European history has been adultered and played with by the clergy for many centuries
Abstract from two books from 1998 und 1999, roughly translated into English by the author
Manuscript August 1999
Grabert editor, Tübingen 1998
Paperback, 286 pp. , 23 fotos and many drawings. DM 32.- ISBN 3-87847-172-6
The Great Action – How Europe’s History was produced
The well known fact that most European medieval documents are forged, written much later and falsified or at least giving distorted information, has so far not been carried to its final conclusion: our whole historiography until the 16th century is fabricated and resembles rather a great novel than an earnest essay to reconstruct historical facts.
Analysing certain famous “chronicles” or contemporaneous reports such as the works of Tacitus (“Agricola” and “Germania”) or the writings of Roswit of Gandersheim (10th cent.), Topper comes to results – already proclaimed since the last century by academic scholars - that they are all invented, mostly in the 15th and 16th century. Our great Humanists like Erasmus of Rotterdam or Conrad Celtes, Nicolaus Cusanus or Piccolomini (later pope Pius II) and many of their colleagues excelled in writing history under new aspects, using legends and hearsay for their world-chronics.
Viewing other examples like Marc Aurel’s “Memoirs” or the “Golden Donkey” of Apuleius, the author prooves with accuracy that they cannot have been written in Roman Antiquity but are the product of Renaissance writers who step by step perfected their fabric.
To talk about conspiracy has no meaning in this context. The “Great Action” was chaotic, hazardous, without central planing, and that is why we can detect so many mistakes. There have even lived a number of respected scholars and churchmen who resisted this behaviour and tried to get down to more trustworthy historiography, mostly in vane. Yet their fight against official lies still gives us some idea of the problem. Among the many outright scholars are mentioned Jean Hardouin, Jean de Launoy and Barthelemy Germon.
The great Isaac Newton was well aware of the chronological and dogmatic discussion of his time and followed it with astuteness during four decades until his death. Although it would be unrealistic to enhance his arguments nowadays, his postume book on Chronology still gives us an idea of how vague and uncertain all knowledge about the past has been and how it was put together with the result that we now believe to hold documents in hands where in reality novels and faked chronicles suggest a written history going back as far as thousands of years.
Other scientists, most prominently some German philologists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, like Aschbach, Baldauf or Kammeier, were able to detect many cases of fraud and gave a good idea of the “Great Action” of the church, thereby unveiling fables and inventions we had taken for real.
Summing up all these efforts, the author adds new insights that had never been thought of. He can show how even Chinese history has been worked upon by the Catholic church and finally been accepted by Chinese scientists. Islamic and Jewish history is no less affected. In the end a new idea comes forth, a new way of looking at historiography, worthy to be considered by modern historians.
Herbig editor, Munich, February 1999
Hardcover, 256 p, 28 fotos and various drawings (DM 39,90) ISBN 3-7766-2083-4
Invented History - Our Time-reckoning is wrong
There exist nearly no original written documents about historical events between the end of classical antiquity (around 500 AD) and the late middle ages (around 1200), as Topper explained in his last book („The Great Action, Our history is false“ - Grabert editor 1998).
He now goes one step further, following the famous and scandalizing theory of Heribert Illig, proving that the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries have to be cut out as they are entirely invented.
We can by no means - wether physical nor documental - assert with certainty, how many years have gone by between the introduction of Ceasar’s calender (supposedly in 44 BC) and the start of AD-time-reckoning in the 15th century.
This theory brings an astonishingly new understanding of medieval history and especially of the relationship between Christianity and Islam, as the conclusions of the time lapse infer a different evolution of the monotheistic religions in Europe and Asia.
Topper explains furthermore how the error of 297 years crept into the calculations of the Christian monks and how it was perpetuated and solidified in all other time-tables from Andalusia to China.
The author belongs since five years to the German group of chronology-explorers who gathered around Marx, Heinsohn and Illig. Recently they have won attention by the London based group SIS (Society of Interdisciplinary Studies), as well as by the statistical chronological revisionists around Fomenko in Russia. Even if certain aspects of these new theories are still to be verified and could change in detail, the general outline has now become obvious and is discussed in academic circles. It will dominate all debates in the coming decades until a new chronological order is established to supplant the fabulous and totally unfounded actual chronology.
Toppers new book delivers a base for these discussions, as it provides in popular language a complete briefing of the results of the German group of chronology reconstructors.
About the author:
German author Uwe Topper, born 1940, has travelled widely between Portugal, Egypt and India, Norway, Sicily and Morocco, investigating in the fields of anthropology, history of art and religion. He has published ten popular books, as well as scientific articles on historical and anthropological subjects. Great part of his findings are based on his personal field research, bringing new aspects into the light of scientists and adding more weight to the arguments of the German school of history reconstructionists with whom he is working since five years.
Short selection of some of the arguments for the new theory
Invented History (contents)
The universally accepted chronology is broken up
Since when do we reckon our years from zero-point agreed to be the birth of Jesus Christ?
The Spanish ERA
Trying to establish methods for the calculation of years gone by
The unfailing cosmic clock
The Calendar of Cordoba
Putting the lever from outside!
Oriental traditions give us an insight into manipulations of time and chronicles
The mysterious genesis of the Slavic peoples
How does Islamic history fit into the new picture?
How an epoch was created: the Spanish reconqista was quite different
Strategies of defense
Where lays the difference between the writings of Heribert Illig and Uwe Topper?
The universally accepted chronology is broken up
Only fifteen years ago a group of German scientists started to revise our European chronology, because they had detected serious faults and misleadings therein. Neither archaeological findings nor critical research into old documents could bring proof of the veracity of chronological data which had hitherto been regarded as beyond doubt.
The range of questions put to ordinary history and to the development of mankind had become very wide. From geological periods to Darwin’s evolution and from cavedwellings to the beginning of the Greek Olympics just every kind of subject was put under observation and traditional academical answers were put to the test. It turned out that the whole vision of history - natural history as well as human history - has to be written anew.
Each member of the group took to a special field and revealed the mistakes tradional science had committed by following unquestioningly the patterns of the past. Some of these scientists are known in the English speaking world too, thanks to their lectures and papers in England and United States, such as Gunnar Heinsohn, who is specialist in Oriental matters (Babylonia, India, Armenia among many others), or Benny Peiser, who shortened Greek history by a substantial amount of years. Others are more concerned with the Arab world, as Manfred Zeller, Angelika Müller and the author of these lines. There are experts for Indonesia and Japan, China and Russia, and all found the weak points in traditional teachings which can be put down to the basic idea: History as taught so far is no more than a nice novel invented to amuse or to indoctrinate, later on believed naively without a second thought.
The special point considered in this book is concerned with the chronological construction that lies at the base of our own time-reckoning. Are we really approachiung the year 2000 after the birth of Jesus Christ? Have there passed 20 centuries since Roman emperor Augustus made his famous census of the population of his whole empire?
In fact, these questions are not new. Some scholars have doubted chronology long before, but they were more concerned with the philosophical outcome of their doubts, they thought rather less practical. Sir Isaac Newton had a long running dispute with the best men of his time and still could not convince them of his theory of chronology. A brilliant example of our own century is German philosopher Oswald Spengler who turned a lot of the old scales upside down without putting to much weight on this point and - this is true, although quite curious - was not understood by broad society although he was published and read by unprecedented great numbers.
The question had to be started again in this generation, but this time with more success. Details are far from being solved, yet the great line is drawn: We cannot assert how many centuries have elapsed since certain events of antique history which we take for granted.
Since when do we reckon our years from zero-point agreed to be the birth of Jesus Christ?
The Roman Catholic Church, or more exactly: the Vatican, introduced by decree around 1431 an official way to compute time in its documents: the calculation of the years of the Lord, Anno Domini, abbreviated AD, which had been used already inofficially, it is said, in many European countries. The beginning of this method of time-computing is supposed to go back some centuries, eventually to Regino of Prum, a monk who wrote a chronicle (about 906 or 911 AD) which much later has been used by historians as earliest trustworthy base for the history of the Francs.
Modern historiographers (best update: Regine Sonntag) agree more or less in the assumption, that Regino was the first to use the AD-calculation in a chronicle. Before him only attempts to use this compute where credited to the British monk Beda Venerabilis, and earlier to a calendar constructed (532 AD) by Dionysius Exiguus, the Skythian monk. But of both scripts we only have very late copies and therefore cannot decide on the authenticity of these works. Taking into account the inherent mistakes in the works of Beda, and having in mind, that the calculations of Dionysius or his supposed forerunner Victorinus of Aquitania (465 AD) had been rather theoretical - because never applied - one is rather inclined to disregard those copies as fakes. They could have been written much later in order to back up the idea of an early and well founded computation “from the birth of Christ”.
