You’re presented with a result of some ad libitum ruminations of mine regarding chronology, chronological research, and the problems of “ancient” history in general. Its content can best be described as an edited and extended shorthand report of a lengthy conversation between yours truly and the authors of the present book.
My interest in chronological problems is easily explained – I have had a passion for ancient, medieval, and modern history from my childhood, and have studied a vast amount of all kinds of historical literature. I’ve got a good memory, and I remember most historical dates, names, and events by heart. Over the years I have developed a rather exhaustive picture of “ancient” and medieval history in its consensual form; however, having a penchant for analyzing, calculating possibilities, comparing situations, and so on, I gradually became more and more convinced that there was something seriously wrong with the ancient historical dates. Contradictions that appeared insoluble in the traditional historical paradigm arose constantly; one of the first problems that drew my attention was the impossibility of placing the heroes of ancient Greek mythology within the traditional historical timeframe. The mythical Theseus kills the Minotaur to liberate Athens from the humiliating necessity of paying tribute to the powerful Cretan king, and then unites the entirety of Attica, making his hometown the capital; these events along with his contemporaries storming the walls of Troy, and various other deeds of this “hero generation,” span seven or eight centuries (!) of ancient Greek history. It is well understood that myths can hardly be called a reliable source; one wonders what makes the historical chronicles that underwent multiple copying and ultimately hark back to oral tradition, any more trustworthy. I began to understand that reading history textbooks is by no means sufficient; one has to analyze the “historical evidence” that one is offered critically, using one’s common sense, as it were.
About a year and a half ago I came across several books by the Moscow State University mathematicians A. T. Fomenko and G. V. Nosovsky. That was how I first learned that a group of professional mathematicians led by the Academician A. T. Fomenko has been studying chronological issues for twenty years and that their research had yielded some very interesting results. The critical side of these books is very serious; they contain an admirable amount of valuable materials and deserve to be studied and discussed. However, some of the actual hypotheses and reconstructions suggested by the authors may prove debatable. It is clear that putting forth a final reconstruction of historical events is an extremely complex task, and all such attempts are bound to be vulnerable to criticisms in one way or another. However, the research results that have already been published make it impossible to deny the fact that the consensual chronology of “ancient” history contains major inconsistencies that we have no right to carry on denying. I would like to relate some of my considerations on the matter.
1. THE FALSIFICATION OF HISTORY AS A WEAPON OF POLITICAL POWER STRUGGLE. THE POSSIBILITY OF GLOBAL HISTORICAL FALSIFICATIONS TO THIS DAY.
The entire concept of the new chronology is supported by the important fact that the falsification of history has always been a formidable weapon in the political power struggle. The XX century provides us with some prime examples, and it is perfectly obvious that there have been many possibilities for altering history in the XV or even the XVII century.
Sources of information were a lot more heterogeneous back then, and a lot of what they provided defied all possibilities of verification and clarification. Thus, various kings, czars, khans, and dukes – people possessing real power and the ability to control publishing houses, as well as all activities of historians and chronographers – could manipulate the accounts of historical events (or events they wanted to see as such) at their convenience, without any external control whatsoever.
This argument cannot possibly encounter any substantial objections and is important enough for countering nihilistic criticisms claiming all of the reconstructions offered to be nonsensical ipso facto. Written history implies the existence of its writers and immediately leads one to question their objectivity. Even the official chronicles tell us that the Middle Ages have been full of elaborate palace plotting, political intrigue, and mortal dynastic confrontation. The latter offers the greatest possibilities for falsification, as a matter of fact.
All of these genealogical trees of monarchs, and of millenarian dynastic reigns, may have been compiled as a result of direct commands of rulers to prove the length of their family history. We can be almost perfectly certain that all of the dynastic histories of the Middle Ages stemmed from the offspring of a rather limited number of mythical characters, and served to justify the claims to legitimacy of various monarchs. We regard it as yet another example of how easily uncontrolled power becomes abused.
Thus, Henry of Navarre’s claims for the French throne required extending the history of the backwater Bourbon clan 250 years and nine generations into the past in order to “find” the necessary intersection with the Capet-Valois dynasty.
2. THE LACK OF CORRELATION BETWEEN THE REAL GENE POOL AND THAT OF THE “PHANTOM AGES”
The new chronology is next supported by the fact that certain basic genetic traits of homo sapiens that manifest in various aspects of our existence appear nonexistent in the “phantom” ages, as opposed to the “provable” history that spans 600 years according to the authors of these books. When we compare various stages of human evolution, we see a great discrepancy between the patterns of human behavior over the period that we can be certain about, and in the phantom ages.
1) THE BIOLOGICAL FACTOR.
It would be interesting to study the rate of human reproduction. We appear to possess the information that can be verified. The population of England, for instance, grew from 4 million to 62 million between the XV and the XX centuries. Another example is France of the XVII-XX centuries (starting from the reign of Louis XIV), where the population grew from 20 to 60 million – all this notwithstanding the fact that France participated in the bloodiest of wars quite actively. France had lost around three million, men in their prime for the most part, in Napoleon’s wars. Apart from that, there have been many minor wars and skirmishes in the XIX century, plus the horrendous mass slaughters of World War I.
