Ch. 1.2, Vol. 1, History: Fiction or Science?

This article contains my analysis of Fomenko’s History: Fiction or Science?, Volume 1, Chapter 1, Part 2. Chapter 1 is titled “The problems of historical chronology”, and part 2 is titled “Scaliger, Petavius, and other clerical chronologers”. This part is relatively short, only containing two paragraphs.

Not all of the sentences from the selected reading are listed as claims. Some were not relevant for this article, which attempts to establish a grade for the core claims of Fomenko’s narrative.

I established 39 claims, 3 of which (3, 8, and 11) have been split into two claims, making 42 points total. One of those points depends on Fomenko’s New Chronology to be comprehensively assessed, and so only 41 points can possibly be determined for now. Out of the 41 points, I have determined 36 (87.8%) points to be supported or contradicted. Of the 36, 33 (91.66%) points are supported and 3 (8.33%) are contradicted.

Total: 42
Determined: 34
Supported: 31
Contradicted: 3

Determined: 34/42 (80.95%)
Supported: 31/34 (91.17%)
Contradicted: 3/34 (8.82%)

As of right now, Fomenko’s grade on this part is: 91.17%, which is an A-.[16]

Fomenko’s overall grade is shown on the overview article: Examining Fomenko’s New Chronology.


The Examination

Claim 1:

“The chronology of ancient and mediaeval history in its present form had been created and, for the most part, concluded in a series of fundamental works of the XVI-XVII century that begins with the writings of Iosephus Iustus Scaliger (1540-1609), called “the founder of modern chronology as a science” by the modern chronologist E. Bickerman ([72], page 82).”

Claim 1 is supported.

Fomenko;s citation #72 is “Bikerman E. “Chronology of the Ancient World”. – Moscow, Nauka, 1975. Translated from the English edition: Bickerman EJ “Chronology of the Ancient World”. – Thames & Hudson, London, (1968), 1969″.

I don’t have access to that specific edition, but I was able to access a 1980 edition printed in English.[2]

The 16th and 17th century works that he mentions are those by Scaliger and Petavius, which are basically still the basis for chronology today, as A. Grafton notes.

“(Scaliger) performed bibliographical and philological miracles, and used their results to create a coherent, solid structure – basically the one that scholars still use.”
– Anthony Grafton (2003)[3, pp.77-78]

“One of the first scholars to attempt a reform of this science was Joseph Scaliger, in his De Emendatione Temporum (Paris, 1583), which has since become the basis for all chronological study.” (1916)[18, p.241]

Claim 2:

“Scaliger’s principal works on chronology are as follows:
1) Scaliger I. Opus novum de emendatione temporum. Lutetiac. Paris, 1583 ([1387]).
2) Scaliger I. Thesaurum temporum. 1606 ([1387]).”

Claim 2 is supported. Fomenko listed the correct works and the correct dates of printing.

Claim 3:

Claim 3.1: “For the most part, the body of Scaliger’s work was concluded by Dionysius Petavius (1583-1652).
Claim 3.2: “The best-known book of the latter is titled De doctrina temporum, Paris, 1627 ([1337]).”

Claim 3.1 & 3.2 are supported. Scaliger’s work was basically enhanced and replaced by Petavius’. Fomenko also properly sites the title and publication date for Petavius’ work.

“And (Scaliger’s) version of it, though powerful and provocative, lasted no more than a generation, since his Jesuit rival, Denys Petau, replaced his work with a more user-friendly, less idiosyncratic synthesis.”
Anthony Grafton (2012)[3, p.81]

Claim 4:

“Gerhard Friedrich Müller (1705-1783) “revised” the Russian history and chronology in the XVIII century in accordance with Scaliger’s scheme.”

Claim 4 is supported. Müller did write a history of Russia and he is still recognized for his contributions to history today.[4]

Claim 5:

“Let us mention the works of the XVIII-XIX century, which contain a great array of factual chronological data, such as [1155], [1205], [1236] and [1275]. They are of great value to us since they provide a snapshot of the state of chronology during the epoch of a greater proximity to Scaliger and Petavius. This material is thus of a more primordial nature, not “painted over” by latter cosmetic layers. It must be noted that this series remains incomplete as well as several other similar chronological works. To quote the prominent contemporary chronologist E. Bickerman: “There has been no chronological research ever conducted that could be called exhaustive and conforming to modern standards” ([72], page 90, comment 1).”