In fact, before the 10th century, that means before the life-time of Regino, we cannot find sources having used the AD-reckoning. He may have started it on the base of some earlier hints, but it is possible to assume - as we don’t posess the original - that somebody may have introduced those AD-dates into the copies of Reginos chronicle. His work had been far ahead of his time and was not followed up by others for two centuries.
Stating it clearly: We don’t have any clues to the first thousand years of computing AD.
Usually the years were counted from the moment of coronation or inthronisation or investiture of a monarch. Only an uninterrupted chain of all monarchs from emperor Augustus to Otto III (for example) would put us in condition to calculate the amount of years gone by since the birth of Christ. The first such chains had partly been established in Byzanz in the 10th century under the directives of Constantin Porphyrogenetos, a very learned emperor of great influence on the spreading of Greek literature to Italy in pre-renaissance time. His interest mainly consisted in giving a coherent picture of Greek Christian civilization, but he is largely suspected of having invented not only documents but a whole system of writing - the Minuscula - in order to whipe out the rather obscure origins of the way he seized power.
The Spanish ERA
Earlier than the AD reckoning and for some centuries alongside with it, another way of calculating the years had been in use, mainly in Christian Western Europe: the Spanish ERA. Although its application lies somehow in the dark and few explanations can be found, it is thought that the computation-system was started around 455 AD by the Vandals under their king Geiseric, then spread within two generations to the whole of the Western Mediterranean region and was finally abolished roughly thousand years later when AD had become the official chronology of the Vatican. A great number of documents - on parchment and stone - have been registered by archaeologists and historiographers, but as we shall soon find out, practically all these documents are of late age and most are falsifications. Yet still they contain an important hint as to how many years this computation originally intercalated between the calendar reform of Cesar (44 B.C.) and the time of the German emperor Frederic II of Hohenstaufen (say 1250 AD):.
The usual difference between AD and ERA given in all books is 38 years: If one discounts 38 from the ERA-number, one receives the corresponding year in AD-calculation. There has never been put a doubt upon the ERA-starting point in 38 B.C., but it has never been explained either. Vaguely it is suggested that in this year the Roman provinces of Hispania had suffered some important change in their administrative character, since the ERA is also termed „provincial era“, but no fact can be given, and most scholars plainly agree that this explanation does not hold. They further agree that no satisfying reason has ever been put forward.
I may therefore be allowed to venture my own hypothesis : The ERA goes back to the calendar reform of Julius Cesar, i.e. the year 1 of ERA corresponds to our year 44 B.C. Whoever introduced ERA-reckoning calculated back to Cesar’s reform. The difference of 6 or 7 years between 44 (or more exactly 45) and 38 years (before 1 AD) is due to the different fixing of the birth of Christ which even today is mostly supposed to rather have occurred in 6 or 7 B.C.
If by some miraculous way (e.g. by passing through Alexandrian and Diocletian time-reckonings) this ERA has preserved the exact chronological distance between Cesar’s reform and – say – the life-time of emperor Frederic II, we could use this scale for the reconstruction of historical facts provided we are able to find its true correspondance with AD years.
I have found a strong hint that this is possible.
Around 1250 AD a wave of apocalyptical frenesy started to sweap through Christian Europe. In fact, it was a movement hitherto unseen with strange excesses: huge hordes of bewildered fanatics roamed aimlessly through entire countries singing and flagellating themselves.A great saint from Italian Calabria, Joachim of Fiore (1130-1202), had predicted the coming of Christ. This makes sense if it coincided with the end of the millennium as postulated in the revelation of St. John. This could only apply to ERA.
Nothing really happened that could be compared to dooms-day, but the impact was strongly felt all over. For our purpose it is important that Joachim and his pupil Gerard, who published the „Eternal Evangelium“ of Joachim in 1254 and suffered 18 years in jail for it, had in mind that a millennium would come to its end. The only counting of years then in use – at least as far as Catholic chronicles are concerned – was the ERA. The Vatican did not introduce AD reckoning until 1443, then with the difference of 38 years to the ERA.
Supposing the ERA originally, i.e. in Joachim‘s time, did not yet include the jump over 297 years, it is simple mathematics to arrive at the solution: ERA 1001 minus 38 equals 963 („AD“) plus 297 years equals 1260 AD. Thus we can deduct from the equation 1001 ERA = 1260 AD that the 297 years have been inserted around this crucial date, supposedly after 1254 (Gerard’s publication) and before 1260.
Trying to establish methods for the calculation of years gone by
Radiocarbon dating has changed our chronology of prehistoric events enormously. Dates that had been considered fixed by hundred years of research lost their value and could be stretched by centuries with some radiocarbondating results. History and prehistory became older and older. Although some archaeologists had their doubts about these changes, most new dates were quickly recognized, at least in those fileds that had not been based on antique lists of kings or secure parallels to them. Civilizations that were far enough from Egypt or Mesopotamia or unrelated to those long established chronologies depended henceforth entirely on the new radiocarbon dates.
The method of obtaining radiocarbon dates has hardly been questioned seriously, its reliability was accepted without great objections. The only major adjustment had been the calibration of the dates after they resulted extremely unconvenient for Egyptologists. Calibration had been achieved by matching it with dendrochronology, which however had first been established with the help of radiocarbon dating. This vicious circle was never broken nor proven externally, but this did hardly matter to the experts of those two techniques of dating and - curious enough - was only questioned some years ago by two German scientists, Niemitz and Blöss, who explained to their bewildered collegues, that radiocarbon dating as well as dendrochronology relayed on completely untenable premisses such as the „fundamental assumptions“ of linear continuity of decay, geographical invariance, stability of the radioactive background etc.
By thorough research Blöss and Niemitz (1998) finally established that one of the preliminary assumptions of the method, the simultaneity principle, is wrong. They also found the methodological mistakes inherent to Warven Chronology, the oldest technical means of dating, and thus could dismiss all dates established hitherto with these methods. (There exists a good English translation as abstract of their highly specialized scientific German book: C14 Crash).
Another technical method to obtain secure dates for long periods of the past is that of counting ice-layers in the Arctic region. First of all a statistical ruler was established as to how many centimeters or inches of glacier-ice would correspond to how many years passed (roughly 1 mm per year), then a calibration would be fixed, for example by adjusting a certain layer with excedents in sulfuric acid or copperoxyde or some other traces to certain fixed dates like eruptions of volcanoes or outbursts of human industrial activity, and all the remaining layers could then be put into scale.
As long as purely theoretical questions were answered by this way, the method could not be doubted. Only after having been applied to practical work as for example the search for a stranded airplane, technicians realized that the dates differed so widely (factor six in this case, see Heinsohn 1994) that they are unreliable for any financially related job. Still, in theoretical science such as archaeology they are used without the shade of doubt (see Martin 1996).
The unfailing cosmic clock
It is said that already in the 12th century, following Gerard of Cremona’s translation of Arab texts, some European Christians realized that their calendar was out of order. In fact it was not until the councils of Rome (1412) and Constanze (1415), that the Catholic church seriously dug into the matter of reforming the calendar, as it had come out of step with natural seasons. At the council at Basle (1434) the same matter was again treated, forwarded especially by Nicolaus Cusanus and Herman Zoestius who argued that in comparison to their Islamic enemies they really appeared very backward in this matter. But the church trailed long behind without daring to advance a decision.
The main argument for the conservative hierarchy of the church was the strong belief that God had created and ordered the whole universe in such a static way that nothing could change therein, and if cosmic rules had applied correctly in the early days of the church, they should do so as well now. The idea of a catastrophic brake of the continuity of celestial movements seemed to them heretic and pure blasphemy.
First of all, the writing of Gerard of Cremona which put forward the heretic idea, that planetary movements could „delirate“ from time to time, had to be counterattacked and put out of acceptance. This was done by John Regiomontanus (printed 1474 at Nurnberg), initiator of modern German astronomical investigation. He largely used the „Almagest“ of Ptolemy and proved with its help, that since the 3rd century B.C. all celestial bodies had behaved stable and harmoniously. Yet he clearly realized, that the autumn-equinox fell on September the 14th, that is nine days early, and spring-equinox was ten days ahead. By this, Easter would fall on wrong dates, reason enough to change the calendar.
On account of this, pope Sixtus (then „II“, nowadays „IV“) called Regiomontanus 1475 to Rome; he gave him all necessary help and partook himself in the learned discussions.
Unfortunately Regiomontanus died in the following year while still struggling with the preliminary corrections of the calendar. Although his astronomical work was continued in Germany by able followers, the reform of the calendar so dearly hoped for could not take shape. It was not until 1582 when pope Gregor („XIII“) finally got the work done that became the master-model for modern time-reckoning.
As precession was fixed in the „Almagest“ to a whole cicle of nearly 26 000 years, and Cesar’s calendar reform coincided roughly with the beginning of the spring equinox in Piscis, there should be no problem to fix Cesar’s reform, since spring equinox is entering Aquarius today. The lapse of time should roughly amount to one „house“, i.e. 2100 years. Modern opinion is: 2044 years.
