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A Brief History of the "Phantom Time" Delusion and its Main Advocates by Gary D. Thompson

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A Brief History of the "Phantom Time" Delusion and its Main Advocates


Up to comparatively recent times chronology was a confused mass of systems and methods of computing time. Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609) a Dutch?/French? philologist and historian (chronologist), considered one of the most erudite scholars of his time. A late Renaissance scholar (and genius), he was one of the main pioneers in the development of modern historiography. He is also the founder of historical criticism. His studies placed chronology on a solidly scientific basis for the first time. Note: Scaliger's text De emendatione temporum (1583) is usually considered to be the pioneering text of technical chronology. However, in many places Scaliger's work is indebted to the work of earlier chronologers such as Paul Crusius whose work Liber de epochis (1578) better qualifies as being the pioneering text of technical chronology. (See: "Joseph Scaliger and Historical Chronology: The Rise and Fall of a Discipline." by Anthony Grafton (History and Theory, Volume 14, Number 2, May, 1975, Pages 156-185. Also: Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship. Volume II: Historical Chronology by Anthony Grafton (1993(4?)). Volume II concentrates on Scaliger's efforts to date the main events of ancient and medieval history, a study that required him to use both astronomical data and philological methods. In his efforts, Scaliger drew heavily on the philological and chronological work of others. See also: Dating the Passion: The Life of Jesus and the Emergence of Scientific Chronology (200-1600) by C. Philipp E. Nothaft (2012; Introduction, Pages 1-18).)

There is now an entire sector of conspiracy culture focused on what is known as alternative history (also known as revisionist history). These are persons who claim that orthodox views of out past is not how events actually happened. The alternative history proponents collectively make a huge number of claims regarding the past happened differently than the way establishment historians say it did. The Phantom Time/New Chronology claims are founded on a belief in an historical conspiracy (a grand concoction of forgeries underpinned by historical wishful thinking) operating during the late Medieval Period. According to Anatoly Fomenko the gigantic chronological hoax was forged by the malicious Huguenot philologist Joseph Scaliger.

The basic claim propounded by Phantom Time/New Chronology proponents (sometimes referred to as historians, which they are usually not) is that (through calendrical errors and politico-religious meddling) several centuries of fictional (manufactured) history have been inserted retroactively into the Western calendar - artificially extending modern history into a 2000 year period - by "ruling (= religious) authorities." The proponents of "Phantom Time" are "time-shrinkers." That at various times monks fabricated documents relating to Christian history is well established. However, there is no evidence that there were any attempt by monks to fabricate - on a massive scale - an entire false history for Western Europe.

There are now scores of Phantom Time/New Chronology proponents. This essay is only concerned with the more prominent and influential proponents.

The so-called "Phantom Time" claims have an origin in the late 17th-century. Adherents propose that the Anno Domini dating system has been fabricated. Basically, at the core of the claims is a belief in an invented Early Middle Ages. The core belief of the claimants is that classical and/or early medieval history is an invention of late medieval Christian monks (Benedictines) or Jesuits. The first proponent (17th-century) was the Jesuit scholar Jean Hardouin. The next major proponent was the 19th-century English classicist, Edward Johnson. Another 19th-century proponent was the English orientalist, Forster Arbuthnot. The 2 major 20th/21st-century proponents are the German historian Heribert Illig, and the Russian mathematician, Anatoly Fomenko. The terms variously applied by proponents and critics include: forged antiquity, phantom time, lost centuries, invented time, time falsification, and false chronology.

There are basically 2 somewhat different modern "Phantom time" claims (now being termed cryptochronology) being made. The Eurocentric version, commonly called the "Phantom Time hypothesis," is has been devised by 2 German dilettante historians (more accurately, conspiracy theorists), Heribert Illig and the late Hans-Ulrich Niemitz (plus their adherents). Their claim is that 297 years have been inserted into the calendar between 614 and 911 CE. So 2016 is actually 1719. A key focus is the 16th-century calendar reform introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in order to standardize the date of Easter throughout Christendom. The date of Easter had drifted by 10 days using the less accurate Julian calendar system which had a leap year every 4 years. Pope Gregory XIII ordered the calendar correction and reform which involved going directly from October 4, 1582 to October 15, 1582, and the changeover to the Gregorian calendar. The Russocentric version is known as the "New Chronology." In Russia, Anatoly Fomenko is the leader of the New Chronology movement. It is more radical in its claims than the "Phantom Time hypothesis." It has been devised by the Russian mathematician Anatoly Fomenko, a professor at the University of Moscow, and is based on the ideas of the eccentric Bolshevik Nikolai Morozov, a Russian poet and scientist. The New Chronology claims that everything historians think they know about historical dating is wrong. Instead, almost all events associated with the ancient world (Greeks, Romans, etc.) actually occurred after the year we identify as 1000 CE. Fomenko has focused on the statistical analysis of ancient texts and his own mathematical notions about ancient astronomical observations.

The Phantom Time/New Chronology claims are some of the large number of alternate chronologies claimed for the past several millennia.

Cosma Shalizi (1974- ), Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh: "[Some cranks] are brilliant and well-educated, often with an excellent understanding of the branch of science in which they are speculating. Their books can be highly deceptive imitations of the genuine article, well-written and impressively learned.... [C]ranks work in almost total isolation from their colleagues. Not isolation in the geographical sense, but in the sense of having no fruitful contacts with fellow researchers.... The modern pseudo-scientist... stands entirely outside the closely integrated channels through which new ideas are introduced and evaluated. He works in isolation. He does not send his findings to the recognized journals, or if he does, they are rejected for reasons which in the vast majority of cases are excellent. In most cases the crank is not well enough informed to write a paper with even a surface resemblance to a significant study. As a consequence, he finds himself excluded from the journals and societies, and almost universally ignored by competent workers in the field..... The eccentric is forced, therefore, to tread a lonely way. He speaks before organizations he himself has founded, contributes to journals he himself may edit, and until recently publishes books only when he or his followers can raise sufficient funds to have them printed privately."

