Let me take you through a day in the life of reconciling religious myths to one another for the purposes of writing my book. Pardon the mess. Mostly this is all so I can do math in my head, and find a way to fit the pieces of the puzzle together without anyone crying foul.
Did you know, Moses didn't actually lead the slaves out of Egypt during the reign of Ramses II? Hollywood and Charlton Heston were clearly conspiring against historical accuracy with the intent to confuse young children for decades.
According to Wikipedia, there are four choices of Pharaoh for the dating of "Traditional" Exodus (and Stephanie, you'll like this): Thutmose II, Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, and Amenhotep II. Now, I don't really trust wikipedia for dates when it comes to these things, as a general rule of thumb. I like to check my dates against other sources before I commit. But in this case, it wouldn't matter even if I did since we're talking about dates ranging between 1600 BCE and 1200 BCE. Four hundred years is a pretty big discrepancy in the data, and none of it is concrete.
The problem is that The Exodus didn't happen the way it's recorded in The Bible. There were no plagues, and there definitely wasn't any mass destruction. There is no historical record (or archaeological evidence) of any such mass migration (600,000 is a lot of people to disappear into the desert without a trace) outside of The Bible--and if Egypt had lost that many slaves, then lost most of their army trying to win them back, AND lost all their first-born-male-children on top of that, as record happy as the Egyptians were, it's hard to believe they wouldn't make a note of it somewhere.
Myth and historical dating really don't like to get in bed together.
So I'll put Exodus and Moses aside for a minute, since for all practical purposes, I have 400 years to play with, and regardless of whether I lean toward an early Exodus, or a late Exodus (as suggested by more modern argument) there are going to be a large number of people who think I'm wrong. The next major historical-mythological event on my timeline is the Trojan War.
Do you know how many places have been dug up and labeled Troy over the years? Basically, we have the same trouble with the Trojan War as we do with Moses with one difference-- every historian and their brother has been trying to pin a date to the Trojan war since Homer. (And I do use the term historian loosely.)
Eratosthenes (a Greek living in the late 200s BCE) dates the start of the Trojan War to 1194 BCE (perilously close to some of the dates for Moses). Herodotus (from the mid 400s BCE), the founding father of history, puts it somewhere around 1250 BCE. I could keep naming dead Greeks for another couple of paragraphs, but the dates range from roughly 1330 to 1130. Narrower than Moses by half, but still pretty foggy.
Then came Schliemann. Schliemann's agenda was Troy, and he was pretty successful at finding a city which matched the descriptions laid out by Homer--it had gold, walls, evidence of destruction, and it was somewhere in Asia Minor. Thanks to Schliemann, the world recognized Troy as an historical city and the Trojan War an actual event, though obviously it didn't happen the way Homer tells it. Our dates can be narrowed a bit by Schliemann's discovery, and those that came after. There's Troy VI, which was disgustingly rich, but appears to have been ultimately destroyed by an earthquake, not a war, around 1275 BCE, and there's Troy VIIa, not as rich, but much more promisingly destroyed by fire sometime during the 1180s BCE.
Just the fact that they have to identify archaeological sites of Troy with roman numeral and letter combinations should tell you something about how muddied these waters have gotten.
(At this point I'd like to point out that Eratosthenes date for the Trojan War matches with modern conclusions based on archaeological evidence, which honestly is something close to miraculous, but he seems to have been some kind of genius anyway, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.)
The problem with all this historical evidence for Troy, is that it lays the Trojan War mighty close to the more modern conclusions about Exodus. Too close for the comfort of my narrative--OR, diabolically just close enough. Now what are the odds that the Trojan War and the Exodus of the Hebrews happened around the same time, historically? Two different mythologies, two totally different events, so close that one can flow right into the other!
...At least until someone does new research on Moses, or a new city is found in Turkey that blows Troy VIIa out of the water. For now, I think I'm just going to run with it, and be thankful it isn't even more complicated.
The Queen and her Brook Horse, An Orc Saga Novella, Book 2.5, is here to tide you over until Orc3!
Facets of Fate, a Fate of the Gods novella and short story collection, is now in print and ebook!
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