It is obvious that the natural reproduction rate was reduced by the deaths of large parts of the young populace that occurred twice over the span of two centuries. We are not speaking of the bloodshed during the French Revolution and the wars of the XVIII century. We see that the population grew by a factor of three over three hundred years.
In England, this factor was a lot higher. Immigration from the former colonies might play a role here as well – still, the growth rate is most impressive. England is an even better example since the gene pool there had not been afflicted by quite as many wars. Official history tells us that the population grew from 4 million in the XV century to 62 million in the XX – in other words, the growth rate over the period of 500 years equaled 15x. Such factors as the annexation of Ireland and Scotland are countered by the emigration to the colonies.
The question that arises instantly is as follows: what had the population of these countries been back in the day when they had stopped being Roman colonies, in the IV-V centuries? The fertile province of Gaul is known to have been well-populated. If both its Eastern and Western parts had had 20 million inhabitants (a minimal hypothetical estimation), simple logic tells us that the barbarian hordes that had swarmed the Empire must have equaled millions in their numbers.
If we are to try using the reverse geometrical progression in our calculations, we get an irrational result. It appears that humans had stopped breeding at some point, or their numbers were “growing in reverse.” An attempt at a logical explanation (such as epidemics or bad hygiene) can be easily countered by the following considerations: according to historical documents, there was no progress in the state of hygiene between the V and the XVIII centuries. Epidemics occurred frequently, and hygiene was extremely poor. Firearms were introduced in the XV century, and the wars became a lot bloodier.
If we’re to compare the population of the “ancient” Oecumena of the Pericles epoch (V century BC), and the epoch of the emperor Trajan (II century BC), we’re to obtain even more exciting results. If we’re to consider the number of large-city inhabitants and the sizes of the armies, we’re to encounter incredible population growth rates. Greece united under Athens can hardly be compared to the grandiosity and the splendor of the Roman Empire, but the proportions aren’t met in any case.
Really, consider the 15,000 free citizens of Athens, as well as Rome and Alexandria possessing half a million inhabitants each. One of the parts has a rearguard of fifteen hundred soldiers from the army of united Greek city-states, including 300 famed Spartans, all of which stay to cover the retreat of the main body of the army in a war where the very existence of the Hellenes is at stake. The other one has 26 legions (!), which were kept by Rome in times of peace, with no overall mandatory draft. This is more than the Russian empire could gather for countering Napoleon’s intervention in 1812.
In the Second Punic War (II century BC), after suffering three bitter defeats from Hannibal, the Romans put forth an army of 80 thousand soldiers, which had also been destroyed by the Carthaginians in the historical battle of Cannes. All of this notwithstanding, Rome still finds enough reserves for reaching a breakpoint in the lengthy war that rages for fifteen more years all over the Mediterranean. The scale of this conflict is amazing – the next historical war with several fronts shall be the one of 1755-1763 between the English and the French.
2) THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL FACTOR
Let us regard the actual size of human beings. The pictures and the descriptions of the “ancient” Greek athletes show us well-built people of a considerable size who run, jump and break all possible records in javelin-throwing. They win battles over enemy armies seven to ten times the size of theirs. Then we see the armor of the medieval knights that is fit for people the size of modern teenagers, making a rather modest impression of the state of human physique at the time. The contrast with the well-developed bodies of the “ancients” is stunning; what we see is a sinusoidal curve in the development of the human muscles. Now, there may be biological species that evolve in sinusoidal curves, but hardly over a 2000-year period, since substantial qualitative alterations require dozens of millennia.
3) THE PSYCHOPHYSICAL FACTOR
Let us consider the factor of a mass character that I shall be referring to as psychophysical. Documented history tells us of the insatiable need of human beings to make discoveries. The vector of technological progress is a strictly vertical one. Every ten years something happens, i.e discoveries, sea voyages, explosions . . . Everything keeps on changing, we see constant evolution – from Columbus to the landing on the Moon, from crossbows to nuclear bombs. Forwards and upwards.
However, the traditional ancient history tells us of periods when humanity had apparently remained dormant for centuries – “ancient” Egypt, the medieval “Dark Ages” – whole epochs of utter stasis in human thinking. It appears that the inhabitants of ancient Egypt and Rome had a different genetic codes, and couldn’t be bothered about anything at all, so they froze in their development, the result being a total lack of innovative activity.
At the same time, there had been prosperous ancient empires where those among homo sapiens who possessed penchants for arts and sciences could get plenty of opportunities for growth and development. But, alas and alack, all of the prosperous “ancient” empires had ceased their development at some point.
3. THE RATE OF TECHNICAL AND CULTURAL PROGRESS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
These rates completely fail to reflect the human ability for practical improvement. Here are a few examples.
1) THE PRIMITIVE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
A thousand years should be enough to expand the arsenal that was limited by harps, kitharas, whistles, and flutes. There are no records mentioning drums or percussion of any kind. A violin is more complex, but this complexity isn’t of the Binomial theorem magnitude, so it may well have been invented over the millenarian “Classical Greek period.” It is well understood that Stradivarius “could only have been born in Italy,” but we’re being told that there had been a great Classical period of growth in arts and sciences.
