I’m writing this article to get some of my thoughts about correcting people down. I’ve been thinking about questions like “who’s worth correcting?” and “what’s the best way to correct them?” for some time now. While my answers to these Q’s have shifted over time, and vary from case to case, I’ve never formally put them on paper until this article.
I made a YouTube video this month where I responded to the mistakes and errors in someone else’s video. Since then, I’ve spent time thinking about what I did and how I can do better in future response videos. One thing I think would be a good addition is a larger emphasis on to avoid making the same errors in the future. Identifying mistakes and correcting them is good, but preventing mistakes from being made is the ultimate goal.
I can’t remember the exact circumstances or the exact year when my father gifted me his copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, but I do remember him giving the book to me. I think it might have been a birthday present. I want to say it was sometime between 2013 and 2016 (when I was 18-21). It’s October 2021 now and I’m 26.
Carnegie’s book was published in 1936, about 85 years ago. A lot has happened since then. World War 2 (1939-1945), the Cold War (1947-1989), the Iraq War (2003-2011), as well as many others have all had a profound impact on our world and the people in it. Technological developments such as the internet (1970s) and social media (1990s) have revolutionized how people connect with each other and how information is shared. How do the claims in Carnegie’s book hold up in today’s world? Any answer I give to that question will be massively uninformed, as I’ve only read it cover to cover once, and that was some 5-8 years ago shortly after it first came into my possession.
Part 3, Chapter 1 of Carnegie’s book opens with a story about a time he corrected someone. Here it is in short. Sir Ross Smith attributed to the Bible a quote from Shakespeare. Dale Carnegie pointed this misattribution out and Sir Ross doubled-down on his belief that the quote really was from the Bible. Mr. Frank Gammond stepped in, knowing full-well that Carnegie was correct, and agreed with Sir Ross, which effectively ended that discussion.
Gammond and Carnegie were friends. On their journey home after the gathering, Gammond explained why he had sided with Sir Ross. His reasoning boiled down to “always avoid the acute angle”. Carnegie took this to mean never argue. As he says in his own words,
“Since then, I have listened to, criticized, engaged in, and watched the effects of thousands of arguments. As a result of it all, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument — and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes.”
Dale Carnegie (1936)[p.112]
This story and its moral have stuck with me throughout the years. It’s hard to tell if I employ the advice more than I ignore it. I still engage in my fair share of arguments but there’s a notable amount of them that I avoid.
After thinking it over some, an argument and an earthquake don’t share much in common aside from being things to avoid. If you don’t think an argument is something worthy of being intentionally avoided, I’m not sure what similarities there would be. They both have varying degrees of intensity? They can shake the foundations of your reality? Whatever the connections may be, the imagery reminds me of the courtroom scene in the WKUK’s Earthquake Sketch (also check them talking about the sketch).
Following the quote above, Carnegie went on to say,
“Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants being more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.
You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph.”
Dale Carnegie (1936)[pp.112-113]
I think Carnegie is wrong here. First of all, arguments can be “won”, in the sense that people sometimes do admit being in error and don’t resent whoever pointed it out. Secondly, arguments are not just win/lose situations. They have more results than dishing out Winner/Loser titles and diminishing/boosting egos. Arguments sway the minds of the people who hear them. They can cause economic gains and losses.
For example, a couple YouTube channels that I enjoy (Paulogia & Viced Rhino) have content almost wholly dedicated to arguing against points made by others. I’ve learned a lot from both of them. A lot I wouldn’t have learned had they chosen to keep their mouths shut. It seems to me their channels and their audiences are growing. This means more money for the creators and more information for the audiences. Should these creators stop doing what they’re doing just to maybe protect the feelings of people who have put out false information?
Not everyone who gets shown to be wrong gets upset about it. And some individuals are obdurate. They won’t admit error under any reasonable circumstances.
Here’s a more dire example. A wrong calculation can set a ship so far off course that the entire crew dies. Is not arguing with the captain to preserve his ego really worth letting you, him, and the rest of the crew die? I say no. Although, determining who’s in the right can be difficult. Especially if only you and the captain have the education required to perform the calculations needed to sail home safely. In that scenario, the two experts would have to square off and their audience (the crew) would have to decide who they want to side with. Unless you or the captain explain the math and the crew learns how to do it too, their decision won’t be an educated one.
Not all arguments are over matters of life and death. Like the arguments over whether the dress is blue and black or white and gold. Or whether the voice is saying Laurel or Yanny. Which do you think is the superior beverage: Coke or Pepsi? People’s lives are not at stake over the accuracy of these arguments (at least I hope they aren’t). These arguments can be sources of entertainment. They can be used to build friendships and rivalries.
All this is to say that some arguments are worth having, and not all arguments result in hurt feelings. I think it’s important to think about arguing, and (when possible) to choose which arguments to engage in. Arguments happen and it’s good to be as prepared as possible for them. What being prepared looks like will differ from person to person though.
Who then should we argue with? A recent altercation with a friend of mine brought a quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte to mind. The moral of the quote is typically chalked up to “don’t interrupt your enemy while they are making a mistake”. The Quote Investigator has looked into the origins of this if you want to learn more about where this idea originated.
The reason this quote came to mind is that I was wondering if I was wrong to mention to my friend that I thought he had repeatedly made the same mistake in a string of recent games. He was an ally, not an enemy. Should we not be compelled to warn our friends if they are about to get scammed? Or if they left their gas cap open? Or if they are about to step into quicksand? I say it’s good to warn our friends in these situations.
What about arguing with strangers? If not enemies, perhaps they can be considered neutral parties? I don’t really consider anyone my enemy and so I do sometimes respond to strangers. I’ve had positive and negative reactions from this.
I haven’t been a Christian since my teen years, but I still remember this verse:
“Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.”
Proverbs 9:8, New International Version (NIV)
Maybe this is why I don’t get upset when people try to correct me. Because I’ve long associated that behavior with being wise. Looking back on it now, I don’t think people can be split into either “mockers/scoffers” and “the wise”. This means at least a third category exists. Is this third group apathetic when corrected? They shrug their shoulders, not hating or loving you for the correction.
Another book that’s been on my mind in relation to correcting people is Alina Tugend’s Better By Mistake (2011). I read it earlier this year and published my notes on it here on the Ctruth website. It peaked my interest in “Mistake” related literature. Because of it, I ended up reading Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto (2009) and parts of Tavris & Aronson’s Mistakes Were Made (2007).
To conclude, I think some arguments are worth having. Mistakes happen. Ignoring them won’t help prevent them from happening again. If you want to spread true information, there’s no need to be upset when someone corrects you. Take the correction and do what you can to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
If you think I’m wrong about anything, let me know in the comments.
 – quoteresearcher. “Never Interfere With an Enemy While He’s in the Process of Destroying Himself” (6 Jul. 2010). https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/07/06/never-interfere/. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.
It’s important to summarize and organize the literature that you read for a research project. This article contains 9 useful points for summarizing and organizing that literature.
This article is heavily based on page 74 of Kamp, et al. Writing History!: A Companion for Historians (2018). I’ve changed some of the names of the points, as well as reworded/added to some of the descriptions of the points.
Things to include:
1 – Title
2 – Keywords
3- Research Purpose
4 – Context
5 – Argument
6 – Conclusion
7 – Historical Information
8 – Sources
9 – Citations
1 – Title
Include the citation that you’ll be using to cite this work.
2 – Keywords
Include key words/topics/themes. A work on chronology might be tagged with keywords such as “chronology”, “timekeeping”, “dating methods”.
3 – Research Purpose
Note what the author was aiming to do by writing the work. Was their research driven by a question? A goal? What was the question/goal?
4 – Context
Take note of the context in which this work was produced. Include notes on previous works that this one builds upon, and how this new work ties into the previous ones.
5 – Argument
Take note of how the research was conducted and how the argument was formulated.
6 – Conclusion
Take note of the conclusions reached by the author.
7 – Historical Information
“Take notes of information such as dates / population figures /historical trends and changes.”
8 – Sources
Take note of the different types of sources used in the work. Different types of sources include books, journal articles, diaries, audio recordings, and other sources.
After listing out the different types, organize the work’s citations into the categories. This can help visualize how many of each type of source is used.
9 – Citations
Take note of how often each author is referenced in the work you’re reading so that you can get a picture of who is being cited the most in that work.
In this article, I respond to Exploring Reality’s YouTube video titled “Did Jesus Exist? The Failures of Mythicism.” It was released on Sept. 18th, 2021, and has a runtime of 25 minutes and 21 seconds.
I don’t know whether or not there was a historical Jesus, but I am interested in the topic. I’ve been thinking about doing these videos for awhile and decided this would be my first. Let me know if you think I got anything wrong or if I missed anything in my presentation.
Having a small, not-yet-monetized YouTube channel and working towards becoming a full time YouTube educator are two things that Exploring Reality and I share in common. We also share interest in some of the same topics. For these reasons, I formally invite Exploring Reality to get on camera with me to discuss anything from this video that he disagrees with or that he wants to clarify. If he doesn’t want to continue the discussion, no worries. My hope is that this video will help him conduct research of a higher quality in the future. My other hope is that people can learn from this video and rest assured that they’re getting solid, evidence based information.
The original video can be split up into 5 main chapters. I’m going to go through these one by one.
0:00-4:57 – Introduction
4:58-10:27 – Mythicist Argument 1: Nazareth Didn’t Exist
10:28-15:23 – Mythicist Argument 2: Gospels Are Highly Problematic Historical Sources
15:24-19:16 – Mythicist Argument 3: Gospels Are Filled With Legendary Material Not Meant To Be Read As Historical Narrative
19:17-25:21 – Mythicist Argument 4: The Gospels Are A Rehashed Old Testament
@0:48 – “While it is a fringe view that is not taken seriously in the academic world, there are few in academia who do hold the view.”
He contradicts himself here by saying the academic world doesn’t take mythicism seriously in the same breath as saying part of the academic world does take it seriously. He would have been better off saying that most of the academic world doesn’t take it seriously, but some do.
When he said this, he showed pictures of Dr. Richard Carrier and Dr. Robert M Price. Carrier has a PhD in Ancient History and Price has a PhD in the New Testament. More on this later.
@0:55 – “And a large amount of internet skeptics who hold this view as well.”
When he said this, he showed pictures of Godless Engineer (GE), The Atheist Troll (TAT), and Derek Lambert (DL). GE is a mythicist. I don’t know TAT that well so I can’t speak for him. I do know DL well and know he’s not a mythicist. I did drop a comment about DL and Than edited the description to say “CORRECTION: I had a picture of Derek Lampert in the video saying he was mythicist. I was mistaken about that so PLEASE ignore his picture I’m here as I was mistaken. Thank you!”. He botched Derek’s last name but at least he owned up to the mistake.
@1:10 – Three things he said he will cover:
1 – “Mythicist Arguments”
2 – “Historical Methodology”
3 – “Positive Case for a Historical Jesus”
He only covers part of one of these in this video.
@1:11 – “So, did Jesus exist? Did Julius Caesar exist? Did Cicero exist? Socrates or Aristotle or Mark Anthony? It seems like nobody questions whether or not these people existed. So why is it that Jesus mythicists dispute that Jesus existed?”