Claim 5 is supported.

Fomenko cited these publications:

[1155] – “Ginzel FK “Handbuch der Mathematischen und Technischen Chronologie”. Bd. I-III. – Leipzig, 1906,1911,1914.”

[1205] – ” Ideler L. “Handbuch der mathematischen und technischen Chronologie”. – Berlin, 1825-1826, Band 1-2.”

[1236] – “<< L`art de verifier les dates faites historiques >>. – Ed. par des Benedictines. 1 ed., Paris, 1750; 2 ed., Paris, 1770; 3 ed., Paris, 1783, 1784, 1787.”

[1275] – “Mommsen T. << Die Ro “mische Chronologie bis auf Caesar.” – Berlin, 1859, 2 Aufl.”

Ideler’s work has been called “The most complete of all the Manuals on Chronology…”[18, p.241]

Claim 6:

“Hence it would be correct to call the modern consensual chronology of the Classical period and the Middle Ages the Scaliger-Petavius version. We shall simply refer to it as “Scaligerian Chronology”.”

Claim 6 is supported. I cite both of the quotes above from Grafton as evidence for this.

Claim 7:

“The groundlaying works of Scaliger and Petavius of the XVI-XVII century present the ancient chronology as a table of dates given without any reasons whatsoever.”

Claim 7 is supported. I say this because Scaliger and Petavius’ reasoning was fundamentally a collection of appeals to tradition, which is a fallacy and hence is unlogical/unreasonable.

Claim 8:

“It is declared to have been based on ecclesiastical tradition. This is hardly surprising, since “history has remained predominantly ecclesial for centuries, and for the most part, was written by the clergy” ([217], page 105).”

Claim 8 is complex and really could be split into two parts. For this reason, without having to renumber all others, claim 8 will count for 2 points instead of one.

Claim 8.1 is supported. It’s well known that Scaliger and Petavius were religious and based their chronologies on the Bible and church tradition.

Claim 8.2 is undetermined.

Fomenko cited #[217] as “Gourevich A.Y. The Mediaeval Cultural Categories. Moscow, Kultura, 1972″.

The book exists, but Fomenko apparently got the publication date wrong.[5] Fomenko says 1972, but it doesn’t appear to have been printed until 1983. Also, when I searched for the key words on Google Books from Gurevich’s quote, it did not result in finding the quote. Because I cannot confirm if Fomenko quoted Gurevich and just got the publication date wrong, I have 8.2 labeled as undetermined. The information in Gurevich’s quote does sound correct, it’s just a matter of whether or not he really said it which will determine whether claim 8.2 is supported or contradicted.

Claim 9:

“Today it is believed that the foundations of chronology were laid by Eusebius Pamphilus and Saint Hieronymus, allegedly in the IV century A.D.”

Claim 9 is supported.[3, p.83] Eusebius and Jerome (St. Hieronymus) are considered to have laid the foundations of chronology for the Western world until Scaliger and Petavius arrived. This isn’t to say no need chronological work was done between these two parties, but that the general approach remained somewhat constant.

Claim 10:

Claim 10: “It is worth noting that Eusebius of Caesarea is painted in typically mediaeval attire of the Renaissance epoch. Most probably because he had lived in that period of time and not any earlier.”

Claim 10 is complex but I have it marked as undetermined because Eusebius was shown in Renaissance attire, but the probability of him being from that time is based on Fomenko’s New Chronology, which I am currently investigating to see how valid it is. Until a comprehensive report as to why FNC is valid or invalid appears, I will leave claim 10 as undetermined.

Claim 11:

Claim 11: “Despite the fact that Scaligerian history ascribes Eusebius to the IV century a.d., during the years 260-340 ([936], vol. 1, page 519), it is interesting to note that his famous work titled The History of Time from the Genesis to the Nicaean Council, the so-called Chronicle, as well as the tractate by St. Hieronymus (Jerome) weren’t discovered until very late in the Middle Ages.”

