The importance of their heliacal risings, or first visible appearances at dawn, for the purposes both of practical life and of ritual observance, caused them to be systematically noted; the length of the year was accurately fixed in connexion with the annually recurring Nile-flood; while the curiously precise orientation of the Pyramids affords a lasting demonstration of the high degree of technical skill in watching the heavens attained in the third millennium B.C. The constellational system in vogue among the Egyptians appears to have been essentially of native origin; but they contributed little or nothing to the genuine progress of astronomy.
Thus Joachim of Floris in his Expositio magni abbatis I oachimi in Apoc. teaches that Babylon is Rome, the Beast from the Sea Islam, the False Prophet the heretical sects of the day, and that on the close of the present age which was at hand the millennium would ensue.
Africa, was settled in the Aegean area from a remote Neolithic antiquity, but, except in Crete, where insular security was combined with great natural fertility, remained in a savage and unproductive condition until far into the 4th millennium B.C. In Crete, however, it had long been developing a certain civilization, and at a period more or less contemporary with Dynasties XI.
Independent local developments of art before the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C. suggest the early existence of independent units in various parts, of which the strongest was the Cnossian.
Mrs Buchan claimed prophetic inspiration and pretended to confer the Holy Ghost upon her followers by breathing upon them; they believed that the millennium was near, and that they would not die, but be translated.
The ignorant populace, for whom the promised social millennium had by no means dawned, saw in an attitude seemingly so inconsistent obvious proof of corrupt motives, and there were plenty of prophets of misrule to encourage the delusion - orators of the clubs and the street corners, for whom the restoration of order would have meant well-deserved obscurity.
From the inscriptions found at Tello, it appears that Lagash was a city of great importance in the Sumerian period, some time probably in the 4th millennium B.C. It was at that time ruled by independent kings, Ur-Nina and his successors, who were engaged in contests with the Elamites on the east and the kings of Kengi and Kish on the north.
Later still, in the last millennium B.C., it seems that even the bodies of the poor were pickled.
These traditions of migration and kinship are in themselves entirely credible, but the detailed accounts of the ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as given in Genesis, are inherently doubtful as regards both the internal conditions, which the (late) chronological scheme ascribes to the first half of the second millennium B.C., and the general circumstances of the life of these strangers in a foreign land.
They remained the strongest power in Syria and eastern Asia Minor till well into the first millennium B.C., and their Syrian seat was not lost finally till after the great extension of Assyrian power which took place in the latter part of the 9th century.