The possibly fictional Professor de Arcilla

In his Christ, Nikolai Morozov makes reference to Professor de Arcilla of Salamanca University (Spain) who published 2 papers (books seem ruled out), Programma Historiae Universalis, and Divinae Florae Historicae, in the 16th-century, in which de Arcilla stated that the whole of ancient history earlier than the 4th-century AD had been forged/falsified during the Middle Ages. The information on de Arcilla and his chronological research is stated to be rather vague, and that it was only by accident that Morozov managed to learn of it. It is also stated that it is known merely that de Arcilla claimed "ancient" history to have been forged in the Middle Ages. Morozov remains the sole source. It is admitted by Anatoly Fomenko: "However, we regrettably failed to have found any of his works. The Salamanca University could not give us any information about them, either." It appears that Jean Hardouin made no reference to de Arcilla.

(1) Jean Hardouin

Jean Hardouin (1646-1729) was a French Jesuit and classical scholar. (He is also erroneously identified as a Benedictine monk.) He was professor of belles-lettres and rhetoric, and then professor of positive theology for 15 years (1683-1718) at the Jesuit Collège of Louis-le-Grand in Paris. He also became librarian at the Jesuit Collège of Louis-le-Grand in Paris. (Due to state educational reform the Jesuit college was known after 1682 as the Collège Louis Le Grand.) Hardouin spent all of his adult life at the Jesuit college in Paris, and died there.

H was the author of an unusual theory about forgery. He became convinced that all of the ancient records of Greece and Rome were forgeries perpetrated by Benedictine monks, and that all of the Greco-Roman artifacts were similarly faked. (Incredibly, he argued that all extant Greek and Roman coins were forgeries.) By the time of his death he had not provided a reason why the Benedictines would fake so much history, nor a shred of evidence to back up his claims. Hardouin never revealed why such a vast deception had occurred. He stated that when he died the reason would be found written on a piece of paper the size of his hand. Though a search was made of his papers, the reason was not found. It is most likely that the pathological scepticism of Hardouin was due to him suffering from paranoia (a mental illness).

Hardouin believed that the classical literature was written by the monks of the preceding, 16th century AD (see his books: Consiliorum Collectio regia maxima, Chronologiae ex nvmmis antiqvis restitviae prolvsio de nvmmis Herodiadvm, Prolegomena ad censiiram veterum scrip to rum). In 1690 Hardouin started publishing his radical views. He believed that most of the writings of Greek and Latin antiquity were medieval forgeries written by a conspiracy of monks (and the historic forgery written as early as the 16th-century). The Benedictine monks certainly wrote works on universal history (i.e., Sigebert of Gembloux (life dates circa 1028-1112)) but there is no evidence that they conspired to write false European history.

He ultimately became librarian of the Lycée Louis-le-Grand ("The Jesuit Collège of Paris") in 1683. As librarian of the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, he came to the conclusion that virtually all classical texts, and most ancient works of art, coins and inscriptions, had been forged by a group of 13th-century monks (whom he sometimes identified as Benedictines) led by a mysterious figure whom he called Severus Archontius. The goal of this group was supposedly to "establish Atheism amongst men, by paganising all the facts of Christianity." The name Severus Archontius was probably a veiled reference to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.

Hardouin was, at the time he first proposed his theory in 1693, a highly regarded scholar. In 1685 he published an edition of the Natural History by the Roman author Pliny the Elder. In it he claimed that most Greek and Roman texts had been forged by Benedictine monks. From Bossuet to Newman by Owen Chadwick (1957, 2nd Edition 1987, Page 49: "In a work of 1693 he hinted; in a work of 1709 he affirmed; in posthumous works of 1729 and 1733 he shouted—a bewildering but simple thesis. Apart from the scriptures—that is the Latin scriptures—and six classical authors, all the writers of antiquity, profane or ecclesiastical, were forged by a group of writers in the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. This group of forgers he never defined or discussed, but always referred to them generically as 'the impious crew', 'maudite cabale'."

The most remarkable claims, contained in his Chronologiae ex nummis antiquis restitutae (1696) and Prolegomena ad censuram veterum scriptorum [Prolegomena to the Censure of Old Writers] (posthumously, 1766), was to the effect that, with the exception of the works of Homer, Herodotus and Cicero, the Natural History of Pliny, the Georgics of Virgil, and the Satires and Epistles of Horace, all the ancient classics of Greece and Rome were spurious, having been manufactured by monks of the 13th-century, under the direction of a certain Severus Archontius. He denied the genuineness of most ancient works of art, coins and inscriptions, and declared that the New Testament was originally written in Latin.

Hardouin died immediately after finishing the Prolegomena. In 1766 a Latin book by the long-dead Jean Hardouin, entitled, Ad Censurum Scriptorum Veterum Prolegomena [An Introduction to the censure of the Ancient writers], was published in London. (It was previously published in Amsterdam in 1729; Prolegomena to a Censure of Old Writers, By Jean Hardouin, Jesuit, From His Autograph ["an original handwritten manuscript"], London, At the Expense of P. Vaillant, 1766.) It contained a complete exposition of his "forged antiquity" beliefs. The publication went almost unnoticed. It was a startling work. The work in which he planned to bring down the entire classical tradition and for which his Prolegomena was the introduction was never written. In an age of eccentric scholars, Hardouin must be ranked as the most eccentric of all. Rumours of his supposed "system" had been in circulation from early in the 17th-century but only now was fully presented. (An English-language translation of the Prolegomena, was published in 1909; The Prolegomena of Jean Hardouin translated by Edwin Johnson.) Hardouin's thesis was simple. He declares his intention to show that the entire corpus of Ancient texts were forged,.

See: "Jean Hardouin: The Antiquary as Pariah." by Anthony Grafton (Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Volume 62, 1999, Pages 241-267).

(2) Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was a famous English mathematician, astronomer, physicist and scientist. He was also a chronologist and a critic of the Scaliger/Petavius chronology.

Newton was the author of serious works devoted to chronology problem. His investigations led him to conclude that several main sections of the Scaliger version of chronology are erroneous. His main contributions to this area were A Short Chronicle from the First Memory of Things in Europe, to the Conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great (42-page Prefix to his 1728 book), and The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728). By applying a scientific approach, Newton radically rearranged the ancient chronology. (Newton's chronological research did not deal with the Christian era. Basically, he analysed Egyptian and ancient Greek chronology. He likely didn't have enough time to investigate the later epochs.) In general, the Newton's chronology was significantly shorter than the Scaliger version, which is commonly accepted today. For example, Newton shifted most of the historical events preceding the epoch of Alexander of Macedonia closer to our times. Nevertheless his revisions the chronology were much less radical than the changes proposed by Nikolai Morozov, for whom Scaliger's chronology was sufficiently reliable only from the 6th-century CE.

