This timeline is now complete and covers the four volumes of the Quartet: Sinai Tapestry (ST), Jerusalem Poker (JP), Nile Shadows (NS) and Jericho Mosaic (JM). All dates are mentioned in the text or have been deduced from internal evidence.

Don't put too much faith in this. Time is.


1784 Johann Luigi Szondi is born is Basle. (JP 5)
1802 Johann Luigi Szondi travels for one year in the Levant. (JP 5)
1802 Skanderberg Wallenstein is born in Albania, the son of Johann Luigi Szondi and the lady of the castle. (ST 2, JP 5)
1809 Johann Luigi Szondi lives now in Budapest, he has married the First Sarah and fathered two children. He leaves for new travels in the Levant. (JP 5)
1813 Sheikh Ibrahim ibn Harun, a.k.a. Johann Luigi Szondi, meets and gets pregnant a young Nubian woman, who will become in time Cairo Martyr's great-grandmother.
(JP 2)
1817 Johann Luigi Szondi dies in St. Catherine's Monastery. His grave lies in the Moslem section of the cemetery. (JP 5)
Christmas 1817 Menelik Ziwar is born, a Black slave in a Coptic household in Cairo. He will later become the greatest Egyptologist in the 19th century. (JP 2)
1819 Plantagenet Strongbow, twenty-ninth Duke of Dorset, is born. (ST 1)
1824 Skanderbeg Wallenstein finds the Sinai Bible. He spends the next twelve years in a hole in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem, where he learns the theory and the practice of forgery, the better to produce a counterfeit Bible. (ST 2)
1834 Menelik Ziwar becomes a man thanks to a Nubian slave girl, whom he will identify as Cairo Martyr's great-grandmother when he meets him for the first time. (JP 2)
1836 Skanderbeg Wallenstein goes back to the Sinai and spends seven years in a grotto, where he produces his counterfeit Bible. (ST 4)
1838 Menelik Ziwar meets Strongbow in Cairo, and the two become fast friends. They will keep seeing and writing to each other during the next forty years. The two of them will meet each Sunday afternoon with Crazy Cohen in the Panorama, a cheap restaurant on the Nile. (JP 2, NS 13)
circa 1838 Menelik Ziwar and Ahmad père found the dragomens' benevolent society, the seed of the Egyptian nationalist movement. (NS 10)
1840 Strongbow vanishes in Cairo after Queen Victoria's twenty-first birthday celebration, which he attended buck naked. Some time later, he becomes friends with Yakouba, the White Monk of Timbuktu, who tells him to start his hadj.
(ST 3)
1841 Sophia, later known as the Unspoken, is born in the Wallenstein Castle. (ST 6)
1843 Skanderbeg Wallenstein hides his counterfeit Bible in St. Catherine's Monastery and takes the true Sinai Bible to Jerusalem. He buries it in his hole in the Armenian Quarter, but Hadj Harun sees him. (ST 4)
1844 Strongbow's Comet flies above Arabia. Strongbow meets Hadj Harun here. (This comet has a 616-year cycle and has been observed in 612 AD, as Gabriel appeared to Mohammed, and in 4 BC, when the Christ was born.) (ST 9)
1844 Menelik Ziwar finds a shaft dug from the top of Cheops' pyramid. During the next sixteen years, he builds himself a retirement home there. He'll never move in, though, due to his fear of heights, but Strongbow will make frequent stays there. (JP 3)
circa 1850 Strongbow travels in the Sinai and learns by chance the story of Wallenstein and his counterfeit Bible. (ST 5)
circa 1850 Skanderbeg Wallenstein is back in Albania. (ST 6)
1857 The First Sarah dies. Thanks to several thousands of letters written by her husband, which put together make an encyclopedia of life in the Levant, she has founded the House of Szondi, which is now the mightiest company in Central Europe. (JP 5)
circa 1870 Catherine Wallenstein is born, the son of Skanderbeg Wallenstein and of Sophia the Unspoken. (ST 6)
1871 Big Belle and Little Alice, a.k.a. The Sisters, arrive in Cairo for the world premiere of Aida. (NS 15)
1875 Big Belle and Menelik Ziwar become lovers in the crypt where Menelik has retired. (NS 15)
circa 1878 Levantine Sex, Strongbow's magnum opus in 33 volumes, is published in Basle. Both the manuscript and the plates are destroyed soon after the first print run (1250 copies) is sold out. The British Parliament deprives Strongbow of his Duke of Dorset title. (ST 5)
1880 Strongbow renounces his British citizenship and liquidates his assets. He leaves Constantinople one year later, after he has bought the Ottoman Empire. (ST 7, JP 5)
