Historical Falsifications

This article is primarily based upon Appendex 4 of History: Fiction or Science? Volume 2 by A. T. Fomenko. The numbered points below are added by me to provide easy reference to each story that is brought up in Fomenko’s passage.

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“The hoaxer, like a good hunter, would follow the scent of a writer’s popularity. Before the Renaissance, the pious monk would forge the works of the “Holy Patriarchs”… In this epoch, mystification was used as an “ideological reserve” of sorts and introduced numerous forgeries into the arsenal of the church: Saint Bernhard, forged by Jean Garland in 1449; the polemical book of St. Athanasius, aimed at the heretics and written by Bishop Vigilius; the comments of St. Ambrose and the Epistles of Paul the Apostle, counterfeited by the Donatist Tychonius in 1532 etc.”
Evgeny Lann, Literary Mystification (1930).

“The history of world literature is aware of its numerous falsified monuments and tries to forget about them.”
E. Lann.

“In the XVI century Erasmus was bitterly complaining that there wasn’t a single text written by the Church Patriarchs (in the first four centuries of Christianity, that is) which could be unequivocally declared authentic.”
E. Lann.

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Literary Forgeries

1 – Fomenko claims that Sigonius published “several previously unknown
fragments from Cicero’s De Consolatione in 1583″. Two hundred years after that publication, a letter of Sigonius was found where he confesses to having fabricated the documents.

2 – The 18th century Dutch scientist G. N. Heerkens published fragments of a tragedy that was attributed to Lucius Varus, a contemporary of Augustus. The fragments in reality were writings of Gregorio Corrario’s Progne from the 15th century.

3 – Wagenfeld fabricated and published a fake of Philo of Byblos’ Sanchoniathon in 1837. He refused to provide the original manuscript which his publication was based on when he was asked to do.

4 – A German named Schennis is reported in Lann’s Literary Mystification to have sold fake fragments to the Leipzig Library in the 1920s.

5 – Montesquieu published in 1720 a French translation of an Archaic Greek poem. He later confessed to having forged it.

6 – Pierre Louÿs published his forgeries in 1894 under the title of “Songs of the Poetess Bilitis”.

7 – N. A. Morozov claimed that the main part of Arabian Nights may have been written by Gallant in French for the courtiers of the French king between 1707 and 1713. Also that the Arabic manuscripts found later are really edited and largely extended translations from the French original.

8 – Moses Shapira sold a controversial manuscript to the British Museum for a million pounds. It may or may not have been a forgery, but only the Museum and himself were allowed to view it, and shortly after Shapira died, the MS disappeared.

9 – Here, Fomenko lists 5 hoaxers. McPherson and Venceslav Hanka (both died with their fakes undetected). Prosper Mérimée, Senkowski, and Sreznevskiy (all confessed to their fakes).

10 – A forged collection of private epistles attributed to Byron, Shelley, and Keats was sold in the 1850s. Palgrave made the falsification discovery.

11 – Michel Chasles caused a stir when he publicized a letter falsified by Vrain-Lucas. At first the letters were taken seriously, but two years later the truth surfaced.

12 – William, the son of Samuel Ireland, fabricated a great amount of Shakespearean literature and admitted to it after the plays failed in the theatre.

13 – A journalist named Querlon falsified a song that was supposedly written by Marie Stuart in 1765. Even after being exposed as a hoax, some biographers continued to attribute the song to her.

14 – “Lamothe-Langon, Amédée Pichot, and a certain Ferrier” forged the two volumes entitled Memoirs of an Aristocratic Lady which they tried to pass off as being written by a female agent of the Duke of Rovigo. They also forged other stories. Nineteenth century forgeries.

15 – The 19th century diplomat de Villamarest was a hoaxer responsible for multiple falsifications.

16 – The 19th century hoaxer de Courchant forged memoirs of Giuseppe Balsamo (Duke of Cagliostro).

17 – The 19th century Balzac and Gregoire both published false information that was successfully passed off for over 40 years.

18 – Prosper Mérimée published false information in the 19th century.

19 – I. B. A. Baringer’s Philos. Et Medic. D-ris, Prof. etc. Lithographia Wirceburgensis, ducentis lapidum figuratorum, a potiori insectiformium, prodigiosis imaginibus exornata. Edition secunda. Francofurti et Lipsiae, apud Tob. Göbhardt. 1767. This book caused quite a stir and received severe public ridicule.

Archaeological Forgeries

1 – Enrico and Piero Penelli successfully forged “an ancient terra-cotta sarcophagus” before admitting to it 10 years later in 1883.

2 – The Frenchman Clermont-Ganneau claimed that some expensive Moabite figurines were fakes. They did in fact turn out to be fakes.

3 – Alfred Fiorovanti confessed to Parsons in the 1950s to forging three Etruscan statuettes which the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York had bought in the 1920s. They were forged in a shop with brothers Riccardi around 1900.

4 – Y. Rakhoumovskiy had temporary success with his forgeries in the 19th century.

5 – The Gohkman brothers in the town of Ochakov had success with their forgeries in the early 20th century. The Louvre and the Moscow Museum of History both bought the fakes of the brothers.

6 – E. R. Stern, the director of the Archaeological Museum in Odessa, was forced to make a speech at the X archaeological seminar on the subject of classical relics being counterfeited in the south of Russia in the late 19th century.

7 – Roukhomovsky was a forger.

8 – “In 1957 a counterfeit “ancient” icon was accidentally discovered in Greece. Investigation discovered a whole factory that provided America and England with thousands of such “antiquities”. 17 of them were found in museums.”

9 – Riefesser exposed Joseph Auer as a forger in the 20th century.

10 – Fomenko declares Alceo Dossena as the king of ancient forgeries.

11 – Dossena confessed to being a forger in 1927.

12 – Francesco Cremonese confesses to being a forger in 1938.

13 – A certain Becker who died in Germany in 1830 forged a multitude of gold and silver coins using 622 different stamps. These forgeries were in museums until the beginning of the 20th century.

14 – Possibly the workshop of Giovanni Cavino in the 16th century was not producing fakes.

15 – The German art critic Julius Meier Graephe found a fake.

16 – André Malraux got to know a forger in 1925 who’s travels were being sponsored by the Boston Museum.

17 – Thousands of fake Corot paintings were circulated and bought at incredibly high prices.

18 – Bastiniani forged an ancient bust of Girolamo Beniveni.

19 – Malskat was a forger. His most famous one was the frescoes in the Lübeck church of St. Mary. This has been called across Europe as the greatest hoax of the 20th century. Fey helped him.

20 – Collin de Plancy published three volumes of his Dictionary of Religious Criticisms in 1821-1822 which contains a list of items he believed to be forgeries.

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