Things are not always as they seem. I’ve questioned, and I know many others who have also questioned, whether or not those people really existed.
@1:40 – “Skeptics like to say that we don’t have the originals of any of the Gospels for the New Testament. And they also like to say that we don’t have any historical records of Jesus from his days. Funny enough, they are right. But it’s also true of virtually everyone who lived at this time. Including powerful and important figures such as Pontius Pilate and Josephus, a Jewish historian. So why arbitrarily assign a higher standard of evidence for the historical Jesus?”
The Pilate Stone is dated to the days of Pontius Pilate and the works of Josephus are dated to the life of Josephus. Why he said otherwise, I don’t know. I’m interested in hearing his argument but he didn’t include one in the video. The assertion was thrown out there without any citation.
Mythicist Argument 1: Nazareth Didn’t Exist
@5:33 – He showed a quote from Carrier’s book:
“One would expect to find evidence supporting the historical existence of not just any-old Jesus. Rather, one anticipates learning the evidence supporting the existence of a Jesus who lived in a place called Nazareth at the turn of the era.”
Dr. Carrier (2013)
The quote is attributed to page 381 of Dr. Carrier’s Bart Ehrman and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (2013).
@5:38 – “Now what’s astonishing to me is that a PhD like Richard Carrier would say “Nazareth never existed”.”
Where exactly does Carrier say this? The quote above has a book title and page number included so people can check where exactly the quote originated. Why wasn’t the same treatment applied here to the much more sensational claim that Carrier said Nazareth never existed?
@5:44 – “There are several lines of reasoning I’ve seen him and others use to argue that Nazareth never existed and the majority of which are just arguments from silence.”
@5:59 – He mentions that arguments from silence are considered logical fallacies. I wonder what his thoughts are on the burden of proof and strawman arguments.
@6:06 – “So his claim that there is no evidence of Nazareth is false to begin with. So now the question is what kind of evidence do we have for Nazareth?”
Where does Carrier claim that there is no evidence of Nazareth?
@6:24 – The first piece of evidence he mentioned was announced in 1962. It’s one of three marble fragments that were allegedly discovered in the same year on an excavation site in Caesarea. Fragment A is the one with the Hebrew word for Nazareth inscribed on it. It was a unique find because it’s the only known mention of Nazareth in an inscription. Also, aside from the Gospels and the so-called “pilgrims’ texts”, it was the earliest known mention of Nazareth.
This “Nazareth inscription” could be evidence for the existence of Nazareth around 70 CE, after the destruction of the Second Temple. As far as proving that Nazareth existed at any point in the ancient world, this could possibly be evidence. It does date at the earliest to the late 200’s-early 300’s, but this dating is anything but certain.[3, p.176] If we grant this dating, this could be considered evidence reporting an event about 130 years after it had occurred. Which isn’t ideal but it does put the name in existence at the turn of the 4th century.
However, a case has been made that Jerry Vardaman is responsible for organizing the creation and discovery of the inscription. He was an assistant to the director of the dig and was responsible for the section in which Fragment A was found. I’ll have to look into this more before casting any final judgements, but Jerry has been accused of bribery and forgery unrelated to this 1962 discovery. If it does turn out to be fraudulent, then it wouldn’t be any type of early evidence for Nazareth.
@6:35 – “Funny enough, this has only been confirmed by later discoveries.”
He says this after mentioning that some Jewish priests and their families had to relocate after the destruction of the temple in 70 CE. So @6:35, he makes the claim that this event took place and was confirmed by later discoveries. Due to discoveries being plural, at least two would need to be presented to substantiate this claim. Possibly one is presented, but even that is up for debate.
@6:39 – “For example, in 2009, the first Nazarene home dated from Jesus’ time was excavated by archeologists.”
The dating was a 200 year window that included the C1st BCE and C1st CE. This might confirm the relocation event, but it’s not anywhere certain that this house was related to that. Does it prove Nazareth was a real ancient city? Maybe. But again, to my knowledge, Carrier doesn’t argue that Nazareth never existed, which makes this whole section against Carrier’s alleged argument nothing more than a strawman.
@6:59 – He shows a picture of Dr. Ken Dark and falsely attributes a quote to him. The quote belongs to David Keys. He wrote an article published by The Independent in April 2020 where he talks about Dr. Dark’s research. Dark is quoted in the article, but Exploring Reality didn’t use any of those quotes. Unlike the book and page number citation given to Carrier, this quote didn’t have any citation aside from Dark’s name.
@7:30 – A quote attributed to Yardenna Alexandre is shown with no citation. It can be found in . It’s not evidence for post-Jewish war events.
@8:04 – Another David Keys quote is falsely attributed to Ken Dark.
@9:01 – “Now, the default reaction for those like Carrier when they’re confronted with this evidence for Nazareth is then to say that Nazareth just wasn’t that big.”
Is there any example of this happening with Carrier? Where exactly has this happened with anyone?
@9:22 – A picture of Dr. Carrier is shown next to a quote attributed to his book “On the Historicity of Jesus”. No page number included this time.
@10:13 – He showed another quote attributed to Ken Dark. Yes, the quote does rightfully belong to David Keys.
To summarize, this was about 5 and a half minutes of attacking an argument wrongly attributed to Dr. Carrier.
Mythicist Argument 2: Gospels Are Highly Problematic Historical Sources
@11:12 – He listed 4 of the reasons mythicists allegedly give for why the Gospels are highly problematic historical sources. No citation was given for these 4 reasons.
1 – No original MSS
2 – Anonymous authors
3 – “Discrepancies and contradictions”
4 – Non-historical information is included
@11:55 – He showed a quote from Bart Ehrman with book and page number citation. This quote goes to support reason #4 above.
@12:21 – He showed another quote from Ehrman with book and page number citation.
@12:30 – He says “…we might not have the originals…”. Does anyone argue that we do? If he’s going with consensus scholarship, then he would accept that we for a fact do not have the originals, which supports reason #1.
@12:41 – Another Ehrman quote is shown but no book or page number was included this time. The quote comes from the paragraph after the Obama analogy.
@12:47 – “What about the accusation that we don’t know the authors of the Gospels? Again, I will argue for the traditional authorship at some point in this series but for now I’m going to operate on the assumption that we don’t know the authors of the Gospels. It seems to me that this accusation is irrelevant to the question of whether Jesus lived. The debate on whether or not Jesus lived is done on many other grounds that are not related to the authorship of the Gospels.”
I did find it odd that he didn’t mention Ehrman maintains anonymous authorship, given that it’s in the very next paragraph after the “planet” quote. This is Ehrman agreeing with the claim in reason #2, even if the conclusion differs. So far the claims in reasons #1, 2, and 4 are confirmed as supported by scholarship that has been shared in his video.
As for relevancy, it is a relevant piece of information. Knowing who wrote what, when, where, and under what circumstances is a core part of putting these texts into context. To call all these details irrelevant is an unwarranted handwave. Regardless of the debate being done on other grounds, it’s done on these grounds too.
@13:30 – Reason #3 becomes the focus. Exploring Reality claims it’s irrelevant and then gives an analogy. The fact of the matter is that the Gospels do contain discrepancies and contradictions, from Jesus’ birth family’s lineage to what was written on the Cross when he died.
@14:10 – Reason #4 becomes the focus. The claim was already supported by Ehrman earlier on in this part of the video. The conclusions differ but the claim in the reason does check out.
He uses discrepancies about George Washington as an example but this isn’t a very strong example because the evidence we have for GW outweighs the evidence for Christ by a landslide. Do we have anything written by Jesus? No. We have hundreds of letters written by GW. This is just one example of the difference in historical evidence between the two people.
To summarize, this 5-ish minute long part shows that mythicists use the base facts of scholarship and arrive at a different conclusion on whether Jesus existed. Both historicists and mythicists for the most part agree on the 4 points. They only disagree on what can be concluded from those points. I think a historical Jesus is possible, but I also think that these are reasons to be skeptical, and to want more context before generating any serious convictions for a conclusion.
Mythicist Argument 3: Gospels Are Filled With Legendary Material Not Meant To Be Read As Historical Narrative
Isn’t this basically just reason #4 from the last part?
@15:37 – He summons Dr. Robert M. Price to the stand. He says Price says “because there’s so much legendary speak of Jesus, he did not exist”. Where exactly does Price say this? No citation was given.
@16:16 – He accuses Price of abusing the criterion of dissimilarity.
@17:39 – Where does Ehrman say Price is abusing that criterion? Or any scholar for that matter?
@18:53 – He says it’s unlikely Christians would make up the humiliating crucifixion. What literature exists on things C1st Jews and Greeks found humiliating? I’d be interested in reading some of it.
@18:58 – “We have multiple independent sources that corroborate each other on this story.”
What are these sources?
This 4ish minute long segment wasn’t sourced at all.
Mythicist Argument 4: The Gospels Are A Rehashed Old Testament
@19:48 – A quote from Ehrman is shown with book and page number citation. Why couldn’t this luxury have been afforded to any or all of the claims under the Argument 3 part?
@19:55 – A quote from Price is shown with book and page number citation, but only the “Christ-Myth Theory” part of the title is shown, and it’s misspelled too. I ignored the misspelling of Carrier’s book earlier because misspelling happens, but due to it continuing to happen, I figured I’d point it out. The full title is “The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems”.
@21:42 – Thompson’s “The Messiah Myth” is shown in a picture. I haven’t read this book, but from a quick search for info on it, it appears he argues that the Biblical Jesus didn’t exist. It’s unclear to me if he argues that there was no historical Jesus that inspired the writing of the story of the Biblical Jesus.
@24:20 – “In summary, the arguments that Mythicists will make against the Gospels as evidence for a historical Jesus fall incredibly short and are fallacious. We’ve covered a vast majority of the arguments and shown how they fall short and implications of their lines of logic.”
Where’s the complete list of mythicist arguments? If only 4 is the vast majority, it can’t be that long of a list.
My own summary for this video is that Exploring Reality started off poorly by wrongly claiming Derek Lambert to be a mythicist. He continued missing the mark by attacking a strawman argument, wrongly attributing quotes to Dr. Dark, and not including citations for important and/or sensational claims. I don’t think he showed that all the mythicist arguments fall incredibly short or that they are all fallacious.
The Comment Section
Exploring Reality and I had a short back and forth in the comment section under his video. When I dropped the comment, I had only watched the first minute or two of the video. The topic about relevant fields for assessing the existence of a historical Jesus came up during our chat. Here’s a screenshot of that:
To say all that shortly, ER claimed Ehrman said that expertise in ancient history is irrelevant in this debate. When I asked where, ER provided a link where Ehrman said:
“There is no scholar in any college or university in the Western world who teaches Classics, Ancient History, New Testament, Early Christianity, any related field, who doubts that Jesus existed.”
Here Ehrman lumps ancient history in with the related/relevant fields, thereby proving ER to have been wrong (again). This means Dr. Carrier and Dr. Price have degrees in relevant fields.
I did reach out to Dr. Carrier on Facebook to see what he thought was the best argument for Mythicism and he quickly responded to tell me that Mythicism is best supported through a cumulative case argument, that is multiple arguments working together. To say it in his own words:
“It isn’t possible to argue for that conclusion from any single premise. One needs a combination of at least two: the oddness of Paul’s letters and the inability to extract any verifiable history from any other extant sources.”