(3) Edwin Johnson

Several 19th-century English authors, principally Edwin Johnson (1842-1901), a classicist and 'historian' were influence by Hardouin. Edwin Johnson MA was Professor of Classical Literature in New College, South Hampshire. He was known for his radical criticisms of Christian historiography and held very much the same beliefs as Jean Hardouin. Johnson was a major early proponent of "Phantom Time" chronology

In his Antiqua Mater (1887), Johnson included doubts regarding Paul's historicity. Seven years later, in his The Pauline Epistles: Re-studied and Explained (1894), Johnson questioned the historicity of all of the Pauline epistles, and also questioned the reality and existence of all of European history prior to the invention of the printing press. (Antiqua Mater is credited with beginning the origin of the modern freethought theories of the mythical origins of the Gospel Jesus.)

Johnson believed he had discovered "clear and irresistible evidence of the schemes and devices of a secret literary society." He also wrote: "Theologies and Ecclesiastical systems, formulated by societies, councils, synods, have generally had their origin in individual speculation or belief. ... On the other hand, the intense esprit de corps of a convent of monks went beyond anything that we can now realize, and led to grave sins against truth and honesty. The forgeries of charters, bulls, and legal instruments of all kinds for the glorification of a monastery by its members was at least condoned only too frequently. It can hardly be doubted that the scriptorium of many a religious house must have been turned to very discreditable uses by unscrupulous and clever scribes, with the connivance if not with the actual knowledge of the convent, for such things were not done in a corner."

In his books, The Pauline Epistles (1894) and The Rise of English Culture (1904), Edwin Johnson made the radical claim that the whole of the so-called Dark Ages between 700 and 1400 CE had never occurred, but had been invented by Christian writers who created imaginary characters and events. According to Johnson the Benedictines were involved in literary frauds regarding the construction of European history. The Church Fathers, the Gospels, St. Paul, the early Christian texts as well as Christianity in general are identified as mere literary creations and attributed to monks (chiefly Benedictines) who drew up the entire Christian mythos in the early 16th-century.

His books include: Antiqua Mater: A Study of Christian origins (1887), The Rise of Christendom (no date but published 1890), The Pauline Epistles: Re-studied and Explained (1894), The Rise of English Culture (1904), and The Prolegomena of Jean Hardouin translated by Edwin Johnson (1909) (= Prolegomena to a censure of old writers (1766)). (It is the only complete translation from the Latin existing.)

(4) Forster Arbuthnot

Forster Arbuthnot (1833-1901), held very much the same beliefs as Edwin Johnson. (He was named after his grandfather, Field Marshall Sir John FitzGerald. His first name is sometimes spelled "Foster.") Arbuthnot  was influenced by Johnson. Forster Arbuthnot was a notable British Orientalist and translator. His early career was spent as a civil servant in India (he was a prominent member of the Bombay Civil Service). In 1853 he was appointed Collector of Bombay and Superintendent of Stamps and Stationary; a position which he retained throughout his career. He was born in England and died in London. He was a long-time member of the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Arbuthnot was well versed in the ancient literature of India. He collaborated with his close friend Sir Richard Burton in the translations of 2 Sanskrit erotic texts, the Kama Sutra of Vatsayana (1883) and The Ananga Ranga (1885) (written by Kalyana Malla in 1885), both privately printed by the Kama Shastra Society (a fictitious organisation consisting of himself and Burton, a legal device to avoid obscenity laws). He also wrote the books Early Ideas: a Group of Hindoo Stories (1881, under the pseudonym Anaryan) (Early Ideas: a Group of Hindoo Stories Collected and Collated by Anaryan), Persian Portraits, a sketch of Persian History, Literature, and Politics (1887), Arabic Authors: a manual of Arabian history and literature (1890), The Mysteries of Chronology, with Proposal for a New English Era, to Be Called the Victorian (1900).

Arbuthnot met Johnson on several occasions to discuss the subject of chronology with him. Johnson intended to write a book on "Calendars and Chronological Systems," but his worsening health prevented him from proceeding with the project. The material which he had accumulated on this subject subsequently acquired by Arbuthnot. His book, The Mysteries of Chronology, which appeared in 1900, was very largely based on information which Johnson provided. The suggestion, however, for the formation of a new Era, ''The Victorian," was Arbuthnot's own. Arbuthnot's earlier book, Arabic Authors (1890) may contain traces of "Phantom Time" chronology. COPAC Full Records state for Subject(s): Arabic literature, circa 500-1500 - Critical studies. Arabic literature - History and criticism.

(5) Nikolai Morozov (Nikolaus Morosow)

Nikolai Morozov (1854-1946) was a Russian poet, scientist (he taught chemistry and astronomy at the University of Petrograd), and revolutionary. After the October Revolution, Morozov had little involvement with politics and continued to run the P. S. Lesgaft Institute of Natural Sciences in Petrograd (Leningrad) until his death at the age of 92. In 1932 he was elected honorary academician of the USSR as an outstanding chemist, astronomer, historian of culture, writer and leader of the Russian revolutionary movement. However, by the 1950s he was no longer a prominent/well-known figure and had sunk into obscurity, apparently due to Stalinist censorship.

Nikolai Morozov's "Phantom Time" has racist-nationalist origins. Morosov started to question established chronology circa 1900. Morozov was an ultra-nationalistic Russian who rejected that the Russian empire could have been subjugated by Mongols. Morozov believed that this history was a conspiracy by the Vatican and orthodox historians to extinguish Russian traditions and humiliate the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Mongols never existed. Presently, Anatoly Fomenko claims that the medieval Mongol Empire was in fact a Slav-Turk world empire (= a Russian horde), to which Western and Eastern powers paid tribute.

During the course of his studies of history, Morozov found 3 pairs of ruling ancient dynasties for which the sequences of lengths (periods) of reign, represented visually on the time line, bore a striking resemblance to one another. He suggested that in each case the 2 dynasties are actually reflections of a single real dynasty which "became multiplied" as a result of a mistaken dating of the different texts describing the same events.