There had been fifty years of peace in Periclean Athens before the Peloponnesian War. Then there had been a rather calm period between the Macedonian and the Roman conquests. As for Rome, there had been at least two centuries of perfect peace. And nothing much had happened. Everything remains on the same primitive level despite the fact that many affluent people spend great sums of money on singers, musicians, and poets, patronizing fine arts to the best of their ability. Rome allegedly copies all things Greek, but no musical progress ever occurs. It is most noteworthy that no notation had been invented over all those years. One fails to understand how a sophisticated society patronizing fine arts can manage with no notational system. The result was that “no musical artifacts had survived till our day” due to the alleged non-existence of notation.
2) THE NON-IMPROVEMENT OF WEAPONS AND MILITARY TACTICS.
If we’re to wonder about just how primitive the Graeco-Roman musical culture was, we shall be perfectly confused by yet another mysterious paradox, namely, the amazing fact that the “ancient” Roman Republic, and later the Roman Empire had failed to improve their weapons and military tactics in any way at all. The Roman citizens used to gather in rather effective military formations when the military expansion of the Republic began. As for the Roman Empire, it is common knowledge that it had been a state heavily dependent on military aggression and annexation of territory. We learn all of this from the so-called “ancient” sources.
Military expansion requires weapons and strategic thought to evolve rapidly, yet we see that centuries had passed with no significant changes whatsoever. The Romans couldn’t so much as master steel metallurgy, and that is hardly an invention at all, it just requires the diligent work and experimentation of a number of generations. The improvement of weapon quality is a crucial issue. The lives of the legionaries depended on their weapons, as well as the general character of military actions. We are being told, however, that the Romans kept using their short swords of low-quality iron over the entire course of their history.
Let us consider the cavalry history next. If we’re to trust the “ancient” sources, Roman cavalry hadn’t been particularly powerful due to the lack of harness. The reins must have already existed, but the stirrup only appeared in the VIII century, according to the traditional dating offered by the official history. The stirrup is supposed to originate from China. Knighthood allegedly appears around the same time as the stirrup, which is perfectly logical and understandable.
Ancient Romans, on the other hand, failed to pay any attention to the harness at all, even considering the fact that the most dangerous battles in Roman history had been fought with the Oriental nations that have been known masters of horseback riding – the mythical Parthians, for instance, the ones that disappeared mysteriously with their entire kingdom. These Oriental nations had possessed two important advantages – the cavalry and the archers, who delivered devastating blows to the Romans. The arrows from their heavy longbows literally swept infantry away by hundreds.
However, Rome failed to improve its projectile weapons in any way. Ancient Rome had not given birth to crossbows, either, although Romans, being experts in ballistics, could have invented such powerful weapons as the crossbow and the longbow, which can be used by one person. Nevertheless, this never came to pass, and the military tactics of the Roman army remained pretty much unaltered. Another rather funny irrationality is the fact that many heroes of the “ancient” Greek myths had been first-class archers. Even the mighty Heracles had to rely on arrows from time to time; the great bow of Ulysses had slain the unfortunate contestants for Penelope’s hand, and Apollo with his bow that never missed had killed a great many giants.
There are two well-known cases when the Roman legions suffered a disastrous defeat. The first one is the destruction of the army of Carrus on the plains of Carrhae in 53 BC, and the second is the demise of Emperor Valentis’ army in 378 AD. Four centuries are supposed to have passed between the two; however, both of these battles are reported to have been lost in exactly the same way, namely, with mounted archers virtually ripping the body of the Roman army to shreds. The legions are chased out of formation, what meager cavalry is available gets stuck somewhere, and the scattered Roman warriors are picked out and slaughtered one by one.
The descriptions of the battles are identical; moreover, they are supposed to have occurred near each other, in Asia Minor. The new chronology deems these battles to have been a pair of phantom duplicates of a real defeat of the Western army that occurred due to its inability to counter the formation-breaking mounted archers; the battle is of indeterminate antiquity but may have been one of those fought in the medieval Trojan war.
One should also regard the history of brilliant victories of the Roman armies, and enquire why the enemies of the Romans failed to have copied anything from the Romans. King Mithridates, for instance, a long-time foe of the Romans, had possessed both the intelligence and the means of developing effective countermeasures. The Romans didn’t really demonstrate much besides drill and a high level of discipline in the legions. Nevertheless, four hundred years are supposed to have passed between the abovementioned battles, and the Roman army allegedly suffered no serious defeats over this period, except the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest which was lost to the Germanic tribes by Quintilius Varus.
The invention of new ways of destroying fellow humans allegedly begins in the XIV-XV centuries and has not stopped ever since, as something brand new is introduced every 10-15 years. Humans are supposed to have been doing nothing for centuries before that epoch.
The official history offers a very strange version of the history of heavy armor. The equipment of knights was only minimally modified from the VIII to the XIV centuries. Their numbers remained small, and regular armies were truly infinitesimal due to the high cost of weapons and ammunition. A fully equipped knight was a formidable battle unit, and several hundred of them in a squadron could scatter an entire army of unprofessional fighters in the epoch of the glorious Richard Coeur de Lion. This fact should tell us something about both the quantity of people and the fact that the unprofessional armies were poorly trained, apparently due to the fact that humanity did not have a rich enough history.