Exploring Reality didn’t mention Paul’s letters as being key to any of the Mythicist arguments. Chapter 2 focuses on the Gospels being problematic historical sources, but none of the 4 reasons argue this due to unverifiability. In my personal opinion, if you want to argue that someone is wrong about something, you’ll benefit from critiquing what that person thinks is the best argument for their case. Maybe ER will do this in a future video.
I chatted about Mythicism with Godless Engineer and Vided Rhino on The Sunday Show on July 4th earlier this year. You can listen to my appearance which starts around the 53 minute mark in the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOFwUi2gsfc&t=3965s). Godless Engineer argued that Paul’s letters were the best argument for Mythicism. So if Exploring Reality wants to engage with arguments made by proponents of mythicism, I would say Paul’s letters would be the place to start. Given that both Carrier and Godless Engineer mention them in what they think are the best arguments for the Mythicist position.
Let me know what you think of my response to the video. Did I miss anything? Did I get anything wrong? I want to hear your thoughts.
 – Exploring Reality. “Did Jesus Exist? The Failures of Mythicism” (18 Sept. 2021). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVbRLvrSkN0&lc=UgxeUqusuigPTrgLWxV4AaABAg.9TUdq1zBr0i9TUqJNPUtvy. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
 – AVI-YONAH, M. “A List of Priestly Courses from Caesarea.” Israel Exploration Journal, vol. 12, no. 2, Israel Exploration Society, 1962, pp. 137–39, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27924896. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
 – Leibner, Uzi. Settlement and History in Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Galilee: An Archaeological Survey of the Eastern Galilee (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism). First Edition, Mohr Siebeck, 2009. https://books.google.com/books?id=bsxkXam_QzwC&dq=%22The+inscription+was+dated+by+Avi-Yonah+to+the+third-fourth+centuries+on+the+basis+of+paleographic+considerations.+These+parameters,+however,+are+of+doubtful+value+when+it+comes+to+stone+engraving%22&source=gbs_navlinks_s. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
 – René Salm. Scandal 9: The 1962 forgery of the so-called “Caesarea inscription” (Uploaded Nov. 4, 2013. Updated June 30, 2014.). http://www.nazarethmyth.info/scandalnine.html. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
 – Hadid, Diaa. “First Jesus-era house discovered in Nazareth” (21 Dec. 2009). https://phys.org/news/2009-12-jesus-era-house-nazareth.html. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
 – Keys, David. “New archaeological evidence from Nazareth reveals religious and political environment in era of Jesus” (17 Apr. 2020). https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/jesus-home-town-nazareth-archaeological-discovery-research-a9470716.html. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
 – Library of Congress. George Washington Papers. https://www.loc.gov/collections/george-washington-papers/about-this-collection/. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
I last counted 46 entries on this list. Please do let me know if you have any additional entries I can add to this list.
Amino Acid Racemization Dating
Archaeomagnetic (Directional) Dating
Cosmogenic Isotope Dating
Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) Dating
Fault Gouge Dating
Fission Track Dating
Ice Core Dating
Magnetic Reversal Dating
Mineral Chemical Age Dating
Obsidian Hydration Dating
Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) Dating
Oxidizable Carbon Ratio Dating
Protein and Amino Acid Diagenesis Dating
Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide Dating
Trapped Charge Dating
U-Series Dating (Uranium Series Dating)
 – Banning, Edward. The Archaeologist’s Laboratory: The Analysis of Archaeological Evidence (Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology). 2nd ed. 2020, Springer, 2020.
 – Rink, Jack, and Jeroen Thompson. Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods (Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series). 2015th ed., Springer, 2015.
 – Taylor, R., and Martin Aitken. Chronometric Dating in Archaeology (Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science, 2). 1st ed., Springer, 1997.
 – Tanner, David, and Christian Brandes. Understanding Faults: Detecting, Dating, and Modeling. 1st ed., Elsevier, 2019.
 – Goldberg, Paul, et al. Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology (Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series). 1st ed., Springer, 2017.
Fomenko’s New Chronology is a creation by the renowned Russian mathematician Anatoly Fomenko (1945-present) & his associates that argues human civilization dawned around 1100-1200 years ago, and that all recorded events fall between then and now. Grandmaster chessplayer Garry Kasparov became fascinated with Fomenko’s New Chronology in the late 1990’s, sometime around 1996-1998 (based on the information below). It’s October 11th, 2021 as I write this, and assertions have been made online that Kasparov is a believer and supporter of Fomenko’s New Chronology. Are these assertions true? From what I can tell, and to answer with a single word, no. A longer answer is that Kasparov generally supports the criticisms made by FNC against the traditional chronology, but as far as Fomenko’s reconstruction goes, Kasparov does not believe in it and think it contains mythmaking and pseudohistory, just as the traditional chronology does.
I give a big thanks to Edward Winter for his endeavor to keep some tabs on Kasparov’s involvement in Fomenko’s New Chronology. His article began in 2014 and has been helpful in forming my article here. Below, I provide my own commentary as well as additional context for multiple entries from Winter’s article.
Please do reach out to me if you have any more relevant information that can be added.
1999 – Kasparov’s Foreword in Fomenko & Nosovsky’s Введение в Новую Хронологию. Какой сейчас век? (2001)(Introduction to the New Chronology. What century is it now?)
2000 – Joël Calmettes’ documentary, c.49:50-c.53:07
April 19th & 24th, 2001 – Warren’s two articles attributing quotes to Kasparov.
2001 – Kasparov talked about New Chronology on Saturday Night online.
2002 – Kasparov’s “Mathematics of the Past“
June 9th, 2006 – Kasparov claimed to not be a supporter of Fomenko & Nosovsky’s theory.
May 18th, 2021 – Kasparov claimed to not be a believer of Fomenko’s New Chronology and said it (FNC) contains pseudohistory and mythmaking.
The earliest connection I’ve seen so far between Kasparov and Fomenko’s New Chronology allegedly dates back to 1999. Reportedly, pages 10-28 of Fomenko & Nosovsky’s Введение в Новую Хронологию. Какой сейчас век? (2001)(Introduction to the New Chronology. What century is it now?) contain a Foreword by Kasparov. Winter provided two translated passages claiming to be from pages 9-10 and 28.
Pp.9-10, “About a year and a half ago I came across a few books by A.T. Fomenko and G.V. Nosovsky, mathematicians at the Moscow State University. It turned out that for more than 20 years a group of professional mathematicians, led by the academician A.T. Fomenko, had been working in depth on issues concerning chronology and that some interesting results had been achieved. These books explained many things to me, and put many things in their proper place. The critical analysis in the books is exceptionally solid, provides an immense amount of valuable material and is worth studying and discussing. At the same time, the hypotheses and reconstructions put forward by the authors can be challenged in some respects. It is clear that a conclusive reconstruction of actual historical events is very difficult to set out, and this aspect of their work will always be open to criticism. Nevertheless, in the light of studies already published it cannot be denied that the chronology of “ancient” history accepted today has revealed very serious inconsistencies which it is absolutely impossible to ignore.”
We can calculate a window of time based on the beginning of 1999 and the end of 1999 to say that it was around sometime between July 1997 and July 1998 that Kasparov first “came across a few books by” Fomenko & Nosovsky. It would be useful to know the exact books that Kasparov had read then. My bibliography of Fomenko’s New Chronology can help put this into perspective by showing which books Kasparov could have possibly read.
If you have a link to an online edition of the 2001 book with Kasparov’s Foreword, please do send it my way. I’m interested in seeing if Kasparov expands more on what “many things” were explained to him, and what all was put “in their proper place”.
As far as Kasparov supporting the reconstruction, the above quote appears to me to show Kasparov being critical of it, saying it “can be challenged in some respects”. I’m interested in seeing if he ever clarified which parts of it could be challenged and which parts couldn’t.
P.28, “Respected historians who regard history as a clearly reported record of the life of mankind will undoubtedly reject with indignation any proposal to seek refuge within the virtual hypostasis of history. In that case, they are welcome to join in the discussion. The revolutionary concept of world history created by A.T. Fomenko, G.V. Nosovsky and their colleagues will need to be refuted in a thorough scientific debate based on solid arguments, without recourse to the much-loved accusations of charlatanism and incompetence.”
Here Kasparov invites professionals to refute Fomenko’s New Chronology by using good argumentation and scientific debate. While I think there are spots where Fomenko gets things wrong, it’s difficult to determine if this is due to incompetence or intentional deception. You can see what all I think Fomenko gets right and wrong in my examination of his works.
I think I found Kasparov’s Foreword online.
Joël Calmettes released a documentary featuring Kasparov where Kasparov talks about his historical ideas. The narrator (Joël Calmettes?) asserts that Kasparov, like Fomenko, “believes that ancient history was completely fabricated in the 17th century”. Where does Fomenko state this belief? The relevant portion of the documentary is from I think c.49:50-c.53:07. It’s mostly in Russian. Please reach out to me if you have a text transcript of this bit. Both a Russian and English transcript of this clip would be useful. Did Kasparov state in the clip that he thinks ancient history was completely fabricated in the 17th century?
The documentary can be found here: https://archive.org/details/youtube-0o8XSI-auKc.
April 19th (and 24th), 2001
On April 19th, 2001, the Daily Telegraph published Marcus Warren’s “King Arthur was really a Russian, say Slavs“. This article perpetuates the myth that FNC argues “All accounts of events up to the Renaissance are forgeries hiding the truth and extending history artificially into the past”. Where does Fomenko argue this? I’ve asked that question many times and have never received an adequate response. Page 196 of Volume 1 of Fomenko’s Empirico-Statistical Analysis of Narrative Material and its Applications to Historical Dating says they think “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”.
Kasparov is quoted in this article by Warren as saying, “I consider myself to be part of a team. It’s quite a big group and it’s expanding”. This quote follows a mention of Kasparov “fronting a television series on the inconsistencies of traditional chronology”. Is the quote from this television series? There was little to no context provided by Warren. What is the team Kasparov sees himself on? From all of the information in this article, I’d wager he sees himself on a team that is studying chronological inconsistencies, rather than a team that fully supports the New Chronology reconstructions.
On April 24th, 2001, the Daily Telegraph published Marcus Warren’s “Email from Russia“. Here are the quotes from Warren’s article attributed to Kasparov:
“”If we are correct in ten percent of what we are saying, this will be the most important thing I have been involved in. We must prove that ten percent. But if we do, it’s like a house of cards. Remove one and the whole thing collapses.”
“”New Chronology is a great area for investing my intellect. My analytical abilities are well placed to figure out what was right and what was wrong.”
“When I stop playing chess, it may well be that I concentrate on promoting these ideas. I believe they can improve our lives.”
These quotes might be the closest thing people could use to say Kasparov believes in Fomenko’s New Chronology’s reconstructed history. However, they are ambiguous and little context is provided. He acknowledges they have the burden of proof to show they are correct. The second quote mentions determining what’s accurate and inaccurate, but without it’s hard without context or clarification to say whether he’s applying that to the traditional chronology or to FNC too. I’d be interested in hearing about what ways Kasparov believes “these ideas” (whatever those may be) can improve our lives. None of this is Kasparov saying “I support the Fomenko-Nosovsky theory”. In fact, about 5 years later, Kasparov went on record stating the exact opposite of that. Check the part of this article under “June 9th, 2006” for that quote.
