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Middle Ages World, people and events during medieval times (500-1500).

The Phantom Time Theory of Heribert Illig

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The Phantom Time Theory of Heribert Illig

"Anomalous Eras - Best Evidence: Best Theory"

Toronto Conference, June 28, 29, 30, 2005

The Invented Middle Ages

By Heribert Illig

The thesis of the "Invented Middle Ages" created quite a stir in the German-speaking world. For years there has been an on-going discussion of this thesis that keeps flaring up again and again, though it was really less of a discussion than a determined attack by mainstream historians, an attempt to eliminate that which must not be. At present, German medievalists, after several failed attempts at refutation, are no longer willing to react to my arguments. Nevertheless, despite their attempts to ignore me, the debate continues. Two of my books have been translated into Hungarian. But although the general public takes great interest in the subject, the scholars remain silent. For my presentation here in Canada I decided on the following structure: I will present the steps that led me to results that are totally different from all the scholars who had previously dealt with this period.

How I arrived at my Thesis

A brief word on my credentials. I got my doctorate on the subject of the Viennese cultural historian Egon Friedell, but I am not a historian in the narrow sense of the word. I did study economics, mathematics, physics, some art history and Egyptology. My interest in Egyptian culture brought me into contact with Velikovsky's theses. Velikovsky's ideas showed me that the accepted time line has holes like a sieve. In other words: many periods have left so frighteningly little evidence that we must ask: did this particular period ever exist or did it originate on the desks of scholars? A response to this question was given in the book I cowrote with Gunnar Heinsohn, "Wann lebten die Pharaonen?" (When Did the Pharaohs Live?) This brings me to (Slide I) the first and essential point: Giving up an axiom, i.e. a supposition that nobody has ever doubted. As an example of such an axiom, consider this statement: the accepted time line is God-given and therefore does not need to be checked. In my study of Ancient Egypt I learned that entire periods may be written up in books, even though they have not left any traces on earth and, more importantly, in the earth. I was thus forewarned when I started looking at the history ofthe Middle Ages.

Which brings us to the next point:

Logic and experience of life - "Common Sense"

What started me off was a phone call from a friend. He was looking into forgeries in the Middle Ages. In 1986 there had been a conference on this subject in Munich, the results of which were reprinted in six volumes totaling 3,700 pages. The final talk was given by Prof Horst Fuhrmann, then president of "Monumenta Germaniae Historica", the institution that prepares the critical edition of the old and oldest German documents. Fuhrmann talked of "forgeries with anticipatory character". I quote:

"Sylvester legend, Constantinian Donation, Symmachian Forgeries, Pseudo-Clemens letters, Pseudo-Isidorian Forgeries: let us stop at that list. All these forgeries have the characteristic that at the time they were written, they had hardly any effect. At the time of their creation, they had anticipatory character."

You can see on Slide 2 that after being created the individual forgeries had to wait 250 to 550 years before they had an effect. This is an incredibly long time. Can you imagine forging a document that will suddenly become effective centuries later? How would it have to be written so that it will fit the daily politics of a future era? And where do you keep such a forgery? How does anyone remember that there was an ancient document that might be worthwhile fishing out? Where were the safes that would protect it from mice and humidity and at the same time provided an index in which it might be located? At that time I told my friend: If the monk in his scriptorium wasn't a clairvoyant, then I can provide only an ad-hoc explanation: The moment when this forgery was produced, and the moment when the forgery had an effect were perhaps much closer to each other than has been thought previously. However, in that case we would need to shorten the time line. At this point in our discussion we reached the point of testability: the mathematically comprehensible calendar calculation.

Whereas questions of ancient Egyptian chronology are not directly linked with our present chronology, it's a different story with the Middle Ages. Today we use the Gregorian Calendar, which was defined by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. It is an improved version of the calendar that Julius Caesar introduced in 45 BC. At that time, the lunar calendar of the Romans was in an utter muddle because corrupt persons had bribed the responsible priests to add another month to the tax year. Caesar solved the problem by inserting three months into the calendar- this led to a year with 445 days -, by going over to a clear solar year as a basis for the calendar year, and by introducing a clear intercalary rule: every fourth year is an intercalary year with one additional day.

This proved to be an excellent system, but not forever because the year was not exactly 365 days and 6 hours long (see Slide 3). From an astronomical point of view, there were 674 seconds too many. This is not even a quarter of an hour per year, but in 128 years this error adds up to a whole day. After 1,282 years, therefore, there are 10 days too many. In 1582 Pope Gregory ordered precisely ten days to be skipped in order to make the day count agree with the celestial situation. In passing it should be mentioned that the Pope introduced an improved intercalary rule which requires revision only every 2000years. What is decisive for us is the following:

The ten days that were skipped in October 1582 corrected the mistake that had accumulated in the Julian Calendar over the previous 1,282 years. However, if you deduct these 1,282 years from 1582, you don't arrive in the year of Caesar's calendar reform, 45 BC, but in the year AD 300! If he had gone all the way back to Caesar, Pope Gregory would have had to skip 13 days. He did not do so, and yet: the astronomical situation and the calendar agreed. His jump was too short, yet he landed in the right place.

For some years now in Germany there has been a heated discussion of this strange phenomenon. In the end, it was found that in searching for the truth, antique tradition is no help: it has not left us any evidence of the spring equinox at the time of Caesar nor the autumn equinox at the time of Augustus. But this year, Werner Frank clarified that before 1582, several experts working on the calendar reform demanded that 12, 13 or even 15 days should be skipped. The Viennese Ordinary Fabricius demanded a jump of 13 days. Giorgio Caretti asked for 14 days. The mathematician Giovanni Rastelli pleaded for 15 days, in order to get to March 25, which Columella or Pliny had indicated as being the day of the spring equinox in Caesar's time. But March 25 belongs to an alternative calendar, which probably originates with the Mithras cult. Using the Greek Eudoxos (408-355), Werner Frank calculated that in Caesar's time, the spring equinox was on March 21.

