Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fomenko’s Fiction

Anatoly Fomenko

Anatoly Fomenko is a Russian Mathematician who over the last 20 years or so has been putting forward a rather far out theory regarding History it is his belief that ‘History” began c. 800 C.E., and that the Middle ages never happened.

Among many things Fomenko and his disciples believe that English history before the Normans is nothing more than a fiction and that some of Byzantine history is the same. That various dynasties and lists of rulers are nothing more than fictionalizations based on a few models.

That much history of the Ancient world is a creation of fabricators and falsifiers between 1400-1700 C.E. That various methods of dating like dendrochronology (tree rings) and radiocarbon dating are erroneous and useless.

It is of interest that in his new chronology Russia is the center of world history up too seventeen hundred; real Russian history having been falsified by Germans. The obvious hyper nationalism of Fomenko’s ideas is readily apparent.

This approach must of course toss out the astronomical data supplied from ancient Mesopotamian clay tablets and the record of eclipses by the Chinese.

Further all those Greek and Roman statutes are frauds created during the Renaissance.

Ivan the terrible was actually four rulers is another Fomenko “discovery” along with Jesus being a 60 year old Pope, (Gregory VII) and or a Byzantine Emperor (Andronikos I Komnenos).

The Peloponnesian War described by Thucydides occurred in 1384-1387, between the Kingdom of Navarre and the Catalans. And Columbus was a Cossack.1

History is divided into 4 periods. The pre-Christian period is 11th century and earlier; “bacchic” Christianity 11th-12th century, Christianity 12th-16th century and 16th century onwards the modern age.2

Fomenko’s English History, which is supposedly a duplication of Byzantine history, is described as follows:

His [Fomenko] other parallels, even after a double reordering of Byzantine monarchs (they were themselves duplicated twice, you see), are still not very accurate. Beorhtric (ruled 16 years) is equated to Justin I (ruled 9 years), an error of almost 78%. Fomenko links Aethelbert (6 years) to Justin II (13 years), an error of over 113%. He has to combine Zeno's two reigns (over a period of, but not totaling, 17 years) to match the English Cuthread (17 years).

Fomenko does manage, however, a couple of good "hits." He links Egbert, the uniter of England (ruled 38 years), to Justinian the Great, restorer of the Roman Empire (ruled 38 years). But then he combines King Edgar (16 years) with King Edward the Martyr (3 years) and claims they both represent Leo III the Isaurian (24 years). He concludes that the names Edgar and Edward are "similar and consequently their union is natural." (5) Of course, the eleven Emperors Constantine (and the additional Emperors named Constans and Constantius) were apparently readily distinguished by the barbarians.3
To quote another examination of Fomenko’s nonsense:

Fomenko assumes that the researcher can and should distinguish between history and fiction. On the other hand, his methods would not meet with approval from conservative theorists of history such as Keith Windschuttle who maintains that the professional training of historians and peer review of their work pushes history closer to the goal of establishing the truth of the past and of distinguishing what most probably happenned from what could not have happenned. Fomenko is not a historian in this sense. He provides no fair-minded view of the historical literature about a topic with which he deals, quotes only those sources that serve his purpose, uses evidence in ways that seem strange to professionally-trained historians and asserts the wildest speculation as if it has the same status as the information common to conventional historical literature.4
That is enough for now, since simply listing the conjectures of Fomenko is enough to refute him, there is much more than the above all of it fantastic and quite outrageous. Fomenko has earned some quite well deserved ridicule for his absurd ideas, but has managed to turn the issue into one of proving him wrong. Which is of course a typical pseudoscience method.

Even some people who should know better are publishing books taking this nonsense seriously.5

Sorry but when you are proposing an outlandish idea the onus is on you to prove your idea not on the doubters to prove their doubts and you wrong.

It is impossible to go into detail about what is wrong with Fomenko’s absurd ideas, however a few points are worth looking at.

1, Fomenko deliberately selects data in proving his “statistical” correlation that ‘proves” his theory and ignores data that does not.