1880 Cairo Martyr is born, a slave in the Nile Delta. (JP 2)
1890 Maud is born in Pennsylvania. (ST 11)
1890 Stern is born in Yemen, the son of Strongbow and the grandson of Ya'qub.
(ST 14)
1890 Munk Szondi is born in Budapest. (JP 5)
1892 Cairo Martyr, all alone but no longer a slave, seeks out Menelik Ziwar, who advises him to become a dragoman. (JP 2)
April,15, 1900 Joe O'Sullivan Beare is born in the Aran Islands. (ST 8, NS 23)
1906 Maud meets Catherine Wallenstein in Bled, Slovenia, marries him and follows him to Albania. (ST 11)
1906 Nubar Wallenstein, is born, the son of Maud and of Catherine Wallenstein, who perishes the same day, Skanderbeg Wallenstein having died the day before.
(ST 11, JP 9)
1907 Maud has fled to Athens, leaving her newborn son to Sophia. She marries Yanni and meets Sivi, his half-brother. (ST 11)
1908 Munk Szondi joins the Imperial Army of Austria-Hungary. He is sent to Constantinople and rises in the ranks at a fast pace, being promoted to major and becoming military attaché. (JP 5)
circa 1908 Stern arrives in Cairo, where Menelik Ziwar introduces him to the Sisters, to Ahmad fils, a.k.a. the Poet, and to Half-Crazy Cohen, the son of Crazy Cohen. (NS 10, 15)
circa 1908 It's open tomb every Sunday in Menelik Ziwar's crypt, where there is a concert featuring Stern (violin), Ahmad (trombone), Half-Crazy Cohen (oboe) and the Sisters (bassoon and harpsichord). (NS 11)
1909 Stern goes to Europe. (ST 14)
1911 Sophia the Unspoken, who has been looking into the oil situation in the Middle-East, meets with Munk Szondi in Constantinople, and the two become lovers for a night. (JP 15)
1911 Stern has his vision of a great Arab, Jewish and Christian homeland and goes back to the Middle-East. (ST 14)
1911 On his way back to the Levant, Stern is stuck in Albania, where he meets Sophia the Unspoken, who tells him the story of Wallenstein. (ST 17)
circa 1911 Stern meets Eleni, Sivi's niece, in Smyrna and marries her. She will leave him soon after their daughter is born; the girl will be raised by Sivi's family in Crete. Eleni will later let herself die and Stern will try to commit suicide in Sivi's villa. (NS 18)
1912 For the first time ever, the dragomen's rowing team, led by Ahmad fils, wins over the British navy in the Annual Battle for the Fleshpots of the Nile. (NS 9)
1912 A girl is born to Maud and Yanni. She dies one year later. (ST 11)
1912 Munk Szondi, now a lieutenant-colonel, becomes friends with Major Kikuchi, the Japanese military attaché in Constantinople. He rises to the rank of colonel when he is discharged, and the Sarahs send him for a mission in the Levant. (JP 5)
1913 Strongbow and Menelik Ziwar (Crazy Cohen is long dead) meet for the last time in the vacant lot where the Panorama used to stand. (JP 14, NS 18)
1914 As he flies in his balloon above the desert, Stern meets Hadj Harun, who believes he is God. (ST 15)
Spring 1914 Thanks to Menelik Ziwar, Cairo Martyr finds near Louqsor a cache of royal mummies, but Menelik dies before he has time to tell him. (JP 2)
August 1914 Strongbow dies, Ya'qub having died a few months before. (ST 17)
August 1914 Cairo Martyr moves into Menelik's secret hideout in Cheops' pyramid. (JP 3)
1914 Sophia the Unspoken creates a syndicate to mine oil fields on the banks of the Tigris river. (JP 10)
1915 First battle of Champagne. Sergeant Columbkille O'Sullivan, the youngest of Joe O'Sullivan Beare's older brothers, becomes a British national hero and is nicknamed Our Colly of Champagne. (NS 2)