All we need to know for our subject is that our calendar contains "slack" so that the time
line could be shorter.

Now it was a question of making the first thesis plausible: Which period was superfluous? At first glance it was obvious that the Roman imperial era was very well documented. The Renaissance period before 1582 was also very well documented. Even the Romanesque and Gothic eras - looked at from an art-history perspective - are well documented, with thousands - even tens of thousands - of buildings. So almost automaticallywe hit upon the Early Middle Ages. Only here was there darkness. Only here did we find the technical term "Dark Ages". This can be shown with a table (Slide 4).

In the literature, the term "Dark Ages" is used for various periods (Slide 4). The author of a history of Byzantium, Frank ThieB, called the period from the death of Justinian I till 741 "dark centuries". The Byzantinist Cyril Mango considers events in Greece and sees "dark ages" there from 580 to the 10th century. In the Frankish west, there is talk of a Merovingian Dark Age between 600 and 750. According to Peter Schreiner, a Byzantinist, there is no contemporary historiography for the period from 600 to 800. And in Byzantine architecture, for the period between 610 and at least 850 there is a large gap. This has been described by Mango. (The first preserved building that is not known from literature only is from the period shortly after 900.)

For the French medievalist Guy Bois, the century between 814 and 914 is one of the most mysterious because it is the darkest of all. For the city of Rome, its "biographer" Ferdinand Gregorovius noted in the 19th century that the period between 825 and 925 was the darkest part of an already dark era. In the Occident, it is striking that almost nothing was built between 850 and 950, which has been noticed by architectural historians such as Zimmermann or Erwin Panofsky. Incidentally, the first who talked of a dark century was Cardinal Caesar Baronius, who died in 1607. In his Ecclesiastical Annals, he used this term to describe the period between 900 and 1000.

When we look at the different definitions, it can be roughly stated that in the Byzantine Empire, a large, coherent period starting in 565, 580, or 600 and lasting till the 10th century can be eliminated as a suspicious Dark Age. In the West, however, there are two dark periods: one lasts from 600 to 750, the other from 814 into the 10th century. Why? Because in the west, there is Charlemagne, a luminous figure who is supposed to have reigned from 768 to 814 and who supplies evidence for this period because of the Carolingian Renaissance he is supposed to have initiated. However, he only illuminates this time, because immediately before and after him all is dark. Gregorovius, in his "History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages," described it thus:

"The figure of the Great Charles can be compared to a flash of lightning who came out of the night, illuminated the earth for a while, and then left night behind him." Thus, in my search for "superfluous times" I had hit on the Early Middle Ages, but I did not yet know whether there was one or two Dark Ages. Therefore I had to look closely at a German national treasure, Charlemagne.

There are various methods for testing whether a period is real or fictitious. First, written source will have to be held against written source. Then architectural finds can be compared with architectural history. Above all, the existing architecture will be compared with the existing written sources. With certainty, the best method is the comparison of archaeological finds with written sources. These are not new methods; yet they appear not to have been used sufficiently until now. I would like to illustrate the different possibilities.

Sources vs. Sources

This comparison is easy to illustrate using the reports on the life of Charlemagne. Comparing all the biographies, I soon noticed that this ruler's achievements would have required the lives of two, three, or four "normal men." In 44 of the 46 years of his reign he goes to war. Like a Medici, he has a court of scholars at Aachen that gathers the cleverest Europeans of his time. Depending on whose calculation we use, during the course of his life he traveled the equivalent of two or even three times around the globe. At the same time he was a perfect lawmaker: he formulated more than a hundred decrees, he updated jurisdiction by introducing the jury system; wherever he was he administered justice.

But he was also active as a folklorist and mythologist, ordering old legends and folk tales to be collected; he was a linguist both for German and for Latin; he ordered - remember he was illiterate! - a cleaned-up version of the Bible for he was obviously an exceptional theologian who even conducted ecclesiastical synods himself. He was a grammarian, a founder of schools, of libraries and universities - all of these long before the time when such institutions are first mentioned in Europe. In my book I have collected more than a hundred of the Great Charles' characteristics. This makes an extraordinary list: he was his own minister of agriculture; he was the physical as well as the spiritual ancestor of half of Europe; he was sole ruler to whom omniscience was ascribed; he was a classical philologist, architect, astronomer, builder and so on.

The conclusion is simple: far too much is ascribed to this one person. How much of it is true? The written sources cannot answer that question, though even while he was alive and before he was crowned emperor they speak of the beacon of Europe and the father of Europe. For the moment, let's leave aside the written sources and consult the material evidence. For the item Architectural Findings vs. Architectural History, the famous Aachen Palatine Chapel, today's Aachen Cathedral, is the best example. For this structure, his most important palace, Charlemagne was not only the patron but, according to some reports, also the architect and building supervisor. Because this building has survived to our time, we can study it thoroughly. In doing so, I found more than 24 building details that - according to architectural history - are present here already in perfection, before AD 800. But these architectural features have neither predecessors nor direct successors. All these details had to be rediscovered independently during the subsequent Romanesque Period. This is a riddle of a complexity that does not occur elsewhere.

As an example, I would refer to the central dome.

The inner octagon at Aachen has, at a height of over 30 m, an octagonal dome 15 m in diameter. It is assembled from carefully hewn stone and at its weakest points it is 83 cm thick (not quite 33 inches). This means that above every visitor, a ton of stone is suspended. The enormous weight and the thrust it produces need to be supported by the walls. This has been achieved perfectly, otherwise the building would not have survived World War II. But where did its builder learn to build so well?

The Franks were builders in wood and did not have any larger buildings. Did the knowledge come trom the Romans? The Romans had two techniques for building domes and vaults. In Rome itself domes were made trom cast concrete. Concrete consists of cement, water, and aggregate materials such as gravel or sand. The Romans had the volcanic Pozzulan earth which sets just like cement. The most famous example for this technology is the dome of the Pantheon. But no such dome was built later than AD 400. There was no building tradition that could have transported this knowledge to the Franks more than 400 years later.

