Monaldi & Sorti : Mysterium

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Berlin · 2022  Uwe Topper topper

Review of a novel by Monaldi & Sorti: Mysterium

In Addendum II to "Hardouin – Settling Accounts", following Rainer Scmidt's hint, I have already referred to the book "Mysterium" by Monaldi & Sorti, which is praised as bestseller and translated into many languages. After reading parts of it again, I made further comments on this weighty novel, which I am attaching here.

"Mystery" by Monaldi & Sorti (Aufbau-Verlag Berlin 2011) this time reveals (according to the advertising text) a fraud that is apparently only relevant for philologists, but in fact has far-reaching consequences: the falsification of a large part of the ancient authors that have come down to us. The Roman Empire, Greek antiquity, ancient Egypt would therefore never have had a Plato or Aristotle, Julius Caesar or Cicero: they all sprang from the imaginations of sophisticated forgers, and we are living in the 18th century AD rather than the 21st. Based on several years of intense studies, the ideas are brilliantly transformed into a great literary adventure.

Well, not advertised correctly, but clearly including our chronology criticism. Even Heribert Illig's thesis of the invented (only) three centuries is mixed in here (which is not used that way in the book).

The authors also extensively celebrate Jean Hardouin as the one who uncovered the falsifications, indeed (p. 776) even some of Hardouin's "illustrious predecessors" are mentioned who recognized that the famous church councils never took place but were invented; such are the humanist and Jesuit Antonio Possevino (see Canfora 2001), born 1534 in Mantua, died 1611 in Ferrara, and the Greek scholar Leone Allacci, born around 1586 on Khios, died 1669.
Here we see the lineage of the famous Jesuits, which reached their peak with Launoy, Germon and Hardouin (Topper 1998).
Monaldi & Sorti refer to nine unprinted manuscripts of Hardouin in the National Library of Paris (pictured on the authors' website) that they consulted and read for the first time, and three others that could not be photographed because of their fragile condition. They emphasize that the original handwriting of the Prolegomena cannot be found and that there is a possibility that it could have been partly or entirely written by another hand.
On pages 72 to 74 the novel gives Scaliger's timetable, with someone asking:
"Didn't one really know in which year the events of world history took place?" The corroborating answer is repeated after reading the table: Scaliger made up these data, which were not previously known.
Then there is Kammeier's dictum: anyone who reads ancient texts "never has an original manuscript in front of them. It is a copy of a copy of a copy of who knows how many other previous copies." Since the novel is set in the 17th century, this adoption of Kammeier's insights is somewhat anachronistic, but well intentioned.
The discoverers of ancient manuscripts who achieved immortal fame are also named: in Spain Antonio Augustin, in France Casaubonus, in Rome Baronius...


The status of our chronological criticism is reported roughly as in my book "Faked History" (2001), pp. 110-114. It would have been better if Monaldi & Sorti had also read my more recent books (2003, 2006) and those of my colleagues on the subject.

The fancy mixture of plausible historical events and downright ridiculous reports of miracles in the 'Chronicles' of the ancient writers is attacked by the authors (p. 273-279), by which they can show that the historical reports must be made up. They seem like "deliberate jokes by someone who enjoyed telling them with academic seriousness and giving them euphonious author names..." The names are, mind you, Cicero, Herodotus, Plutarch, etc. A little later (p. 289- 305) the nonsense in the ancient texts is again denounced and (after 17 pages of listing them) dismissed as "pastime for jesters". Does that hit the core?
The situation in the 16th century is described here in great detail, the dispute between faith and science. From p. 495 onward, esp. 497, the authors state that Luther led the blow against Copernicus; he raged for no other reason than that Copernicus violated reason and faith (see Topper 2016, p. 332 ff).

In Appendix II "The Invented Time" (from p. 773) the authors reveal their sources, whereby also appear unsuitable persons such as Velikovsky (p. 781).
Luciano Canfora is mentioned with great praise and approval. One of the interlocutors says in Canfora's sense: "The library of Alexandria? Invented. The reports of ancient historians? All fairy tales." (p. 613).
It seems to me that the authors had almost finished their book when they came across our work and occasionally inserted the dialogues about the falsification of history into the framework of their story, sometimes somewhat inappropriately. The preparatory ideas by Jean Hardouin, Nicolas Antonio, E. Johnson, W. Kammeier and Gunnar Heinsohn are generously used which were by no means available in this form around 1600.
In the course of the novel (p. 625) it happens that the knowledge about the made-up story is lost again (through murder, fire...). "The truth about history and time...disappeared. The centuries-old lies about Synkellos, Berossos, Manetho and others...were carefully covered up again."
This explains the anachronisms of the characters in the novel, but is not true in this brief version. Many of the discoveries have been clarified and never forgotten, such as the Granada lead tablet forgeries (see Mayans 1742; Julio Caro Baroja 1991; U. Topper 1998, p. 81 etc. dtpages/Caro%20Baroja.html).
Or the lies of Nanni of Viterbo which were sorted out partially a centruy after being published.
When it comes to the denazification of the academy, the authors use a blatant example to make their position clear: "A comparison of ideological purity can therefore be more intimidating for the representatives of the recognized academic community than for the 'pariah' i.e. chronology criticism." ( p. 786)
Illig also fell victim to this attitude, with his opponents Borgolte and Erich Fried being named.

According to the English press release for "Mysterium", Hardouin claimed to have discovered a sort of secret code, thought up by monastic forgers between the 13th and 14th centuries, which was built into all the works of antiquity. And the code in question was full of references to Christianity ...
No, I don't believe this assertion of the authors.
More – Monaldi & Sorti tested the code to the texts they found in the National Library in Paris and, to their surprise, they found that the “secret code” does appear to emerge, for instance, from Plato’s texts.
Well, I think there is no grain of truth in this part of their novel, while their discovery of the real happenings regarding Galileo are interesting and quite credible.

Monaldi & Sorti :

Caro Baroja, Julio (1991): Las Falsificaciones de la historia (en relación con la de España) (circulo de lectores, Barcelona, ​​218 pp.) – (2° 1992, Seix Baral, Barcelona)
Canfora, Luciano (1986): La biblioteca scomparsa (Palermo)
Mayans y Siscar, Gregorio (1742): Censura de historias fabulosas, the late work of Nicolas Antonio (Valencia)
For most names mentioned here see our page "who-is-who".

Uwe Topper, Berlin, March 2022

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