2. Fomenko spectacularily massages his data to get his correlations, shifting dates and reign lengths and even the number of monarchs all to fit his theory. To quote Wikipedia:

Another point raised by critics is that Fomenko does not explain his altering the data (changing the order of rulers, dropping rulers, combining rulers, treating interregna as rulers, switching between theologians and emperors, etc.) preventing a duplication of the effort and therefore hinting that his results may have a pathological Science aspect to them akin to N-rays over a century ago and effectively making this whole theory an Ad hoc hypothesis.6
3. Fomenko’s rejection of radio-carbon dating, numsiatics, (coin study), dendrochronology, (tree rings), etc., is tenditious and frequently ignorant. For example with dendrochronology he argues from alleged gaps that it can’t be trusted. In fact secure dendrochronological dates go back more than 10,000 years. Fomenko must exercise a disciplined ignorance for his opinions.7

4. Further Fomenko’s dismissal of retrocalculation of astrnomical dating based on the Babylonioan tablets and Chinese recording of eclipses does not contrary to Fomenko’s assertions get dates all over the place in fact multiple analysis to these multiple recorded observations agrees with the conventional dates. For example the whole sequence of Babylonian observations, of which there are literally dozens, found on Babylonian cuniform tablets agrees with the “conventional” dating, to say nothing of other dating methods like denrochronology and radio-carbon etc.8

5. Further this is frankly an over the top conspiracy theory for which Fomenko just wildly speculates about why anyone would do it and assumes the fabrication of masses of documents, accounts etc., along with masses of inscriptions coins etc. It is frankly incredible. All those allegedly mythical Medieval kings with coins are treated with cries of forgery and fraud including the coins that are to this day being dug up.9 To quote:
For that matter, how can we expect to believe Fomenko's arguments since Imperial coinage that documents the succession of the emperors can be gathered from virtually every year from 27 BCE to 1453 CE? How do we discount written Roman history and the great reigns of the past? Further, if Fomenko is correct, we must ignore the Magna Carta of 1215, since England's King John would have been nothing more than a Byzantine fantasy.10
That Fomenko is motivated by a crude form of nationalism is obvious from his writings as one reviewer of his work has said:

The enemy for Fomenko is always the West and their corrupt Russian minions, most notably the Romanovs and the Yeltsin-era reformers. For Fomenko, World War two lives on in the war against the Germans. Not that other western Europeans are much better. Italians composed false chronicles from antiquity in order to make the Romans appear older and wiser than the rest of Europe, the French sent their mercenaries along with other European powers to protect the first Romanovs, the English and Americans always acted against Russia out odf envy that it was in reality Russia who once ruled the greatest empire the world has ever seen. For Fomenko, the Russians need Asia if they are to maintain their existence in the face of the challenge posed by the West.

Fomenkoism is an amalgam of disillusionment with and rediscovery of Soviet ideals, mixed with feelings of lost grandeur, hope, vengence and envy. For Fomenko, the story of Russian greatness has to be told a different way to the version favoured by Romanovs and Communists. The latter ignored the greatness of the Russian horde. All those who lived in the steppe and forests of Eurasia are automatically incorperated into Russia, according to Fomenko’s fantasy. The Russian Horde was, and remains, entitled to demand their loyalty.11
I will now briefly go into a examination of just one small part of Fomenko’s nonsense. Fomenko has the the eruption of Vesuvius occur 1631 C.E. Which faces the problem of having Pliny the Younger's account, which was printed before 1631 in Western Europe. Copies of said editions still exist with the dates. So this eruption was described before it happened!? No doubt this little problem is handeled by saying "forgery" and "fraud" over and over again.12

Vesuvius Erupting

Vesuvius has erupted on numerous occasions frequently with great destructiveness. Fromeko's idea is that the destructive eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Heracleum occurred 1631. Which of course means that Pliny's account must have been written after that eruption. Second if you read Pliny's account you would realize that the eruption described was extrodinarily destructive. It appears to have been a, (what is now called) a "Plinean" eruption. In which large sections of the mountain were destroyed and repeated "Nuee Ardente's" (burning clouds) devastated the surounding area and covered the area under many feet (more than 20 feet in places) of ash and volcanic rubble. There was of course the "Nuee Ardente" that swept across the bay of naples to Miseum and nearly killed Pliny the younger's entire family. This eruption has left massive and abundant traces including in places more than 20+ feet of ash etc. The 1631 eruption has also left traces and in comparison it was minor. One is easily distinguished from the other.13

Pompei was long buried by 1631. In fact it was so well buried that people had only a very poor idea of were it was.