In Byzantium, domes were made from tiles and other clay elements that were as light as possible, such as amphorae. The most famous examples are the domes of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Here, too, there was no continued building activity that could have transported the knowledge from Istanbul to Germany. However, knowledge that is not written down requires oral transmission from generation to generation. Thus, the Aachen Palatine Chapel appears to be a masterpiece without a predecessor.

Neither does it have a successor, for there is no Carolingian building with a dome after 820. The technology appears to have been totally forgotten. In the Occident, buildings with domes started up again only around 970, but the first domes had a span of only 3.5 meters (about 11 1/2 feet). From that point onward, the span of the vaults was increased inch by inch. Around 1050, it was possible to construct vaults over the aisle ofthe imperial cathedral at Speyer on the Rhine: with 7.5 meters (approx. 25 feet) they were the largest vaults of their time. Then started the building ofthe large Romanesque domes at Toulouse, Cluny, Santiago de Compostela, and again in Speyer. Shortly after 1100, in that city, the central nave and the transept were also given vaults. As in Aachen, the transept is an octagonal dome with a diameter of around 15 meters (approx. 50 feet).

With regard to Speyer, everything is right: there are the indispensable precursor buildings, there is the building evolution, and there are the successor buildings. For Aachen nothing is right: Aachen stands as a masterpiece with no precursor, no successor, as an erratic within the so-called Carolingian Renaissance.

Since this debate began in Germany in 1996, this line of evidence has not been refuted. On the contrary, one of the few who looked into it, Prof. Jan van der Meulen, confirmed in writing that - despite what art histories tell us - the Aachen dome is not Carolingian. It's either Gallo-Roman or Ottonian. Which means that Prof. van der Meulen places it either in the period before 650 or in the Ottonian period, which lasted from 918 to 1024.

In 2004, the architectural historian Volker Hoffinann, Berne (Switzerland) went public with the suggestion that Aachen cathedral is to be placed historically in the early 6th century. In favor of this idea is the "sister building" of San Vitale in Ravenna, though the method of building the dome of San Vitale is against the comparison because the Romans did not practice such building techniques. The dome in San Vitale, like that of St. Gereon in Cologne, was built with light clay elements.

From my point of view, Aachen was built at the same time as Speyer II, shortly after 1100. Whichever view is accepted, Aachen loses its distinction as a Carolingian building. This means that this period loses its best building, and the most important city of the Frankish Empire loses its ecclesiastical heart. With the loss of this dome alone, the tradition of Charlemagne's giant empire crumbles to dust.

Or, in other words: Carolingian buildings do not fit into the history of the arts as it is taught today.

Next point, Existing Architecture vs. Sources.

Written sources mention numerous Dark Age buildings in the Frankish region. It has been calculated (not by me but by experts on the documents in question) that there are 1,695 major buildings from the period between 476, the end of the West Roman Empire, and 817, which is three years after the death of Charlemagne. The scholars who came up with this number understood "major buildings" to mean palaces, churches, and monasteries. When we check the actual number of preserved buildings and ruins, we can be happy if more than 97 percent haven't disappeared.

The ~ame applies to the period of Charlemagne. He was supposed to have built 65 palaces, and altogether 313 major buildings. Of the palaces, a maximum of five have been preserved. Of the monasteries, not a single foundation exists. We only know the famous monastery plan of St. Gallen but for an architectural drawing this is centuries too early. Of this number, too, about 97 percent of the buildings have disappeared. The percentage is probably even higher, since besides the Aachen Palatine Chapel there is hardly a building that is ascribed exclusively to the Carolingians.

The situation is even more dramatic with regard to the most important point: Archaeology vs. Sources.

In this area, there are gaps without number. For example, one might wonder where Carolingian graves might be found. But the relevant part of the most important building, St. Denis cathedral, today in Paris, was destroyed a long time ago. Everywhere graves have been faked, as archaeologists have been able to show, such as that for King Carloman at AltOtting in Bavaria.

In the Frankish Empire, it is claimed, there were numerous destructions by Vikings, Saracens, or Avars and Huns. But archaeologists cannot show any evidence for these destructions. This is most strikingly the case for the well-researched Viking raids. What looks so plausible in the sources - Vikings come up all major rivers such as the Rhine, the Seine, Loire or Guadalquivir, and pillage all the cities - cannot be shown to have occurred in these cities. It cannot be shown that churches were destroyed or that city walls were demolished. There are no Viking objects to be found in these cities, and there are no Viking graves on the Continent.

Because this is the central point ofthe Thesis of the Phantom Era - what is there to prove the Dark Centuries existed? - together with a friend, Gerhard Anwander I carried out a large-scale study of Bavaria. In a comprehensive search, which has since been published in two volumes, we checked the 70,000 square kilometers of this region which is not only our home, it is representative of Central Europe, if not of more than half of Europe. About half of Bavaria was Roman, the other half Germanic; the Limes - the line of fortifications that divided the two populations - can still be seen. The population is composed of Germanic, Slav, and Romanic peoples; there are also interspersions of steppe peoples.

First, we collected places named in written documents. We found 2,200 places we called "document places". But when we started looking carefully for archaeological evidence, we discovered something strange: in only 88 of these document places have archaeologists discovered any remains at all that they ascribe to the Carolingians or to the early Bavarians, called the Agilolfing dukes and their time. So, here, too, in 96 percent of all possible cases there is nothing to report! It needs to be emphasized: archaeological finds are almost never forged, because nobody secretly puts a foundation in the ground to pretend an old building existed.

