14).
When Noah died 350 years after the flood, the same situation prevailed that existed when Adam died. Few people lived upon the earth, and no one met the conditions required to become the next reference patriarch. When Shem died 152 years after Noah, the child Arpachshad, a descendant of Shem, was born in the same year and he became the next patriarch. The calendar was then continued in this same fashion until Terah was born.
After Terah was born, he became the reference patriarch. During Terah's life span, God brought into being the nation of Israel through Terah's immediate son, Abram. Thus, the descendant of Terah who was born the year of Terah's death was outside the Messianic line and outside of God's chronological purposes. God effectively had narrowed men down to the family of Abram. The normal method of calendar keeping was set aside in the absence of patriarchs who qualified. When Abraham died, no descendant of his was born the year of his death. When Isaac, the immediate son of Abraham, died, the same situation prevailed. This was repeated when Jacob, the immediate son of Isaac, died. But in the year that Levi, the immediate son of Jacob died, a descendant of Levi was born whose name was Kohath, and he apparently met the qualifications of a reference patriarch. Thus, he continued the calendar line as we have seen. Amram followed Kohath, and Aaron followed Amram. Interestingly it can be shown that in a real sense Aaron's generation continued until Christ's began almost 2,000 years ago.6 God has thus given in His Word a complete calendar from creation to Christ.
A chronology beginning with Adam may now be set forth. To tie this genealogical table to our present calendar, synchronization between the Biblical and secular histories should be found. Because so much work has been done in recent years, particularly in relation to the dating of the kings of Israel, this can be done rather readily. Edwin R. Thiele, in his book The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, established the date of the death of Solomon and the division of the kingdom as 931 B.C.7 Since Solomon reigned 40 years (I Kings 11:42) and began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign (I Kings 6:1), the construction began in the year 967 B.C. This date in turn can be related to the Exodus because in at least two places God gives a time bridge from the Exodus to the building of the temple. The first is recorded in I Kings 6:1, where 480 years is indicated as the time span between these events. The second can be shown from the chronology of the Hebrew judges.8
A time span of 480 years brings us to 1447 B.C. as the date of the Exodus. If we work back from this date to Adam, we arrive at the date for Adam as 11013 B.C. The key dates are as follows:
|Creation of Adam |
Entrance into Egypt
Foundation of temple laid
Division of kingdom
|11013 B.C. |
The development of a Biblical chronology beginning with Adam is interesting, but will it hold up when compared with the known facts of secular history? To ascertain this, the earliest civilization of antiquity will next be examined to determine its location and the time of its emergence.
The threshold of history appears to be located in the area of the present-day nation of Iraq. Albright writes:
Archaeological research has established that there is no focus of civilization in the earth that can begin to compete in antiquity and activity with the basin of the Eastern Mediterranean and the region immediately to the east of it . . . The Obeidan is the earliest clearly defined culture of Babylonia, where we find its remains underlying nearly all the oldest cities of the country, such as Ur, Erech, Lagash, Eridu, etc. This proves that the occupation of the marshlands of Babylonia by human settlers came rather late in history of the irrigation culture, probably not far from 3700 B.C.
Thus, the archaeological evidence shows that the location of the first civilization after the flood was in the Mesopotamia Valley, and this agrees exactly with the Bible, for it reports the first cities were Babylon, Erech, Nineveh, etc. (Gen. 10:10-11).
The date 3700 B.C. suggested by Albright is apparently satisfactory to most archaeologists. M. B. Rowton writes that in Uruk, one of the most ancient Mesopotamia sites, the earliest level of monumental buildings is that of the level known as Uruk V. He concludes,10 "the beginning of Uruk V can plausibly be dated 3500 B.C." The dates 3500 or 3700 B.C. are estimates arrived at by starting at a more clearly defined historical point and allowing a reasonable period of time for each level of occupation prior to this. Thus, the archaeological evidence appears to indicate that prior to about 3700 B.C. there was no substantial culture anywhere in the world. About 3700-3500 B.C. the first great civilization began to be formed in the plains of Sumer in the land of Babylon, Erech, Ur, etc.
How does this time compare with the Biblical chronology? In Genesis 10 the notice is given that the first building activity after the flood is that of Nimrod, the beginning of whose kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar (Gen. 10:10). When did Nimrod come upon the scene? His genealogical descent is that of Noah, Ham, Cush, Nimrod (Gen. 10:1, 6, 8). The Bible offers no timetable for this side of the family tree, but it does offer precise information regarding another branch, that of Noah, Shem, Arpachshad, and Shelah. In studying the genealogical statements of the Bible, it might be noted that very often two branches of the tree are offered. One is that of the descendants leading eventually to Christ and about which precise timetables are given, as we have seen. The second is the genealogical descent of that side of the family which turned away from God. It can be shown that the timetable of these two lines run roughly parallel.
It thus may be assumed that Ham and Shem were contemporaries (they obviously were, inasmuch as they were brothers), that Arpachshad and Cush were nearly contemporaries, and that Shelah and Nimrod were probably men of the same period of history. Thus, if Shelah's date is known, it may be surmised that Nimrod's was close to the same date.
Shelah's date by Biblical reckoning was 4050 B.C. to 3617 B.C. Nimrod then must have lived about this time. The Bible would thus suggest a date of about 3900 B.C. to 3617 B.C. for the founding of the great cities of the Mesopotamia Valley. Thus, the date suggested by the evidence of archaeology (3700-3500 B.C.) accords very well with the Biblical statement.