In fact appears that although Vesuvius has in fact erupted on numerous occasions eruptions of the 79 C.E., variety seem to be mercifully rare occurring every few thousand years.

The other common sense problem with Fomenko is the huge difference in culture between the remains of those two cities and what we have from the 17th century. Oh and what about the virtually compete abscence of Christianity from both sites.

Oh and by the way the Laocoon after being lost for over a millenium created quite a stir when it was re-discoverd in 1506 and the result was a series of write ups by the media of the day. Now why is the Laocoon important in the context of Fomenko’s absurdities? It is because Pliny the Elder describes the statute in his massive Natural History. Now since Pliny the younger describes his uncle’s death in the eruption of Vesuvius this must mean that the Natural History was composed before the eruption.

The Laocoon

To quote Wikpedia:

Various dates have been suggested for the statue, ranging from about 160 to about 20 BC. Inscriptions found at Lindos in Rhodes date Agesander and Athenedoros to a period after 42 BC, making the years 42 to 20 the most likely date for the Laocoön statue's creation. The statue, which was probably originally commissioned for the home of a wealthy Roman, was unearthed in 1506 near the site of the Golden House of the Emperor Nero (who reigned from 54 to 68 AD), and it is possible that the statue belonged to Nero himself. It was acquired by Pope Julius II, an enthusiastic classicist, soon after its discovery and was placed in the Belvedere Garden at the Vatican, now part of the Vatican Museums.14
Now if Pompeii and Herculaneum had been destroyed in 1631 C.E. that definetly creates a problem. The other one is Pliny the Elder mentions the Laocoön in the palace of the Emperor Titus,Emperor 79 - 81 C.E.

To quote:

Beyond these, there are not many sculptors of high repute; for, in the case of several works of very great excellence, the number of artists that have been engaged upon them has proved a considerable obstacle to the fame of each, no individual being able to engross the whole of the credit, and it being impossible to award it in due proportion to the names of the several artists combined. Such is the case with the Laocoön, for example, in the palace of the Emperor Titus, a work that may be looked upon as preferable to any other production of the art of painting or of statuary. It is sculptured from a single block, both the main figure as well as the children, and the serpents with their marvellous folds. This group was made in concert by three most eminent artists, Agesander, Polydorus, and Athenodorus, natives of Rhodes. 15
So in other words someone before the alleged eruption (1631 C.E.) mentions the laocoon being lost, then Pliny mentions it being in the palace of the Emperor Titus at the time of the eruption, which creates a problem if the eruption was in 1631 C.E. And we have copies of Pliny's Natural History which contain the above passage. Oh and we have complete manuscripts of the Natural History, from the 11th century to say nothing of collections of excerpts that are earlier. Opps!16

As mentioned above Pliny the Younger letters which describe the eruption of Vesuvius and were published before 1631 C.E.

From Wikipedia:

In France Giovanni Giocondo discovered a manuscript of Pliny the Younger's letters containing his correspondence with Trajan. He published it in Paris dedicating the work to Louis XII. Two Italian editions of Pliny's Epistles were published by Giocondo, one printed in Bologna in 1498 and one from the press of Aldus Manutius in 1508.17
Isn't amazing that they were able to write a description of the eruption of 1631 C.E. before it happenned!! Yeah, right!

Fomenko is a total joke. His desperate efforts to escape the inescapable accuracy of the “conventional” history against the serpent of fact and truth are in the end as unavailing as Laocoon and his son’s unavailing struggle against their serpent.

1. New Chronology of the World History, Here. See also the multi volumed, History: Fiction or Science?, Delamere Resources LLC, 2007, Konstantin, Sheiko, Lomonosov's Bastards: Anatolii Fomenko, pseudo-history and Russia's search for a post-communist identity, Phd Dissertation, University of Wollongong, Australia, 2004, pp. 66, 208-226. Copy of Thesis at Here

2. See Wikepedia, New Chronology, Here, See also Fomenko, A. T., Nosovskij, G. V., New Chronology and new concept of the English History, Here.