On the other hand, the number of forged documents is constantly growing. With each new investigation, new forgeries are discovered. The number of genuine documents diminishes all the time. In fact, it's moving toward zero. If this trend continues, Medieval Studies, an important branch of the historical sciences that puts its trust almost entirely in documents, will soon have lost its reason to exist. Most medieval scholars don't think much of my thesis, and it's not hard to see why. If I am right, then the number of genuine documents from the Phantom Era must be zero. For Bavaria, we were able to show that in all 88 questionable cases a later dating for these finds can be better justified than a Carolingian or Agilolfingian one. The same applies to those 58 finds that come from places for which there are no old documents to supply evidence.

The main problem can be summarized as follows: buildings, finds, and written documents from the Early Middle Ages are in a fundamental contradiction to each other, a conflict that cannot be resolved within conventional chronology.

Another example of missing finds. One might assume that at Aachen, the central palace of the Frankish empire, there ought to be numerous finds from that period in the museum. Yet there is not even an early medieval museum. In 1999, Prof. Matthias Untermann explained why this is so:

"Amazingly, there has not been an archeological dig or review of a building site within and outside the old city of Aachen that produced clear settlement remains of the Carolingian era, though the historical tradition points to the presence of merchants and numerous inhabitants as well as the existence of high-ranking noblemen and their courts, of whose buildings and physical remains there ought to be quite a lot in the ground. Everything that has so far been said about the road system, the structure of the settlement and its extent rests exclusively on written sources and theoretical considerations."

Which means that of this extremely important palace beside the Palatine Chapel and its
attendant buildings nothing has been preserved: neither its foundations with the streets, nor its
size, nor the houses of the clergy, nor those of the merchants, nor those of the foreign
emissaries and so on and so forth. Even small objects are missing. There is no clearer
indication that there are no finds for this period, that it is a phantom era, a fictitious period.

In the meantime, the search for evidence of the period in question, as well as for agreement between archaeological and architectural finds and written documents, has advanced quite a long way, as is shown by this list of articles and books:


(Charlemagne exhibition at Paderborn) Heribert Illig (1999)
Bavaria: Anwander/Illig (2002)
Dortmund: Fabian Fritzsche (2002)
Frankfurt: Hans-Ulrich Niemitz (1993)
Ingelheim: GUnter Lelarge/H.I. (2001)
Saxony: Gerald Schmidt (2002)
Thuringia: Klaus Weissgerber (1999)
Viking conquests: F. Fritzsche (2004)

Bulgaria: K. Weissgerber (2001)
Byzantium: H.I. (1997), F. Fritzsche (2003)
France: Auvergne: Gerhard Anwander (2004)
Alsace: Andreas Birken (2003)

Lombardy H. I. (1993)
Rom H.I. (1996)
Sicily Gunnar Heinsohn (2003)
Croatia: H.I. (2003)
London: H.-U. Niemitz (1993)
Poland and the Delta of the River Vistula: G. Heinsohn (2001/02)
Russia: K. Weissgerber (2001)
Sweden: G. Anwander/H.I. (2004)
Spain: Ilya Topper (1994), H.I. (1995), G. Heinsohn (2005)
Peoples of the Steppes: Manfred Zeller (1993)
Tyrol (Austria and Italy, + Switzerland): Alfred Tamerl (2003)
Hungary: M. Zeller (1996), K. Weissgerber (2002; book)
Zurich: John Spillmann (2004)

Armenia: G. Heinsohn (1996)
Ceylon: Claus D. Rade (1999)
China: K. Weissgerber (2002), M. Zeller (2002)
Georgia: K. Weissgerber (2000)
India: C.D. Rade (1997), K. Weissgerber (2004)
Indonesia: C. Rade (1998)
Iran: M. Zeller (1993)
Islam: various papers
Israel (Jerusalem - Synagogues): G. Heinsohn (2000)
Japan: K. Weissgerber (2002)

Yemen: U. Topper (1994)
Korea: K. Weissgerber (2002)
Parsees: U. Topper (1994)
Central Asia: M. Zeller (1993)
Ethiopia: I. Topper (1994), Weissgerber (2003)
Berber kingdoms: U. Topper (1994)
Copts: I. Topper (1994)

To sum up: archaeological testimony clearly contradicts the documents of that period. Since our calendar shows "slack", it is permitted to state: Charlemagne has no historical background. He is an invented figure. This conclusion is compelled by the lack of finds, to which I would add that there would be an absolute absence of finds if scholars did not strive so hard to attribute any available works of art or objects of daily use to the Carolingian era.


* The Early Middle Ages were never the way they are depicted in the textbooks.
* Part of the Early Middle Ages are a later interpolation. This time period never happened; it is fictitious, a phantom era.
* According to my research thus far, this period lies between AD 614 and 9I 1.
* The political events and the acting personnel are either pure invention or duplicating projections from other periods; in rare cases they were real persons who were brought into the phantom era from another time.
* This phantom era is not limited to the Franks or to Central Europe. It has been shown to exist in excavations from Iceland to Indonesia. Meaning, in all these areas the sources and the archaeological finds or other tests do not fit together.

The Protagonists

Needless to say, someone must have carried out this artificial and deliberate interpolation. I have shown that there was a small window of opportunity between 990 and 1009 during which the three most important powers of the occident - the Byzantine emperor, the German emperor, and the Pope - were able to cooperate. I therefore designated Emperors Constantine VII and Otto III and Pope Sylvester II as the authors of this interpolation. The motive, at least in the west, was apparently an eschatological one: Otto III felt that he was Christ's representative and vicar on earth, who would ring in the last 1000 years on earth. For according to early Christian belief, in analogy to the seven days of creation, there would be seven days of the world of 1000 years each. And the seventh day of the world would begin according to the calculation of the day with the year 1000. The pope, as the wisest scholar of his time, had assisted the emperor, since at the time the clergy were the only ones able to read and write. When a rough dynastic structure had been designed for temporal and spiritual rulers, this structure was clothed with more and more detail in the course of time. Some details important for Charlemagne were added only under the rule of Frederick I Barbarossa,
in the second half of the 12th century. This was the century during which, according to the latest research, the greatest number of documents of the Early Middle Ages were forged. The trigger here was the justification of property owned by the church after the Worms Concordat of 1122.