Claim 11 also is complex and is now split into 2 points. 11.1 deals with the part about Eusebius’ work, and 11.2 deals with the part about Jerome’s work.

Claim 11.1 is undetermined. The Middle Ages roughly spans from the C5th to the C15th. The 13th century is when the earliest surviving manuscripts have been dated to.[14] I do think this is quite late. More context is needed here though. What does it mean to “discover”? How long were they lost exactly?

Claim 11.2 is undetermined. I have spent some time looking into Jerome’s MSS and their histories are incredibly obscure.[15]

Claim 12:

“Apart from that, historians say that “the Greek original (of Eusebius – A. F.) is only available in fragmentary form nowadays, and is complemented by the ad libitum translation made by St. Hieronymus” ([267], page VIII, Introduction).”

Claim 12 is supported. I marked it supported because of the quotes from Schaff. I thought I saw a quote that contradicted claim 12, but when I went to try and find it again, I was not able to.

Fomenko cited [267] as “Eusebius Pamphilus. Ecclesial History. St. Petersburg, 1848. English edition: Eusebius Pamphilus. History of the Church. London, 1890.”

I have not yet been able to locate either of these citations. Possibly the English edition is the one from 1890 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.? If so, potentially Fomenko’s quote is supported by these quotes from page 37:[8]

“The work of Africanus is no longer extant, and that of Eusebius was likewise lost for a great many centuries, being superseded by a revised Latin edition, issued by Jerome.”
– P. Schaff[8]

“This, together with numerous Greek fragments preserved by various ancient writers, constituted our only source for a knowledge of the original work, until late in the last century an Armenian translation of the whole work was discovered and published in two volumes by J. B. Aucher: Venice, 1818.”
– Philip Schaff (1890)[8]

Claim 13:

“Mark the fact that Nicephorus Callistus attempted to write the new history of the first three centuries in the XIV century, or “revise” the History of Eusebius, but “he could not do more than repeat that which was written by Eusebius”, ([267], page XI).”

Claim 13 is supported. Nicephorus Callistus did make an edition of Eusebius in the 14th century, and it doesn’t sound like he added much to it beyond Eusebius’ own writings.[9] I haven’t been able to view Fomenko’s source, so I am skeptical as to how supported claim 13 really is. It does appear to check out from other sources though.

Claim 14:

“However, since the work of Eusebius was only published in 1544 (see [267], page XIII),that is, much later than the writing of Nicephorus, one has reason to wonder: Could the “ancient” Eusebius have based his work on the mediaeval tractate by Nicephorus Callistus?”

Claim 14 is supported. It does appear that Fomenko is correct about the first printing in 1544.[8, p.60] The rest of the quote in claim 14 is just a question asked by Fomenko. The answer to which I am inclined to say “no”. If the MSS are correctly dated, then we have Eusebian MSS prior to Callistus.

Claim 15:

“It is assumed that Scaligerian chronology was based on the interpretations of assorted numeric data collected from the Bible. Certain “basis dates” that were used as reference points originated as results of scholastic exercises with numbers.”

Claim 15 is supported. Scaliger’s chronology was based upon the works of Mercator, Funck, Crusius, and Glareanus, all of which ran numerical exercises for their chronologies based on information from the Bible.

“Neither Bodin nor Mercator believed that chronology should rest on astronomical and historical evidence alone. For both men, the Bible, properly understood, provided almost all of the solid information about the first three millennia and more of human history.”
– Anthony Grafton[10, p.188]

Claim 16:

“For instance, according to the eminent chronologist J. Usher (Usserius), the world was created on Sunday, 23 October 4004 b.c., in the small hours of the morning ([76]). Mind-boggling precision.”

Claim 16 is supported. Ussher did calculate Sunday, 23 October, 4004 BC as when the world was created.[11, p.380]

Claim 17:

“One is to bear in mind that the “secular” chronology of the present days is largely based on the scholastic biblical chronology of the Middle Ages. E. Bickerman, a contemporary historian, is perfectly right to note that “the Christian historians have made secular chronography serve ecclesial history… The compilation made by Hieronymus is the foundation of the entire edifice of occidental chronological knowledge.” ([72], page 82).”

