Claude Schaeffer

In the summer of 1957 Elisheva and I traveled to Europe, and at Lake Luzern in Switzerland met Schaeffer. We were charmed by his personality. He was immersed in reading Ages in Chaos and inseparable from the volume. Schaeffer and I became friends.

After traveling through Italy, we went to Greece, we met Schaeffer once more. He took me to the cemetery in Athens where Heinrich Schliemann, the discoverer of Troy and of the Mycenaean royal graves is entombed. There he placed a wreath of flowers at the foot of the mausoleum. He felt that much injustice had been and was still being done to Schliemann. Through the years we continued to correspond and met again in Paris in 1974.

After more exchange of letters, I traveled to Switzerland we spent six days together on the Lake of Luzern. His appearance is captivating and so is his personality. His great experience and success in archaeology, and his knowledge of myriads of details, were kept entirely in the bakcground; he was eager to discuss with me numerous points of Ages in Chaos, vol. I, the historical and chronolgical work, the subject and content of Earth in Upheaval being accepted by him in toto and not requiring any more discussion. We had daily at least two sessions; and even at the beach, in bathing trunks, Schaeffer would not part with Ages in Chaos.

After we parted—and a true friendship spang up during that stay in Vitznau, I mailed him the page proofs of the second volume of us Ages, as they were set in 1952, over five years earlier.

We met again for a day in Athens. He with Mrs. Schaeffer traveled on a cruise of the Greek islands, and the French translation of Earth in Upheaval, went to Venezia and Rome to follow the paths of Diego Pirez and Giordano Bruno, two of the heroes of a work that I felt like writing—Three Fires, the third hero being Michael Servetus, who was burned in Geneva. Schaeffer too felt a desire to write a book of biographical nature—Three at Troy (Trois a Troi)—the life story of Schliemann, Doerpfeld, and Blegen who dug at Troy. It appears that our experiences awoke a wish in each of us to arise in defense of wronged men of the past.

I came to Greece to visit Mycenae and the valley of the Argolid (Argive Valley), of which I write in volume 2 of Ages and to see the riches excavated by Schliemann in the new museum in Athens. Schaeffer he came to fetch me for his homage trip to the tomb of Schliemann. We drove to the cemetery and there Schaeffer bought some flowers in front of the gate and put them at the foot of the mausoleum of the man wronged by official science in his days, and still in ours, as Schaeffer believes.

From Cyprus I received a letter from Schaeffer that I am permanently on his mind as he makes the first effort to check, on a new excavation of a grave in Enkomi-Alasia, on my historical scheme. As I write this—it is as far as we went. I mailed from Israel to Schaeffer the schedule as I develop it in Ages in Chaos volumes I thus expect that in digging he will repeatedly find the fourteenth century Egypt in one level with the ninth-century Assyria, and the thirteenth-century Egypt with the seventh-century Babylonia, and twelfth century Egypt, that of the XXth Dynasty, contemporaneous with the very definite and late Helladic history. The Egyptian levels among themselves will consistently show a “wrong order” : objects of the so-called Libyan and Ethiopian Dynasty will be found not above but below the levels with the objects of the XIX (that of Ramses II) and XX (that of Ramses III) Dynasties.

I do not expect an immediate success; only after repeated checks, in Enkomi-Alasia on Cyprus, and in Ras-Shamra in Syria, the first insecurity in the accepted and never before challenged schemes will gnaw the assurance, instilled in school and watered in years of teaching and writing; but was not Schliemann a schismatic who called upon himself the wrath of his contemporary academicians?

I intend to meet Schaeffer again in Paris upon his return from digging in Ras-Shamra-Ugarit, and my return from Israel—presently we cannot correspond, since no mail is exchanged between Israel and Arab countries; then we shall select objects for radiocarbon tests, and discuss in more detail the plan we conceived on the Lake of Luzern: to write under a common title: “World-wide Catastrophes in Historical Times,” a two-volume work, of which Schaeffer would write the volume on “The Archaeological Evidence from the Ancient East,” and I the part “The Evidence of Geology and Literary Relics.” On this score we are united—and how could it be different, if each of us, unaware of phe work of the other, on entirely different material—he on archaeological strata in the excavated sites from Troy close to the Dardanelles to all over Asia Minor, Caucasus, Mesopotamia, Persia, Cyprus, Syria and Palestine, and I on the literary relics of ancient culture from the hieroglyphs of Mexico to the scrolls of Japan, China, the Vedas of India and the Hebrew Bible and Egyptian papyri, epics of northern races—came to the very same results about the great catastrophes, about their number and about their exact dates closing hours of the Old Kingdom in Egypt and again at the closing hours of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt—and several times more, always at the very same historical moments.

We actually both attempted to use the fact of these catastrophes for construing aa synchronical table of history. My effort is embodies in Ages. Possibly, because I came to the dield of history, archaeology and chronology at a mature age, I was at the advantage of seeing things in a newer light. Thus I could also delve into the fields of geology and paleontology and find a complete correspondence with my finds in literature and folklore—the collective human memory, and with Schaeffer’s in the fielD of archaeology.