This setting forward of the clock was taken over by others, especially the Jewish and Islamic cultures, without having to be ordered to do so. They, too, filled the invented time, which at first was empty. As far as Islam was concerned, a great many events were added, with noticeably fewer events for the Jews. This explains for the first time why in the 10th century the Byzantines, the Christians in the west and the Jews, without saying a word, introduced new calendars, an event that no one thus far has been able to explain. In fact, it was a shift in the calendar point of reference. For if the point of reference is shifted by centuries or millennia, nobody realizes that an additional, fictitious period has been interpolated.

Thank you for your attention.

[Slide 1]

Steps in Researching the Early Middle Ages

* Giving Up a Generally Accepted Axiom (fixed time line)
* Logic and Experience of Life: Common Sense (anticipatory forgeries)
* Astronomical-computistic Circumstances (calendar computation)
* Sources vs. Sources (contradictions concerning the oversized figure of Charlemagne)
* Architectural Findings vs. Architectural History (Palatine chapel Aachen)
* Existing Architecture vs. Sources (Carolingian buildings)
* Archaeology vs. Sources (Inner city archaeology in Aachen, large areas: Bavaria, Hungary)

[Slide 2]

* Forgeries with Anticipatory Character
* Sylvester Legend 4th century -> 8th c.
* Symmachian Forgery 550 -> 11th c.
* Constantinian "Donation" 750 -> 11th c.
* Pseudo-Isidorian Forgery 850 -> 11th c.

[Slide 3]

Calendar Computation to the Minute and the Second

Astronomical Year Length: 365 d + 5 h 48 m 46 s
Caesar's Year Length: 365 h + 6 h
Difference: 11 m + 14 s =674 s

1 day = 86.400 s : 674 s = 128,2 [years], i.e. Caesar's error adds up in 128.2 years to 1 day In 1.282 years, this error amounts to 10 days

In 1582 Gregory XIII. corrects the error of 1.282 years by adding 10 days

AD 1582 - 1282 = AD 300
However, Caesar's Calendar Correction took place in 45 BC

Ergo: Though the error has not been corrected back to Caesar, astronomical sky and calendar are again in agreement

h = hour m = minute s = second

[Slide 4]

Dark Centuries

565 -> 741 Byzantine Dark Age (F. Thien)
580-> 10th c. ark Ages in Greece (c. Mango)
600 -> 750 Merovingian Dark Age
600 -> 800 Byzantine Historiography (P. Schreiner)
610-> 850 Byzantine Architecture (C. Mango)

- 768 -814 Charlemagne

814 -> 914 Occident's most mysterious period (G. Bois)
825 -> 925 Dark Rome (F. Gregorovius)
850 -> 950 Architecture in Occident (Panofsky, Zimmermann)
900 -> 1000 Historiography in Occident (C. Baronius)

[Slide 5]

How Charlemagne's Coronation Date was calculated

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 7 days of creation

Since for God 1000 years are like one day, the world will exist for 6000 or 7000 years, depending on whether the Last Judgment will take place at the beginning or the end of the Day of Rest.

Creation End

1 1001 2001 3001 4001 5001 6001

Eusebius (AD 303) moved the birth of Christ from 5501 to 5201 after creation:

5001 a.Cr. 5201a.Cr. 6001 a. Cr.

Birth of Christ 801 AD 7th Day of the World Starts

Charlemagne was crowned on December 25, 800, which according to the new calculation in
the Imperial Annals, was the first day of the year 801!

In the 10th c. (?):

5001 a. Cr. 6001 a. Cr.

Birth of Christ 801 AD 7th Day of the World Starts

Otto III - thus the legend - visits Charlemagne in his tomb in 1000 and takes the insignia
of power from him.


Charlemagne's coronation is held precisely on the day specified in the calculation
produced by Eusebius of Caesarea 497 years ago. It opens the Seventh day of the World
because it continues the Imperium Romanum. Otherwise, according to an old prophecy
the world would have ended.

Otto III also opens the Seventh Day of the World according to a new calculation (moving
the Birth of Christ by 200 years). For the two critical years, 1000 and 1001 he had
special seals made which show him to be the representative of Christ at the end time.

Dr. Heribert lIIig, June 2005
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Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist?

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz

Klopstockstr. 18, D-10557 Berlin, Germany
(First version 1995-10-02, second version 1997-10-09, minor revision 2000-04-03)

Did the early Middle Ages really exist?

This question in itself – and more so the answer ‘NO, the early Middle Ages did not exist’ – is surprising, to say the least. It contradicts all basic knowledge and attacks the historian’s self-
respect to such an extreme that the reader of this paper is asked to be patient, benevolent and open to radically new ideas. I shall argue step by step – and, I hope, you will follow. With a group of friends (Müller 1992; Illig 1991; Niemitz 1991; Zeller 1991; Marx 1993; Topper 1994) I have been doing research on this subject since 1990. This is the reason for using ‘we’ or ‘I’ intermittently.

The thesis mainly says, with far-reaching implications and consequences:
Between Antiquity (1 AD) and the Renaissance (1500 AD) historians count approximately 300 years too many in their chronology. In other words: the Roman emperor Augustus really lived 1700 years ago instead of the conventionally assumed 2000 years.
However, the whole well-known historiography of the Middle Ages contradicts this assertion! The easiest way to understand doubts about the accepted chronology and ‘well-known’ history is to seriously systematize the problems of medieval research. This will lead us to detect a pattern which proves my thesis and gives reason to assume that a phantom period of approximately 300 years has been inserted between 600 AD to 900 AD, either by accident, by misinterpretation of documents or by deliberate falsification (Illig 1991). This period and all events that are supposed to have happened therein never existed. Buildings and artifacts ascribed to this period really belong to other periods. To prove this the Carolingian Chapel at Aachen will serve as the first example.