However, in the XIV century, with the invention of gunpowder and firearms, everything begins to change drastically. Ways of destroying medieval fortifications are found, and ballistic trajectories are calculated. Already towards the end of the XV century, all the Italian fortresses fall before the French troops because the French have new small mobile cannons capable of rendering the high ancient walls into piles of shards. The attempts at inventing new types of fortification begin instantly, and those appear in the XVI century, greatly curbing the destructive power of the artillery. Everything has been developing according to the classical “missile – armor” scheme ever since.
4. A LACK OF CORRELATION BETWEEN THE AIMS OF ANCIENT PUBLIC CONSTRUCTIONS AND THE AVAILABLE MEANS
The lack of correlation between the grandiose goals set by the “ancient” builders, and the meager means of their realization, as described by the ancient sources, seems apparent.
1) THE LACK OF GEOGRAPHICAL MAPS
The Roman Empire has been well known for its well-developed network of roads and communications. The existence of these roads without a vast number of geographical maps seems impossible, as does the scrupulous planning of the Roman military operations. The scientific principles of cartography had been formulated and expounded by “the great geographer and astronomer of the days of yore,” Claudius Ptolemy. The strange disappearance of maps made in that epoch is very hard to explain.
Destruction by the barbarians is an illogical supposition, since any prominent leader of the barbaric tribes, such as Alaric or Attila, would quickly estimate the military value of these objects and guard them jealously due to the military advantage that they gave the owner. The reactionary medieval church apparently did not include descriptive geography (that did not tackle the issue of the Earth’s shape) in the list of heretical sciences. In this case, how does one explain the wide propagation of crude illiterate dauberies bearing the proud name of “maps” in the VI-XIV centuries? How could the Western European crusader troops have reached Jerusalem using them for orientation?
2) THE ABSENCE OF CREDIT AND BANKING SYSTEMS
The “ancients” remain perfectly taciturn about the state of affairs in re the credit and the banking system in the Roman Empire. A normal quotidian existence of a state implies flourishing trade, which requires credit institutions when conducted as extensively as it allegedly had been. These began to appear in Western Europe when the possibility of building an empire had already existed. Where one has an empire, one should also see trade institutions using the credit system in order to allow traveling through the imperial vastness without having to drag bags of gold along. The pragmatic “ancient” Roman Empire could have developed something of the kind over its alleged three or four centuries of peaceful existence. It is remarkable that according to the official version of history, banking systems appeared in medieval Italy – in Genoa, Florence, and Milan.
5. THE LACKLUSTRE FATE OF FUNDAMENTAL SCIENCE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
1) THE LACK OF PROMINENT SCIENTISTS IN THE PERIOD FOLLOWING THE FIRST CENTURY BC
Traditional history tells us a lot about the scientists of ancient Greece – almost too much, it seems. The life of Aristotle is supposed to be known day by day. We have a most exhaustive biography of Socrates, who had been a mythical figure, according to some historians. We all know Plato’s dialogues with his disciples – indeed, we have information about almost everyone – Archimedes, Heraclitus, the mythical Pythagoras, Aristarchus of Samos, the ancient precursor of Copernicus, and his exile because of his heretical theories. We have studied Euclid extensively. And after that, we encounter a void. Since around the first century AD in the traditional dating, we see no more scientists, except for the odd occasional historian, geographer, or philosopher. The development of fundamental science allegedly ceases completely.
We know well that there was a period in Roman history when an entire reigning dynasty was patronizing sciences. In the beginning, there was Adrian, a proponent of monumental construction; after him appeared the urbane and cultivated Antoninus, and finally Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher emperor and the famed patron of sciences. All the Golden Age criteria are met; geniuses should flourish in times like these.
It suffices to cast a brief glance at the epoch of Catherine the Great in Russia, where there had been such phenomena as the “folk genius” of Lomonosov. Nothing of the kind ever takes place in “ancient” Rome, an empire covering a great territory and basically comprising the entire “ancient world” with its most talented nations. One sees a scientific void. We are being presented with the pseudoscientific compilations of the first Christian theologians who had tried to adjust the new religion to the political and cultural realities of the Roman Empire as the greatest achievement.
2) THE ABSENCE OF A FITTING SYSTEM OF CALCULUS
The fact that the Roman system of calculus isn’t really fit for any serious calculation remains in the dark for some reason. Try dividing large numbers using columns, or calculating the volume of a complex geometrical figure, for instance. And how about the theory of repeating decimals? The “ancient” Romans nevertheless performed some rather complex calculations, as it turns out. Extensive architectural projects, engineering, and ballistics all required meticulous calculations, since one can hardly build a temple or a bridge, or bring down an enemy fortress, on approximate estimations.
One cannot help inquiring about the calculus system used by the famous ancient Greek scientists such as Archimedes, Aristarchus of Samos, Euclid, and Ptolemy. They required a more highly evolved system. However, if they did indeed possess one, why didn’t the pragmatic Romans, who had copied the best Greek inventions, think of adopting it as well? Calculus is the cornerstone of any science; how could they have ignored it? The only logical explanation is that the Greeks had had no such system. Indeed, the Attic and Ionic calculus systems that have been “preserved” by the official history are even clumsier than the Roman version. How could the calculations have possibly been conducted, then?