His first publication related to the chronology problem was his book, Revelation in Storm and Tempest (1907), where he analysed the dating of the Book of Apocalypse from the New Testament. (The 1912 German-language translation of the book was titled, Die Offenbarung Johannis. Eine astronomish-historische Untersuchung.) It appears that on a stormy night when Nikolai Morozov was locked up in solitary confinement for terrorist activities he concluded that the Biblical account of the Apocalypse described meteorological phenomenon such as lightning and a volcano, and geographic information sufficient to identify the Greek Archipelago, constellations and planets, and a horoscope, which he dated. His conclusions contradicted Scaliger's chronology. The author believed that the Book of Revelation was based on events experienced during the day and night of 30th September, 395 CE. The events giving rise to the astronomical and astrological speculations were a thunderstorm and earthquake on the day of a solar eclipse and the course of the constellations during the night. Morozov further believed the author of the Book of Revelation was John Chrisostom, the future bishop of Constantinople. (Morozov also assumed that John Chrisostom was capable of calculating the Saros cycle.) His next book, Prophets appeared in 1914. In this book he used the astronomical methods to revise the Scaliger dating of the biblical prophecies.

Based on his analysis of the astronomical records (such as Ptolemy's Almagest) he speculated that much of human history has been falsified. Between the years 1926(1924?) and 1932, Morozov published his fundamental 7 volume work entitled, Christ: Human History from the Viewpoint of the Natural Sciences, an elaborate and detailed presentation of his critical analysis of Scaliger's chronology. Christ: Human History from the Natural Scientiifc Point of View (Volume 8 is unpublished) is his most important work. (The remaining Volume 8 is an unpublished draft manuscript.) See the (English-language) book review "Morozov's "Christ"" (of the then unpublished volumes) by Gregory Zilboorg in The Nation, Summer Book Supplement, Volume 112, Number 2920, June 22, 1921, Pages 896 & 898. The books by Morozov were widely discussed in the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s (just a Fomenko's are widely discussed today), and apparently no serious objections were raised. Morozov analysed a vast amount of historical material from his unique perspective, proposed new methods, identified what he believed were parallel (identical) dynasties, changed the locations of events, and generally had decided that the conventional chronology had been stretched in comparison with real events. It is today the basis upon which rely the Russian critics of established chronology, such as Anatoly Fomenko, rely. The theories of Morozov about the chronology of the Middle East and Israel before the 1st-century BCE attracted the attention of Fomenko, who based his own New Chronology upon them. (Morozov's Christ was reprinted 1997-1998, 7 Volumes in 8 books. The books are in Russian and remain untranslated.)

It seems Morozov was unaware of the chronological research published by Isaac Newton and Edwin Johnson, which at that time were practically forgotten.

For a succinct explanation of the book, Revelation in Storm and Tempest and the weaknesses of the theory, see: Watchers of the Skies by Willy Ley (1969, Pages 43-47); and the effective critique "Pseudo-Science and Revelation." by the Russian-born astronomer Nicholas Bobrovnikoff in Popular Astronomy, Volume 49, May, 1949, Pages 251-256.

(6) Albert Delahaye

Albert Delahaye (1915-1987) was a Dutch archivist for the city of Nijmegen who proposed from 1946 a set of radical claims for Dutch history. As examples: Delahaye (among many claims) claimed that the whole late Roman and early Medieval history of the northern Netherlands and Germany has been invented and has been transposed from further South. According to Delahaye the Roman city Noviomagus is not Nijmegen but is Noyon, a city on a river in northwestern France. Delahaye questioned the conventional history that Charlemagne built a palace in Nijmegen. According to standard European history, Charlemagne would stay at his palace in Nijmegen on his travels throughout the (Holy Roman) empire..

See Delahaye's first 2 books: Van Dorestadum tot Waderlo, Zundert (1979); and Holle boomstammen De historische mythen van Nederland, ontleend aan Frans Vlaanderen, Tournehem-Zundert (1980).

(7) Anatoly Fomenko

Anatoly Fomenko (1945- ) is a Russian version of the Austrian historian Heribert Illig. (However, Fomenko was influenced by the ideas of Jean Hardouin, and Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765), a Russian polymath, natural scientist (astronomer and geologist), linguist, and writer and poet. In 1760, Lomonosov published his own very controversial history of Russia. He reinterpreted early Russian history and opposed Normanist claims. It has also been identified that Fomenko relies on Nikolai Morozov's evidentiary approach.) Fomenko and Illig share somewhat similar "phantom time" ideas. However, Fomenko advocates a more radical revision of historical chronology - "an improved version of the global chronology of the Ancient Time." Anatoly Fomenko Dr. of Sci. (Math. and Phys.), is a Soviet and Russian mathematician, professor at Moscow State University (since 1980) where he is Head of the Department of Differential Geometry and Applications, and a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is a distinguished mathematician and a well-known specialist in the fields of geometry, Hamiltonian mechanics, calculus of variations, computer geometry and algorithmical problems in pattern recognition. He is a winner of the Award of the Moscow Math. Soc. (1974), the Award of the Presidium of USSR Acad. of Sci. in mathematics (1987) and the State Award of Russia (in mathematics) (1994).

In 1973 Fomenko first became interested in Morozov's ideas concerning chronology. In 1980, with the collaboration of several colleagues from the mathematics department of Moscow State University, he published several articles on "new mathematical methods in history" in peer-reviewed journals. These articles initially generated considerable controversy, but did not gain that support of any respected historians. By the early 1990s, Fomenko shifted his focus from trying to convince the scientific community via peer-reviewed publications to publishing books. By 1996 he expanded his claims to include Russia, Turkey, China, Europe, and Egypt.

Fomenko's New Chronology views (that world history essentially started in 1000 CE) have been widely disseminated in Russia. Interestingly, Russian history is traditionally held to have commenced in 862 CE. In Formenko's version of history the main source of almost all civilization is Russia.

Fomenko believes there is no reliable written record of human events before the 11th-century CE. Fomenko is particularly opposed to "Scaligerian chronology." Fomenko and his collaborator Gleb Nosovsky (1958- ; a Russian mathematician) base many of their arguments on statistical and astronomical analyses. Fomenko is a supporter of drastically revising historical chronology. He has created his own revision called New Chronology, based on statistical correlations, dating of zodiacs, and by examining the mathematics and astronomy involved in chronology. Fomenko claims that he has discovered that many historical events do not correspond mathematically with the dates they are supposed to have occurred on. He asserts from this that all of ancient history (including the history of Greece, Rome, and Egypt) is just a reflection of events that occurred in the Middle Ages and that all of Chinese and Arab history are fabrications of 17th and 18th century Jesuits.