Art historians explain and describe artifacts and buildings of this period as anachronistic – but they never follow up on their assessments. One of the best examples, intensively surveyed, is
the Chapel of Aachen (ca. 800 AD), which seems to come approximately 200 years too early. The way of constructing an arch shown in this chapel has no predecessor (Adam 1968,7). Arched aisles are usual only in the 11th century in Speyer. The construction of choirs with rising arch and also rising barrel vaulting is not resumed until 200 years later at the portal of Tournus (Hubert 1969,67). The vertical steepness of the interior arches of the Aachen Chapel is more accentuated than those of churches built two centuries later. One of these is the 1049
AD consecrated Abbey-church of Ottmarsheim. Although missing some details of the early model, nevertheless it is the “best copy” of Aachen. However, these and many other arguments implicate that the Chapel of Aachen has to be regarded as a building of the second part of the 11th century.

Another ‘big’ research-problem is the AD way of counting years. How could 300 phantom years have crept into the accepted chronology and why didn’t anyone notice it? For approximately 2000 years people have been counting years correctly, haven’t they?

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII started the so-called ‘Gregorian calendar’, which is basically a corrected version of the old Julian calendar of Julius Caesar. The Julian calendar, after being used for a long time, no longer corresponded with the astronomical situation. The difference, according to calculations by Pope Gregory, amounted to 10 days. Now please calculate: how many Julian years does it take to produce an error of 10 days? The answer is 1257 years. The question – at which date was the Julian calendar correct – can be calculated with the following amazing result (Illig 1991):

1582 – 1257 = 325
(The year in which the “Gregorian” calendar began minus the years necessary to produce 10 days of error in the Julian calendar equals the beginning the Julian calendar.)

It seems, unbelievably, that Caesar introduced his calendar in 325 AD. This is unbelievable because by then he had already been dead for more than 300 years. If 16 centuries had passed since Caesar’s introduction of his calendar, the Julian calendar in Gregory’s time would have been out of sync with the astronomical situation by 13 days, not 10.

Some historians have noticed this contradiction, but they solve it this way: the scholars in Caesar’s time reckoned a different date for the equinox (the day in spring, where day and night have the same length). Yet it can be proved that the Romans used the same date for the equinox as we do today, i.e. the 21st of March (Illig 1991 and 1993).

If our thesis of 300 phantom years is right, then the thesis must also be valid for the whole of Eurasian-African history for the period between 600 AD and 900 AD. In this time period Byzantium and the new Islamic realms were supposedly fighting each other in the Near East and the Mediterranean.

Let us look at Byzantium first. Historians acknowledge a special problem for exactly this period: when did the Empire reform its administration? When and how did this reform – called by modern historians ‘reform of the themes’ – come into being? How did feudalism develop? One group of historians pointed out that the essentials for this reform were outlined in Antiquity and that for the 300 years following 600 AD nothing happened. Thus nothing can be said about this period, because no historical sources exist for the supposed reform in this period.

Another group interpolates between the years 600 AD and 900 AD a very slow evolution of Byzantine society. This evolution was so slow, they say, that the actors themselves hardly noticed it and thus this evolution didn’t produce any written document (no archaeological remains, either, by the way!). The discussion of both groups is termed the ‘debate of continuity’. The gap has to be filled by speculation. Therefore both groups accuse each other of misinterpreting historical sources in an anachronistic manner (Karayannopulos 1959,15; Niemitz 1994).

Uwe Topper and Manfred Zeller pointed out how to resolve some important riddles and research problems of the Islamic and Persian-Arab-Byzantine world using the thesis of the phantom years. Firdowsis’ well-known epic, the Shahname, written around 1010 AD, ends with the last Persian king Yazdegird III, who died 651 AD. The epic tells nothing about the Islamic conquest of Persia and has no allusions to Islam at all. It simply skips 300 years of Islamic influence as if they had never existed (Topper 1994).

Moreover, the Parsees – the Zarathustra worshipers – in India have been debating their own chronology furiously since messengers from Iran in the 18th century told them that they made a mistake in counting the years since their flight from the homeland [this claim/evidence, however, has been withdrawn in (Topper 1999)]. Even modern encyclopedias vary in their assertions between the 7th and 10th century for the event (Topper 1994).

A thorough examination of the architecture of the Omayyades – they were the famous first Arabic dynasty from 661 AD until 750 AD – detects untypical characteristics for an Islamic dynasty. These unusual characteristics are especially visible in their palaces. We see a painting (approximately 725 AD) on a wall (in spite of the Islamic prohibition against portraying human figures!) showing the Persian king Khosrow II, paying homage to the Omayyade sovereign. But by then this Persian king had been dead for approximately 100 years.

The introduction of Arabic coins organized by the caliph Abd al Malik in 695 AD reveals some remarkable contradictions. The Arabic coins bear the portrait of the Persian king Khosrow II who died long time before (Zeller 1993). Manfred Zeller draws the following conclusion from this and other facts: We have to eliminate two phantom times; the first of approximately 78 years (from 583 AD until 661 AD) and a second one of approximately 218 years (from 750 until 968). The first phantom time came into being through artificial separation of the Persian and Omayyade history which in reality was contemporaneous. Thus Zeller explains the contradictions of the un-Islamic style and the late appearance of Khosrow II in the Omayyade history. The second phantom time is a time-stretching repetition of the Persian history from 528 AD until 661 – now in Islamic style and dated from 750 until 968. Harun al-Rashid is an invention, as is the whole history of his dynasty (Müller 1992). Probably Islam did not spread until 10 centuries ago.

While this way some riddles and research problem can be solved, others will follow. For instance the miraculous origin of Islam. It is generally known that historians are astonished by this ‘miracle’; we can read this in the introduction of Fischer Weltgeschichte, Volume I, Der Islam I: “Birth and success of Islam seem to be a miracle.” (Cahen 1968,7). A miracle (“Wunder”) like that is needed for an explanation – this is known to all scientists. Gunter Lüling has suggested a new scenario (Lüling 1974 and 1981).