Claim 17 is supported. They way they did this was by using the secular history to try and point to the glory of their god. Fomenko quoted Bickerman. Here’s a quote from Bickerman that I found which is very similar to the one Fomenko provided:

“Using the work of their predecessors, the Christian chronographers put secular chronography into the service of sacred history. …Jerome’s compilation became the standard of chronological knowledge in the West.”
Bickerman (1980)[2, pp.87-88]

Claim 18:

“Although “I. Scaliger, the founding father of modern chronology as a science, had attempted to reconstruct the entire tractate of Eusebius”, as E. Bickerman tells us, “the datings of Eusebius, that often got transcribed erroneously in manuscripts (! – A. F.), are hardly of any use to us nowadays” ([72], page 82).”

Claim 18 is supported. Fomenko quoted Bickerman. Here’s a quote from Bickerman that I found which is very similar to the one Fomenko provided:

“The datings of Eusebius, often transmitted incorrectly in manuscripts, are of little use to us today, except in a few cases where no better information is available.”
Bickerman (1980)[2, p.88]

Claims 19 & 20:

“Due to the controversy and the dubiety of all these mediaeval computations, the “Genesis dating”, for instance, varies greatly from document to document.”

“The “correct Genesis dating” issue was far from being scholastic, and had been given plenty of attention in the XVII-XVIII century for good reason. The matter here is that many ancient documents date events in years passed “since Adam” or “since the Genesis”. This is why the existing millenarian discrepancies between the possible choices of this reference point substantially affect the datings of many ancient documents.”

Claims 19 & 20 are both supported and discussed by Patrides.[12] I also have an article dedicated to Anno Mundi datings:

Claim 21:

“I. Scaliger together with D. Petavius were the first ones to have used the astronomical method for proving – but not examining critically, the late mediaeval version of the chronology of the preceding centuries.”

Claim 21 is contradicted. As mentioned earlier, Scaliger built upon the astronomical methods developed earlier in the 16th century. While Scaliger and Petavius aren’t in fact the first to go about doing this, it was a relatively new method which began seriously developing in the 16th century and received significant attention because of their works.

Claim 22:

“Modern commentators consider Scaliger to have ipso facto transformed this chronology into a “scientific” one. This “scientific” veneer proved sufficient for the chronologists of the XVII-XVIII century to have invested unquestioning belief in the largely rigidified chronological date grid that they had inherited.”

Claim 22 is supported. I say this because Scaliger has been popularly viewed as the founder of scientific chronology and the overwhelming majority of chronologers did use Scaliger’s chronology as the basis for their own. I am tempted to mark it contradicted because Petavius’ chronology was critical of Scaliger’s, but I’m not sure to what degree yet.

Claim 23:

“On having studied the text of the Bible, Archbishop Hieronymus had come to the conclusion that the world had been created 3,941 years prior to the beginning of modern chronology.”

Claim 23 is contradicted. Modern chronology was not really established until Scaliger in the late 16th, early 17th centuries. This would put Jerome’s A.M. date around 3450 BC, which is not where Jerome places it.[17]

Claim 24:

“His colleague Theophilus, the Bishop of Antiochia, had extended this period to 5,515 years.”

Claim 24 is contradicted. I found a number of websites reporting either either 5529 or 5530 as the date the Theophilus gives. While 5515 is close to those, it isn’t those, so I have this one marked contradicted.[17]

Claim 25:

“St. Augustine had added another thirty-six years…”

Claim 25 is undetermined. Augustine said less than 6000 years have passed. Possibly there is a more precise date attributed to Augustine out there but I have not yet located it. All the sources I found reported the “less than 6000 years” claim.[17]

Claim 26:

“Many eminent Western European chronologists of the XVI-XVII century have belonged to the clergy. I. Scaliger (1540-1609), for instance, was a theologian; Tischendorf (1815-1874), the founding father of paleography, was a Doctor of Divinity; Dionisius Petavius (1583-1652) – a Jesuit and an author of several theological writings ([82], page 320, comment 5).”