But alas, these pretentions are very rough and nowhere documented. There exists, however, a tradition fixed in Virgil’s “Georgica” that at the autumn equinox, emperor Augustus’ birthday, Spica, the brightest star in Virgo, stood in the sun. That means that on spring equinox the star could be seen on the meridian at midnight. Now, if the precession had been constant since that time, the movement since then amounts to only 1700 years, or roughly 300 years less than expected. We cannot fix this date more precisely, as we don’t know whether the observation referred to the actual birthday of Emperor Augustus or to the celebration of his birthday when he was mature and ordered the famous sundial to be constructed (around the year of Christ’s birth). The difference comes to half a century.
Yet these missing three centuries between modern calculation and astronomical observation is something to be taken into account.
This most famous book of ancient astronomy, also called “Syntaxis” and supposedly written by Claudius Ptolemy (“78-165 AD”) has come down to us only through Arab translations of the 10th to 11th centuries. Some islamic astronomers (e.g. Ibn Yunus, pretendedly at 1008) as well as Renaissance astronomers like Copernicus (1543) had their own ideas about the dates given by Ptolemy in his work, yet they rather questioned his theory and not the validity of the tradition. Copernicus believed in the correctness of the dates given in the “Almagest”, Ibn Yunus not. The French authority Ismael Bouillard (17th cent.) and later especially Delambre (1817 and 1819) discussed the grave errors Ptolemy had committed in his work, but it was only recently that the whole book has been declared faulty and a scandalous falsification by the American mathematician and astronomer Robert Newton (1977) who finally - after going minutely through all of Ptolemy’s dates and pretentions - dismembered this famous base of antique cosmography as a total hoax.
Nearly none of the apparently „exact“ dates of the planets, no eclipses nor description of his methods hold true if scrupulously checked with modern calculations. Ptolemy had been a scroundrel, says Newton, and none of his „observations“ are based on real observation, instead they are retrocalculations. As his model of the planetary orbits was false, so are his dates.
There are few exceptions. Some very late observations had been added to the „Almagest“, pertaining to the time of Heliodor (around 500 AD), who was a pupil of Proclos, the „last Philosopher of Athens“. These dates are considered correct.
The puzzle can be solved, if we take into account the proposal of Ibn Yunus: The dates of Ptolemy’s oberservations of the sun would rather be correct, he says, if they belonged to Hipparch, nearly three centuries earlier. This would mean that Ibn Yunus did not take into account the three centuries introduced into chronology afterwards. This means that this Arab astronomer used a chronology still not manipulated by Christian writers, whereas the “Almagest” is already contaminated with the insertion of 300 years. Thus we must suppose that Ibn Yunus’ book was written in the 13th century. He not only dated Ptolemy 300 years nearer to himself but transmitted his own life-dates on that same time-scale, that means 300 years nearer to Antiquity. That is why we today place his book at 1008 AD instead of around 1300 which would be the correct moment for his observations of the sky.
The fact that Heliodor’s data are “correct” is easy to explain, as those are given by means of the Diocletian era (initiated 284 AD) which was in use in the whole Orient during several centuries. Probably this era was still not subject to the manipulation when Ibn Yunus verified the “Almagest’s” data attributed to Heliodor.
It must be mentioned, anyhow, that the Almagest’s calculations (not observations) do not apply correctly for any given time. The fact that Arab astronomers suggest them to be correct for Hipparch’s time shows only that they used the same kind of calculation scheme for their analyses.
So unlike Robert Newton who proposed that it was Ptolemy who faked his „Almagest“, I suggest that the book gives (not too correct) calculations for classical antiquity, i.e. the time of Hipparch, made in the 13th century. The insertion of three centuries by the Catholic clergy made it necessary to locate these data in the life-time of Ptolemy, around 300 years later, in order to maintain their – although doubtful – correctness. So Ibn Yunus, who did not know about the insertion of three centuries, suggested later to put them back were they originally belongend to, i.e. Hipparch.
We cannot know when (not even if) Ptolemy lived or wrote his book. The only analysis we can make is whether his given dates of planets, eclipses etc. fit with the time-lapse we nowadays have in mind when thinking of Ptolemy, which they roughly do.
The reason for the edition of the “Almagest” simply might have been the aim to install the new chronology (with the added 300 years) into astronomical writings and by this process solidify it. The date for this work cannot have been before 1250 AD and not later than 1300, the time of the real Ibn Yunus.
To prove this theoretical result we should consult with the original manuscript of Ibn Yunus which alas was not accessible to the author for the moment.
Eclipses during the Middle Ages
Robert Newton undertook an equally important work when he checked all available information about eclipses mentioned in medieval chronicles (1972). He then was far not as sceptical as he was five years later when analysing the „Almagest“, otherwise he would have rejected all „observations“ of the monks strewn here and there in those supposed chronicles. Newton retained as factual 27 of a total of 183 eclipse observations in medieval Europe, because they coincide more or less with modern calculations. A close look at those few eclipses leads to the conclusion that all are faked. They had been distributed from a central point, say the Vatican, to be inserted in the chronicles, and are often simply recognizable as false, because they inckude remarks about persons and rights which were to be cemented.
Some astronomers of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance already knew for certain, that all these dates belonging to eclipses in the 10th century are wrong, because there often are discrepancies of up to three days which means that they are retrocalculated and not observed, as Ginzel stated (1906-14).
Another point is that the retrocalculations inserted in Byzantine chronicles are quite different from the so-called Carolingian ones, as if there had been no agreement between the two churches, and indeed: they had been utterly waging war against each other at that time.
The Calendar of Cordoba
We would be all too glad if medieval manuscripts would yield sufficient proof for the generally accepted results of historical writing. As doubts are more than justified, we should analyse all existing astronomical data of the Middle Ages. As an outstanding example I have choosen an Arabic text of 10th century Spain that has been used widely as reference, because it is easily approachable having been translated into a modern language by the famous orientalist René Dozy, printed in Leiden 1961.
It is the so-called Calendar of Cordoba, Kitab el-Anwa’, offered to the Calif al-Hakam al-Mustansir, Emir of Andalusia from 961 to 976. The stability of weather-occurrences was fixed to the position of stars and by this has a double value for our research. Now, before going into detail, I first checked the reliability of the tradition itself, i.e. the validity of the document.
The author of the Calender of Cordoba was a certain ‘Arib ben Sa’d el-Katib (the last name means „the writer“, he probably was clerk) and his work is preserved in a single manuscript. The author‘s name is also given in Latin as Harib filii Zeid episcopi (which means: Arib, son of the bishop Zayd) indicating that this clerk was of Christian origin and son of a bishop. Co-author of that same calendar was a Christian bishop of Elvira (near Granada), named Recemund (a Visigothic name, better spelled Recismund), bearing the Arabic name Rabi’ ben Zayd el-Usquf (the latter part of the name means bishop) : Rabi son of bishop Zayd. He added the liturgical part of the calendar, introducing by this means Christian prayers and saints. It is further said, that this man had been sent as a messenger to the court of German king Otto (II?) and then on to Constantinople and to Jerusalem (as Dozy states in his History of Islamic Spain, vol. II-III, p. 222). But that is all we know about the two authors.
This seems rather very dark, having two authors who are eventually brothers (sons of the same bishop), one converted to Islam, the other not. And why this calendar with its Christian liturgical part had to be offered to the Calif of Cordoba remains unexplained.
It is said, too, that the famous translator Gerard of Cremona (1114-1187) at Toledo gave a Latin version of this calendar, but no copy has been found so far.
The calendar of Cordoba is supposed to continue partly the historical work of al-Tabari, but this is very farfetched, and by the way - Tabaris work is highly suspected of being written much later.
The said calendar is based on the pre-islamic idea of 28 pairs of stars and therefore has no relevance to observations made in Andalusia in the 10th century. It is not only untrustworthy as regards its fabrication but also unreliable regarding the information contained therein.
The reason for forging the calendar is the wellknown zeal of the Spanish church after the reconquista to shape a Christian past in Andalusia with prayers and saints that would prove the orthodoxy of the church.
We should - as said above - analyse all available documents before giving a final verdict. For the moment I can tell that I have dug into some of them and like other researchers never found sufficient reliability as to the sound tradition of these sources.
Putting the lever from outside!
Oriental traditions give us an insight into manipulations of time and chronicles
1. The Seven Dormants are a unique example for medieval traditions showing a direct jump over a certain amount of years. While in Christian traditions the exact amount of time these seven saints had slept in the cave is given differently, - there are dates from 196 years to 295 or even more, up to 372 years - the Islamic account of the story contained in Sura 18 is more precise: „they slept 300 years, 9 years added“. 309 (lunar) Islamic years correspond 300 solar years, and even if this is supposed to be a round number, it may well come near to the exact difference between the old reckoning of the Hijra and modern AD-counting, which by other means can be proved to be 297 years.