circa 1915 Bletchley is wounded on the front, losing one eye and the use of one hand. He also loses his dream of a military career; later on, he will settle for being chief of the Monastery. (NS 7)
1916 Yanni dies. (ST 11)
1916 Tajar is born in Jerusalem. (JM 1.1, 1.14)
1917 Chai Cohen, Crazy Cohen's grandson, dies during the taking of Jerusalem by the British army. Stern will take care of his widow and of their children, David and Anna. (NS 13. JM 1.2)
1918 Cairo Martyr gets out of his hideout as World War One ends and starts to make a fortune selling mummy dust. (JP 3)
1918 Munk Szondi, who has accomplished his mission for the Sarahs, lingers in the Levant, where he has already met Stern, and becomes friend with Sivi. (JP 6)
1918 Theresa, a nineteen-year old Frenchwoman, deeply scarred by her mother's death by crucifixion, her father's death by defenestration, and her incestuous brother's death by self-immolation, finds herself in Smyrna, where Sivi takes pity on her and hires her as his secretary. (JP 12)
1918 Our Colly, once worshipped as a hero and now criticized for drinking, enlists again, in the Camel Corps this time. (NS 2)
1919 The Shkodër Lake Meeting. Sophia the Unspoken takes control of all the oil fields in the Middle-East and becomes known now as Sophia the Black Hand, or Madame Seven Per Cent. (JP 10)
1920 Joe O'Sullivan Beare flees the British Army, gets out of Ireland as a Poor Clare and comes to Jerusalem, where he later meets Hadj Harun. (ST 8 9)
1920 Joe starts smuggling weapons for Stern. (ST 10)
1920 Maud moves to Jerusalem and meets Joe. (ST 11, 12)
1920 Anna Cohen born in Cairo (JM 2)
1921 Bernini is born, the son of Maud and Joe. Maud flees with him. (ST 13)
1921 Munk Szondi goes to St. Catherine's Monastery, where he meets and becomes friend with Rabbi Lotmann, Colonel Kikuchi's twin brother, now a Jewish convert, and thanks to him becomes a Sionist. Some time later, Rabbi Lotmann goes back to Japan for health reasons. (JP 6)
June 1921 Maud has moved to Smyrna, where she lives in Sivi's villa, and she meets there Munk Szondi, Theresa's lover at the time. Some time afterward, the two spend a night together. (JP 12)
1921 Nubar Wallenstein creates the Uranist Intelligence Agency (UIA) in order to acquire the complete works of Paracelsus. (JP 9)
Christmas 1921 Stern and Joe meet in an Arab tavern and both feel their relationship is at an end. (ST 15)
December 31, 1921 After a chance meeting in a tavern, Joe, Munk Szondi and Cairo Martyr launch the Great Jerusalem Poker Game. (JP 1)
July 1922 As he explores the Jerusalem caves with Hadj Harun, Joe finds the secret wine cellar of the Knights Hospitalers, with several thousands bottles of eight hundred year old cognac, now a mere noxious gas. (JP 4)
September 1922 Stern, Joe and Hadj Harun, who have an appointment in Smyrna, are swept with Sivi and Theresa into the rape of the city by the Turkish army. (ST 20)
November 5, 1923 Theresa has succumbed to her mystic madness, she comes to Joe in Jerusalem and begs his forgiveness after she has slept with him, for she believes him to be Jesus. She gets stigmata right thereafter, and gives birth to a child afterwards. (JP 13)
March 1925 Joe, Munk Szondi and Cairo Martyr put the Patriarch of the Greek and Syrian Church in Aleppo back on the right track after a one-night long poker game.