Sometime in 2001, “Saturday Night online” published an interview where Kasparov talked about FNC. In 2010, Timothy Taylor (the interviewer) posted the alleged transcript of this interview on his website. Taylor’s article claims that Kasparov came across FNC in 1996 and authored the 1999 Foreword in 1998 as a Preface.
After a back and forth of Kasparov responding to Taylor’s questions, the interview ends with:
“TT: So what is the true history?
GK: I’m not trying to give any definite answer. What I’m trying to prove is that we have enough gaps, enough discrepancies, enough simple falsifications to conclude that probably this history was an invention of a later time. I don’t have enough information, and enough courage, to come up with a definite version of events. And I think it is too dangerous for me to do so.”
If Kasparov was a supporter or believer in FNC, he would have said “Fomenko’s New Chronology”. But from what I can tell, he didn’t say that because he isn’t a supporter/believer in Fomenko’s reconstruction.
Kasparov published a 4 page article titled “Mathematics of the Past“. It starts on page 5 and ends on page 8, but I’m not sure where it was originally published. The most recent date on the article is a 2002 copyright, so I figure 2002 is the earliest it could be from. Please do reach out to me if you have more information on when and where this Kasparov’s “Mathematics” was originally published.
On page 7, Kasparov mentions that it had been “About five years” since he had become acquainted with FNC. If 2002 is when he said this, it would place the beginning of his interest in FNC in or around 1997.
There is a response essay to Kasparov’s “Mathematics” on RationalWiki. The responder identifies themselves as “a professional historian” and goes by the name “AKjeldsen”. I reached out to him and he informed me that he wrote the response about 14 years ago (c.2007) when he only had a BA in History. He also said that he hadn’t posted his essay elsewhere, which is somewhat unfortunate as just about anyone can go and edit it where it is now.
About 7 hours prior to the time that I wrote this sentence, he tweeted “Personally, I refuse to be lectured on anything historiographical by a man who also believes in Anatoly Fomenko’s New Chronology (i.e. “everything before 1000 CE is fake”).”, in reference to a recent article about Columbus written by Kasparov. When Kjeldsen and I exchange messages, he didn’t say he changed his mind after reading this article, but he did say it was good for Kasparov if Kasparov had changed his views. As can be seen in the next entry (June 9th, 2006), Kasparov had already gone on record saying he was not a supporter before Kjeldsen had written his essay. If Kasparov were to have changed his views between 2006 and when the essay was written, then they would have been changed to supporting FNC.
June 9th, 2006
As late as June 9th, 2006, Kasparov stated, “Я не являюсь сторонником теории Фоменко-Носовского (I am not a supporter of the Fomenko-Nosovsky theory)”. The relevant excerpt is included below in Russian followed by Google Chrome’s page translate English translation. I made minor corrections to the translation where the bot appeared to me to have messed up.
“Уважаемый Гарри Кимович! Видел по ТВ передачу, в которой вы выступали сторонником теорий г-на Фоменко. Мне интересно: как шахматист-профессионал (вот уж с этим никто не спорит) во сколько тысяч лет вы оцениваете возраст шахматной игры (начиная с шатранджа)? И вписывается ли этот возраст (шесть тысяч лет, по наиболее распространённой теории) в хронологию Фоменко? И как вы собираетесь управлять государством, если ваши взгляды на историю столь оригинальны? Будет ли Русь переименована снова в Орду? // Михаил Евгеньевич Левашов (Москва)
Я не являюсь сторонником теории Фоменко-Носовского. Но как человек с аналитическим складом ума, привыкший анализировать получаемую информацию, я очень скептически отношусь к построениям и выводам официальной истории. На мой взгляд, Фоменко-Носовский правильно отметили многочисленные неувязки, нестыковки в официальной концепции. Но вместо того чтобы продолжать работу именно по задаванию вопросов и разрушению зачастую мифологических построений, они выступили с новой теорией, которая, к сожалению, страдает теми же проблемами. Потому что очевидно, что информации для выстраивания другой, альтернативной концепции, сегодня еще не хватает. И поэтому основные атаки на труды Фоменко-Носовского, они как раз связаны не с их критической частью, а с тем, что пытаются сегодня подать в качестве позитива.”
“Dear Garry Kasparov! I saw on TV a program in which you advocated the theories of Mr. Fomenko. I’m wondering: as a professional chess player (no one argues with that), how many thousand years do you estimate the age of a chess game (starting with shatranj)? And does this age (six thousand years, according to the most widespread theory) fit into Fomenko’s chronology? And how are you going to run the state if your views on history are so original? Will Russia be renamed the Horde again? // Mikhail Evgenievich Levashov (Moscow)
I am not a supporter of the Fomenko-Nosovsky theory. But as a person with an analytical mindset, accustomed to analyzing the information received, I am very skeptical about the constructions and conclusions of the official history. In my opinion, Fomenko-Nosovsky correctly noted numerous inconsistencies, inconsistencies in the official concept. But instead of continuing to work precisely on asking questions and destroying often mythological constructs, they came up with a new theory, which, unfortunately, suffers from the same problems. Because it is obvious that today there is not enough information for building another, alternative concept. And therefore, the main attacks on the works of Fomenko-Nosovsky, they are just connected not with their critical part, but with what they are trying to present today as a positive.”
May 18th, 2021
On May 18th, 2021, Kasparov posted in r/IAmA,
“Hello Reddit, I’m Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion, tech optimist, and an advocate both of AI and digital human rights. AMA!”
A user by the name of “backtothefuckyeah” asked,
“Is it true that you believe in the New Chronology theory, that the very existence of the middle ages is a conspiracy? If so, why do you think mainstream historians have got it so wrong?”
To which Kasparov responded,
“I believe in questioning everything and in evidence, and agreed with some of the New Chronology’s critiques of how thin the evidence is in some areas of the standard chronology of ancient civilizations and the Middle Ages, which are often based on a singular disputed account or object. But there’s also much to it that is pseudohistory and mythmaking, which just repeats the mistakes of traditional history, so I don’t think “believer” and its unempirical connotations describes me accurately. I would connect things to today, when fake news is everywhere and groups constantly want to rewrite history books, from Putin rehabilitating Stalin or various groups revisiting the entire history of the founding of the United States. History belongs to the present, so we must question.”
Garry Kasparov is mentioned on the “New chronology (Fomenko)” Wiki page. As per the “View history”, this page was originally created in 2003.
As far as I can tell, Kasparov was originally voicing support for Fomenko’s criticisms, not Fomenko’s reconstruction.
2005, Feb. 3 – “List of his supporters even includes such famous figures as Harry Kasparov.” This is the earliest version that mentions Kasparov. The first name was corrected later the same day.
2007, Nov. 28 – Almost the same sentence (“The” is added before the word “list”), citation added.
2008, Jan. 24 – The sentence was changed to “Garry Kasparov is a supporter of Fomenko”.
2008, May 9 – The sentence was changed to “Garry Kasparov is a supporter of Fomenko; Billington writes that the theory “might have quietly blown away in the wind tunnels of academia” if not for Kasparov’s writing in support of it in the magazine Ogonyok.” At some point “Chess master” was added before “Garry” and at another point that was changed to “Former world chess champion”.
Kasparov did not write in support of the reconstruction in the magazine Ogoniok.
2015, May 3 – The sentence changed to, “Fomenko’s historical ideas have been universally rejected by mainstream scholars, who brand them as pseudoscience, but were popularized by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.”, followed by the sentence “Billington writes that the theory “might have quietly blown away in the wind tunnels of academia” if not for Kasparov’s writing in support of it in the magazine Ogoniok.”. These are the same two sentences that were there on 13 Oct. 2021.
 – “Ответы Каспарова” (9 Jun. 2006). http://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=44FE98F9E4576&fbclid=IwAR36sOGtJqiQXFAXrfjdnxP6BHODqSFM8H8YiE-3Q4hPGVdufq_Azyu833k. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – Kasparov’s New Chronology Related Reddit Comment In r/IAmA (18 May 2021). https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/nfegqm/comment/gyl0h9d/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – Winter, Edward. “Garry Kasparov and New Chronology” (2014, with updates). https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/newchronology.html. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – Warren, Marcus. “King Arthur was really a Russian, say Slavs” (Daily Telegraph, 19 Apr. 2001). https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1316610/King-Arthur-was-really-a-Russian-say-Slavs.html. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – Warren, Marcus. “Email from Russia” (Daily Telegraph, 24 Apr. 2001). https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/1311163/Email-from-Russia.html. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – Kasparov, Garry. “Mathematics of the Past” (2002?). https://www.math.ualberta.ca/pi/issue5/page05-08.pdf. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – RationalWiki. “Essay:Kasparov’s Mathematics of the Past” (Last modified 27 Oct. 2016). https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Essay:Kasparov%27s_Mathematics_of_the_Past. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – Taylor, Timothy. “Garry Kasparov Interview from 2001” (23 Aug. 2010). https://timothytaylor.ca/garry-kasparov-interview-from-2001/. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – Andreas Kjeldsen’s 11 Oct. 2021 Tweet about Garry Kasparov’s belief in Fomenko’s New Chronology. https://twitter.com/AndreasKjeldsen/status/1447590119649816578?s=20. Accessed 11 Oct. 2021.
 – http://newc.narod.ru/article/nx/ksprv.htm. Accessed 13 Oct. 2021.
Today is October 6th, 2021. The Twitter account @therealninjabob responded to Godyssey’s post by asking if they had “heard of the missed 1000 years new chronology theory”. Godyssey tweeted back saying they weren’t sure and then asked “ninjabob” what it was. Hours had gone by and no response was made, so I chimed in to briefly summarize Fomenko’s New Chronology. I did this because in the last 5 years that I’ve been looking into “new chronologies”, I’ve only ever seen FNC being credited as the source of the “missing 1000 years” idea.
Bob was not happy with my response and told me “Hey, crazy person..no one asked you. You’re ludicrous proposition has nothing to do with the theory I’m talking about. Mind ya business”. Leaving Bob’s insult and poor grammar aside, I asked him “Who’s New Chronology are you talking about?”. Instead of clarifying, he blocked me.
This short interaction prompted me to look back over an article titled “Information about Shills and Disinformation online. Recovered from Bobby Garner’s “Congregator.net” via the Wayback Machine“. This was posted on my friend S. B. Alger’s blog on Feb. 1st, 2021. He shared it with me after a different Twitter discussion about FNC went south. He expressed to me that he thought maybe the person was a disinformationalist. According to Alger, the article is almost entirely copy and pasted from an older post originally made by Bobby Garner.
The article has two parts. The first part discusses “25 rules of disinformation” and was last updated in 2001. The second part discusses “8 traits of the disinformationalist”. I found one or both of these parts posted on a number of webpages and so here I present a collection of some of those. All of these were accessed by me on Oct. 6th, 2021:
The expanded lists are covered in more detail in the original publication. Here I list the concise lists and then discuss some of them in the “Commentary” section of this article.