The history of the Jews shows centuries of darkness and discontinuity that support the thesis of the phantom time. One of the important modern works on Jewish history bears the descriptive title “The Dark Ages. Jews in Christian Europe 711-1096”. Here are two quotations: “It seemed, that they (the Jews) totally disappeared together with the breakdown of the Roman Empire. However, we don’t find any evidence of their presence until the Carolingian period.” (Roth 1966,162). For the Carolingian period historians find only written sources, whereas material sources like buildings and artifacts exist just for the time after 1000 AD (Jewish quarter in Regensburg between 1006 and 1028 AD, in Cologne between 1056 and 1075 AD, in Worms around 1080 AD, in Speyer around 1084 AD etc.). And for the regions outside Germany we are told: “Of course we know from inscriptions and other sources about Jewish societies and single persons in nearly all provinces of the Roman Empire, and we can reasonably suppose – with or without proof – that there is in fact no district without Jews.

Nevertheless there doesn’t exist any evidence and only little probability that a substantial number of Jews lived anywhere in the western world at this time.” (Roth 1966,4; Illig 1991).

Fig. 1: The center of the graph shows the time axis of conventionally dated historical events. Upper and lower coordinates show reconstructed time tables. The black triangles mark the phantom years.

How can we find support in archaeological research for our phantom time? In 1986 a conference of archaeologists specializing in medieval towns took place under the heading: “The rebirth of towns in the west, AD 700–1050”. The participants discussed a puzzling problem: does continuity in the evolution of the town – postulated by historians – exist or not? The archaeologists could prove that the stratigraphies of towns – adapted to ‘normal’
chronology – inevitably involve gaps. Where was continuity? Generally it is enigmatic to archaeologists if towns in the early Middle Ages had had an economic sense or function. Historians and archaeologists must maintain that no civil town building existed in this period and that only church buildings survived from that time. To justify this they must assert that at that time towns were not central marketplaces (Hodges 1982,49; Niemitz 1992).

The few existing stratigraphies of German towns give evidence of the phantom time. In Frankfurt am Main archaeological excavations did not find any layer for the period between 650 and 910 AD. Nevertheless it has been assumed that something had been found in order to avoid empty centuries, which is unconceivable. Thus the absent period was construed by layers – composed of waste and ceramic fragments from other locations – which were spread to fill in the gap and support known chronology (Stamm 1962; Niemitz 1993).

Archaeological research in ceramics encounters big problems for the projected phantom time. Two quotations: “The evolution of half a century is unclear” writes Peter Vychitil in his 1991 publication about ceramics of the 8th to 13th centuries from settlements of the Main-triangle. Thirty years earlier Werner Haarnagel had some troubles with the slow-moving evolution of vessel forms in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries at the North Sea coast; it is impossible to find an order in these ceramic vessels. Even to construct a relative chronology still seems to be impossible. Therefore the ceramic experts try to solve their problems with mathematical and statistical methods (Vychitil 1991,21; Niemitz 1994).

In the same manner as archaeologists, the researcher of ceramics commits a major mistake – a mistake that Günter P. Fehring warned of: “Independent of the existence of written sources for that period, the medieval archaeologist should try to date his finds with archaeological means. It is not permitted to act in a different way than an archaeologist of ancient history.” (Fehring 1992,48). Thus archaeologists are not permitted to rely on written sources, especially when the archaeological results and the evidence contradict them – even if generations of historians have worked on those written sources! For instance the framework of the ceramics chronology has been elaborated for one hundred years; the researcher correlated each surprising find in accordance with known history, although more than 100 years ago in the science of Antiquity (Altertumskunde) we can find amazing words that must have been a warning. For example, the following quotation (1880) deals with the end of the Merovingian period: “But we do miss a reliable milestone of this kind like the one provided by the burial hoard of Doornick (Childerich I). The boundary leads into uncertainty, sometimes until the 9th and even 11th centuries.” (Lindenschmit 1880,75).

This shows that each specialist refers to the neighboring discipline to solve his problems of dating – a typical case of circular reasoning. Nobody looks over the whole situation and therefore nobody is astonished that the same structural problems occur in different disciplines.

The most common objection to this idea says that methods of scientific dating are infallible and beyond the danger of circular reasoning. Of these methods the best known are RC14 and
dendrochronology. As RC14 is now calibrated by and therefore dependent on dendrochronology it is insignificant for the medieval period. Horst Willkom (1988) says: “We use the C14-method only to correlate a sample of carbon with a certain tree ring. This method – at least for the post-glacial period – has become a relative method.” (Willkomm 1988,176).

Dendrochronology works, because each time period creates typical sequences of tree rings. With the help of overlapping sequences of different trees it is possible to construct a standard sequence that reaches back centuries for a given region. In this standard sequence you can find for any suitable wood the corresponding age of growth of this tree. This seems to be a very simple theory; you have to count the tree rings if you want to find the exact year, that’s all.

But as each individual wood differs from the other and also differs from the standard sequence, dendrochronologists must work with a tremendous mathematical apparatus: “Transformation of the ring-width into logarithmic differences, preferential treatment of the correlating arithmetic, theoretical derivation of congruent patterns, distance regression of similarity, regional analysis, test function with scope of dating, statistics of sapwood and lost tree rings, distribution of centered differences between dating of art styles and dendrochronological dating.” (Hollstein 1980,11; Illig 1993).

Using this method one easily commits errors. The following demonstrates this: researchers erroneously construed the interval between 2000 BC and 500 AD by synchronizing North and Central European oak wood. In one of the synchronizations the error amounted to 71 years. Not only these 71 years are alarming but also the error by itself. Methodically the error was duly kept at 71 years because otherwise the wood – dated before with other methods – would not fit historically. But how was it possible to locate those 71 years in the standard sequence? Are the mathematical methods so flexible? Distrust is necessary even more so because the author of that publication emphasizes that in this case of dating some unfavorable circumstances accumulated and such might happen in every (sic!) laboratory (Schmidt 1984, 233).