(JP 6)
December 1926 Yossi born near Baghdad in Iraq (JM 1.3)
January 1st, 1928 Nubar Wallenstein learns about the Great Jerusalem Poker Game thanks to an UIA report. He decides on Epiphany night to engineer its destruction. (JP 10)
1929 Joe, Munk Szondi and Cairo Martyr, disguised respectively as an Indian chief, a colonel of the dragoons and an English judge, beat in a poker game a bunch of crooks, an UIA agent among them. (JP 8)
1929 Stern meets for the last time an unidentified dying Arab leader. (ST 15)
1929 Nubar Wallenstein creates the Albanian-Afghan Sacred Band (AA) with his friend Mahmud, who has just moved in Gronk, an Albanian fishing village. (JP 11)
1932 Mahmud is killed by his young lover in his Gronk villa, and the ensuing scandal spells the end for the AA. A panicked Nubar flees to Venice, where he marries a young Armenian woman who leaves him after their wedding night. (JP 11)
October 1933 Sivi dies in Istanbul. Stern meets Maud there shortly afterward. (ST 17, JP 14)
1933 The British Museum buys back Wallenstein's counterfeit Bible from the Bolshevik, the czar having acquired it previously. (ST 21)
1933 Mecklenburg Wallenstein is born, the son of Nubar Wallenstein and his Armenian spouse. (JP 11)
December 23, 1933 Nubar Wallenstein is found among the ruins of his palazzo in Venice, struck dumb by madness and mercury poisoning. He is institutionalized on New Year's Eve. (JP 16)
Christmas 1933 Stern and Joe make their peace. (JP 14)
December 31, 1933 The Great Jerusalem Poker Game comes to an end. Munk Szondi is the winner. Joe, who has learnt from Stern why Maud had to leave him, will go back to Ireland, then sail for America. Cairo Martyr will scatter into the Nile the ashes of Strongbow and Menelik Ziwar, and then retire in the Nubian Desert. (ST 21, Poker 1 17)
1934 Maud goes back to Athens. (ST 19)
1934 Before he leaves the Middle-East, Joe meets Bernini on his thirteen birthday, unbeknownst to Maud. (JP 18)
1934 Joe enters the USA, stays briefly in Brooklyn and then goes to Arizona, where he becomes a Hopi medicine-man. (NS 3)
1936 Hadj Harun unearths the true Sinai Bible and mails it to Joe. (ST 21)
1938 General Kikuchi dies during the rape of Nankin. (JP 6)
1938 Our Colly is sent to Palestine and helps Jewish settlers to lay the groundwork for the Palmach. (NS 2)
1939 Maud moves to Cairo, where Stern has found her employment. Bernini is sent to a special school in America. (ST 19)
July 1939 Stern escapes from a Damascus jail one day before being freed in order to get to Poland. (NS 1)
1939 Stern and Ahmad clash. (NS 11)
1941 Our Colly is killed in Crete after taking part in the kidnapping of the general in charge of the German occupation forces. (NS 2)
January 1942
(Twelfth night)
The three chiefs of the Allies Secret Services come to see Joe in Arizona in order to convince him to go to Cairo and find out the truth about Stern. (NS 3)
June 1942 Joe arrives in Cairo, where he meets Liffy, Ahmad and Bletchley. (NS 4, 5, 6)
June 1942 Liffy, then Ahmad confide in Joe. (NS 10)
June 20,1942 Stern says farewell to Maud. Meanwhile, Joe spends the night on the Sisters' houseboat and learns the truth about Stern. (ST 21, NS 16)
June 21,1942 Tobruk falls to Rommel's Afrika Korps. Ahmad and David Cohen are terminated by the Monks. Joe meets Maud, then goes to Menelik Ziwar's crypt, where he meets Stern at last. Stern is killed at midnight by an Australian hand grenade. (ST 21, NS 1, 18)
June 22,1942 Liffy, who impersonated Joe in order to protect him, is killed by the Monks aboard the Sisters' houseboat. (NS 19)
June 23,1942 Joe says farewell to Maud, then leaves Cairo after he gets an interview with Bletchley. (NS 22, 23)
1942 Death of David Cohen (NS, JM 2)
July 1942 Anna Cohen arrives in Israel after fleeing Cairo with the help of Bletchley
(JM 1.2)
1943 The desert war comes to an end. The Monastery is disbanded. Bletchley refuses to be promoted and chooses to do menial work in Cairo until the end of World War Two. (JM 1.6)
1944 Yousef is born in El Azariya. (JM 2.1)
1945 Bletchley becomes Bell and leaves Cairo for Jerusalem. He meets Anna here and the two or them become lovers. Then he leaves for Jericho, where he makes friends with Abu Musa the Arab and Moses the Ethiopian, who visit him each night and play shesh-besh on his front porch. (JM 1.6-7, 2.7)