According to Fomenko, most of our knowledge of earlier cultures is based on texts or copies of texts that date from after that era. From that point on, chroniclers - primarily learned religious scholars - used supposition and arbitrary consensus to fix the dates of key events in history. In doing so, they grafted recent occurrences onto earlier dates - sometimes unwittingly, sometimes perniciously - thus creating numerous "historical duplicates." History appears to repeat itself, Fomenko suggests, because it is thoroughly plagiarized. As well as disputing written chronologies, Fomenko also disputes more objective dating techniques such as dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating.

Fomenko advocates what he calls The New Chronology. The New Chronology also contains a reconstruction, an alternative chronology, radically shorter than the standard historical timeline, because all ancient history is "folded" onto the Middle Ages. According to Fomenko's claims, the written history of humankind goes only as far back as 800 CE, there is almost no information about events between AD 800-1000, and most known historical events took place in AD 1000-1500. Most Russian scientists and worldwide historians considered Fomenko's historical works to be pseudoscientific.

See the series: History: Fiction or Science by Anatoly Fomenko (2nd edition, 7 volumes, 2003-2006). Also, for an interesting read, see: Geometrical and Statistical Methods of Analysis of Star Configurations Dating Ptolemy's Almagest by Anatoly Fomenko and Vladimir Kalashnikov (1993); Mysteries of Egyptian Zodiacs and Other Riddles of Ancient History by Anatoly Fomenko et. al. (2004). For a sufficient critique of Anatoly Fomenko see: Lomonosov's bastards: Anatolii Fomenko, pseudo-history and Russia's search for a post-communist identity by Sheiko Konstantin (2004, PhD Thesis, University of Wollongong. (Available online: https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/222/) Also: False Identities and Multiple Identities in Russian History: The Mongol Empire and Ivan the Terrible by Charles Halperin (The Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies, Number 2103, August 2011). A solid critique of Fomenko's 'New Chronology' by a professional historian specialising in Russian history. (Downloadable from: https://carlbeckpapers.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/cbp/article/view/160/156) The Russian-born sociologist and historian Mischa Gabowitsch, PhD in Contemporary History and Area Studies (2007), since July 2010 a research fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany, is another important critic of the New Chronology. (The WayBackMachine has not saved the URL: http://www.jesus1053.com/l2-wahl/l2-autoren/l3-gabowitsch/Fomenko-Misha.html, from circa 2012.)

(8) Heribert Illig

Heribert Illig (1947- ) is considered one of the leading proponents of the theory of "Phantom Time." In 1986, the German (sometimes stated to be Austrian) journalist/publisher and "historian" (chronology critic) Heribert Illig began developing the "phantom time" hypothesis ("Phantomzeittheorie"). From 1989 to 1994 he acted as editor of the journal Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart. From 1995, he worked as a publisher and author under his own publishing company, Mantis-Verlag, and publishing his own journal, Zeitensprünge.

Before focusing on the early medieval period, Illig published various proposals for revised chronologies of prehistory and of Ancient Egypt. (He was active in an association dedicated to Immanuel Velikovsky, catastrophism and historical revisionism, Gesellschaft zur Rekonstruktion der Menschheits- und Naturgeschichte.)

In 1991 (it appears) he first published his idea that are 297 years missing from time. In 1992 he published Chronologie und Katastrophismus.  (According to Illig it's a portion of European written history only that has been fabricated.) According to both Heribert Illig and his fellow conspiracy friend Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest the years between 614 CE and 911 CE never happened. According to Illig's "phantom time" hypothesis, the period between 614 CE and 911 CE didn't exist; the history normally attributed to that time period is either a misinterpretation (perhaps occurred in a different time period) or a deliberate falsification of the evidence. According to Illig, the 6th to 8th centuries were invented in their entirety by mediaeval priests and historians. The genesis of the idea seems to been inspired by problems dating medieval documents.

Heribert Illig's "phantom history" thesis contains some vicious attacks on the authenticity of medieval Jewish history. Among its most extremist claims is the suggestion that Jews intentionally faked gravestones (dating to the early Middle Ages) in order to manipulate world history and to invent 300 ("non-existing") years between the 7th- and 10th-century CE.

It is likely that Illig was influenced by the New Chronology of Fomenko.

Illig has spent many years elaborating and defending his proposition that the years 614-911 CE were invented and inserted into histories ex post facto at the behest of Otto III. According to Illig, Charlemagne was not a living person, but an artifact of a large scale history falsification. Illig concludes that Holy Roman Emperor Otto III conspired with Pope Sylvester II to retroactively invent the entire Carolingian dynasty including Charlemagne. According to Illig, the present year is not 2010, but 1713; Charlemagne (reigned 768-814) and Alfred the Great were fictional characters; the Viking raids never happened; etc. Illig's foundation for his theory are the presumed inconsistencies between the Gregorian and Julian calendars. According to Illig, when the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582, the difference between it and the old Julian calendar should have been 13 days, but the calendar was only "rewound" 10 days forward. These 3 days roughly correspond to 300 years, which are "missing." This was later countered by critics with the argumentation that the Gregorian calendar was synchronized not with AD 1 but with AD 325, when the First Council of Nicaea took place, thus accounting for the "missing" three centuries. Illig also criticizes historians for what he claims is their over-credulous attitude toward written documents, and points out inadequacies in dendrochronology and archaeological methods.

Illig's ideas have been taken up and developed by other German historians as well as conspiracy theorists. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz (1946-2010), among others, was a notable German proponent. Niemitz is considered the inventor of the concept of "phantom years." Niemitz was an aviation engineer by training. From 1993 to 2009 he was Professor an der Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur in Leipzig. Niemitz doubted the correctness of the radiocarbon method and dendrochronology, and all other scientific dating methods. Together with Uwe Topper and Christian Blöss he founded in 1994 the Berliner Geschichts-Salon (Berlin History-Salon). (See: C14-Crash by Christian Blöss and Hans-Ulrich Niemitz (2nd edition, 2000).

