Deliberate or Accidental Fabrication?: Fomenko’s Interpretation of Historical Evidence

This article is about whether Anatoly Fomenko (1945-present) claims that the majority of historical records are authentic or if they are intentionally fake. Fomenko argues in his New Chronology that human civilization dawned around 1200 years ago and that all events of recorded history fall between then and now. I have seen it asserted time and time again that Fomenko claims the majority of records are intentionally fake, produced to cover up the true history of humankind, but I have never seen a citation accompanying those claims leading to where he says this.

During 2016 through 2018, I made my first read through the main books of Fomenko’s New Chronology. It’s mid-2021 now, so my initial reading was about 3 to 5 years ago. I didn’t remember seeing claims about intentional, organized, large-scale forgery, and to complicate matters further, I did remember seeing a claim specifically against this.

I’ve gone back to try and find Fomenko arguing for a large-scale forgery and the closest I’ve gotten to finding anything remotely along those lines is in his History: Fiction or Science? Volume 7, Book 1, Chapter 1, Part 13. There are more details about this whole discussion below, but to summarize, Fomenko argues for a large-scale destruction of authentic documents more than he does for the large-scale invention of false documents. He argues that some record are authentic and others are fake but I haven’t seen him provide specifics as to how much of either exist. Are 50% true, 50% false? Maybe 20/80? Please let me know if you have relevant information that can help improve this article.

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In 1994, Fomenko published his book Empirico-Statistical Analysis of Narrative Material and its Applications to Historical Dating, Volume I: The Development of the Statistical Tools. In it, on page 196, Fomenko remarks,

“I cannot at all agree with the hypothesis of Morozov, according to which most literary works of antiquity are fabrications of the Apocrypha of the Renaissance, which would mean that what we know today as ancient history is actually the result of premeditated falsification. … My standpoint is different, namely that, due to the results of the application of the new dating methods, almost all surviving ancient documents (of antiquity or the Middle Ages) are authentic and written for the purpose of perpetuating real events rather than leading future historians astray.”

Nine years later, in 2003, Fomenko’s History: Fiction or Science? Volume 1 was published. The forward, authored by Alexander Zinoviev, begins on page xv and states,

“…what A. T. Fomenko and his colleagues had learnt over the course of their research was the fact that the entire history of humanity up until the XVII century is a forgery of global proportions (“old history” in their terminology) – a falsification as deliberate as it is universal.”

In the same book, on page 467, Fomenko has a short section titled Was the Artificial Elongation of Ancient History Deliberate?. In this part, Fomenko repeats almost verbatim what he said in 1994;

“According to the results obtained by the new methods of dating, virtually all of the old documents that have reached our age are copies from ancient originals, presumed lost. These originals were written in order to reflect the current events of the XI-XVI century A.D., and not for the purpose of confusing future historians.”

Fomenko continues on in that section to summarize his findings, mainly that;

“Most of the documents that have reached our age – the ones referring to pre-XVI century events – are based on old originals. However, nearly all of the latter went through the hands of the tendentious editors of the XVI-XVII centuries.”

Tendentious is a curious word. It comes from the 19th century when it was used in the sense of “having a definite purpose”.[1] It has since commonly been used to mean “biased” or “marked by a tendency in favor of a particular point of view”.[2] Arthur Freeman uses this word (in my opinion erroneously[3]) as a category for forgeries. I maintain that the intent to deceive is what qualifies something as a hoax or a forgery, and so while “tendentious editors” could be aiming to deceive, this is not always the case.

I don’t think Fomenko clearly answers the question posed in the section title. He says:

1 – Most original historical records are authentic, not written to confuse.

2 – Historical confusion was amplified by deliberate deception.

3 – Most of the confusion was created by the “tendentious editors” in the 1500s and 1600s.

These editors were not always editing with the intent to deceive. Some could have seen their work as fixing corrupt texts. Others could have believed they were channeling the voices of the dead or of a god or gods. These are biased approaches but they are innocent of ill-will.

All in all, Fomenko argues that some of the mistakes in historical writings were made accidentally and others were made intentionally. He isn’t clear here as to how much of either of those occurred. Alexander’s quote seems to me to be sensationalized and I’m not sure why it’s included. I wonder to what degree Fomenko had authority on what made it into the book and what didn’t. The same wonder goes for their website. I also wonder if Fomenko supports Alexander’s summary.

The end of that section mentioned that the accidental and deliberate deceptions are discussed more in volumes 5 through 7. Unfortunately, these three are not available on the Internet Archive and so I cannot search their full text for keywords, as I was able to do with volumes 1 through 4. However, I did skim through the tables of contents for the final three volumes and found one section which was titled in a way that made it clear it mentioned falsifying history.

This section is in volume 7, book 1, chapter 1, section 13 and is titled Falsification of History in the 17th-18th Centuries. The discussion of the falsification is scattered among their reconstruction of historical events. He does accuse the Western-European states of destroying real historical records and creating fake ones for the purpose of covering up the true history of the fractured and fallen Empire.

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References:

[1] – Online Etymology Dictionary. Tendentious. https://www.etymonline.com/word/tendentious. Accessed 26 Jun. 2021.

[2] – “Tendentious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tendentious. Accessed 26 Jun. 2021.

[3] – Sorensen, Stephen. Establishing Semantics For Mimesiology and Illusology. https://ctruth.today/2021/05/19/establishing-semantics-for-mimesiology-and-illusology/. Accessed 26 Jun. 2021.

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