The English king Edward the Saint, usually austere in behaviour, is reported to have laughed hilariously at table once (1065) and to have told his astonished guests that he had just seen the Seven Dormants in the cave near Ephes turning from one side, on which they had been sleeping, to the other side. This was taken to be a sign of great changes in time (or in time-reckoning?), as William of Malmesbury (1143) is quoted to have written (contained in Ralph Hygden, 14th cent.).
The same story - about the turning from one side to the other - is told in the Coran as well. This might give us a clue about the moment of the introduction of this legend into Islamic scripture and European hagiography: the 11th century, which thus becomes the very first possible time at which the jump over 300 years had been introduced into our time-reckoning.
Knowledge thereof may not have become conscious before the 12th century.
2. The „History of the Francs“ of the Persian author Rashid could be used as an unbiased chronicle to put all new theories down if it were to be considered trustworthy as far as its independance from Christian sources is concerned. To the great regret of orientalists, it is not. This „greatest historian of Persia“ (Enc. of Islam) and his unique „History of the World“ is a blunt fabrication using carelessly Jewish and Christian material with no value whatsoever. There are stifling mistakes as to dates and names, and most of them can be traced back to Catholic informants, clerics as Martin of Troppau as well as traders of North Italian origin.
3. The Persian epic Shahname is a sure proof of the new theory as it knows nothing of Islam although written around the year 1000 by the poet Ferdowsy under the auspices of Shah Mahmood the Conquerer. If, as we learn in our history books, Islam had been victorious over the entire Iran some 350 years earlier, this outburst of pagan religion and poetry is simply out of time. Moreover it can be shown by strong arguments, that Mahmood himself was not born a Muslim but turned to Islam only around the year 1000 AD. Coins as well as inscriptions on rocks do confirm the same, as does a detailed research in Iranian linguistics.
4. If we look into the history of the Parsees, i.e. the refugees from Iran settling in India, we get some more strong hints to our new theory that a chronological manipulation must have taken place. When the Parsees in the 18th century became aware of the time-discrepancy existing between their own traditional one and the one brought to them from motherland Iran so many centuries after their flight, they split into two rivaling groups fighting heavily against each other and - although later on closing a peace-treaty - never resolved their chronological differences.
The mysterious genesis of the Slavic peoples
According to Slavic historians the Slavic nations did not come into being before the 9th and 10th centuries. They themselves prove this by their oldest written documents. Before the activities of the missionary brothers Method and Cyrill we cannot use the term Slavic or Slavonic for any ethnical group. Byzantine chronographers, however, usually located in the 6th and early 7th centuries, already name some tribes with Slavic terminology, such as Venethi with their two subgroups Sclaveni and Antes between Vistula river and the Black Sea (so Jordanes, around 550 AD); or Sklavinai and Antai as allies of the Huns, earlier termed as Spori (possibly misspelled for Sorbi, in Prokop, died 562 AD), or finally again Sklavinai as allies of the Avars, and their enemies Antai allied to Byzanz (in Theophylakt, died 628 AD).
These three quotations are all there are about Slavic peoples before Christianisation.
The mentioned ethnic terms correspond to our more common known medieval ethnic names Wenden (and Vandals), Sorbs and Slavs. Before the 10th century there is no distinction made between slave and Slav. A German dictionary of 1743 (Zedler) still gives Wende = serve, slave.
There is nothing to prove that the intermediate lapse of three centuries could be filled by whatsoever kind of archaeological finds. We rather again have to jump over this crucial period in order to match Byzantine literary indications with factual historical documents such as Oleg’s Treaty with Byzanz in the „Old Russian Chronic“ of 911 AD, probably the oldest document in Russian.
By cutting out three centuries – or said in a different way: by putting the dates of Jordanes, Prokop and Theophylakt in the period of Byzantine historiography initiated by Constantine Porphyrogennetos – we close the gap and arrive at more realistic history.
Around that time Arabs begin to trade with the Saqaliba nation, which was their term for the Slavic peoples of the land north of the Caucase, who journeyed as far as Baghdad and also were visited by Arab travellers in their homeregion at the Wolga river (e.g. by Ibn Fadlan who left a vivid account of their lifestyle 940 AD). Saqaliba also formed the fourth ethnic group in Andalusia, they served as body guards to the Omayyad califs of Cordoba. Those can hardly be other people than the Gothic, Vandal and Alan tribes who are said to have crossed the Pyrenees at the beginning of the 5th century. They not only served the Arabo-persian rulers of Andalusia, but were partly involved in government and spiritual life of that time as some reports indicate. One of the greatest sufis at the Omayyad court, Ibn Masarra, is said to be probably of Germanic descend (Asin Palacios 1931).
And what was the language of these Slavs?
Although the cultural aspect of the Wendes and similar peoples is generally known from excavations as well as from surviving groups (such as in Lower Saxony or in the Lausitz), nearly nothing is known about their language before the 10th century. They seem to have spoken Germanic dialects, in which some characteristic changes have taken place earlier than in what is properly called German (Deutsch). By thus they have rather led the evolution of Germanic languages. Apart from some personal names and stray words (e.g. Era, Hera = year) the only written document preserved until today is the Gothic bible of Wulfila. But its vocabulary is distinct from the other remnants just mentioned, and it could be that Wulfila’s bible is a very late fabrication of the 17th century (as I tried to explain in my other book, „The Great Action“ 1998).
The Cyrillic skript, originally called Glagolica (from glagol meaning word) has been first introduced by Method and Cyrill during their mission of Moravia and later in Bulgaria. Its 36 to 40 signs have great affinity to greek minuscula-letters with addition of some signs of runic character and some purely new ones. As the minuscula has not come into use before 914 AD at the court of Byzanz, the Glagolica cannot have started before that date. Traditional fixing of the Cyrillic mission to 870 AD repeats the same mistake we have already seen in other regions and especially around Constantinople, an intercalation of 44 years due to the date of Cesar’s calendar reform fixed on our scale in the year 44 BC.
Some point should be stressed: The Cyrillc script did not evolve gradually out of Greek writing nor can we detect a slow process of development, but was born and ready from the moment when Cyrill used it during his missionary campaign in Moravia. There don’t exist any preliminary forms, only a short step to perfection within the first generation. This script was invented - very farsighted and clever - by the Apostle of the Slavs in order to have a means of communication for the diverse tribes he encountered on his way in the East of Central Europe.
And the same applies to the language itself, although this point has rarely been expressed in clear terms. Yet it is inherent in all modern analyses of the Slavic languages. Old Church Slavic or Old Bulgarian, as it is generally known, is an artificial language, a type of Esperanto for newly converted Christians. Its focusses of origin and radiation are geographically well limitied to Moravia and Bulgaria, as most linguists do agree. These are the two missionary centres of the Orthodox faith in the 10th century.
The structure of the Old Church Slavic is typical for a constructed language, especially the Christian terminology which had been skillfully formed. From antiquity we know certain examples of languages especially invented as vehicle to spread a new religion; I shall only mention Sanskrit and coranic Arabic.
All slavic languages go back to this liturgical Esperanto structured by Cyrill. Their individual changes have not taken place before the 11th and 12th centuries, by which way the modern national languages as Russian, Polish, Czech and so on came into being. The differences between these languages indicate which language had been spoken there before the mission, for example in Bohemia and Moravia probably a German dialect, as modern Czech stills conserves the characteristical stress on the first syllable Old-German is known for.
Simplifying my explanation of the origin of the Slavic nations could result in the following words:
They were not a bunch of oppressed swamp-dwellers which spread out of the Pripyet-wilderness conquering by their braveness all sorrounding neighbours as far as Novgorod and Hamburg and Bulgaria, as has been told so far by Indoeuropeanists, but a multi-ethnical farming population which became unified by one creed and one language through the propagation of Orthodox Christianity. This event took place in the 10th and 11th centuries started by the monks Method and Cyrill and soon supervised by Byzanz. Peoples who had lived there before like Goths, Wenden etc., did not completely evacuate these regions nor did they simply vanish by misterious plagues or unknown enemies, but remained to till their soil in the name of a new God (Bog, which in the end turned out to be the same as they had always prayed to). They changed their languages into one widely understood idiom, branched off into national languages which until now differ so little from each other that most speakers can easily understand the languages of the neighbouring nations.
For the genesis of the Slavic nation we don’t need three dark centuries as generally postulated by historians who have to bridge the gap between the Byzantine mentioning of Slavic tribes and the first Slavic documents, and we don’t need millenniums to explain the individualization of the Slavic branch out of a theoretical Indo-European mother-tree.