The German physicist Christian Blöss (1957- ; Diplom Physiker; Independent Reasearcher) has, since the 1980s, been an outspoken critic of the theory of evolution as developed by Darwin and Haeckel, and focuses on catastrophes originated by planets. Together with Christoph Marx, Gunnar Heinsohn, and Heribert Illig, Blöss founded in 1982 the Society for the Reconstruction of the History of Nature and Mankind (GRMNG), which he led as a vice-president. He joined with Uwe Topper and Hans-Ulrich Niemitz to found in 1994 the Berliner Geschichtssalon (BGS). For several years, Blöss worked together with Niemitz on a critical review of dating methods, especially radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology. Blöss also published Ceno-Crash (2000) in which he presents a new, shortened chronology for the geological epochs of the Earth. He erases the millions of years suggested by Darwin and Lyell, including the 65.000.000 years of the Tertiary Age.

See the critical rebuttal: Die Präzision der Präzession. Illigs mittelalterliche Phantomzeit aus astronomischer Sicht by Franz Krojer (2003). Also: A Guide to the Phantom Dark Age by Emmet Scot (2014).

(9) Gunnar Heinsohn

Gunnar Heinsohn (1943- ) is a German sociologist and economist who was born in Poland. Heinsohn studied Philosophy, Economy and Sociology in Berlin, and obtained his PhD in 1973. From 1984 to 2009, he was a tenured professor at the University of Bremen. His interests include developing new theories regarding the history and theory of civilization. He holds that there are 700 "phantom years" in the 1st-millennium CE. He has also attempted to show that the History of Mesopotamia and Egypt is 2000 years too long, being a mistake due to dates derived from the Bible. On the antiquity of hominids, Heinsohn maintains that there is no legitimate interpretation of existing evidence which would indicate that they died out any more than 4000 or 5000 years ago.

In 1982 he was a co-founder, together with Christoph Marx, Christian Blöss and Heribert Illig, of the Society for the Reconstruction of the History of Humankind and Nature (GRMNG).

Heinsohn basically uses stratigraphical arguments. As example of this form of argument: How can one explain that sites dated to Antiquity (1st-3rd Century) are as stratigraphically close to the High Middle Ages (10th/11th Century) as Early Medieval sites if they are not contemporary?

Some publications include: Die Sumerer gab es nicht [The Sumerians never existed] (1988); Wann lebten die Pharaonen? (with Heribert Illig) (1990); and Wieviel Jahre Hat Das Erste Jahrtausend? [How Many Years in the First Millennium CE?] (2013).

(10) Uwe Topper

Uwe Topper (1940- ) is a German amateur researcher, pseudo historian, and author of books about historic, ethnographic and anthropological subjects.

In the early 1990s he was in contact with other German critics of established chronology, including Gunnar Heinsohn, Heribert Illig, and Christoph Marx. Since the late 1990s he is best known as a proponent of radically rewriting chronology, with his variant of New Chronology being somewhat between Heribert Illig's phantom time hypothesis and Anatoly Fomenko's chronological claims.

Apart from working on his "New Chronology" Topper has carried out extensive anthropological research. He has published scientific articles in German official reviews like Zeitschrift für Ethnologie and Jahrbuch des Museums für Anthropologie München. He has also published books on early history. Topper has also written about the Book of Revelation (Das letzte Buch (1993)).

In 1995, Topper, focused on the Middle Ages and published a series of books which try to show that history, as we know it, was created from the 16th- century onwards. According to Topper there are hardly any true facts before 1400 CE. His book titles include: Die Große Aktion [The Big Action] (1998) Erfundene Geschichte [Invented History](1999), Fälschungen der Geschichte [Faked History] (2001), ZeitFälschung [Faking Time] (2003).

(11) Zoltan Skoda

The Hungarian scholar Zoltan Skoda argues for a calendrical time slip of 200 years. He has produced a number of publications presenting his arguments for such. Through an interpreter he has also presented a lecture at Trinity College Dublin, in 2016.


Sheiko Konstantin (2004) observes: "Pseudo-history mimics and feeds upon conventional history."

The claims of proponents of Phantom time/New Chronology requires believing that all of academia is in on the scam and unwilling to deviate from it. "Established" historians. are apparently too invested in the standard view of modern history. Any evidence given to demonstrate that their ideas are unfounded is simply rejected as fake or unreliable. However, the sound basis for refuting/disproving their ideas include: (1) Astronomical events (i.e., supernovae, eclipses, comets), (2) Dendrochronology, and (3) Radiometric dating (i.e., radiocarbon dating). Astronomical data recorded throughout history create a accurate time clock. For millennia, people have observed and recorded events connected with the sun, moon and stars. Records of notable historical events that are contemporaneous with the appearance of comets, eclipses, etc., enable a reliable time-check.

The overwhelming argument against the Phantom Time concept is the effort to create/forge the written accounts, literature, poetry etc; and then to destroy all the traces of this fraudulent effort, is a task that one generation of writers could never fulfill. The enormous expenditure of effort this fraud would have needed makes these theories not just highly improbable but fantasies.

One of the peculiarities of Phantom time/New Chronology proponents is their claim that in the process of grafting recent occurrences onto earlier dates numerous "historical duplicates" are created. History appears to repeat itself. However, the explanation for "historical duplicates" has been well-known. As example: Saxo Grammaticus in the 12th-century CE, working from material in Danish libraries for his Gesta Danorum (Deeds [Story] of the Danes), was also influenced by French sources regarding the history of kings. Literature/story themes, were also shared (migrated) between countries/nations during the medieval period. "It is well-known that Latin histories contain use of details taken from a number of works from antiquity and the middle ages. See for example: Non-Native Sources for the Scandinavian Kings' Sagas by Paul White (2005); and Kings' Sagas and Norwegian History: Problems and Perspectives by Shami Ghosh (2011).