25 Disinfo Rules
1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
2. Become incredulous and indignant
3. Create rumor mongers
4. Use a straw man
5. Sidetrack opponents w name calling, ridicule
6. Hit and Run
7. Question motives
8. Invoke authority
9. Play Dumb
10. Associate opponent charges with old news
11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions
12. Enigmas have no solution
13. Alice in Wonderland Logic
14. Demand complete solutions
15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions
16. Vanish evidence and witnesses
17. Change the subject
18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad
19. Ignore facts, demand impossible proofs
20. False evidence
21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor
22. Manufacture a new truth
23. Create bigger distractions
24. Silence critics
8 Disinformationalist Traits
6. Artificial Emotions
8. Time Constant
I think there are people who engage in the above actions wittingly and unwittingly. Some people know full well they are trying to avoid the topic at hand, while others are not be aware what they are doing. I also think that some of the “rules” might not qualify as “disinformation rules”. For example, #7 is “question motives”. Context is key. Questioning motives is an important part of determining someone’s reasons for doing what they’re doing. If motives haven’t been stated, it’s worth asking what the person’s motives are. If they have been stated, it might be worth asking if the person’s actions align with what they say their motives are.
I don’t think any of these rules or traits (in the proper context) have a place in academic/professional discussions.
#5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule.
Possibly this is what the person in my opening story tried to do. If so, it didn’t work because I ignored it to focus on what I saw as more important, that being determining which new chronology was being mentioned. Possibly blocking me could be considered Rule #6, the hit and run.
#8. Invoke authority.
This reminds me of the University of South Florida’s PhD History student Angela L. Costello’s response to me when I asked her a few questions on Twitter. The question was avoided, some type of authority on the subject was insinuated, and also attempt to ridicule me was made. She engaged in #7 too by questioning my motives. As if my questions were asked for some reason other than to see what she had to say.
The number one trait that I see is #1, “avoidance”. This happens when I ask direct questions and those get ignored.
I think teamwork is a good thing and so the context of how the team is working together is important. Therefore teamwork can be a trait of disinformationalist, but it’s also a trait of honest people who work with others.
This concatenated narrative of forgery is anything but extensive. It was written to give a slight view into the world of forgery.
Of special interest to me is the era directly preceding that of the era of standardization, namely the 10th-15th centuries because this is the era to which the vast majority of the alleged ancient texts date. The introduction of the printing press in the mid-15th century accelerated the standardization of literary works and it was during this time that “standard” editions of classical texts were being published. The scholars of the time were aware of the magnitude of forgeries and fakes but many were still taken in by them nonetheless.
“Riddled with the inconsistency of compelling yet conflicting preconceptions … all ‘olden times’ are potentially fraudulent.”
David Lowenthal (1990)[8, p.17]
“If detecting a forgery is not easy in the first place, exposing one that has been honored as an original for hundreds of years is a far greater challenge.”
Lynn Catterson (2005)[14, p.30]
The history of forgery perceivably goes back almost as far as human invention does. The oldest types of forgeries or fakes in the East and the West are said to have been literary forgeries.[8, pp.23, 99] In a similar vein, the practice of art forgery is conceivably just as old as the practice of art itself.[10, p.242]
Forgeries in this time period were being produced but allegedly the output was notably small.[34, p.xxviii]
“Creative memory was at its most creative in the ninth century, when churchmen forged unprecedented and monumental runs of entirely false charters.”
Constance Brittain Bouchard (2015)[1, p.63]
In the 900’s, forgers began producing historical forgeries to establish the histories of their religious houses. All across Europe, they were taking more of an interest in history, and were doing their best to mimic older texts.[34, pp.xxviii-xxix] In France, the deeds of Carolingian kings were being forged. In England, archival records were being largely forged.[35, p.522]
The imitation of older scripts had become commonplace in literary institutions all across Europe by around 1050.[35, p.528]
“Not only was there a campaign to recopy documents from before the Viking Age, but these documents were manipulated: interpolated, redrafted, improved.”
Julia Crick (2010)[35, p.531]
The Northern Song Dynasty brought with it the first notable peak in Chinese art forgeries.[4, p.266]
In 1990, Anthony Grafton commented on how an estimated 66% of all documents given to the clergy prior to 1100 were fakes.[33, p.24]
“…medieval people … forged to an extent unsurpassed by any other age relics, legends, charters, chronicles, seals, precious stones, etc.”
Otto Kurz (1973)[3, p.77]
John Hardyng (1378-1465) forged historical documents in order to prove to King Henry V that the Scottish kings had always been subservient to the English crown.[11, p.16]
Leon Batista Alberti (1404-1472) executed, according to Arthur Freeman in the words of David Marsh, “the most successful literary forgery of the early Renaissance”.[11, p.9] If David did say these words, I cannot say I agree with him. Assuming that by “successful” he meant one that served its purpose, which in the case of a forgery would be to go undetected indefinitely, I’d imagine given the scope of forgery at this time, and the little attention it’s been given, there are still early Renaissance forgeries waiting to be uncovered, and each of those has been more successful thus far than Alberti’s. Alberti also forged an ancient Roman tragicomedy that was printed about 150 years after its time by a printer who thought it to be an authentic creation from antiquity.[11, pp.9-10]
Annius of Viterbo (c.1432-1502), a Dominican and at one point the Master of the Vatican,[31, p.68] is possibly the most famous forger of the 15th century. His forgeries, which revised large swaths of history, received support and opposition by some of the greatest scholars of his time. It even gave way to more works that were based upon his original forgery. There is also a known case of him forging an inscription made to appear as though it were from the 700’s.[11, pp.11-12]
Amerigo Vespucci (1452-1512), the man who North and South America are named after, forged travel narratives that were published around the turn of the 16th century. At least that’s what Arthur Freeman, compiler of the largest library in the world containing works about literary forgery, believes. Of Vespucci’s letters, Arthur is of the opinion that the literary forgery known by the name of “the Soderini Letter” is what lead the Americas to be named after him in 1507.[11, p.14] Others are of the opinion that the letter contains a fictional account, but that it was not written by Vespucci. Also in the mix are those who believe it is a true account by Vespucci.
Trithemius (1462-1516), a German Benedictine abbot who has since been called the “father of bibliography”, could not resist the temptation of forging a thousand years of history. He published a work in 1515 that was based upon sources which in reality did not exist.[11, p.15] It would be as if I appealed to the authoritative Book of Slack to substantiate my narrative about a millennium’s worth of names, places, and events, knowing full well the whole time that the Book of Slack does not exist.
Antonio de Guevara (c.1481-1545) had a similar style to Trithemius. He wrote a false historical narrative and cited a non-existent Florentine manuscript. This forgery was taken to be a classical work and maintained popularity in Europe throughout the 1500’s.[11, p.15]
Erasmus (1466-1536), a Catholic who’s commonly held as one of the brightest northern Renaissance scholars, forged a complete work and attributed it to St. Cyprian, who lived some 1200 years prior to the time of publication.[11, p.12]
Onofrio Panvinio (1530-1568), an Augustinian librarian and historian, was recognized by his contemporaries as the “father of history”, and he too resorted to using forgeries. From what I understand, although not as grand as the narrative produced by Trithemius, Panvinio created literary forgeries to help substantiate his arguments about Church history.
Thinking back on inscriptions, they are important for historical studies and can help us understand more about the past. It is not that simple though, for they too have been forged in massive amounts. Pirro Ligorio (c.1512-1583) has been dubbed the “prince of forgers” due to forging at least nearly 3,000 inscriptions. He was a well respected individual and even took over Michelangelo’s supervisor position at St. Peter’s around 1564. The fake inscriptions aroused suspicious early on but nobody made any serious effort to expose these until the latter half of the 1700’s, about 200 years later.[13, pp.27-28]
Michelangelo (1475-1564) himself has commonly been accused of forging art and antique statues. One apparent habit of his was borrowing original drawings done by old masters and copying them so well that he could return his copy and keep the originals for himself all while going undetected. As for the cases pertaining to his sculptures, I discussed one of these back in March 2020, which is by far the more popular one. Lynn Catterson pioneered the other case in 2005, and to me, it’s the more fascinating one. I’ll briefly cover both of these.
The first case is known because it’s unanimously agreed upon that the controversy resulted in Michelangelo gaining a substantial amount of fame and employment. This happened in the 1490’s. There are two versions of what happened leading up to that moment. The popular account is that Michelangelo was alone responsible in creating a cupid sculpture, artificially aging it, and then selling it as an antique, hence creating a forgery. His reasoning for doing so is often said to have been financial, a struggling no-name artist trying to get a paycheck. The lesser known account is that it was the person who Michelangelo sold the statue to who was the one that attempted to pawn it off as a product of antiquity. Both scenarios are plausible given the limited information, as there are more examples of both of these things happening beyond this isolated case. This is one of the difficulties in labeling something as a forgery. Sometimes there is no intent to deceive when creating an imitative piece, and the deception only enters the scene when someone other than the creator intervenes. In the case of Michelangelo, the intervener would have knowingly introduced the deception, but in some cases misdating can happen unintentionally.
The second case is specifically about the Laocoon, discovered in 1506, but it also mentions a handful of other allegedly antique statues that were possibly forged around this time too. Lynn noted that along with Michelangelo having the motive and the means to create this, he also had the opportunity. And, in the words of Yola Schmitz (2018), “Opportunity not only makes a thief, but also a forger”.[25, p.168] That quote is good to keep in mind when exploring this field. Lynn covered the case in detail and I suggest you read that as a starting point to learn more than what I’ve shared here.
Otto Kurz mentioned that “The forgers of classical antiquities in the Renaissance period were no narrow specialists”.[3, p.79] He went on to say that out of all the fields in which they forged antiquities, that of forging busts of Roman emperors was the largest. This field of scholarship does appear to me to be, at the least, poorly accessible, scarcely represented, and seriously underdeveloped. And as I often note, the field dealing with art forgery is sizably larger than that dealing with literary forgery.
I want to take a moment to focus on the Fasti Capitolini, which was discovered in 1564 and has since held a reputation as one of the fundamental sources for our modern conception of Roman chronology. The reason for its importance is because it contains a list of Roman consuls, who were chairmen of the Roman senate who had control over the Roman army and had the greatest amount of legal power, and also a list of other important figures. Consuls have been one of the main sources used for Roman chronology.
The dating of it is typically restricted to the reign of Augustus in the 1st centuries BCE and CE. There is a notable amount of scholarship trying to make sense of its place in history,, , , , , , , ,  and while talk of 1st century BCE conspiracy has been discussed at some length, I have never seen the idea that it could be a product of the 16th century proposed. The reason why I’m more suspicious about this find in particular is that it was discovered by none other than both the prince of forgers and the father of history, Pirro Ligorio and Onofrio Panvinio. Additionally, the discovery was supervised by Michelangelo. I think it’d be interesting to look upon it with today’s methods of investigation.
Matthew Parker (1504-1575) was Archbishop of Canterbury and patron to the production of classical forgeries. He’s also been accused of conjuring a fictional characters and acting as though it was a real person. He had writers, drawers, painters, cutters, limners, and bookbinders all within his budget. He also offered his counterfeiting services to other people. Laurence Nowell (1530-c.1570), an associate of Parker and the best Anglo-Saxon scholar of his day, was a forger too.[11, p.17]
The state of English history at this time was dismal, as was noted by Parker himself. He wanted to establish English history as being distinct from the domineering Catholic history. He accused the Catholics of mutilating and perverting English history, leaving it corrupted, incomplete, altered, and in some places altogether erased.
