From: Wayne Mitchell
Date: 21 Feb 1998
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Since my previous letter, being written from memory, was vague on the Hittite (Bo4802:Mursilis II) and Ugarit(KTU 1.78) solar eclipses, a quick look at my notes, and more detail, appears necessary. The details of the Ugarit eclipse mentioned in the fire blackened tablet KTU 1.78 points to the eclipse of 9 May 1012 BC, which is then tied to the fire at Ugarit mentioned in an El Amarna Letter to Akhenaten (a synchronistic possibility also mentioned by Sawyer and Stephenson,1970). In Davids Appendix E the tablet letter evidence is reviewed synchronizing the following: a)Adad-nirari II 911-891 BC (not the Ist) with Hattusilis III, b)Tukulti-Ninurta II 889-884 BC (not the Ist) with Tudhaliyas IV, and c)Shalmaneser III 858-828 BC (not the Ist) with Tudhaliyas IV. The Egyptian synchronism is Ramesses II (NC 932-866 BC) with Hattusilis III. The Hittite kings prior to Hattusilis III up to Mursilis II were Mursilis III (7 year reign), and Muwatalli II-with Mursilis II having a minimum 26 year reign. The reign of Hattusilis III based on the above would be ca. 915-890 BC. Since Suppiluliumas I was a contemporary of Amenhotep III, and Kitchens chronology of events would place the Ugarit eclipse several decades prior to Mursilis, his ascension should have been around ca. 990 BC. In his 10th year, Mursilis noted an omen-eclipse of the sun. The account does not mention darkness or any stars seen during the eclipse, so it may point to a partial eclipse. The eclipse was seen while marching his troops eastward toward Azzi Hajasa, and therefore would have been in the spring or summer. In my 1990 JACF paper the eclipse of 30 April 984 BC was suggested as one possibility, being 0.98 magnitude in the Hajasa area. Thus an ascension of 993 BC is suggested, with Suppiluliumas I at ca. 1024-994 BC. The end of the Hittite empire would have been ca. 820 BC, and therefore Ramesses III would have started his reign a decade or so prior.
The solar eclipse candidates which produce a best overall chronological dynastic fit (as partially shown on the screen at the Cyber Café) follows: Agade 25/4 -2034 Gutium 28/6 -1907 Ur III 31/7 -1834 Babylon I(1) 25/2 -1361 Babylon I(2) 12/3 -1361 Ugarit 9/5 -1011 Hittite 30/4 -983
Notes: The -1361 eclipse pair was "missed" in Huber et al.'s 1982 paper "Astronomical Dating of Babylon I and Ur III." The above plus ca. 23 other eclipses from -708 have a best fit if delta T (ET-UT) is 3000-377t+41.4t2 seconds (polynomial;948AD) or 27.8t2-0.21t3 seconds (quadratic;1800AD).