How does Islamic history fit into the new picture?
Our provisional thesis concluded thus: Islamic historiography is far from trustworthy, but although the situation concerning Arabic documents is not better than in Christian historiography, its timetable may be reliable to some extent. The first three centuries of Hijra (Hegira) can hardly be filled with proven facts, yet unlike the corresponding three centuries in AD-reckoning (i.e.: 7th, 8th and 9th centuries) Islamic evolution might nonetheless be taken for substantially having occurred. One of the many points adding to this suggestion is the amount of authentic coins starting around 60 H(ijra) and becoming even in Andalusia reliable factors from 98 H or 102 H onward.
If we consider the Hijra-timetable to provide a reliable chronology, yet insist on cutting out three centuries of AD chronology, there remains only one solution: the two chronologies cannot coincide the way they have been matched later on. Or expressed more clearly: Zeropoint of Hijra, generally agreed upon to correspond to 622 AD, must be transfered by three centuries back. This is the only way to dismiss the three phantom centuries of AD chronology and preserve the first three centuries of Hijra.
Let us look into some details. The situation in mainland Arabia is quite favourable to our new suggestion. There was a tribal chief or later king, Imr’ul Kais, known poet of the tribe of the Lakhmides; he was a vasall of the Iranian emperors Shapur and Bahram I and II in the 3rd century in Hira. As his gravestone inscription from 328 states he had changed fronts and was from 293 onward vasall of the Byzantine emperor. This inscription is regarded as the oldest text in classical Arabic using practically exactly the language of the Coran. According to Arab historians like Hisham, Tabari, Hamza et al. he gouverned his people for 113 or 114 years, but although he had several sons, there was a vacancy in rule for the next decades, after which Hira is again paying tribute to Iranian Shahinshahs like Bahram Gor (420-438). Their successors, again Lakhmides (or belonging to the related tribe of Djudham) were also reknown for their poetry, especially some prince of Hira called Imr’ul Kais, whose verses received the honour to be hung up in the Kaaba at Mekka short before the takeover by the prophet Muhammad. This last Imr’ul Kais also ended up as vasall of the Byzantine empire.
Could it be that both poets Imr’ul Kais of Hira in reality were only one person, doubled by the not unknown process of being recorded on by two different strings of history, first one Byzantine, second one Arabo-Persian?
If the two similar narratives or documents of this person not only underwent minor changes or distortions by the records or traditions but also lost their simultaneousnes and were put apart by three centuries due to erroneous chronology, we could well understand the doubling of the historical events and persons.
I have only exposed some traits, in fact there are a number of surrounding features to stress this point, as e.g. the common background of Imr’ul Kais’ tribe whose origin was southern Arabia (Yemen), and a battle in which they subdued the tribe of Ma’add around Mekka. Both features were repeated with a timelag of three centuries.
Another example from the same field: The flourishing Arabic town of Dedan with its hundreds of inscriptions was deserted with the beginning of the 4th century, yet still in Muhammad’s time (beginning of 7th cent.) this town was inhabited by Jews, as written sources of Muhammad’s time claim. They sure would have left tombstones or other inscriptions (which according to archaeologists end 300 years earlier). The same is said of the town of Taima’, where a Jewish king ruled still in the 6th century, being a friend of the poet prince Imr’ul Kais; but this town, too, is supposed to lay in ruins since around 300 AD. So if we trust archaeological evidence, it was in 300 (and not 600) when these towns were flourishing, gouverned by persons known as Imr’ul Kais and his friend, the Jewish king of Taima’.
Many similar arguments could be analized by experts, only one final point may be added here, as it is a very striking one, because it has puzzled a number of researchers in art history:
There are several palaces in the deserts of Syria and Iraq (e.g. Mshatta, Samarra etc.) which architecturally are closely related to Roman and Iranian buildings of the 4th and 5th centuries. Their mural decorations depict a great range of typically pagan myths, starring naked women and dancers, wrestlers and allegorical figures. They are traditionally dated in the time of the Islamic Ommeyade or Abbaside dynasties of the 1st or 2nd centuries Hijra.
This to my thinking is quite impossible - except, yes, indeed - except if those fist centuries of Islam are to be seen as simultaneous with the end of classical antiquity and still not impregnated with sunnite Islam as we understand it today.
Not many European scholars managed to break out of the narrow bounds of Islamic historiography. They simply believed what was written in those ›ancient‹ documents and translated them into Latin or other European languages. Criticism of the sources was put aside and only has come up very recently with Günther Lüling, a living German scholar of great learning, worthy to be counted among the best orientalists. Although Lüling does not admit that there is a chronological problem at the base of all this dispute, his books do provide a good foundation for our discussion, as Lülings thouroughly researched and documented his findings (an English translation of one of his works is soon to be published in India).
Taking all into account - especially the islamic christology where Christ is still somehow different from God like in the Arianic heresy - it is impossible to place the rising of the prophet Muhammad parallel to the 7th century Byzantine rulers. There is a great lap inbetween. On one of the timescales we can put the beginning of Islamic conquest to the 10th century, on the other hand its start as a religious uprisal is easily paralleled to the 4th century of Byzantine art and spirituality.
In both cases we have a time-dislocation of three centuries. In the first case we regard the dates taken from Muslim sources and compare them to our own history, in the second case we judge from Christian texts written after 1260.
The blizzard-like explosion of Islam and its propagation in a geographic area from the Atlantic to the Indic Ocean within two generations baffled modern European scholars specialized in Islamic history. In fact, this exploit sounds rather incredible to everyone.
Other problems arise regarding the contents of Muhammads message which are very near to Aethiopian and Syrian christian teachings but ignore certain facts that were long established in orthodox creed at that time. E.g. Muhammad still thought the Holy Trinity of Christian dogma to be composed of Father, Son and Mary (Mother), not knowing that in the 7th c. - as far as christian history is concerned - the Trinity had long been established as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Even Arabia could not have been that far off from Byzanz that it would not have learned what was to be believed at that time. It is to remember that Christian communities in Arabia were well established and that even the shrine at the Kaaba was once a Christian church.
Or we have to rewrite history all anew, taking into account what we know from reliable sources such as archaeological finds and real documents like the Coran. Still we have to find out when this holy book was written - at least: when the form of that book we have now was established. Many problems arise, if we consider the great discrepancy between dogmatic postulations and inherent logic as Günter Lüling has found out (1974/1993).
To explain the basic idea I will give an example from our own sphere: Ragarding critically the book of Esther in the Old Testament it is clear from its contents that this epic cannot be written before the 12th c. We have to look at the sentimental ingredients and the dogmatic message. They belong to the time of mystic outburst, the "golden century of sufism", that is the 12th c. Maimonides of Fes, the great scientist of Judaism at that time, held the book of Esther to be the foremost revelation of the Hebraic scriptures (see Meir Danino). I can only imagine this to be a reverence to a book written in his time and proposing new standards dear to Maimonides and his movement, i.e. the modernization of the scriptures.
In this case it is of no avail if scholars point out that certain topics of the Thora (including the book of Esther) were already discussed in the 2nd or 3rd c. in Babylon by talmudic teachers. If they want to prove that Biblical books are that old, they have to certify that talmudic teaching goes back that long, which is highly improbable and by no means provable. No manuscript is older than 800 years, and its chronological fixing leaves us very often at doubt.
The most astonishing outcome of the new thoughts explained above is the conclusion, that the prophet Muhammad and the early propagation of Islam would not be contemporary with Byzantine history of the 7th (or 10th) century, but with that of the 4th century. At first glimpse this may sound impossible, but looking into modern scholarly works about Islam it is just this final result that is the only acceptable one. Early Islam has much more in common with sectarianism in the Oriental church around 325 than with the relatively stable state church of Byzanz 300 years later. Muhammad shares many aspects with Arianism as it flourished and practically dominated the religious world from Germanic tribes in the north of the Black Sea to Iranian Mesopotamia and Byzantine North Africa. Their most common feature is the categorical denial of the Godship of Jesus and the strict prohibition of any type of pictorial religious works such as paintings or sculptures of human or sacred persons, let alone of God himself.
We know little about the Arian church, and all that we know has come down to us through the glasses of the Catholic church. Yet something seems to be sure, although it may seem very strange: Arianism, a sect that according to church historiography flourished more than 1700 years ago and was definitely banished 1560 years ago, is not forgotten.
There do not exist any remnants of this church nor are there any followers of this creed known today. After such a long time we should accept that Arianism is a long forgotten historical feature, only known to scholars.
How great was my surprisal as I assisted an Orthodox Mass and heard the priest condamn three times all Arianists. I was vexed. Later I read a book on Orthodox liturgy and was substantially confirmed: the Anathema, as it is called, has to be pronounced during Mass every day three times. This Anathema (= conjuring to hell) points to the Arians and to them alone. Anyone who believes that there could not exist anything similar to God besides Him or that He could not have engendered something similar to Him, is subjected to go to hell.