Claim 26 is supported by Fomenko’s own examples and other 15th-16th c. examples such as Ussher, Mercator, and Crusius.

Claim 27:

“Their absolute trust in the infallibility of what the ecclesial chronology told them, determined their entire Weltanschauung. Hence their attitude to the data offered by other disciplines was determined by whether or not it could serve the advocacy of this a priori assumption or the other, invariably based on the mediaeval ecclesial chronology that was later rechristened “scientific”.”

Claim 27 is supported. Grafton’s commentary about how Scaliger wrestled with conflicting evidence is a good example of the opposite. While Scaliger was tempted to say the texts of Eusebius were forgeries, he did end up granting their validity. For the most part though, the Bible was not to be questioned, and that did play into how the majority of chronologers saw the world and wrote their chronologies.[3, pp.83-84]

“We have everywhere followed the authority of Holy Scripture, which the Lord has granted us as a sure and indubitable foundation.”
– M. Beroaldus (1575)[13, p.167]

Scaliger did believe the Bible to be the basis for chronology, but that it needed to be interpreted in light of pagan sources.[13, p.167-168]

Claim 28:

“The fact that the clerical chronologists of the Occidental church have deified the endeavours of their predecessors of the XV-XVI century, excluded the very possibility of criticizing the foundations of chronology in any way at all, even minutely.”

Claim 28 is supported. For example, Petavius’ 29 fundamental points of chronology that nobody was to question:

Claim 29:

“I. Scaliger, for instance, could not even conceive of such heresy as running a check on the chronological materials of the holy fathers (Eusebius and others): “Scaliger calls this work by Eusebius (the Evangelical Preparation – A. F.), divine” ([267], page VIII, Introduction).”

Claim 29 is undetermined because I haven’t been able to review Fomenko’s source.

Claim 30:

“Trusting the authority of their predecessors unconditionally, the chronologists reacted at external criticisms very bitterly.”

Claim 30 is undetermined. I’m leaning towards supported because I think I have read about how criticisms were dealt with but I don’t have any reference. I don’t think Fomenko’s example was good because it was about Scaliger’s reaction to people criticizing his mathematical claim to be able to square the circle, not his chronology.

Claim 31:

“Few are aware that Scaliger and Petavius had brought chronology to “perfection” and “absolutely precise datings” quoting the year, day, month, and sometimes even the time of day for all the principal events in history of humankind. For whatever reason, modern monographies and textbooks usually only quote the years of events according to Scaliger-Petavius, coyly omitting the month, day, and hour. It is verily a step backwards that deprives the chronology calculated in the XVII-XVIII century of its former splendour and fundamentality.”

Claim 31 is undetermined. I’m leaning towards contradicted because I don’t think being more honest is a step backward. Ideally it would be nice to know the month, day, and hour, but it’s intellectually honest to admit that we don’t.

Claim 32:

“By the XIX century, the accumulated volume of chronological material grew to the extent of inducing respect a priori by its sheer scale, so the chronologists of the XIX century saw their objective in making minor corrections and not much else.”

Claim 32 is supported. For the most part, no radical changes were proposed to the general scheme of chronology.

Claim 33:

“The issue of veracity is hardly raised at all in the XX century, and the ancient chronology solidifies terminally in the very shape and form given to it by the writings of Eusebius, Hieronymus, Theophilus, Augustine, Hippolytus, St. Clement of Alexandria, Usher, Scaliger, and Petavius.”

Claim 33 is supported. Even today in the 21st century, the question of veracity is nearly non-existent.

Claim 34:

“To someone in our day and age, the very thought that historians have followed an erroneous chronology for about three centuries seems preposterous since it contradicts the existing tradition.”

Claim 34 is supported. I think the statement is mostly true, as not everyone is just “someone”. Although, it would be interesting to do one of those videos where you interview people on the street to ask people the question and see what they say. Maybe I will do that one day to get some concrete data for Claim 34.

I think this claim will be more true for people with degrees in history or related fields than it will be for lay people.