3. Colavito, Jason, Who Lost the Middle Ages?, Here.

4. Konstantin, p. 21..

5. Diacu, Florin,The Lost Millennium, Knopf Canada, Toronto, 2005.

6. New Chronology.

7. Colavito, New Chronolgy, Dutch, Steven, Is a Chunk of History Missing?, Here.
8. New Chronology, Rawlins, Dennis, Recovering Hipparchos' Last Lost Lustrous Star, in Dio, V. 4. No. 3, December 1994, p. 119, Here. Espenak, Fred, Eclipse Predictions and the Earths Rotation, NASA, Here.

9. Colavito, New Chronolgy, Dutch.

10. Colavito.

11. Konstantin, p. 231 & 232.

12. Pliny, The Letters of the Younger Pliny, Penguin Books, London, 1963. The description can be found in Book Six, letters 16 and 20, pp. 166-168, 170-173.

13. IBID, and Winchester, Simon, Krakatoa, HarperCollins Pub., New York, 2003, p. 11-12, Wikipedia, Mount Vesuvius, Here.

14. Wikipedia, Laocoon and His Sons, Here.

15. Pliny the Elder, Natural History, at Perseus, Here. See Also Pliny the Elder, Natural History A Selection, Penguin Books, London, 1991, Book 36, Ch. 4, s. 37, at p. 347.

16. Wikipedia, Natural History, Here.

17. Wikipedia, Pliny the Younger, Here.

Pierre Cloutier


  1. For better understanding, pleas read:
    "Features of the Domenico Fontana's Water Conduit (The Canal of Count Sarno) and the Date of Pompeii destruction"

  2. A better understanding of what? Fomenko's forminable ability to fantasize and distort? The guy's a charlaton. There is no reason to take any of his clap trap anymore seriously than the ravings of a Flat Earther or a Creationist.

    I strongly suggest you read konstantin's thesis.

  3. Fomenko knows about 100x times more about celestial mechanics and astroarcheology than the author of this blog, and for starters, Fomenko realises it's complete incompatibility with the fabrications and inventive fantasies that the so called "Traditional Chronology and History" rest upon.

    If the author ignores the fact that the famous Almagest star catalogue can only have been written around 1100AD and not 100AD (without alternatives), or that Thucydides eclipses can only have been happened after 1000AD, then the author just shows his ignorance of the fact that Fomenko has broken down the Chronology as we know it and exposed it's internal fakery.

    Then if Fomenko picks up the pieces and puzzles together another fable, that is an entirely different matter altogether.

    About Pompeii - there are several significant sulphur markers between 100BC and 1600AD, just pick any of them and any one can hypothetically be the Pompeii eruption.

  4. Thanks for the true believer comments. Sorry but Fomenko is still deeply ignorant about all sorts of things. I guess the author of thr above post does not know of the work done in celestial mechanics and astroarcheology that blows Fomenko away. How about starting with Dennis Rawlins? If you want to fantasize about "fabrications" and ignore how Fomenko fabricates and distorts data over and over again to fit his fantasies that is your perogative.

    As for the "Almagest star catalogue can only have been written around 1100AD and not 100AD", if you want to believe seven impossible things before breakfast go ahead. Just read Dennis Rawlin's in DIO and have that air headed fantasy blown away. The above quoted statement is simply false.

    As for this comment "Thucydides eclipses can only have been happened after 1000AD", another falsehood along with the idiotic idea that the Peloponessian war occurred in Spain.

    You than say "then the author just shows his ignorance of the fact that Fomenko has broken down the Chronology as we know it and exposed it's internal fakery."

    Fomenko as not. In order to "breakdown" the acccepted chronology Fomenko had to engage in widesprerad. and deliberate fabrication and distortion. His ignorance of such things as the use of tree rings for dating and coin studies is breath taking.

    It just amazing that were suppossed to accept this vast reassessment of human history based on a wild comspiracy theory and the manufacture of vast amounts of fabrications over hundreds of years. Of course the Indians, Persians, Chinese and Japanese were also involved. It ranks right down there with the Elders of Zion in terms of believability. In otherwords none at all.