This is the exact opposite of the meaning of the Sura Ikhlas, the last chapter of the Coran and one of the first prayers to be reveiled to Muhammad. It is the basic creed of all Muslims.
The astonishing ingredient in this orthodox repetition is the fact that this Anathema is directed against the Arians, who had been extinguished more than a millennium and a half ago. Does the church want to protect their flock against this heresy by the daily pronounciation of the Anathema? I would rather think that this repetition of a long forgotten creed could foster new adepts. Or are there so many adepts still living nearby against whom the church is fighting with its daily Anathema?
The latter of the possible answers seems feasible to me. By fighting the Arian dogma the Orthodox church defends itself against the Muslim neighbour who professes this very belief.
The reason for denying the Muslim ceed in every Orthodox Mass can only be explained by the fact that those are concurring neighbours and steadily in fight with each other. It would not surprise us if the explanation would be correct. But in putting the fault to Arians instead of Muslims the Orthodox church betrays an essential truth: Islam and Christianity were born at the same time. This astonishing results shall be explained further on.
For the moment our interest turns again to a consideration of the respective time-reckonings.
The beginning of abjuring the Arian creed in the Orthodox church is put by their books to 325 AD as outcome of the Nicean Council. It was then that the idea of a possible difference between Godfather and Godson was rejected. This council has much in common with the uprisal of Islam.
If we now put the start of Islam and of Orthodox faith to the same moment on a new timetable, we get a curious equation: 325 AD equals 1 Hegira (622 AD). The difference is 297 years. Those 297 years are apparently a steady figure which haunts our investigation at many a spot.
I might repeat some details: The main concern of the first Oecumenical council (the one at Nicaea 325) was
1. to reject Arianism,
2. to implement the cult of icons, and
3. to study the correct date for Easter.
Muhammad's most important achievements were the following:
1. he implemented a creed which essentially was Arianism,
2. he rejected all type of idolatry, and
3. he started a new era (which later was used as the official Islamic timereckoning).
The difference between the two positions was diametrical. Certain events surrounding both movements show the same pattern.
There are other striking similarities between Arian and Muhammad. Arian started his campaign in the year 313, or twelve years before the final verdict of the church at the 1st Oecumenical council at Constantinoples (325). An equal time interval can be put forward for the beginning of Muhammads teachings: he started 12 years before his final break with Mekkan chiefs, or said in traditional figures: 610 he rose to be a prophet, 622 he made his famous flight to Medina (Hijra) starting a new era. Ten years later he died in Medina; Arian was murdered eleven years after his condamnation, in 336. There is another important breakaway of the Arian church from Christianity in 343, or 18 years after the deadline of Constantinoples (325), and the same is traditionally handed down for the forming of a separate group under the heading of Ali, splitting Islam in two fractions which survive until today (sunnite-shiite shism). Finally, in 381 a second council of Constantinoples condamned the Arians, and the corresponding feat in Islamic history would be 59 Hijra, when the battle of Kerbala lead to the death of Hussein and the final formation of shiite Islam.
In all cases (except the death-dates of the two protagonists which differ by one year or a fraction of a year) these traditionally accepted historical dates lay 297 years apart and could well describe common events or repercussions of the same events. If we have in mind that our historical records might describe an evolution common to both monotheist religions but displaced later by an erroneous or intentionally fabricated fictitious chronology, we would now be able to understand so many enigms that had puzzled crowds of theologians and orientalists throughout centuries.
Let us look at this extraordninary coincidence in a scheme:
313 AD : Arian rises up against the church (+297=)610 AD: Muhammad starts his mission
325 AD : condamnation of Arian at Nicaea (+297=)622 AD: 1 H, flight of Muhammad
336 AD : Arian is murdered (+296=)632 AD: 10 H, death of Muhammad
343 AD : division of the Arian church (+297=)640 AD: 18 H division of Alis group
381 AD : council at Constantinoples (+299=) 680 AD: 59 H battle at Kerbala
These similarities may look arbitrarious, but I don't want to prove anything by this juxtapposition of dates. I only want to show the synchronicity that has been used by christian historiographers. As this correspondance of dates is striking, I want to find a solution.
Having detected so many other examples of the same kind, the solution to this riddle seems obvious to me: The timelapse between all these corresponding dates oscillates around the figure 297. This means that somebody has played with the scales. He has dislocated two events that had previously been contemporary, and placed them at different spots on the timebeam.
There was for example this problem that riddled conventional historiography ever since: Muhammad is said to have written a letter of invitation to Islam to the then emperor of Byzanz, but in the Christian capital nobody took any notice of it. The islamization of the whole Orient like by thunderstorm had not been mentioned by any of the Byzantine historians at that time. Christian theologians never disputed with Muslims nor answered their new dogmatic phrases until about two to three hundred years later. It is not until the 9th century that Byzantine or Andalusian chruchmen mention some obscure sect of Saracenes and first basic words of Arabic Islam, whereas on all other sectarians and predominantly on Arianism there exists a lot of medieval literature. If Islam began in the early centuries while Christianity was becoming a state church, and still was termed Arianism, most questions would find their easy solutions.
Let us see how this scheme would affect one of the heroes of Arianism, king Geiseric of the Vandals. In 428 he invaded Andalusia and in the following year he crossed the Straits of Gibraltar to conquer North Africa up to Carthago. There he introduced a rather new code of law for his people, puritanical and quite fanatic. It is at that moment - only 297 years later - that Islam was spread in North Africa and Andalusia, according to Muslim tradition. Again the dates should be adjusted by eliminating 297 years and thus arriving at a coherent history.
How an epoch was created: the Spanish reconqista was quite different
Spanish official history has it that the reconquest of Spain from the Muslim invaders started right away with Don Pelayo only a few years after Andalusia had been lost to the Arabo-persian army („711 AD“). Although Don Pelayo belonged to the staff of the last Visigode king Roderic, he did neither mint coins nor leave anything written. His successors like Alfonso I, Fruela, Alfonso II etc., spanning the time until 866, are completely legendary, as all experts agree. Some elder chronicals call Alfonso II ›the great‹ while later chronicals put this honorary title to Alfons III (Menéndez Pidal p.99), which means that numbering those legendary kings came up much later and the chronicals are invented.
The first king of Asturias to be taken somehow into historical consideration, Alfonso III, ruled up to 910 or 912, and from this moment on serious historians talk about the reconquest. The year 911 AD ( = 300 Hijra) is the starting date for the first Calif of Andalusia, Abd-er-Rahman III, who left buildings and documents worth of this designation.
So again we have a leap over a considerable time, in this case exactly 200 years which are nearly void of any archaeological or documentary objects. The very few relics on the Christian side such as a seal of Alfonso II („he died 842“) are easily to be recognised as fakes. In the 11th century Christian documents and coins are more proliferating and at least partly genuine.
The Christian history of Portugal is as shady as the Castilian one and cannot be traced back beyond 1100, although some very dubious diplomas pertaining to elder dates are mentioned.
Of course, coins are not easily falsified, but – the coins of the Alfonsos never bear any dates nor any numbering of the name Alfonso, and do resemble each other very much. To attribute such a coin to a certain date or king therefore is rather guess-game.
Still we have the inscriptions on stone, especially on tombstones and on churches. Whenever they show a date it is in ERA, and there are dates going from around 500 ERA down to the 11th century. The last recorded inscription has 1103 ERA which corresponds to 1065 AD ( if we accept the difference of 38 years as factual). From 1383 onwards the AD-reckoning was coming into use in Castille, and from then on we have inscriptions showing dates in AD. Between 1065 and 1383 no genuine dates are to be found. This seems to me quite impossible: More than 300 years no churches found, no tombstones dated. I can only explain this anomaly by the new theory: Instead of deducting 38 years from ERA-dates to arrive at AD-years we have to add 259 years (297-38). This way the dating of stone-inscriptions in Spain becomes homogenous.
Portugal switched from ERA to AD as late as 1422, but this date again is fictitious and rather of symbolic value. They in fact never wrote 1422 (and so on) but 422, because they still were and are aware of the fact that the new way of dating was matched back to the year 1000 AD (and not to the birth of Christ).
Yet another problem arises with the aforementioned tombstones and church inscriptions. The Berlin professor Emil Hübner (1834-1901) worked on them 40 years and made four long journeys to Spain to register as many stones as possible. His catalogue is still considered as excellent basic research work. He found out that 104 of those stone documents are false, i.e. produced much later in order to prove the correctness of the legend that Andalusia had been Christian – and Catholic to that – before the Muslim invasion and also during the reign of the Arabs in Cordoba. Some of these inscriptions are faked ridiculously bad and easy to be discerned as such, e. g. when they show Arabic figures long before those came into use, or tell about kings or saints who definitely never lived, or try to make believe certain dogmatic points which had been discussed centuries later.
