Chronological wrinkles

Something for you to muse on while I'm in Japan. Everyone who's read Douglas Adams knows that chronology is problematic, and that there are differing opinions as to whether history is an illusion created by the passing of time, or time is an illusion created by the passing of history. Anatoly Fomenko has solved all thse problems by arguing that ancient history was a creation of the Middle Ages and happened between 400 and 1000 years ago. There's a table of contents of his book here, which is truly inspired. It seems to be a particularly strong case of "I don't know much about this, therefore it probably didn't happen, because if t had I would know more about it". I highly recommend his interpretation of Roman dating and the "reason" we have recorded dates before 1000… 


5 responses to “Chronological wrinkles

  1. I have to admit that I don’t feel qualified to even guess at the scientific merit of much of that table of contents; there are a lot of claims of derivations of mathematical functions, the relevance of which I can’t even hope to guess at. Having said that, I took a course on the history of the Copernican Revolution in college, and my recollection of it is that while ancient astronomers made some fairly imprecise measurements of time, they tended to be systematically imprecise, and the errors were both known and corrected for (albeit with tables of spectacularly complicated and physically incorrect estimates of epicycles). The idea that Mr. Fomenko would have discovered some previously unknown source of systematic error that invalidate the mappings we have between our present calendar and older time measurements strikes me as highly unlikely.

  2. I feel that this is the sort of proposal where knowing more maths just makes it funnier. Mr Fomenko hasn’t just discovered a wrong set of mappings, he’s discovered that all of ancient history was faked in the Middle Ages!

  3. I’ve read his book; it’s a nonsense-masterpiece, highly recommended. I particularly enjoyed his thesis that as there aren’t any active volcanoes in Sinai, the smoke-covered mountains of Exodus must in fact be Etna; and that early representations of dates, eg. 1350, were in fact ‘I350’, the I representing Iesus, thus meaning ‘350 years from Christ’s birth’. Ultimately his book is a labyrinth of false connections, a bit like the books by Robert Govett and Isaac Mozeson connecting all English words directly to Hebrew roots. (And Fomenko’s book is made even more wonderful by the fact that he is allegedly a highly-respected and serious mathematician!)

  4. But we know from Edo Nyland that Hewbrew is in fact aked Basque (as is English, incdentally), so that part of the theory cannot possibly be true. 5th Century Dominican friars with too much time on their hands, apparently.

  5. … right, or Native American / Aurignacian (Joseph Spence), Dutch (Goropius Becanus), Nostratic (Bomhard), etc. etc. No doubt Arnold Wadler would agree, too. Where would we be without linguist nutnuts? In a duller world, obviously.

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