    AS for this "About Pompeii - there are several significant sulphur markers between 100BC and 1600AD, just pick any of them and any one can hypothetically be the Pompeii eruption."

    I guess your knowledge of Volcanology is like Fomenko's; tiny. The above is simply false. Oh and please tell me if the the eruption happenned after 1600 C.E., editions of Pliny the Younger's letters published before 1600 C.E., describe the eruption.

    All and all a true believer performance. The onus is on Fomenko to prove his radical revision of history, the bottom line is he has failed spectacularily and as been documented to have engaged in what can only be described as academic fraud. As I've said before we can toss him in with the creationists and flat earthers.

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  8. The Comeback of Pompeii
    Part 1
    Part 2

  9. Regarding above. Same old. Same old.

  10. I'm impressed that you have appeared to have read the book(s). Most critics don't read it, but slag it anyway.
    I'm not sold on the mathematical correlations myself, but what do you expect, he's a mathematician.
    I was at the Louvre recently. You have to walk through classical and renaissance sculptures to get to the Mona Lisa and it's difficult to tell where one ends and the other starts and they are 1000 years apart.
    I do think that there is something to be discovered regarding chronology, but I don't think he's found the "smoking gun".
    Perhaps you might like to see my blog post, where I try to inject some humour to the subject.

    The font is nice, as that guy said, but blogger has discontinued it.

  11. Frankly I'm sorry that I read the crap. It is in my opinion stunningly awful, pseudoscience shit. His correlations are bogus the result of massaging data, like inventing multiple rulers, fusing several into one etc. The fact that Fomenko is so ignorant of everything, willfully or otherwise, from carbon 14 dating to numismatics is disturbing. And of course the massive dose of conspiracy thinking is also a turnoff and an indication of pure pseudoscience.

    Frankly it is not worth reading and I don't recommend anyone read it. Dismissing it out of hand is appropriate in the same way Creationism is dismissed or the idea the world is flat, or the sun goes round the earth.

    As for your comment about Classical and Renaissance art aside from the fact that the Renaissance was in many ways a deliberate revival of what were thought to be classical modes of art and thought. Note I said thought to be. The fact is in very many ways Renaissance thought and even art were Medieval. The "Classical revival" was in most respects superficial. The result is most people who are experts in Renaissance art have no trouble distinguishing Classical from Renaissance art and this is despite the fact that there was a flourishing market in Renaissance Italy in deliberate fakes. During the REnaissance actual Renaissance art was almost never mistaken for a actual Classical piece unless it was meant to be a fraud to cheat collectors of antique pieces. Modern day art historians generally have no problem not just distinguishing Classical from Renaissance but also distinguishing styles and time periods. For example Renaissance artists generally if they were copying elements of Classical art ignored virtually everything after 200 C.E., and imitated so called high Classic stuff of the 5th-4th century B.C.E. and the early Roman Empire, (30 B.C.E. - 200 C.E.).

    The idea that Pompeii was destroyed after 1600 C.E., is of course so absurd that it should earn Fomenko the ridicule and contempt his notion deserves entirely on its own.

  12. Wow, your button got pressed there. Without wanting to get put down as a pseudo scientist or conspiracy nut, I merely suggested that there could, possibly, maybe, perhaps, be a few problems with chronology.
    When our present chronology was written it was based on the Bible, so they had to get Jesus, Pharaoh, the flood and all that other stuff in there. With every new discovery they make, they just tidy up the story.
    In your reply you put a capital E in Renaissance by mistake, and you've got a spell checker. I'm not being picky, I'm just pointing out that our history is based on documents that were copied and copied and copied by hand in an age when classical forgeries were common and that maybe some Monk in a monastery up a mountain somewhere might have made a similar mistake and literally changed history. It's easy done.
    As for the statues in the Louvre. You have educated me today. And there was me thinking that the way they sorted them out was if they were scruffy they were Classical, if they were in good condition they were Renaissance and if they were pristine they were from Ikea.

  13. My button got pressed because Fomenko is a fraud. There are always problems with a chronology especially for time periods in which documentation is poor. For example we are unsure of when Henry V was actually born. The year of the ancient battle of Kadesh is disputed with the actual date date varying by as much as 30 years.