Claim 35:

“However, as chronology developed, specialists encountered considerable difficulties in trying to correlate the varied chronological data offered by ancient sources with the consensual Scaliger’s version. It was discovered, for instance, that Hieronymus misdates his own time by a hundred years ([72], page 83).”

Claim 35 is supported. Fomenko cited Bickerman again and here’s the quote that supports his citation:

“Errors were unavoidable. Jerome, a chronologist himself, writing after AD 374 congratulates a certain Paul on his hundredth birthday (Ep. Ad Paulum). Yet elsewhere (De viris ill. III, 53) he states that Paul knew personally Cyprian of Carthage who had died in AD 259.”[2, p.89]
– E. J. Bickerman (1980)

While it could be considered contradicted because Fomenko said 100 instead of 115, I’m granting support because it can round down to 100, and still goes to support the main point Fomenko is making that Jerome misdates his own time period.

Claims 36 & 37:

“The so-called “Sassanide tradition” separated Alexander the Great from the Sassanides by an interval of 226 years, which was extended to 557 by contemporary historians ([72], page 83). In this case, the gap exceeds 300 years.”

““The Jews also allocate a mere 52 years for the Persian period of their history, despite the fact that Cyrus II is separated from Alexander the Great by 206 years (according to the Scaligerian chronology – A. F.)” ([72], page 83).”

Claims 36 & 37 are both supported. Fomenko cited Bickerman and Bickerman’s quote that supports Fomenko is:

“This lack of certainty in the matter of chronology made it possible for the Sassanid traditions to reduce the period from Alexander to the Sassanids from 557 to 226 years. The Jews also allotted only 52 years to the Persian period of their history, though 206 years separate Cyrus from Alexander.”[2, p.89]
– E. J. Bickerman

Claim 38:

“The basic Egyptian chronology has also reached us through the filter of Christian chronologists: “The list of kings compiled by Manethon only survived as quotations made by the Christian authors” ([72], page 77).”

Claim 38 is supported.

“The aforementioned king-list of Manetho has been preserved only in Christian summaries.”[2, p.82]
– E. J. Bickerman

Claim 39:

“Some readers might be unaware that “The Oriental Church avoided using the birth of Christ as a chronological point of reference since in Constantinople the debates about the date of his birth have continued well into the XIV century” ([72], page 69).”

Claim 39 is supported.

“The Eastern church avoided the use of the Christian era since the date of Christ’s birth was debated in Constantinople as late as the fourteenth century.”[2, p.74]
– E. J. Bickerman



[1] – Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.

[2] – Bickerman, E. J. “Chronology of the ancient world” (1980). Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.

[3] – Grafton, Anthony. “Dating History: The Renaissance & the Reformation of Chronology.” Daedalus, vol. 132, no. 2, 2003, pp. 74–85. Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.

[4] – Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.

[5] – Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.

[6] – Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.

[7] – Maier, Paul L. “Eusebius–the church history : a new translation with commentary” (1999). Accessed 19 Sept. 2020.

[8] –,_Schaff._Philip,_3_Vol_01_Eusebius_Pamphilius,_EN.pdf. Accessed 20 Sept. 2020.

[9] – Accessed 20 Sept. 2020.

[10] – Grafton, Anthony. “Mercator Maps Time”, Chapter 9 in “Nature Engaged” (2012). Accessed 19 Sept. 2020.

[11] – Barr, James. “Pre-Scientific Chronology: The Bible and the Origin of the World.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 143, no. 3, 1999, pp. 379–387. JSTOR, Accessed 20 Sept. 2020.

[12] – Patrides, C. A. “Renaissance Estimates of the Year of Creation.” Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 4, 1963, pp. 315–322. JSTOR, Accessed 20 Sept. 2020.

[13] – Accessed 20 Sept. 2020.

[14] – Accessed 21 Sept. 2020.

[15] – Accessed 21 Sept. 2020.

[16] – Accessed 21 Sept. 2020.

[17] – Accessed 27 Sept. 2020.

[18] – “Part I: The Auxiliary Sciences. II. Chronology.” The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 2, no. 2, 1916, pp. 240–243. JSTOR, Accessed 3 Oct. 2020.

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