It is hardly a secret that the entire “ancient” science concurs perfectly well with the so-called “Arabic” system of calculus, that only came into existence ten centuries after the main works of the ancient Greek founding fathers of mathematics and physics had already been written, according to traditional history. What we see is a gigantic temporal gap during which the ancient manuscripts had still been copied and renovated, despite the overall decline of sciences. The reason for this remains nebulous since the described phenomena allegedly did not exist in the real world. One also wonders where the educated monastic scribes who could decipher the complex formulae came from.
In reality, all the copies of the aforementioned tractates use the so-called Arabic calculus system that we’re accustomed to. We are faced with the amazing neglect of the publishers at the dawn of the printing era who failed to preserve the specimens of this complex mathematical tightrope-walking of the “great ancient thinkers,” who had been capable of solving complex problems with nothing but a clumsy alphabet-based system of calculus.
3. NO TRACE OF RESEARCH IN CHEMISTRY
Nothing is known about whether or not there had been chemical research conducted in the ancient world. No reports of either chemists or alchemists have reached our age. One wonders why the alchemists should appear as late as the Middle Ages since the actual idea of the transformation of matter can be traced to the very roots of philosophic thought. The ancient Greek philosophers had apparently considered transubstantiation to be the most important natural event and tried to provide a valid theory explaining it, but for some mysterious reason failed to follow through with anything practical, since no ancient Greek chemistry ever came to existence.
We have read a lot about the Greek fire, which had been a fearsome weapon of the Byzantine army in the early Middle Ages. It is most doubtful that this was just crude oil since in this case, Byzantium wouldn’t have been able to retain the monopoly for such an effective weapon for such a long time. The chronicles are most probably referring to some chemical composition, which implies the existence of a certain theoretical base; however, we know nothing of any chemical research conducted in the medieval Byzantium.
4) THE UNDERDEVELOPMENT OF MEDICAL SCIENCE
Let us add a few comments regarding the state of anatomy and medical science. The works of Hippocrates haven’t reached us, and neither have the writings of other prominent physicians. This is very odd indeed since the emperors and the kings weren’t any less interested in medicine than they were in the development of military strategy. The “ancient world” apparently had everything that was necessary for the development of medical science; however, nothing was undertaken in this respect. Anatomy and medicine, as well as chemistry, only appeared in the Middle Ages. I find it most peculiar to see that Homer’s poems and other works of “ancient” literature should reach us in a much better condition, being copied more often than the priceless tractates on the healing of the human body in the Middle Ages – all this notwithstanding the fact that the barbarian rulers needed good doctors as much as the educated Roman emperors did.
5) THE INSUFFICIENT DEVELOPMENT OF SEVERAL OTHER INDUSTRIES
It has to be said that the considerations related to the development of science and culture are equally valid for all the other “ancient” civilizations: Egypt, Babylon, and China. Development reaches a certain level there as well, only to freeze and perish for no apparent reason. The authors of these books offer good argumentation to prove that no Golden Age ever existed for any of these civilizations unless we’re to believe the evidence of a purely epistemological nature. It is most important to note that all of the technical and scientific achievements of the “ancient world” correlate amazingly well with the level of European civilization by the time the first publications of the “ancient” authors took place. The scientific thought of the “ancient” geniuses could not have produced anything over the ten centuries of their existence that would be more advanced than the achievements of the Europeans who have had about three hundred years of progress in the Renaissance epoch behind them!
This consideration makes the hypothesis that the entire “ancient” history was written by medieval authors in the XV-XVI centuries seem a lot less far-fetched and improbable. The medieval chronologers had simply transferred their world into the past, having projected their quotidian reality onto “ancient” Greece and Rome. No qualitative alterations have been made, since these authors clearly lacked the imagination of Jules Verne, and so all the changes they made were of a strictly quantitative manner. The living standards of the fictitious “ancient world” were higher since “the ancients had more of everything.” No innovations in either weapons, science or simple articles of quotidian use have been made. Nobody seemed to have objected to the fact that the evolutionary level of the XV-XVI centuries had equaled that of the Roman Empire in its prime. This “ancient empire” could also have developed the elementary things that we have already mentioned.
Let us now divert our attention to the biographies of the “ancient” celebrities. An abundance of minute details transforms these “biographies” into works of literary art. The accuracy of the ancient authors in reconstructing the most trivial episodes from the biographies of their heroes is amazing. An acid retort made by Alexander the Great to Parmenion during their discussion of the ransom offer made by king Darius; the instructions are given by Caesar to his legates before the battle of Pharsalia; the famous last words of Julian the Apostate; and all similar grains of wisdom have apparently been immediately taken down in shorthand by the eyewitnesses and passed on reverently in their initial form until reaching the actual authors of the biography in question. Different sources contradicted each other occasionally, but the apocryphal versions had always been weeded out and left in the junkyard of history, whilst the original picture remained preserved exactly the way it had always been.
Sadly, the modern biographers appear to have lost the “ancient” art of intuitive comparative analysis. Volunteer informers also seem to have lost their effectiveness despite the progress in means of communication, and the actual characters of modern history have lost the art of uttering punchy aphorisms in the right moments. We have to contend with the fact that the biographies of the most famous historical figures have gaps in them, and many important periods of their lives have not been reflected in any sources due to the sheer lack of factual information. It should only be natural that the events of the last three centuries allow for an aleatory interpretation that depends on the sources available or selected by an author.