Alfonso Ceccarelli (1532-1583) was a physician and historian who was eventually executed for his forgeries. His craft was forged chronicles, genealogies, and legal documents which he then sold to the various people who requested them.[11, p.13], [26, p.235]
Due to the number of forged coins that had made their way into circulation, many 15th and 16th century books on numismatics were required to include a chapter on forgeries.[3, p.78]
The Late Ming Dynasty brought with it the second major spike in Chinese art forgeries.[4, p.266] One of the causes of this second great age of forgery was that the desire to possess antiques was rapidly increasing among collectors.[5, p.76], [8, p.99] In the literary world during this time, Chinese colophons were often being forged.[6, p.50] The situation pertaining to colophons was not much better in the West.
Jerónimo Román de La Higuera (1538-1611) was a Spanish Jesuit who forged a hagiographical work known as the Chronicon,[11, p.21] later known as the False Chronicles. To help with their reputation, he gave them a fake provenance by claiming that he received the chronicles from the Benedictine abbey of Fulda, a popular abbey amongst Renaissance scholars for authentic manuscripts. He incorporated prominent issues of the day into these texts, which in the long-run really helped secure their popularity, as they were notably influential from the then until near the end of the 1800’s.[32, pp.1-2]
Born two years after Higuera was Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609), a man who in his own time was considered the most learned man of Europe and who has since gained a reputation as the father of chronology. He created a fictional list of Olympiads, which are the way in which Greek years are counted and dated. It was presented in such a way that many thought it to be an authentic source and it wasn’t until 1852 that it was officially laid to rest as fictional. Another deceptive work of his was a recreation of an ancient lost text of which he never fully explained the origins, leaving it to his readers to figure out.[11, p.20]
Pietro Carrera (1573-1647) was an Italian priest who forged 65 letters of Diodorus Siculus, who was a historian from the first century BCE. He also forged an encomium attributed to the C3rd CE St. Agatha.[11, p.22]
Jacques Mentel (1597-1671) attempted to prove his supposed ancestor had invented the printing press before Gutenberg. To do this, he fabricated literary evidence and thereby became a forger. He published this in 1650.[11, p.21]
Jerome Vignier (1606-1661) was a French priest who published a work in 1649 that contained ecclesiastical, genealogical, and historical forgeries.[11, p.20] I haven’t read much about this one, but an English translations of the title is “The true origin of the very illustrious houses of Alsace, Lorraine, Austria, Baden, and many others“, so I figure it has to do with fabricating histories for these various houses.
Curzio Inghirami (1614-1655) created a literary forgery revealed through an archeological forgery. He buried numerous fragments forged to appear Etruscan and which relayed the recently fabricated tale of Etruria’s destruction by Roman forces in 60 BCE.
Charles Julius Bertram (1723-1765) was called “the cleverest and most successful literary imposter of modern times” for his forged account of Roman Britain, published in 1757. Along with it came a forged mapped that depicted imaginary Roman stations and roads.
The systematic study of forgery began to be established. Previous to this, historians mainly focused on the topic anecdotally.[2, pp.14-15] The systematic approach began by flourishing in fields now commonly referred to collectively as the historical auxiliary sciences, and this largely took place within German scholarship.
Denis Vrain-Lucas (1818-1882) was called the prince of forgers.
Constantine Simonides (1820-1890) allegedly forged the codex Sinaiticus. He was also known for other forgeries.
The Late Qing-early Republican era brought with it the third and final massive wave of art forgeries being produced. Over the course of about 30 years starting in 1920, a single counterfeiter was estimated to have sold some 2,000 counterfeit scrolls.[4, p.266]
Forgery was alive and well in the United States at this time too. In 1913, Richard Gottheil commented on the recent spike in the number of archeological frauds and called the US a “dumping-ground for forgeries of many kinds”.[9, p.306]
Kurz (1973), Robinson (1998), Laing (2000), Catterson (2005), Cohen (2012).
 – Bouchard, Constance Brittain. Rewriting Saints and Ancestors: Memory and Forgetting in France, 500-1200. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zw7bp. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – COHEN, PAULA MARANTZ. “The Meanings of Forgery.” Southwest Review, vol. 97, no. 1, 2012, pp. 12–25., www.jstor.org/stable/43821007. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – KURZ, OTTO. “EARLY ART FORGERIES: FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol. 121, no. 5198, 1973, pp. 74–90. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41371017. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Laing, Ellen Johnston. “‘Suzhou Pian’ and Other Dubious Paintings in the Received ‘Oeuvre’ of Qiu Ying.” Artibus Asiae, vol. 59, no. 3/4, 2000, pp. 265–295. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3249881. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – O’Brien, David. “Art in an Expanded Field: Taste and Class in Chinese Visual Culture.” The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, vol. 4, no. 1, 1995, pp. 73–81. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23612584. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Ming-Sun Poon. “The Printer’s Colophon in Sung China, 960-1279.” The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, vol. 43, no. 1, 1973, pp. 39–52. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4306229. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Bühler, Curt F. “False Information in the Colophons of Incunabula.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 114, no. 5, 1970, pp. 398–406. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/985806. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Jones, Mark, et al. Fake? The Art of Deception. First Edition, University of California Press, 1990. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_LaUnOztbkP4C/mode/2up. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Gottheil, Richard. “Two Forged Antiques.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 33, 1913, pp. 306–312. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/592837. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Thomas P. F. Hoving. “The Game of Duplicity.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 26, no. 6, 1968, pp. 241–246. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3258621. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Freeman, Arthur. Bibliotheca Fictiva. Bernard Quaritch, 2014. Accessed 19 May 2021.
 – Ligota, Christopher R. “Annius of Viterbo and Historical Method.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 50, 1987, pp. 44–56. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/751317. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Abbott, Frank Frost. “Some Spurious Inscriptions and Their Authors.” Classical Philology, vol. 3, no. 1, 1908, pp. 22–30. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/262031. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Catterson, Lynn. “Michelangelo’s ‘Laocoön?”.” Artibus Et Historiae, vol. 26, no. 52, 2005, pp. 29–56. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20067096. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Bauer, Stefan. The Invention of Papal History: Onofrio Panvinio between Renaissance and Catholic Reform (Oxford-Warburg Studies). Oxford University Press, 2020.
 – Taylor, Lily Ross. “The Date of the Capitoline Fasti.” Classical Philology, vol. 41, no. 1, 1946, pp. 1–11. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/267529. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Taylor, Lily Ross. “Degrassis’ Edition of the Consular and Triumphal Fasti.” Classical Philology, vol. 45, no. 2, 1950, pp. 84–95. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/266435. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Christopher J. Simpson. “The Original Site of the ‘Fasti Capitolini.’” Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte, vol. 42, no. 1, 1993, pp. 61–81. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4436271. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Bodel, John. “Chronology and Succession 1: ‘Fasti Capitolini’ Fr. XXXIId, the Sicilian ‘Fasti,” and the Suffect Consuls of 36 BC.” Zeitschrift Für Papyrologie Und Epigraphik, vol. 96, 1993, pp. 259–266. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20188909. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Jordan, Bradley. “The ‘Fasti Consulares Capitolini’ and Caesar’s ‘Magistri Equitum Designati.’” Zeitschrift Für Papyrologie Und Epigraphik, vol. 196, 2015, pp. 231–239., www.jstor.org/stable/43909956. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Adams, F. W. “Some Observations on the Consular Fasti in the Early Empire.” American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 55, no. 3, 1951, pp. 239–241. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/500973. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Taylor, Lily Ross, and T. Robert S. Broughton. “The Order of the Consuls’ Names in Official Republican Lists.” Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte, vol. 17, no. 2, 1968, pp. 166–172. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4435023. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Swan, Michael. “The Consular Fasti of 23 B. C. and the Conspiracy of Varro Murena.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. 71, 1967, pp. 235–247. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/310766. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Russell, Amy. “The Augustan Senate and the Reconfiguration of Time on the Fasti Capitolini.” Augustus and the Destruction of History: The Politics of the Past in Early Imperial Rome, edited by INGO GILDENHARD et al., vol. 41, Cambridge Philological Society, Oxford, 2019, pp. 157–186. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv10kmc9n.13. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Schmitz, Yola. “Faked Translations: James Macpherson’s Ossianic Poetry.” Faking, Forging, Counterfeiting: Discredited Practices at the Margins of Mimesis, edited by Yola Schmitz et al., Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, 2018, pp. 167–180. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv1wxr9t.13. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Siraisi, Nancy G. “History, Antiquarianism, and Medicine: The Case of Girolamo Mercuriale.” Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 64, no. 2, 2003, pp. 231–251. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3654127. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Roukema, E. “The Mythical ‘First Voyage’ of the ‘Soderini Letter.’” Imago Mundi, vol. 16, 1962, pp. 70–75. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1150303. Accessed 20 May 2021.
 – Roukema, E. “The Mythical ‘First Voyage’ of the ‘Soderini Letter.’” Imago Mundi, vol. 16, 1962, pp. 70–75. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1150303. Accessed 21 May 2021.
 – Davies, A. “The ‘First’ Voyage of Amerigo Vespucci in 1497-8.” The Geographical Journal, vol. 118, no. 3, 1952, pp. 331–337. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1790319. Accessed 21 May 2021.
 – Robinson, Benedict Scott. “‘Darke Speech’: Matthew Parker and the Reforming of History.” The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 29, no. 4, 1998, pp. 1061–1083. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2543358. Accessed 21 May 2021.
 – Farrer, J. A. (1907). Literary Forgeries. Longmans, Green, and Co. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Literary_Forgeries/_QCFAAAAIAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0. Accessed 21 May 2021.
 – Olds, Katrina B. “The ‘False Chronicles,” Cardinal Baronio, and Sacred History in Counter-Reformation Spain.” The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 100, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1–26., www.jstor.org/stable/43898529. Accessed 21 May 2021.
 – Grafton, Anthony, and Ann Blair. Forgers and Critics, New Edition: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship. New, Princeton University Press, 2019. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.
 – Roach, Levi. Forgery and Memory at the End of the First Millennium. Princeton University Press, 2021. Accessed 6 Jul. 2021.
 – Crick, J. (2010). Insular History? Forgery and the English Past in the Tenth Century. England and the Continent in the Tenth Century, 515–544. doi:10.1484/m.sem-eb.3.4713. Accessed 6 Jul. 2021.
Access exclusive Ctruth content:
Buy Ctruth merch:
Donate to Ctruth directly:
One of the evidences Fomenko uses is the collection of astronomical results obtained from planetary positions. So far, I’m aware of around 63 different horoscopes which he has reportedly obtained dates for. This article helps illuminate the geographical locations of where these horoscopes were found.
My list of his results can be found @ https://ctruth.today/2019/01/18/new-chronology-zodiac-list/
Some of the horoscopes had multiple results and so are listed more than once below.
C11th: SN, MT, MZ!
C12th: RC, SX, RD, DL, OU
C13th: SP, P1, AV, P2, AN, NB, RS
C14th: RC, NB, EB
C15th: EM, P1, P2
C13th: MB, GA
C15th: FN, DZ!