It is of more than passing interest in this connection that the name Nimrod has left its mark on the Mesopotamia Valley. The great archaeologist George Rawlinson writes:12
The remarkable ruin generally called Ahkerhuf, which lies a little to the southwest of Baghdad, is known to many as the "Tel-Nimrod" the great dam across the Tigris below Mosul is the "Suhr-el-Nimrud" one of the chief of the buried cities in the same neighborhood is called "Nimrud" simply and the name of "Birs-Nimrud" attaches to the grandest mass of ruins in the lower country.
Another piece of history that should be interesting to investigate is the Tower of Babel. Is there any secular evidence that relates to the account of the confusion of tongues as set forth in Genesis 11? There is, indeed.
It might be noted that the Genesis 11 account indicates that prior to this time in history, all men spoke one language. Moreover, the leading civilization was that of the people who dwelt in the plains of Shinar or Sumer. Their desire to be the one great civilization of the world prompted the building of the tower, which in turn brought God's interference with their plans so that they were forced to separate into various nations.
As has already been shown, the first great civilization of the world as revealed by secular evidence was that which sprang forth in the Mesopotamia Valley. The time of the beginning of the second important civilization of antiquity could be of real significance. Presumably, it would have begun very shortly after the Tower of Babel. The events concerning the Tower of Babel are known to have occurred during the generation of Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided (Gen. 10:25). Peleg's generation was from 3153 B.C. to 2914 B.C. Therefore, one would expect no important civilizations other than Babylonia to have an antiquity greater than about 3150 B.C.
Egypt Becomes a Great Civilization
All archaeological evidence points to Egypt as the second great civilization to appear. While there was a primitive culture in Egypt prior to the First Dynasty, the uniting of all of Egypt under Pharaoh Menes to form the First Dynasty was the signal for a major burst in the arts of civilization. Albright writes:13
It is now certain that the level of Egyptian culture remained considerably below that of Mesopotamia until the First Dynasty, when under strong indirect influence from the Euphrates Valley, it forged ahead of the latter in a breathtaking spurt.
Interestingly, the new civilization of Egypt beginning with the First Dynasty was patterned after the Babylonian (Mesopotamian) culture. Albright continues:14
The close of the Predynastic Age and the beginning of the Thinite (period of first two centuries) Period witnessed a sudden burst in the arts of civilization. This seems to have been connected in some way with an increase of cultural influence from Asia, since there are numerous exact parallels between Mesopotamia and Egyptian culture at this time, the former being demonstrably older and more original in nearly every instance.
The date of the beginning of the First Dynasty under Menes is calculated to be somewhere between 2800 B.C. and 3100 B.C. The early archaeologists such as Breasted dated his reign at about 3400 B.C. As new archaeological evidence was uncovered, this date was moved forward to about 3000 B.C. Albright believes 2850 B.C. is a good estimate.15 William C. Hayes suggests 3100 B.C. is the best date presently available.16
Considering the above information, one is struck by the fact that prior to about 3100 B.C. to 2850 B.C., only one civilization of consequence existed in the world. That was the nation of Babylonia on the plains of Shinar. Then at that time, in a sudden burst of progress, Egypt grew to become a second great civilization, a civilization patterned after the first. These dates are in almost exact agreement with the Biblical date for the Tower of Babel. Surely the confusion of tongues as recorded in Genesis 11 sent thousands of people skilled in all the arts and crafts of Mesopotamia to Egypt and elsewhere. Thus, accord can be seen between the sacred and the secular records by this indirect evidence of the timetable of the civilizations of antiquity.
Writing and the Tower of Babel
It might be noted that writing had its beginning in Mesopotamia and may be related to the confusion of tongues. Sir Leonard Wooley writes:17 "All the archaeological evidence seems to prove that true writing was first developed in southern Mesopotamia." The timing for this event is given as 3500 B.C. to 3000 B.C. Gelb concludes:18 "The date of the earliest Sumerian writing should be set tentatively at about 3100 B.C."
The confusion of tongues in Sumer some time in the period between 3150-2900 B.C. could well have been the catalyst that produced writing. Before this dramatic civilization-splitting event, all was secure. Only one language was spoken in all the world. Verbal communication was adequate and dependable. But then came the fearful event that shook the very foundations of this great civilization and men could no longer understand each other. There must be a better way. The application of the spoken word to clay tablets would provide insurance that this kind of happening would never again totally destroy a culture. The clay tablets would prove to be a reference point. One surely can see the possibility if not the probability of this connection between writing and the Tower of Babel.
We thus see that the chronology of history established by Biblical reckoning agrees rather satisfactorily with the archaeological evidence of the earliest civilizations. The Biblical timetable is of course the most reliable, for it is God's Word. If we have properly interpreted it, it should make possible a far more definitive analysis of the secular evidence than ever before. It should also provide a dependable framework in which to understand dating evidence such as that offered by radiometric isotopes like carbon 14.
Hopefully, a perspective of history has been set forth that shows that answers are potentially forthcoming when we begin with the Biblical framework. The concept of a 13,000-year-old world, which began to be repopulated after the flood some 7,000 years ago, and which 1,500 years later had grown to a point that allowed the spawning of the first great cities, surely makes much more sense than that of mankind being around for hundreds or even thousands of millenniums, and then becoming a cohesive city civilization only in the last 5,500 years. Furthermore, the apparent possibility of the end of the age occurring in our time also accords far better with the shorter timetable.
Admittedly, the first purpose of the Bible is not to be a textbook of science or history. It is fundamentally a presentation of God's grace revealed through Jesus Christ. But when the Bible does speak in any field of learning, it does so with great care, accuracy, and authority. Three reasons might be advanced for this: (1) these subjects are often an integral part of the plan of salvation (2) they are part of God's message to man and (3) by reason of His very nature, God is accurate when He speaks. Therefore, it possibly has much more to offer than many have supposed. I hope that others will be encouraged to build upon the suggestions offered in this presentation.