The events of the 14 July 1789 or 14 December 1825, are not related with such crystal clarity as to the story of Catilina’s conspiracy which has only reached us in one version, apparently for the facilitation of subsequent historical research. The bookshelves crammed with an abundance of various historical and analytical literature should not confuse anyone – 99% of these books have been written over the last 150 years and usually expound the brief accounts contained in the original sources. Some authors offer new hypotheses based on a meticulous analysis of the “ancient” text (remaining within the paradigm of traditional chronology, naturally).
These hypotheses are discussed by all interested parties, which opens a great many avenues for further research. We should thus be aware that the images of famous “ancient” military leaders, politicians, and philosophers that exist in our imaginations have been edited by every new generation of historians. The original sources remain virtually the same. The “tales of the days of yore” are usually based on a single solitary source, one author whose writings are assumed to be the truth absolute and are later used for reference in all subsequent research and commentary. Thus, the creation of the Great Persian empire of the Achaemenians was first mentioned in the History of Herodotus.
The history of the Punic Wars as well as the information on Carthage was related by Polybius. Unfortunately, the sources that he had been referring to did not survive. This rather prolific author had extremely bad luck – only 5 of 40 (!) volumes of his Universal History have reached our time, so the reconstruction of history that occurred, later on, was forced to deduce many of the details of Hannibal’s campaigns. It has to be noted that the remaining unique evidence always belongs to the side that has won in a military conflict; all remaining accounts of the side that lost were immediately destroyed (as in the incineration of Suza, and the total destruction of Carthage and Jerusalem), and the official point of view was subsequently formed. Such interpretations are barely worthy of any trust whatsoever, even in the traditional concept of history.
6) THE PAUCITY OF VARIETY IN ARTICLES OF QUOTIDIAN USE
The everyday life of the Roman Empire has been described in sufficient detail. Let us regard the items of quotidian use among the ruling elite. There are neither chairs nor functional cutlery or kitchen utensils present. There were artful chefs and great feasts that became legendary – Lucullus, for one, attained fame primarily for the lavishness of his gluttony – however, the sophisticated culinary taste does not include the serving and the cutlery that remain primitive and crude. Strange for a great empire. One instantly remembers the accounts of the horrendous table manners of the XVI-century aristocracy who used hands for eating and made loud noises in the process.
I recollect my visit to the Croatian Brioni Islands in the Adriatic. The place is unique and truly beautiful. The tourists are told that the summer residence of the Roman emperor Domitian used to be located nearby. The place is really suitable for it, being close to Italy and possessing clear waters and an even climate. There is even an underwater aqueduct system that had allegedly been constructed by the “ancients.” The guides tell about it in detail: the slaves dived using hollow cane reeds for aqualungs. The result is impressive, especially considering the fact that the depth there is 50 meters at the very least.
“Ancient” vessels are naturally present in abundance. One can always buy a large jug that had been used for storing grain or a small amphora for scented oils. Local smugglers obtain those in large quantities since the Adriatic was part of an important Greco-Roman trade route, and many ships sank there. “Ancient” excavations have also been conducted. The actual excavated settlement shown to tourists is a medieval Byzantine one – not much of a sight since it’s only about 100 by 200 meters in size. However, there is a tale of a different and much older settlement that had existed here before. One can also see the ruins of the “Emperor’s palace” – the remnants of some nondescript construction, and stairs emerging from the water – not too impressive. The guide proceeds to relate that the senators used to live here and shows the remnants of the steam baths with separate compartments for hot and cold water – nothing remotely resembling the posh imperial resort that it is supposed to have been unless one is to use one’s imagination to the maximum.
6. THE ABSENCE OF ANCIENT INSCRIPTIONS CONTAINING DEFINITE DATES
Now that we’re about to return to the real Middle Ages, one has to mark another fact that concerns human psychology and the absence of “ancient” datings. My own search did not yield any results – various cathedrals, palaces, and churches have all brandished plaques with the dates given in the modern chronological system. We are told that the cathedral is 500 years old – however, the plaque had only been put up in the XIX or the XX century (the most conscientious sources also quote the date the actual plaque had appeared). There are no old datings, even scribbled by hand. I haven’t found a single truly old building in the whole of Western Europe having either a plaque or an engraving with an authentic dating made immediately upon construction. The guides are tactful enough to refrain from commenting on this.
We can only envy the high morality of our predecessors who have successfully resisted the petty temptation of sending a note to the future and scribbling a “Johnny-was-here” on the wall together with the date.
7. EXAMPLES BASED ON MY OWN IMPRESSIONS
We instantly recollect the crusaders who allegedly conquered the city and have allegedly drawn a great number of crosses on the walls; however, one fails to see any dates written around that time. For some reason, Gottfried von Bouillon refused to let the date of his triumph be known to his descendants, writing something along the lines of “I, Gottfried von Bouillon, Duke of France, have taken the Holy City in the year 1099 from Christ.” Not a single piece of graffiti, either official or unofficial, despite the fact that the walls are ideal for inscriptions.