Quite a number of those stones have open dates, i.e. empty space in the texts where the dates are still to be filled in but never were. Or dates which were later filled in erroneously. On tombstones or inscriptions celebrating the foundation of a church this is completely inadmissible. Only by astute argumentations Hübner can save some 200 inscriptions. The two successors in his work had to discard more stones as falsifications, and I myself found out more fakes after visiting some churches and museums in Spain. In the end most of these documents before 1000 AD are to be dismissed. The techniques used by the forgers show recurring patterns such as written dates running over the edge of the line so that they could be amended at various points if need be, unclear letters for the dates (while all other letters are easily readable), or blancs where the dates should be.
I see these works as part of the „Great Action“ (as Kammeier had termed it), which on the one side was eagerly producing monuments and documents defending the rights of an early Catholic church in Spain that never had existed, but on the other hand had no central planning nor coordinated rules.
The fact that the Catholic church in Spain rewrote history in order to justify its conquest of Andalusia had been demonstrated largely and with very good arguments by the Catalane historian Ignacio Olagüe (1903-1974) in two books which are nowadays step by step accepted by the younger generation.
The ERA was only in use in Western and Southern Spain, while in the North and East it was completely unknown. So it is used only by the two writers Hidatius (from Galicia) and Isidor of Sevilla, while texts from monasteries in Catalunia and Aragon don’t mention the ERA. So the idea emerges that this special chronology was invented quite late and only for some restricted purpose. Yet so much seems obvious to me: Before the ERA was linked to AD (with the erroneous difference of 38 years) it was linked to another chronology – an older one such as the Diocletian counting – that still knew nothing of the inserted 297 years, and thus originally conserved a more realistic time-table. This I have already shown discussing the „Almagest“ of Ptolemy as well as Joachim‘s prophecy relating to 1260 AD. The missing inscriptions between the 11th and 14th centuries on the Iberian Peninsula as mentioned above are another hint to this assertion.
Strategies of defense
It seems from all this that the „Great Action“ of the Catholic church to install the new chronology and a thousand years of a postulated early church in the minds and writings of the Humanists, was not perfectly supervised nor even planned centrally but went like a dance with steps to and fro and in the way of a labyrinth that nobody really understood. Apart from the great line nothing was clear but had to be developed in the course of time. It went on over quite a number of generations and is not even closed in our time although the main aim – that of AD-reckoning and of a belief in an early church - has been fulfilled.
While the Humanists were at work they only slowly started with the so called auxiliary sciences such as palaeography, numismatics, archaeology and criticism of the sources. Before these acquisitions of Renaissance a text was never really questioned as to its age. If it was dogmatically correct, it was accepted at face-value. This pragmatic access to literature enabled them to use and incorporate a great number of foreign works as long as they fitted into the momentaneous concept of faith. Gnostic, Jewish and Islamic ideas could be amalgamated with Christian concepts without special effort. The teachings of the mystic Ekkheart can be considered as the borderline of this approach.
With the onset of the protestant Reformation this openmindedness was finally lost. The „Great Action“ became a must, it was a question of survival for Catholicism. The final step of worldwide importance was the calendar reform of pope Gregor XIII in 1582 which had been wanted and worked out by a great number of clergymen since 1420. The definite lists of councils and popes were still to be worked out, an enormous task which was carried out by geniusses like Jean Hardouin and other Jesuits, e.g. the Bollandists, whose effort to establish bibliographies of the saints and turn these old legends into history is still under process.
But the biggest danger arose from newly discovered countries like the empires of the Aztecs and the Inca, and especially from China, where a quite different history had been established through written documents long centuries ago. If their views on the past of mankind were correct, then the church’s view was a mere fantasy. Chinese historiography had to be proved wrong or changed completely in order to comply with the Christian chronology.
News coming from China in the 16th century, mainly through Portuguese merchants and through the first missionaries, fascinated the Europeans and frightened the Vatican. Confucius gained admirers all over the Occident, and philosophers like Leibniz (1669) readily admitted the superiority of Chinese thought. His mathematical innovation of binary symbols (1703) became the base of all modern mathematics so far.
During the Mongol reign of Kublai Khan the Islamic influence in China was steadily growing. Sayyid-i-Ajjall from Bukhara travelled to the court of the emperor (1273) and established a school of astronomy based on the latest scientific acquitions of the then leading Muslim culture. From 1351 onward – that means after the devastating epidemic called the black plague – Chinese chronicles were rewritten and the calendar newly arranged according to latest observations. But the Ming Dynasty degenerated within the next two centuries, and with them their Islamic advisors and astronomers, with the result that the foretelling of eclipses was no longer correct. It is said that one of the reasons for the downfall of the Ming was the suicide of the last Ming emperor due to a wrongly predicted eclipse. Just around this time the first Jesuit missionaries started to preach in China.
One of the first of this group of brave men was the Italian Matteo Ricci who directly after the Gregorian calendar reform, in 1583, arrived in China and tought his audience the latest astronomical inventions such as telescopes and the new theories about the movements of the planets. By this he was able to predict eclipses far better than the Muslim competition was ever able to do. Together with very capable men like Terrence who was corresponding with Kepler on the problems of astronomy, the Jesuits under Ricci and his successors (such as Trigault and Adam Schall) excelled in such a way that they gained complete confidence at the court of the emperor. The new Mandju Dynasty entrusted the Jesuits with the badly needed calendar reform and the task of astronomical predictions. During roughly 150 years the Jesuits were given free way to preach and teach and fulfil important political and scientific tasks.
Most of these men spoke and wrote Chinese fluently and did in fact write a great number of treatises and books in Chinese which influenced all parts of Chinese thought and culture. The way they resumed Chinese history on a straight chronological line similar to that given by AD-reckoning was completely new compared to the cyclic way of understanding history the Chinese had been used to till then. The historical and prehistorical dates which were fixed during this time by the Jesuits are only slightly altered or „corrected“ today and do serve for all scientific purposes. Only few sinologists do question these landmarks, although it is not unknown that they were planted by Catholic missionaries with clearly defined motives.
Personally unable to read Chinese I have gone through this matter with the help of experts and specialised literature and e.g. analised the Tang chronicles. The value of these sources is not better than that of any corresponding medieval European sources, and some basic works can be traced directly down to Jesuit industry.
As an example I shall discuss here the very important stone inscription of Sian-Fu, called the Nestorian inscription. It is bilingue, Syrian and Chinese, and dated in the year 782 AD giving us one of the badly needed links between the Christian Near East and China during the Tang.
Of all publications of this inscription the drawing, text and translation of Athanasius Kircher (Amsterdam 1667) is the easiest accessible and can be consulted as reprint in many libraries. To an expert it would – I think – be at first sight obvious that this inscription is a forgery. And so thought and wrote a number of Europeans, among them Voltaire, without hesitation when confronted with this discovery.
Heading the Chinese text we see a cross in the form of the Spanish cross of the order of Santiago, the typical emblem of the reconquista, which cannot be traced back beyond 1000 AD, whereas the Syrian inscription in very rough characters has a Greek date that is generally computed to 782 AD. The Chinese phrases consisting of 1789 perfectly written syllables tell us details about the Christian faith which cannot belong to the 8th century but rather indicate a very late date from the 13th century onwards. The doctrine of the purgatory is firmly professed, the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven is exactly at noon, the Persian magy are arriving at Jesus‘ birth to adore him, but the death at the cross is not mentioned at all. The number of books in the New Testament is given as 27 thus proving the Catholic canon to be correct, while the Syrian canon (Peshitta) only contains 22 books. This fabric may have convinced some ardent believers in Europe, but most critics rejected it as false.
The circumstances under which this doubtful object was found are no less suspect. Father Trigault travelled to Sian-Fu in 1625 with a very learned Chinese convert, Melchior Chu, a man of best family but bad reputation, having committed some dishonesty and lost his job in the imperial administration. While the two men lived at Sian-Fu, the stone was found in some nearby locality never really disclosed, and brought to the capital. The gouvernor himself went to see the rare object and ordered a copy to be made which then was exposed to the public and still can be seen in the garden of antique stelae in Sian-Fu (nowadays called Hsi’an). An imitation can be admired in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1908, another in the Vatican.
It seems that nobody really saw the original. Even the Jesuit Samede who inspected this monument in 1628 supposedly saw only the copy, as he wondered how well preserved and neat the Chinese characters were while the Syrian part was so badly done that he didn’t recognize it as such but called it „Chaldaean“.
During the last years of his life, father Trigault, the discoverer of the stone, had worked extremely intense, sleeping only three hours per night, as if under great stress. Did he realise how hard it would be to prove Catholicism as the only true religion? In the same year the stone was discovered he hanged himself, still in Sian-Fu.