C16th: CN, PD, VP, MK
C17th: VA, OL, VG, FS, RZ, ZP, FR, FT
C18th: OL, FA, FZ, RP, MP
C19th: MP, OL
These are the horoscopes that I’m not sure which geographical location they are referencing.
C12th: AE, YT
An Oxford Historian was put on my radar yesterday by a post made on their website about Fomenko’s New Chronology. My interest was peaked by the name of the website and so I dug a bit deeper into who was behind it. When I discovered the article was written by a PhD student from the University of Oxford’s St. Cross College, I decided to write this article to take some notes and put my thoughts down on paper.
– The Website
– The Article
The University of Oxford is one of the most well-known institutions of higher education in the world. It has been ranked “the world’s best university” for the last 6 years. Fomenko’s New Chronology has not received much attention from the academic world and so a PhD student from such a prestigious university authoring an article about it is a rare occurrence.
The student’s name is Tristan Alphey. On his website he introduces himself as Tristan but his posts are made under the pseudonym “An Oxford Historian”. His Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, and departmental page all have his first and last name so I figure he doesn’t mind people knowing it. According to his Linkedin, he has two degrees from Oxford already, a BA in History (2016-2019) and a MA in Archeology (2019-2020). He’s on track to receive a PhD in History from them in 2023. It is worth noting that although he uses the name of his school for his website, the website is independent from Oxford.
I didn’t know any of that when I found him through his New Chronology posts on Reddit, where he goes by “Faust_TSFL”. As of writing this, it looks like he posted his article in 20 subreddits shortly after publishing it on his website. It took me maybe 5 minutes to find all the information above. The links are below.
One reason I decided to spend any time focused on this individual was the homepage of his website (AOH). As of September 22nd, 2021, the first three sentences of the “Welcome to the Blog” section read:
“Hello, my name is Tristan and I’m a first-year history PhD student at Oxford. I believe that academics are foremost public servants – we have an obligation to share knowledge to the wider community rather than keeping it locked up in universities. The aim of this blog is to share my research and wider history on the early medieval world, help give any advice and information on Oxford, and generally expanding engagement with the Humanities.”
I tend to agree that it’s important for academics to share knowledge outside of the confines of the universities. The aim of his blog/website is also similar to mine. I made my website to better organize my studies and share them more effectively with others, as well as the expand engagement with the wissenschaft (sciences and humanities). One note on the grammar is that I think “expanding” should be “expand”. It would then read as: “The aim of this blog is to…”
3. generally expand…
The final sentence in that section is a prompt for you to subscribe to his blog.
Moving on from the Home tab to the Blog tab, I noticed that the layout doesn’t fit my laptop browser. It positions the articles in rows of 3, with the farthest left article being pushed off the screen. You can scroll left to right, in addition to up and down, but that doesn’t get the row on the left fully on screen, only the right row. The layout is much better on mobile, where the articles waterfall down in a single row.
For whatever reason, the blog only rolls back to March 10th, 2021 but there are posts on the website from as early as January. This is inconvenient but could be fixed by an article that contains links to every post so far. Or adding an “Archive” widget like the one I have which organizes posts by the month.
I didn’t spend too much time exploring this tab. It’s split into two main sections: “Approaching History” and “‘Anglo-Saxon’ History and Archaeology”. The latter section seems decent but the first one seems lacking in content. There is a disclaimer that it’s a work in progress and so I’d suggest adding some articles/resources on general historical method and historiography.
The Homepage says Tristan is a first-year PhD student but the About page says he’s a second-year PhD student. I figure this inconsistency will be easy enough to correct. Aside from that, there’s no concise history of the blog on the About page, or anywhere else that I looked. From what I can tell, he began posting on the blog on January 1st, 2021, although the copyright at the bottom of every page is 2020. I suggest he adds a history section to the About page to make it more transparent.
The second paragraph on the About page read: “This is not a money-making blog. Instead, it’s aim is to provide as much historical information and resources to everyone, from every background, for free. If Alfred’s threat from a lack of shared learning came in the form of Danish invasion, ours comes in the form of an increased social divide, and a misuse of history for political ends.”. There is a typo in the second sentence. “It’s” should be “Its”. Also if increased social divide is a threat to us, I don’t think Tristan’s comments on Reddit help close that gap (more on that below).
The about page doesn’t work on mobile.
The contact page is simple and straightforward. It also has links to his Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.
He titled his article The ‘New Chronology’ – the world’s craziest conspiracy theory. Right off the bat I was wondering if he had a list of conspiracy theories with qualifications to organize them from “least crazy” to “most crazy”. I’ve thought about setting up such a scale but have never gotten around to it. I don’t think he does have anything like that and so I’m curious how he arrived at the conclusion that Fomenko’s New Chronology is the craziest conspiracy theory out of all of the conspiracy theories in the world. Does Tristan have a list of conspiracy theories online somewhere?
He opened the article by saying:
“Conspiracy Theorists are the bane of the academic. After years of research, experimentation and peer-review, some random person on the internet appears and instantly disregards your work, choosing to accept a sinister cover-up instead.”
He doesn’t say outright that Fomenko is some random person on the internet, but to me it does seem like this is the brush he’s painting Fomenko with. Regardless if my judgement on that is correct, let me provide some context for Fomenko’s New Chronology. Fomenko himself became a renowned mathematician in the 1960’s. In the following decade, he began his initial studies into chronology. When the 1980’s rolled around, Fomenko began to publish his works on chronology in scientific journals like Celestial Mechanics (now known as Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy) and the International Statistical Review, among others. I think this qualifies as “years of research, experimentation, and peer-review”, not as “some random person on the internet”. A final note on this point, I am interested in hearing Tristan’s definition for “Conspiracy Theorist”, as conspiracies do exist and academics have published about possible conspiracies that have been overlooked (Catterson’s Laocoön arguement for example).
On the subject of internet people who pop up to instantly disregard work without giving it proper attention, Tristan goes on to say (under his pseudonym) “This is all complete rubbish, of course”. His reasoning is that archeological methods such as dendrochronology, carbon dating, and thermoluminescence dating easily disprove Fomenko’s New Chronology. Fomenko addresses all three of these and more in his works (for example, volume 1, chapter 1, parts 13-17). Where is Tristan’s rebuttal to these sections? Or any thorough critique of these sections? I’ve been chipping away at these sections but it takes specialized knowledge and access to specific (sometimes difficult to access) sources to fact check and so my analysis is incomplete in its current form.
Tristan spent one paragraph on dating methods before moving on to spend four paragraphs associating Fomenko’s New Chronology with Soviet Nationalism. I’m curious if Tristan can point out why, according to the books, Fomenko places such an emphasis on Russia’s role in the development of civilization from ancient to modern times. I don’t ever recall seeing any mention of Soviet Russia’s greatness in any of the books. After mentioning a snippet of Fomenko’s take on Mongolian history, Tristan stated:
“Its successes and glory were, therefore, clear evidence of Soviet supremacy…”
Does Fomenko ever mention Soviet supremacy in relation to Mongolian history? Or related to anything anywhere in his books? The questions I ask throughout this article are not rhetorical. I genuinely want answers.
That’s basically the whole article; 1 opening paragraph, 2 that briefly discuss the conclusions of Fomenko’s New Chronology, and 4 that associate it and its popularity with Soviet nationalism. There is a “Bibliography and Further Reading” section at the end which lists Halperin (2011), Kuroski’s pop article from 2018, the English Wiki for Fomenko’s New Chronology, and finally the link to Fomenko’s website.
Tristan didn’t mention any of the methods developed for the textual analysis, any of the specific results obtained by those methods, or any of the results of the astronomical calculations. I wonder if he’s read any of the books from the 7 volumes.
I did originally find out about Tristan through Reddit and I wanted to address some of his comments he made there because I think public outreach is important. It’s also important to pay mind to how you conduct yourself in public (and private) forums.
The first comment comes from r/anglosaxon, where Hungry_Perspective29 commented “It actually true read the books look at the proof” in response to Tristan’s article. Tristan responded by saying “His proof is absolute garbage hidden inside maths to trick people, and has been disproved countless times by hundreds of academics – just read the article I reference if you ant a tiny glimpse at how wrong it is”.
The response sounds to me like he thinks Fomenko & Co. have conspired to trick people into believing nonsense. I thought he thought conspiracy theories were bad? Maybe he has really good proof that that’s what Fomenko has done? Aside from that, does he have a list of the 200+ academics who have disproved Fomenko’s New Chronology? I didn’t even know that many academics had given it the time of day. As for the article referenced (Halperin’s 2011 publication), I’ve read it a couple times but haven’t written an official response to it. It contains many uncited claims, leaving work for the reader that the author is inherently responsible for. These are preliminary comments on Halperin 2011. I’m saving any serious judgements until after I have taken a more methodical approach to its contents. Again, I’m interested in seeing that list of 200+ academics. I hope Tristan wouldn’t make something like that up just to support his claim.
BeneiEphraim left a comment on the NC article saying:
“Read: History Fiction or Science by Anatoly Fomenko
You won’t regret it”.
Tristan responded with “For a laugh yes, for actual learning no way. Its also 7 bloody volumes long which is crazy”.
The 7 volumes are about 600 pages each, equaling a total of around 4,200 pages. This is a hefty amount but nothing which constitutes crazy. For example, there are 18 volumes under the title A History of the County of Oxford, which I’d estimate, after a brief skim of some of the tables of contents, has nearly twice as many pages as Fomenko’s collection. There’s a used 20 volume history of North America for sale on AbeBooks for $930 and a 30 volume history of the world’s nations on Amazon for $195 (as of 22 Sept. 2021), but I have no clue how many pages are included in those. All of this is to say that if 7 free volumes on Fomenko’s website are crazy, these other collections are on the highest level of insanity.
As for how beneficial the 7 volumes are for learning, that entirely depends on what you’re trying to learn. For learning about electrical engineering? I’d agree, no way. For learning about 20th century Russian studies into chronology? I’d say it’s decent. From the parts I’ve scrutinized closely, it appears to me that they get way more correct than incorrect.
As of writing this, Reddit seems to have crashed. There were some other comments which I found to be unwarranted and inappropriate, especially for someone:
1 – with a website aimed “to provide as much historical information and resources to everyone, from every background”
2 – who attends one of the most, if not the most, prestigious institution in the world
3 – specializes in history on the PhD level.
But the two comments above were the main two that had stuck out to me when I first was looking all this over.
I’m happy that Tristan is engaging in public outreach. I think it’s a good thing when scholars decide to do this. I hope he keeps it up and continues to grow in this area. I think it might be interesting to have a voice or video chat with him about my article here. It could be a useful back and forth and would allow him to answer some or all of my questions right there on the spot.
I don’t think Tristan has added anything new to the discussion about Fomenko’s New Chronology. His article simplifies the pop article and Halperin’s article into a very brief report. It uses problematic language coupled with unwarranted assertions to push a skewed version of FNC. An action which is best avoided if the goal is the production of solid and honest scholarship.
While FNC does fall into the field of history, its core falls within the specialization of chronology (applied mathematics). Tristan specializes in early medieval nicknames. So while his field somewhat aligns, his official specialization does not. This isn’t to say that people can’t contribute to disciplines outside of their specialization, but it can help explain the simplicity in his approach.