1945 Rabbi Lotmann dies in his Kamakura house, killed by an American firebomb.
(JP 6)
1948 Anna meets Yossi in a Negev settlement and marries him. Their son Assaf is born in December. (JM 1.3)
1948 Yousef's brother Ali is born in El Azariya. (JM 2.1)
1954 Yossi and Anna are now divorced. Tajar recruits Yossi for Mossad and teaches him the spying trade. (JM 1.4)
1956 Yossi is declared killed in action during the Sinai war. He becomes the Runner and leaves for Argentina, to establish his new identity as Halim the Arab.
(JM 1.4)
1956 Some time after Yossi is declared dead, Anna and Assaf move to Jerusalem.
(JM 1.9)
1959 Halim, a.k.a. Yossi, moves to Damascus, where he launches a successful export-import business and moves in Syrian society, thanks to his friend Ziad, among others.
(JM 1.4, 3.1)
March 8, 1963 The Baath party seizes power in Damascus. (NS 22, 23)
1963 On a dare, Assaf crosses the Jordanian border and goes to Petra. (JM 1.10)
Circa 1965 Bell meets Halim, who often visits his Jericho home. (JM 1.8)
Circa 1965 Yossi is entrusted with a new mission: get information about the Golan Heights.
(JM 1.11)
December 1966 Assaf begins military service: he has volunteered for the paratrooper brigade.
(JM 1.10)
June 5-11, 1967 Six Day War. Assaf wounded in the fighting in Jerusalem (JM 1.12)
Summer 1967 Ali, who has joined the PLO, is killed during an Israeli raid. In Fall, a still mourning Yousef meets Assaf, who is ailing in El Azariya, and the two become friends. (JM 2.2)
Easter Sunday, 1968 Yousef becomes an hermit in the Judean wilderness. (JM 2.3)
Spring 1968 Assaf leaves El Azariya in order to study History in Jerusalem. (JM 2.6)
November 13, 1970 Hafez al-Assad seizes power in Syria. (JM 3.3)
May 30, 1972 The Lod Airport Massacre: three Japanese terrorists of the Red Army open fire in the name of the PLO. (JM 2.8)
5-6, 1972
The Munich Massacre: a PLO commando captures and kills eleven Israeli athletes during the Olympic Games (JM 2.8)
July 21, 1973 Mossad agents hunting the Munich terrorists mistakenly kill an innocent man in Norway. (JM 2.10)
1973 Ziad starts working as a messenger in Beirut for a Syrian intelligence agency.
(JM 3.4)
Yom Kippur War (JM 2.10)
Summer 1974 Tajar visits Bell, whom he'd not seen since World War Two, when he was a Monk. (JM 3.5)
Autumn 1974 Colonel Jundi recruits Halim as an informant. Ziad works now in the hashish trade for the Syrian dictator's younger brother. (JM 3.6)
April 13, 1975 Lebanese civil war begins (JM 3.7)
June 1976 The Syrian army enters Lebanon. (JM 3.7)
Summer 1977 Assaf meets Abigail and falls in love with her. He tells Tajar about his secret daughter, born a few years before. (JM 3.8)
Winter 1982 Ziad dies in Lebanon. (JM 3.10)
June 1982 Yossi crosses the Jordan to meet Yousef. Both are killed by an Israeli patrol.
(JM 3.13)
June 6, 1982 The Israeli army enters Lebanon. (JM 3.15)
Summer 1982 Bell dies in Jericho (JM3.15)
Summer 1982 Tajar, now retired from Mossad, is invited to become part of Jericho time.
(JM 3.16)

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©Anne Sydenham 2001-2016