2) LEON (SPAIN)
The city of Leon in Spain enjoys the status of the ancient capital of the Castilian kingdom, which had allegedly been situated there during the early Reconquista, before the “liberation” of the central parts of Spain and the migration of the capital to Toledo. There was supposed to have been a palace, depicted in a painting of an undefined age and author that is kept in the Town Hall and shown to all interested parties. The most powerful kings of the Iberian peninsula have allegedly resided here – however, nothing remains of the palace, not even ruins. Furthermore, nobody knows the exact place of its former location. It is supposed that a Catholic cathedral was built in its place in the XIII-XV centuries.
The actual palace is supposed to have burned down, which is hardly surprising since there are fires in virtually every account of a historical event that defies explanation; it suffices to remember the horrible blaze that is supposed to have destroyed the Alexandrian Library which had allegedly been the treasury of ancient scientific knowledge. Was the Leon palace supposed to have been so holy that no better place for building a cathedral could possibly be found? The magnificent edifice of the cathedral remains intact to this day, complete with its magnificent stained glass windows.
3) THE ISLAND OF KORCULA IN THE CROATIAN ADRIATIC
Korcula is a most picturesque place very close to Dubrovnik. The old city was built inside a fortress that couldn’t have appeared earlier than the middle of the XVI century when artillery had reached a certain level in its development (the fortress is located directly opposite the peninsula and has gun slots – this disposition only makes sense in order to use gunfire for keeping enemy ships at bay. The main sight on the island is the cathedral officially dated as XV century. I made a beeline in order to search for old inscriptions right away but failed to find any besides the ones made in the epoch of Josip Broz Tito (the second half of the XX century), saying that there had been such-and-such objects here 500 years ago and quoting lots of details.
There is a little church about 50 meters away from the cathedral that is apparently a lot older and hardly visited by any tourists at all (I was its sole visitor that day). There is nothing special about it; there’s the usual set of stone statues of the Apostles and the Evangelists. Something struck me as wrong; a detailed study showed that the apostle Paul and St. John were missing. It isn’t as though the statues have been removed; the horseshoe-shaped row is complete without any gaps and has apparently been this way from the very beginning. How could this have happened in Croatia, a Catholic country in good standing? I don’t think we should jump to conclusions and accuse the medieval Croatians of sacrilege; most probably, the good Christians in the Adriatic had not received the explicit instructions from Rome in the XVI century about the “set canon.” I think it important that the missing figures should belong to Paul and John since they had been subject to the most controversy in early Christianity.
4) COLMAR (ALSACE, FRANCE)
My recent visit to the Colmar cathedral was a truly memorable one. Along with the whole of Alsace, this town was subject to constant territorial disputes between France and Germany and has often changed hands. It has belonged to France ever since the end of the First World War, although traces of German influence can be seen to this day. According to the guidebook for tourists, the cathedral has three levels. The construction allegedly began in the VI-VIII centuries, and the cathedral was reconstructed in the XV-XVI centuries, which must be the true date when it was built. My usual search for old inscriptions or dates yielded nothing, and the guide’s account of the three shapes of the cathedral, oldest to newest, did not offer much of interest. Then I noticed an inscription and realized it to be the only truly ancient artifact in this cathedral, deserving the most attentive study. The inscription is barely visible, but it is clear that it was made in three languages, the first one being Latin, naturally. The other two languages amazed me – Greek and Hebrew. Hebrew and Greek in a Catholic cathedral! Even if the town had been controlled by the Huguenots, it makes no principal difference since they had been just as zealous in fighting the Orthodox and Hebraic heresies.
My persistent inquiries made the keeper of the city archive turn his attention to the mysterious inscription. His research yielded an article from a local newspaper telling about a horrible cholera epidemic that occurred in 1541 and claimed nearly half the population of the town; the inscription in the church is supposed to be a memento of this event. As for the use of Greek and Hebrew, according to the author of the articles, these “unorthodox” languages had been used since it was considered bon ton back in the day and used to be proof of one’s education amongst the humanists and the intellectuals. Amazing tolerance for mid-XVI century Europe, which was on the verge of a series of gruesome and bloody religious wars! It is also noteworthy that the lengthy newspaper ruminations omit the translation of the inscription to modern French for some reason, as well as ignoring yet another obvious inconsistency, namely, the fact that the inscription on the wall of a cathedral should be understandable to the parish. Which one of the languages listed above could have been understood by the local Franco-German populace?!
The readers won’t be wrong to assume that many of the issues raised here have already been considered by historians and philosophers. However, all of these discussions have ultimately been reduced to attempts of explaining the ambiguous moments and the incongruences in the traditional historical versions. Thus, Oswald Spengler, the eminent German philosopher of the XX century, devotes an entire chapter of his famous Decline of the West aptly titled “On the Meanings of Numbers” to prove that the ancient mathematicians had been able to solve the most complex of problems without having to use any numeric symbols. Dozens of pages are filled with involved speculations concerning the uniqueness of ancient mathematics, which, according to Spengler, had been the highest form of development of the entire Weltanschauung inherent to that era.