    Actually our present chronology is not based on the Bible. After all the Bible does not mention events after c. 60 C.E. It is based in the western tradition on Roman chronology and in fact dates like the birth of Christ were calculated in relation to Roman chronology. During the Middle Ages among the educated there was always a chronology based on the History of Greece and Rome as known by them and biblical events were generally tied to them rather than the other way around. The only exception was the dates calculated for the creation of the world. To a large extent that was because although the Romans and the Greeks generally believed in a divinely created world their myths did not have enough time parameters to give a date.

    In modern times historians generally ignore the Bible in putting events in chronological order. certainly the history of China and India they use local calenders / chronology and "translate" them into the B.C.E. and C.E. mode. Even in the west the Bible is not considered by most historians to be much of a guide to events, much less chronology. The history of Babylonia and its chronology relies on lists of year names and the tablets recovered which enable a fairly precise and in some cases extremely precise chronology to be worked out.

    It is not just copied documents but also coins, original documents, archeaology that enable us to write history. We have for example much original documentation from the Reign of King John for example. We even have inscription commissioned by the Emperor
    Augustus describing his life. We don't have to entirely rely on documents.

    Classical forged sculpture was common in the Renaissance not forged classical documents. There is a branch of Classical studies called Philology which is the study of documents and language. It is to put it bluntly very hard to fake an ancient document convincingly. They were generally spotted rather quickly as obvious fakes. The best example is the so-called Donation of Constantine. A fake document designed to support Papal claims in Italy. It is a rather obvious fake and revealed to be so during the Renaissance.

    The main works of Tacitus for example are only known from one copy and they are fragmentary with large sections missing. The language is NOT church Latin and the document survived by what can only be described as a miracle. Now could a Monk have faked it? Unlikely why would he fake a fragmentary history that was by a man who indicates he despises Christians. Further isn't interesting that the list of emperors Tacitus gives is shown to be correct by coin finds and archeaology carried out in the last century. It has been known for quite sometime that Monks made errors copying documents. They knew that in Medieval times. That is what Philology sometimes involves finding possible errors and correcting them.

    What you describe can only happen if a document was only copied very rarely. If a document was multiple copied such mistakes would be very unlikely to get much traction. Still a fair number of works from the classical era survived only by a miracle and you read critical editions of such works. Generally the text about the work is massively more abundant than the work itself. Much of it devoted to parsing the text.

    As for the last paragraph. Very funny.

  14. Thank you.
    My comments were supposed to be general. I'm impressed that you have given loads of specific details, however my point remains that it is more than possible that our chronology is muddled up. You kind of agreed in the first paragraph.
    By saying how they compiled the data, from what sources and very interesting trivia doesn't fudge over the holes in our history. Putting it together is like doing a jig-saw with a load of pieces missing.
    I don't agree that Fomenko is a fraud. He's just a guy trying to sell books. We need people thinking outside the box. If we accepted every fact as carved in stone we wouldn't learn anything new.
    It's quite common for an author to find unusual facts, or ask unusual questions, which by themselves are intriguing, but in order to make money out of it, they make it into a theory and stretch it out into a book. To me, the important things to focus on are the facts and the questions that wouldn't be out there had the author not presented to us, regardless of the person being a charlatan or not.
    I think Fomenko falls into in this group. I just flipped through the mathematical stuff, but some of the pictures, maps and some of the questions he asked are interesting.
    Also bear in mind that Fomenko is not the only one proposing phantom years. Illig is on it too, so is Kasperov:

  15. We will just have to disagree about Fomenko being a fraud. But to me a man who lies, distorts and falsifies to the extent that he does is a fraud. For example Fomenko's comments about carbon 14 dating are so blatantly distorted that I can only conclude that he is willfully lying. His comments about coin studies and tree rings is equally contemptible. And that doesn't begin to go into the stunningly shoddy way he creates his correlations.

    Fomenko's "facts" aren't facts unless proven otherwise by overwhelming evidence. Otherwise the default position is, in my opinion, he is making it up.

    Kasperov is a former master chess player. As for Illig in Germany he is a joke and further his position is stunningly illogical. Some Byzantine sources he is unaware of mention rulers from this supposed made up time.