Throughout the 18th and the first half of the 19th century the stone was regarded by unbiased scientists as a fake, even the famous Ernest Renan was 1855 of the same opinion; eight years later he switched sides and accepted it as genuine. Gradually this assumption gained ground, and from 1885 (Hirth) onward the authenticity is rarely questioned.
The church had two reasons to produce an inscription like this one. First of all the missionaries had to prove to the Chinese that the Christian faith looked back upon a long history as in China things only are valued if very old. And secondly the Vatican had to prove to his adherents that neither Nestorian nor any other monophysitic form of Christianity was preached in medieval China but the correct way of Catholic faith. Thus the manufacturers had to comply with two very opposing motives which – to my understanding – was impossible to achieve and led to the easy discovery of the forgery.
There is yet another point to be stressed: The necessity of producing such a monument clearly indicates that no genuine artefacts linking the Christian world and China can be found, for the simple reason that a Catholic mission before the Jesuits never took place.
Our chronological system - Anno Domini - had not been installed before the 13th century. It was then assumed - in order to save some Christian impulse connected to the thousand year reign of Christ - that during the short reign of emperor Otto III exactly one thousand years had elapsed since the birth of Christ. We shall therefore probably never know how many centuries have passed between, say, Alexander the Great and this moment. But we can assert with some probability that Islam, Judaism and Christianity were formed and stamped around that time, the 12th and 13th century. Their possible relationship can only be guessed.
On the other hand it can be made plausible that Christian and Muslim chronologies differ by a certain amount of years. This fake was intentionally introduced through Christian monks in order to make Christian religion look older and more respectable. In certain calculations the time-intervall between Christian and Muslim dates as agreed today amounts to 297 years. This is the same amount to be detected between the Catholic ERA in Spain and modern Christian time reckoning. The difference in Byzantine chronology was by about forty years smaller due to the acceptance of a different year zero: Instead of the birth of Christ they originally went back to the year of Ceasars calender reform.
Other cultural groups may show again different „holes“ between their and our chronology, as for example the Indian calculations. Generally one can clearly deduct that all these chronologies are arbitrary to a certain extent and surely unjustified as far as their matching together is concerned.
The new idea will surely meet with a great number of opponents and will hardly see its brakethrough immediately. Yet what can be seen already are the effects on traditional academic teaching. The church - being the fortress attacked in the first line - has recently gone some steps back and begun to clear the way for a more rational updating of their antiquated chronological system. For example, St. Benedict, founder of modern Christian monachism, was denied historic value by agreeing that he might as well be invented.
Therefore the date of publication of the first paper on this special subject might in further years well be regarded as an important limit: All publications after 1991 (Illig-Niemitz-Heinsohn) could have been contaminated by this new virus of chronological doubt and therefore be regarded as beating in retreat.
Where lays the difference between the writings of Heribert Illig and Uwe Topper?
At first hand it seems that Illig and Topper do agree in the main points. This is wrong. They started at different bases and finally – after five years of common work – agreed to separate again. Their view-points do differ substantially.
Whereas Illig accepts written history in the established academic way and excludes only the 297 years between August 614 and September 911 AD, Topper has a radical different approach: History as taught at the Universities is completely fabulous and novellesc, so that a simple cut of 297 years does not clean the barn. He postulates a completely new understanding: History has always been a work of invention, and very much so in Renaissance time concerning Antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is not only our time-table that has been tempered with but most documents and events are merely fabulous.
For this reason we cannot simply continue with old schemes but have to think it all anew. The Arab conquest of a great part of the Orient and Europe is no longer to be seen as such: It was rather a peaceful evolution with a monetary background and religious aim. Likewise, the Christian „reconquista“ of Spain was a preposterous occupation of a territory that never had been Christian. Ignacio Olague, a Spanish writer of the 1950ies, had already come to this conclusion.
Persian history is relatively trustworthy, with one difference that it does not fit into our own concept of those centuries. As a solution Topper suggests, they are centuries apart. Christian and Persian chronologies do not agree. While Illig has proposed an intercalation within Christian chronology, Topper found out that this problem could better be solved by juxtapposing the different timetables of Islam, Iran, India and China.
The result is not pleasing. All chronologies differ in essential points. Where concordances are found they are due to Christian influence, as for instance in Tibet, where a cycle of 1063 years was installed in the 17th century, clearly reflecting the Easter-cycle of the Catholic church.
We might assume that history had been transmitted through church-employees and monks and therefore had always been correct, but even then most dates are dubious and quite a number do differ by centuries. Some inscriptions on churches differ by a thousand years, like that of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria in Spain which according to the inscription was constructed in 325 AD as testifies the stone at the side of the entrance. By our theory a mere thousand years could easily be added and would be nearer to reality, as the building itself and all its stones rather belong to the 13th or 14th centuries.
In this case – as in many others – there is no time-lap of 297 years. It is simply a make-up that could easily camouflage a whole thousand years. But the interval of 297 years does exist!
It is inherent in a number of calculations which had been done by mediaeval monks. In the 14th century Christians became aware of the lap that separated them from their Islamic brethren. They wanted to reckon their years in a similar way, as Nicolaus Cusanus is said to have postulated at the concilium at Constance.
In a wholly questionable history and chronology as such, as has been established by so many writers in the past, it does not make sense to eliminate a calculated number of years. Still there is a certain aspect that conciliates the views of Topper and Illig. It is the calculation of the AD-years incorporated in a great number of Renaissance-documents which had been scaled to Islamic years. Between these and the Christian chronology there is a noticeable and recurrent lap of 296 or 297 years.
The reason for this omnipresent figure can be understood as the Christian preference for symbolic numbers such as 666, as in the Apocalypse of St. John the number of the beast is given as 666. This was applied by Christian monks to the moment of Muhammads appearance in Arabia. The Islamic time-reckoning, however, was based on Muhammads flight to Medina (Hegira or Hijra), and this very moment - the only fixable date in early medievel history – was equalled to a very important date of Christian historiography: 325, the date given to the first oecumenical Council, at which the newly installed Christianity supposedly was consolidated. As the start of the Julian Calendar is put to the year 44 B.C one has to deduct 44 years. Now, 666 minus 44 gives us the modern date of the beginning of Hijra chronology, 622 AD. Between 622 and 325, two events which in our new understanding are to be looked upon as contemporaneous, lies a difference of exactly 297 years.
Luckily the dates deducted by Topper in this case and by Illig using different ways coincide. This must have been the main point for their co-operation. Their approach however is different.
You cannot cut out of a competeley unfounded story a definite number of years – exact to the month – and then pretend to have restored history, as Illig tries. He furthermore puts the credit of introducing AD-reckoning to emperor Otto III and pope Silvester at about 999 AD with the aim of establishing the Millennium of Christ. This is rather to be doubted, as there exist no certain records of this act. Before the Staufer emperor Friedrich II (around 1250) no trustworthy documents bear AD-dates. Topper suggests that with the date 1260, that had been prophesized as the end of the first Millennium by Joachim of Fiore, Christianity started to get aware of the AD calendar. (1260 corresponds to 1000 ERA, taking into account the lap of 297 minus the traditional 38 years). Thus Topper‘s method of establishing the time-lap of 297 is merely based on the computation by Christian monks who introduced AD using symbolic numbers. It does not correspond to any „real“ lap of years but is – as the whole structure of medieval historiography of Europe – purely fictitious.
Bloess, Christian and Niemitz, Hans U. (Berlin): „The Self-Deception of the C14 Method and Dendrochronology“ (internet BGS)
Danino, Meir (1987): Esther: Deciphered (PAF Basle, in English and German)
Heinsohn, Gunnar (1991): Jüdische Geschichte und die Illig-Niemitzsche Verkürzung der christlichen Chronologie des Mittelalters (VFG 5/1991 , Gräfelfing) - (1994): Für wieviele Jahre reicht das Grönlandeis? (in VFG 4/94, Gräfelfing)
Illig, Heribert (1996); Das erfundene Mittelalter (Dusseldorf)
Martin, Paul C. (1996): Datierung antiker Münzprägung mit Hilfe des Grönlandeises? (in ZS 2/96, Gräfelfing)
Marx, Christoph (Basle): c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Menéndez Pidal, Ramón (1956): Historia de España, t.VI (Madrid)
Niemitz, Hans U. (Berlin): „Did the early Middle Ages really exist?“ (internet BGS)
(In the meantime, a third book on this theme by Uwe Topper has appeared : Fälschungen der Geschichte (Herbig, München Aug. 2001), The title would mean : Falsifications of History.)
This abstract of the above quoted two books is twenty years old and would deserve updating in certain points. It is a document of the research that had been done until 1999. Refined and corrected results generated in the last two decades will be found in my latest books Kalendersprung (2006) and Das Jahrkreuz (2016).
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