The mathematics of ancient Egypt and ancient Greece allegedly defy all comprehension when torn out of context, and so the realization of the same concepts came to the modern scientists and to their ancient precursors in different ways. Verbatim quotes: “If mathematics had been a mere science such as astronomy or mineralogy [sic! – G. K.], its subject could be defined… No matter how hard we the Europeans should try to apply our scientific understanding of numbers to what the mathematicians of Athens and Baghdad concerned themselves with, it becomes clear that the subjects, goals, and methods of the science bearing the same name had been entirely different there,” or: “they [Eudoxus, Apollonius and Archimedes – G. K.] use well thought out methods of integral calculus that are difficult for our understanding [sic! – G. K.], that only bear a distant resemblance to the Leibniz method of definitive integral calculations…” Spengler carries on in the same manner, appealing to the sacred and mystical meaning that had been ascribed to numbers by the ancients in the most difficult contexts, thus transferring the problem to the irrational spheres of perception. Such metaphysical alchemy naturally makes the question of the calculus system used for theoretical and applied purposes void of all sense. The belief in the possibility that the construction of the magnificent ancient buildings was based on “general considerations,” or the lack thereof, depends entirely on the ability to overcome deeply-rooted prejudice.
It is also crucial to note that the global historical and philosophical concept offered by Spengler in his Decline of the West claims the discovery of a concealed mechanism for the development of human society. What factual material was in the possession of the German philosopher that led him to the theory of the cyclic nature of the naissance and decline of various unrelated civilizations? The accumulation of a certain level of spiritual, scientific, and political potential invariably leads civilization to stagnation and decline, according to Spengler. According to the rigid parallelism of his concept, Europe had entered the stage of constant cataclysms (the book was published in 1918), and was bound to meet the same fate as all of the “ancient Atlantean civilizations.” Predictions of imminent doom in what concerned the prospects of the European civilization were an integral part of the spiritual searches of the Western intellectual elite and were reflected in brilliant literary and poetic images.
Russians haven’t been spared by the trend, either –
And thou, oh Europe, with thy graceless head
Bowed closer to the grave where thou art led,
Hath once inspired the young ones with thy splendor.
M. Lermontov, “The Dying Gladiator”
Spengler was the first to have made these soothsayings assume a scientific form. All comparative criteria are pedantically chosen from the “past experience of humanity” implying that the development of Europe had reached the boundary beyond which lay a precipice of decline. Nowadays we know that Spengler was wrong and that the European civilization (with the USA included) managed to survive the horrors of the two bloodiest wars in history, a series of economical crises, and massive civil unrest, proving its role as the main factor moving human civilization forward.
The analytical method suggested by Spengler can thus be rightly assumed a perfectly erroneous one. Oversimplified scientific schemes more often than not fail the ultimate reality test. Ironically, the proponents of this criticism of Spengler’s concept shall most probably be the ones who have received their education, and possibly done some teaching themselves, within the dogmatic paradigm of Marxist historical materialism. However, one may make an equally valid suggestion that a brilliant mind was led to erroneous conclusions as a result of endless meanderings through the labyrinths of fictional historical material.
At the end of the day, humanity has unswerving trust in the modern panorama of global history. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as part of a historical process as ancient as time itself, that cosily houses the Egyptian Pharaohs and the Chinese emperors, Assyrian chariots, the Macedonian phalanx, Greek philosophers, and Roman gladiators. We fail to realize the incredible difficulties and risks that accompany the attempt at destroying this world of make-believe – the one that is formed for each one of us from the books we read as children, school textbooks, and major works of the world literature; the world reflected in films, advertisements, and on numerous web pages; the world that has a place and a satisfactory explanation for everything.
But what about the eternally unquiet spirit of gnosis that had pushed humanity into the ocean of the unknown so many times? Back in the days of yore people were raised believing the Earth to be flat and located in the center of the Universe. Those who dared to contradict this postulate encountered more serious argumentation than pseudoscientific maledictions in the press. The complete edifice of classical physics was the pride of the scientific world towards the end of the XIX century. Its demolition was sudden and rapid, and fighting the charlatan Einstein proved impossible without resorting to classical medieval methods of inquisition.
The historical stereotypes to which we’re accustomed can be easily kept, provided we alter our viewpoints ever so slightly. Many idealistic philosophical schools verify the reality of the present or past events exclusively by the Weltanschauung of every single individual. In this case, the point of view of the majority is sufficient proof of the consensual chronology’s correctness. Hume and Schopenhauer would consider any other approach absurd.
We shall however have to bear in mind that the majority of people prefer to acquaint themselves with the events of the past in a cinema or in front of a television screen. Thus, their reality is formed by the Hollywood versions of historical events. The Gracchus brothers become contemporaries of Crassus and Pompey, and King Arthur’s army consists of thousands of knights in plate armor – these “historical facts” have all found their way into the mass consciousness via endless cinematographic reverberations. One wonders why the topic of altering the past by the means of mass hallucinations is so poorly represented in science fiction.
One should hardly wonder that the prominent historians who regard their science as a documented rigid biography of the entirety of humanity shall vigorously refuse the offer o of finding solace in virtual history. In this case, their refutation of the revolutionary world history development concept offered by A. T. Fomenko, G. V. Nosovsky, and their colleagues shall have to occur in proper scientific discussion and be based on serious argumentation, without retreating to the widely favored method of calling the opponent incompetent, a charlatan, or both.
Garry Kasparov, World Chess Champion, 1999