Another PhD student who’s been conducting themselves online in a less-than-professional manner recently is Angela Costello. Here’s the link to my interaction with her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/byzplease/status/1435686155438145538). She said FNC is “based entirely on bad mathematics”. I asked if she had a source that covers the bad math but she told me no. After telling her to let me know if she ever did find a good one, she tagged me in another Tweet which raised more questions in my mind, that I then asked. She didn’t answer either of them and instead asked me with an attitude how much I knew about Soviet Nationalism, to which she answered her own question by saying “I’m guessing not much”. She then accused me of having ulterior motives to asking my questions (a total of 3) and told me she charges $75/hour for research. Her specialization (according to her Twitter bio) is “Antiquity/Byzantium w/focus on dress, superstition, & badass women”, which is in the field of history but far removed from the specialization of applied mathematics (chronology).
Overall, I think academics have a responsibility to be as accurate as possible with their information and to be as compassionate as possible with those who they choose to interact with.
The cover photo for my article here was originally taken by Ben Seymour and published on February 5th, 2021. It shows Oxford University’s Radcliffe Camera. I edited the image to change the size and colors.
Update: 23 Sept. 2021
I sent an email to Tristan right after publishing this article to share the link with him and to invite him to join me for a discussion about the whole topic. I know he saw the email, not because he responded to it (which he didn’t), but because he took my editorial advice and fixed up his website. However, he went and liked Angela’s hostile, unprofessional, and unacademic tweets, which makes me think the bits about conducting oneself with higher standards in public didn’t click. Given those actions after seeing my article, I’m not expecting a direct response from him, but I also wasn’t expecting an Oxford scholar to conduct themselves in such a fashion, so who knows what the future will bring.
Update: 27 Sept. 2021
I still have not received a response to my email but I did leave two comments on Reddit for him. In r/anglosaxon, the subreddit where he claimed hundreds of academics have disproved FNC, he responded to someone by saying “Ok let’s discuss this” and then asking that person what they think he’s wrong on. I took this as him being open to discussion on Reddit (as opposed to wanting an email or voice/video discussion) and so on Sept. 26, I asked him if he had a list of those 200+ academics. Someone downvoted that question of mine almost instantly. I have a suspicion it was him but can’t say for certain one way or the other. He hasn’t responded to that. My guess is he doesn’t want to say “no”.
In r/history, he responded to someone by saying “But, on latest research, it appears to be pretty popular in modern Russia”. Due to my interest in the popularity of FNC, I asked, “what’s the latest research on its popularity?” (on Sept. 26). This question was the first of any of the ones I had asked that he chose to respond to. His response was made on the 27th (today) and said, “The references are available in the academic article included in my article, as you are well aware”. This response would’ve been fine if the ending portion wasn’t tacked on. I was not well aware that the latest research was referenced in Halperin’s article from 2011 (a decade ago now). I’m not even sure that his answer is correct. Has no research been conducted on the popularity of FNC since 2011 and/or earlier? Regardless of my lack of knowledge, his slipshod response is inappropriate for someone in his position.
Update: 3 Oct. 2021
He posted his article in r/HistoryWhatIf on September 29th. In the description of his post titled “What if – all history before AD800 never existed?” he wrote, “This is the argument of Soviet maths scholars Fomenko, who suggested all events before AD800 had in fact happened in the later medieval period – eg. Jesus had been crucified in the 13th century”.
If defining history as “the past”, this is not Fomenko’s argument. Even if defining history as “the study of the past”, this is not Fomenko’s argument. Fomenko argues that the earliest surviving records date to the 9th/10th centuries. Not that nothing happened before then, nor that nobody had any historical understanding before that point.
Fomenko also does not argue that Jesus was crucified in the 13th century. Fomenko argues Jesus was crucified in the 12th century.
Tristan was recently elected (Sept. 30th announcement) to be an Early Career Member of the Royal Historical Society (https://royalhistsoc.org/281-new-fellows-members-elected-to-the-society/). This makes the seriousness of his false claims about Fomenko’s works even more severe.
 – Morrison, Nick. Oxford Named World’s Best For Record Sixth Year As Universities Get Covid-19 Research Boost (Forbes, 1 Sept. 2021). https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2021/09/01/oxford-named-worlds-best-for-record-sixth-year-as-universities-get-covid-19-research-boost/?sh=58b994ee5023. Accessed 22 Sept. 2021.
 – British History Online. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/search/series/vch–oxon?page=1. Accessed 22 Sept. 2021.
 – AbeBooks. History of North America: (1903, Ltd, #) 20 Vol Set. https://www.abebooks.com/first-edition/History-North-America-1903-Vol-Set/1040558023/bd. Accessed 22 Sept. 2021.
 – Amazon. The Nations of the World; an Historical Series in Thirty Volumes (The Complete Set) Hardcover – January 1, 1898. https://www.amazon.com/Nations-Historical-Thirty-Volumes-Complete/dp/B000KND6W6. Accessed 22 Sept. 2021.
Kamp, Jeannette, et al. Writing History!: A Companion for Historians. Translated, Amsterdam University Press, 2018.
This book was written for academics and non-academics who are interested in understanding how history is written and what they can do to write history with increasing efficiency.
The layout of the book is excellent. There is a summary of the chapters right after the introduction and the front page of each chapter contains a brief description of the contents.
Chapter 1: Historical Research (15-31)
Chapter 2: The Building Blocks of the Historical Method (33-59)
Chapter 3: Applying the Historical Method (61-81)
Chapter 4: Writing History (83-109)
Chapter 5: Presentation and Historical Debate (111-121)
Chapter 6: A Historian – Now What? (123-129)
Appendix 1: Guidelines for Notes (133-152)
Appendix 2: Other Styles of Notes (153-162)
Historical Research: The Importance of the Research Question
Right off the bat, this chapter reminded me of a quote from 1942 made by Carter Good:
“Only when a perplexing question has been identified and correctly stated does profitable study of history begin.”
Carter V. Good (1942) [1, p.141]
Reportedly, the first crucial step in figuring out what to research is a critical examination of your choice of subject.[p.17] Three questions that they pose in the book related to this critical examination are:[p.18]
1: “Why is this particular subject so interesting?”
2: “What would you like to know?”
3: “What results do you expect that researching that subject will produce?”
When discussing the importance of formulating a good research question, the authors lay out three different types of questions:[p.19]
1: Descriptive – a question that helps describe the subject/phenomena
2: Explanatory – ” ” explain ” “
3: Exploratory – ” ” explore ” ”
Chapter 1.1.3 gives some illuminating examples of historians and their research questions. Chapter 1.1.4 covers the criteria for historical research questions. Some of the criteria are:[p.21]
1: Be precise, not vague
2: Be historically relevant
3: Ask difficult questions that can’t be answered in a short summary or single word
4: Avoid implicit value judgements
Chapter 1.2 goes on to assist with forming a good research question:[p.22]
1: “a thorough knowledge of the relevant academic literature”
2: “a preliminary exploration of the available (source) material”
3: “an assessment of its potential contribution to the discipline”
“Link or lever – in the end, a good research question must ensure that the research project makes a relevant contribution to the state of knowledge in an academic field.”[p.25]
Peep Show Season 9 Episode 3 comes to mind after reading the above quote. Jeremy asks Angus, “Did Jesus have a cat?” before berating him for not knowing the answer. The whole scene is hilarious.
The chapter goes on to discuss self-criticism and criticism from others. It briefly touches on the philosophies of history that different people employ as well as the difference between chronicling and writing history.
The final section of chapter 1 gives more information about planning your research.
The Building Blocks of the Historical Method
The authors draw a line between “sources” and “literature”. They call primary sources “sources” and secondary sources “(secondary) literature”.[p.35] They do clarify the context for the terms in the following pages. Then they discuss some aspects of 5 different types of sources: textbooks, monographs, collections, journal articles, and encyclopedic works.
After talking about some methods of finding sources and literature, they discuss something apparently known as “the snowball method”.[p.43] I didn’t know that it was called this, but it’s something I’ve done myself while researching topics. Generally speaking, it involves gathering up the sources of your sources and looking into those too.
The “Arts and Humanities Citation Index” was mentioned, which I don’t think I’d heard of before. It’s reportedly an index that lists citations from a specific book (or other publication) and also the works that it itself has been cited in. This sounds really useful.
Another mention I want to learn more about is the “New York Review of Books”.
The Web of Science was mentioned. I’m not familiar with this but it looks interesting to me. I briefly searched for the sign up but didn’t see it anywhere. All I found was the sign in option. https://support.clarivate.com/ScientificandAcademicResearch/s/?language=en_US
I hadn’t heard of Historical Abstracts either: https://www.ebsco.com/products/research-databases/historical-abstracts. Another mention was the International Medieval Bibliography.
Limitations in methodology was discussed and some common pitfalls were identified.
They discussed 5 categories of source (textual, material, visual, auditory, and digital) and 4 places to find those sources in (archives, published sources, specialized historical databases, and museum depots).[pp.47-59]
Applying the Historical Method
They provided “Five steps towards a definitive research design”:[p.63]
1: form a research question
2: explore the literature
3: refine the question
4: explore the literature and sources more
5: write the research plan
They go on to expand upon each point.[pp.64-70]
Pages 71-81 discuss methods for organizing sources and research.
Page 74 has a useful diagram on how to summarize and organize a piece of literature.
Page 80 has a useful diagram on how to analyze photographs to be used as an historical source.
Writing History: Narrative and Argument
The authors discuss ways of writing prefaces, introductions, arguments, and conclusions.
They list 5 attributes of a good introduction:[p.87]
1: subject intro
2: research question
3: question justification
4: theory and method presentation
5: chapter overview
Introductions are essential. Prefaces are not.[p.88]
“The aim of historical research is the description and explanation of changes over time.”[p.90]
They talk about how to structure paragraphs and then give some examples. Next they covered sections and subsections before covering how to write your arguments and debates.
There are some useful notes about how an author represents their work in their text and the work of others in it.[pp.97-100]
They discuss plagiarism and originality and then go into some examples.[pp.100-103]
Page 105 talks about using past and present tenses when writing about history. When I started this website and I was making brief biographies of people, I began writing those in present tense. As time went on, I thought past sounded better and so I switched to using that instead. Apparently past tense is more academic historical accounts than present.
The chapter concludes with some rules for annotation.
Presentation and Historical Debate
The opening of this chapter reminded me of a quote from Jonathan Zimmerman:
“Most historians today are not actually schooled to speak to anybody except other historians. …because I’m a professional historian, one of the things I study is the way that professional historians have been wrong. And often, you know who they’ve been corrected by? Lay people.”
Fake News and Fake History: A Crisis of Authority, c.52 minute mark
The chapter discusses the importance of presentation and discussion. There are good pointers in this chapter but it is notably short. I’ve been wondering about how to get lectureship positions. Information on how to do that was not included but it is still a good chapter nonetheless.
A Historian – Now What?
This book is about writing history, so discussing job prospects and community involvement isn’t the core focus. I think it would have been nice to have a longer Chapter 6. It briefly covered some things historians can do inside and outside of academia, as well as the importance of publishing.
The appendices have information on how to cite and make notes/footnotes.
 – Good, Carter V. “Some Problems of Historical Criticism and Historical Writing.” The Journal of Negro Education, vol. 11, no. 2, 1942, pp. 135–149. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2292396. Accessed 28 July 2020.