To a considerable extent the Eurocentric Phantom Time claims are built on apparent oddities in calendar correction. As example: A specific "Phantom Time" claim by the Illig-Niemitz group emphasises that in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII removed 10 days from the newly reformed calendar (the change from the old Julian calendar to the new Gregorian calendar) to correct for the chronological drift caused by the old Julian calendar's imprecise rules for inserting leap days. (The Julian calendar was introduced during the time of Julius Caesar, in 45 BCE.) After counting the leap years in the old Julian calendar Illig claimed the real error was 13 days not 10 days, and concluded that fewer centuries had existed - approximately 3 centuries of modern history had been faked. They assert that the 10-day shift corrects for just 1,257 years' worth of accumulated error. Subtracting 1,257 from 1582 we arrive at 325 CE, not 45 BCE. It is by this calculation they claim that more than 3 centuries are unaccounted for. But the so-called method rests on a historical error. The idea was not to correct the Julian calendar error that had accumulated since the year 1. Simply, Pope Gregory's 10-day calendar correction wasn't meant to get the calendar realigned with Julius Caesar's time in 45 BCE; rather it was to ensure the calendar was aligned with the Easter dating guidelines established at the First Council of Nicaea. The time of Easter had been fixed at the First Council of Nicaea which took place in 325 CE.

The Frankish leader Charlemagne is a problem for Phantom Time claims. Charlemagne consolidated much of western Europe under his rule in the late 700s and in 800 CE was crowned emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III. All of this falls in the middle of the intercalated 297 years. Illig explains this away by saying Charlemagne is an "invented figure" (a hoax by the Church). The larger problem for the Phantom Time claims and its focus on Western Europe and the alleged mythical 3 centuries of the so-called "Dark Ages." Ignored are the events occurring in other parts of the world. As example: The Byzantine Empire and the emergence of Islam, and their warfare for control of the eastern Mediterranean. (Formenko rejects Islamic chronology as bogus.) Also, in east Asia, the Tang dynasty was presiding over a golden era of Chinese culture.

Fomenko and Illig both argue there is a lack of documentary and archaeological evidence for the latter centuries of the 1st-millennium. However, this period has been termed the European Dark Ages for the very fact there was little literature produced and few large construction projects undertaken. The abundant evidence for the existence of Charlemagne is simply dismissed as falsifications. Also, Fomenko offers the astonishing "argument" that effectively says if we exclude/reject every single method we have established to date documents/artifacts then not a single document/artifact can be reliably be dated before 11th-century CE! Interestingly, Fomenko asserts that he is only offering historical conjectures.

The claims of Illig and Niemitz do not require energetic debunking. In his withering dissection of Phantom Time, Steven Dutch of the University of Wisconsin points out there are 3 major pieces of provable evidence that upend Illig's theory: (1) Charlemagne lived during the "missing time." Charlemagne was real. (2) The Chinese Tang Dynasty happened during this time. The Tang Dynasty was real. (3) Halley's Comet sightings are recorded during this time. But getting the whole world to participate with a 300-year forgery - and then succeeding in keeping it a secret - would have been impossible.

Astronomical records involving supernovae, eclipses, and comets exist on several different continents; especially in areas such as Mesopotamia and China. Mesopotamian and Chinese astronomical record go back to before 1000 BCE. Records of return visits of Halley’s comet exist on 3 continents. The Chinese records use a completely different dating system to the Julian and Gregorian calendars. However, the Chinese dates can be precisely correlated to the Western calendars when these astronomical events are matched up. For the centuries that Fomenko and Illig claim did not exist we have historical reports of Halley's comet that anchor historical chronology to the dates of the sightings. Of particular interest is Halley's comet was sighted in Europe in 760, 837, 912, 989, 1066, and 1145 CE per the conventional calendar system of the time. Formenko simply asserts that the European reports are forgeries, and that the Chinese and other astronomical records are useless/unreliable. Otherwise, Fomenko omits to discuss astronomical materials that contradict his ideas.

The supernovae of 1054 CE, recorded by observers astronomers in India, the Islamic world, China and Japan, is identified by Formenko as the Star of Bethlehem. Ignored is the convincing explanation for the Star of Bethlehem as simply a historical fiction. The supposed darkness occurring in the story of the crucifixion of Jesus is identified by Formenko as a total solar eclipse that darkened Europe and the Mediterranean region in 1079, 1086, or 1098. However, the Bible is not a literal historical account of events.

Dendrochronology tree ring data) can be synchronised (matched) with Radiometric dating, and ice core data - going back to circa 9000 BCE. Wood artifacts from different periods can be dated by radiocarbon dating or dendrochronology, and the date cross-checked. Fomenko rejects both radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology. Fomenko's responses to astronomical objections to his theory depend largely upon his conjectures.

See: A New Chronology: Notes and Observations, for lots of material: http://anewchronology.blogspot.com

Appendix 1: Robert Baldauf

Robert Baldauf, a Swiss philologist and a Privatdozent at the University of Basel during the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrote a book Historic und Kritik (1902-1903, 2 Volumes of intended 4 Volumes), in which he claimed on the basis of purely philological arguments that not only ancient, but even medieval history was a falsification of the Renaissance and subsequent centuries. Baldauf had studied the archives of the famous Swiss monastery of St. Gallen, formerly one of the key centres of Roman Catholicism. The ideas and conclusions expressed in his 2 published volumes are similar to those of Jean Hardouin.

Robert Baldauf remains an enigmatic person. It appears that none of his contemporaries bothered to investigate and document any biographical facts about him. Robert Baldauf may even have been a pseudonym used to protect his job and reputation. Simply, his being a lecturer at Basel University cannot be confirmed so far, as his name occurs nowhere in the annales and documents of that institution; nor is the University printer able to provide any clue regarding the personality of Baldauf. Nobody is able to identify where he was born, received his Ph.D. or died. Registration or address books of the years around 1900 do not include his name. It was not until the early 1990s that he was recovered from oblivion by Uwe Topper.

Appendix 2: Edo Nyland

Edo Nyland argued that all European languages are essentially coded forms of Basque, and modern European languages are a conspiracy invented by medieval monks. According to Nyland, at one time, there was only one language spoken over the whole world, Saharan, which is now known as Basque. Cracking the supposed linguistic code became his obsession and his claimed successful results are set out in his lengthy 2001 book Linguistic Archaeology.

Edo Nyland (1927; but confused as 1941 with different Dutch person of same name who migrated to Canada with his parents) - 2009) was born in the Netherlands (and his wife Elisabeth (1938-2007) was born in Germany). After time in the military in the late 1940s, he moved to Canada in 1952, and got a BSF in Forestry (= Bachelor of Science in Forestry). He spent the next several years logging, until at age 55 he retired to North Saanich on southern Vancouver Island.

He believed he had discovered that all 6000+ languages on earth are simply languages invented by Benedictine monks, working closely with Ligurian (= north-western Italy) grammarians (= professional linguists). Nyland claimed that professional linguists (Medieval period and earlier) have been creating languages in secret and injecting them into society, where they become spoken. He also claims to have determined that the only original language, from which all the others have been secretly derived, is Basque.

See: Nyland, Edo. (2001). Linguistic Archaeology: An Introduction; and Nyland, Edo. (2002). Odysseus and the Sea Peoples: A Bronze Age History of Scotland.

Appendix: 3: A Case of Medieval Monks Fabricating Local History

"Glastonbury myths 'made up by 12th-century monks.'

Glastonbury Abbey's myths were invented by medieval monks. A Four-year archaeological study concludes that 12th century monks spun mythical links to make it one of the country's richest monasteries in the land inventing many stories to raise funds after the devastating fire of 1184. The Glastonbury legend claims the site was founded by Joseph of Arimathea, shortly after the days of Christ, and King Arthur was buried in the Abbey grounds. Later generations of monks became so engrossed by the legends that they either suppressed or misinterpreted evidence that did not fit. Sites in the town became linked with the legend of the holy grail, One story says that Christ himself came and built a church in honour of his mother and that Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury from the Holy Land and planted his walking stick which flowered miraculously.

Concluding a four year study that commenced with a One-Day Symposium in 2011 Rediscovering Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1908 – 1979 the Glastonbury legend has been dismissed by the team of 31 specialists, led by Roberta Gilchrist, professor of archaeology at the University of Reading, which re-examined all the unpublished records of 20th-century excavations. The study has revealed how the medieval monks spun the abbey’s mythical links to make Glastonbury one of the richest monasteries in the country. New analysis has highlighted how the monks crafted the legends to restore the abbey’s fortunes after a devastating fire in 1184. Professor Gilchrist said: "The monks needed to raise money by increasing the numbers of visiting pilgrims, which meant keeping the myths and legends alive. They also found evidence that the monks laid out the buildings in a very distinctive way to emphasise the 'earliest church' story." Gilchrist added: "We took a step back from the myth and legends and used 21st-century technology to expose the abbey’s true history." However, new discoveries suggest a previously unknown glassworks dating from as early as the 7th-century was in operation at Glastonbury, the earliest archaeological evidence of glass-making in Britain. Ceramic fragments were also found at the site proving that wine was imported from the continent even earlier.

A key focus for the study team was a re-examination of the work of Ralegh Radford, who excavated the site in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr Radford claimed to have discovered Britain's earliest Christian cemetery as well as the site of King Arthur's grave, allegedly located by monks in 1191. However, on re-examining the excavation records Gilchrist argues that this feature was merely a pit and its identification as Arthur's grave was based entirely on medieval accounts of the excavation. The disastrous fire of 1184 had left the monks with the problem of rebuilding with little resource and no major relics to attract pilgrims. The solution was the identification of Glastonbury as the legendary isle of Avalon and the supposed discovery of the grave of Arthur and Guinevere, conveniently found together with a leaden burial cross bearing a Latin inscription naming the king and identifying Glastonbury as Avalon.

The Burial Cross of King Arthur has been lost for centuries, but Gilchrist says that images suggest it was a 12th-century forgery based on an Anglo-Saxon original. Gilchrists (sic) argues that the pit discovered by Ralegh Radford that he claimed to be Arthur's "grave" has now been found to contain material from the 11th to the 15th centuries, with no evidence whatsoever to link it to the mythical king. Ralegh Radford may have been "clouded" by the Glastonbury legends but it is fair to say he did not have the "luxury" of 21st-century technology.

Gilchrist could find no early accounts of a special tree in the abbey, and no evidence for the "Holy Thorn" before the 17th-century. The gnarled thorn now seen in the grounds is nothing more than a common hawthorn which naturally flowers in midsummer and midwinter.

The 12th-century historian, William of Malmesbury, wrote a description of an ancient wooden church which Gilchrist believes he clearly saw, probably an Anglo-Saxon wooden church, which could have dated back to the 7th-century but of course at that time William had no means of securely dating the building. However, in William's original account he was careful to say that he had only been told that it was built by Christ's disciples. Later versions of William's work has had much additional material inserted, probably by the monks retrofitting an ancient history to further boost their status.

Gilchrist concluded; "This project has rewritten the history of Glastonbury Abbey."

Appendix 4: How Glastonbury Abbey's myths were invented by medieval monks on the make

"Four-year archaeological study reveals monks spun mythical links to make it one of the country's richest monasteries

It has long been linked with the legend of King Arthur and the story of Joseph of Arimathea, but archaeologists have now torn apart a series of popular myths about Glastonbury Abbey, one of the most romantic religious sites in Britain. They have sifted through hundreds of years of evidence and have found that stories about the abbey’s origins were most likely invented by medieval monks trying to turn a profit.

The abbey, in Somerset, was believed to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea as Britain's earliest church and was reputed to be King Arthur's burial place. But those alluring myths have been dismissed by a team of archaeologists from the University of Reading following a four-year study. ....
Professor Roberta Gilchrist, who led the study, said: "We took a step back from the myth and legends and used 21st-century technology to expose the abbey's true history. This project has rewritten the history of Glastonbury Abbey."

A key focus for the researchers was a re-examination of the work of Ralegh Radford, who excavated the site in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr Radford claimed to have discovered Britain’s earliest Christian cemetery as well as the site of King Arthur's grave – allegedly located by monks in 1181. But Arthur's "grave" has now been found to contain material from the 11th to the 15th centuries, with no evidence linking it to the mythical king. Guy Ritchie is latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur
The new analysis has highlighted how the monks crafted the legends to restore the abbey’s fortunes after a devastating fire in 1184.

Professor Gilchrist said: "The monks needed to raise money by increasing the numbers of visiting pilgrims, which meant keeping the myths and legends alive." "We found evidence that the monks laid out the buildings in a very distinctive way to emphasise the 'earliest church' story." "The monks also deliberately designed the rebuilt church to look older. This swelled pilgrim numbers – and the abbey's coffers.""

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