There is another argument against applying dendrochronology to the Middle Ages. The number of suitable samples of wood, which connect Antiquity and the Middle Ages is very small. But only a great number of samples would give certainty against error. For the period about 380 AD we have only 3, for the period about 720 AD only 4 suitable samples of wood (Hollstein 1980,11); usually 50 samples serve for dating.

Fig 2: Number of samples in time (Central European oak chronology).

Another argument against dendrochronology consists of its own history: In 1970 Ernst Hollstein – one of the famous and most active dendrochronologists in Germany – proclaimed after eight years of research a great success: he had solved the problem of bridging the early Middle Ages. Now he could date all samples back to Roman time ‘absolutely and exactly’. But he paid a high price – too high as we know today. He did in fact change his method; instead of using oak for his oak-chronology he used copper beech wood (= Rotbuchenholz) to fill the gap. But ten years later in 1980 it was no longer necessary to use beechwood for the oak-chronology, he fortunately had found fitting oak wood – but dates he had defined in 1970 were irrevocable! This is unusual in science, and he did it only reluctantly as we can see from the following quotation, where he describes his method: “The method is unbiased and basically not graphic, because it combines many calculation operations, and you have to do the more operations, the more the problem of dating is distant from today and from comparable historically secured dates. At border-line when totally leaving known history – e.g. analyzing two completely unknown samples of trees which grew supposedly at the same time – the a priori probability of finding the right date can become so small that only a little chance remains of finding it. For trees of the post-glacial the probability is approximately one in 10000. These hints show clearly the biggest difficulty of the dendrochronological method.” (Hollstein 1970,147).

“All attempts to get enough tree ring sequences from timber of the Carolingian times have failed ...” – “It is strange, but it proved as extremely difficult to connect the Merovingian wood samples from excavations with the above mentioned chronologies.” “Encouraged by an unusually deceptive correlation – as happens from time to time in all fields of knowledge – I believed that I could date the chamber burial of Hufingen at the beginning of the 8th century.” – “After two years of intensive studies I can name at last the right dates and put in order all samples of the early Middle Ages.” (Hollstein 1970,148).

“The misdating of coffins from Hüfingen and Oberflacht, which had been calculated very carefully in accordance with the then valid rules (sic!), suddenly proved that the statistical methods must be tightened up the more the event is distant from the starting point. That has been neglected hitherto – but is now corrected. Now we don’t choose arbitrarily a so-called error-probability at the outset, as has been usual. Now we choose the probability of the correct approach as a function of the observations and available hypotheses. The quality of this test method is, if circumstances permit it, one hundred times better and also more certain than the old one.” (Hollstein 1970,148f).

Here we can observe the way Hollstein changes the method, which reveals even more, i.e. the expectations of waiting colleagues; and those expectations weren’t purely academic as he had to beg for money for his research. “As I have been asked time and again to publish my new dates, I feel obliged to give them in a preliminary way and without proof, be it in contradiction with scientific tradition. ... From this chronologically arranged summary, one cannot deduce after how many futile tests the right correlation has been found. And it still remains a process of searching, which is not altered by the fact that we use computers.” (Hollstein 1970,149).

Hollstein reports about bridging the critical period of the 8th century; there simply exist no samples of wood. “In this moment Dr. R. Gensen discovered on the Christenberg near Marburg/Lahn a well from Carolingian times, whose heavy squared timbers provided a sequence of 339 years. Although this is wood of red-beech, a type of wood with occasional tendency to missing rings, still this Marburg sequence coincides in the decisive period of the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries ... with the other sequences ... So early medieval wood samples cannot be regarded as firmly dated.” (Hollstein 1970,150f). In brief, Hollstein says that he – being in trouble – took a piece of wood predated by historians to fill his gap (see Fehring above). This cannot be called archaeological evidence.

A good scientist in trouble usually sends out signals for help – sometimes unconsciously – and so does Hollstein. After listing his tree ring dates secured by what he terms the ‘oldest historically documented year-by-year dates’ he says: “It is good to know that the West German oak chronology for nearly one thousand years is exactly under control – year by year. Going back to earlier millenia, the missing documentary frame has to be substituted by an essentially tightened correlation.” (Hollstein 1970,152). We could express this statement thus:

It is very difficult to point out the years before 1000 AD because we do not have any dates supported by written documents.

Why not quote more recent test results (after 1980)? A Hamburg dendrochronologist responded to my request for recent literature in December, 1994: today sequences and dates are no longer published because there exists the danger of abuse. Hobby-dendrochronologists earned money by dating for example timbers of houses for private clients with unreliable methods. So laboratories in Europe and worldwide exchange their dates without publishing them (Niemitz 1995 – in preparation).

After a cursory glance over the riddles and research problems two great questions remain: “How was it possible to insert this phantom time into history?” – or asked in a provocative manner – “Who (and when and how and why) falsified history by adding 300 years?” And the second question: How can it be possible to discuss the thesis of the phantom time in the scientific community without being discriminated against as some ‘Von Däniken of the Middle Ages’. Both questions are more closely connected than you might assume at first thought.

One could try to find the answer to the first question in postulating a theory of conspiracy (the Freemasons, the Catholic Church or one of the Catholic monk orders such as the Benedictines or the Jesuits – or any other secret association). But this – I suppose – will deter scientists. And this answer is not only far too simple, it is essentially wrong.

The second question – the question of the scientific community – could be put this way: why did the ‘stupid’ scientist and researcher not notice this gap before? Why did some outsider have to come and ask this question and start finding the solution? The second question implicitly triggers the threat of changing of the paradigms, which implies a threat to confidence in the work of all scientists working in historical research. Thomas S. Kuhn discusses this situation regarding science in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. But in our case something new appears: For the historical period and especially the Middle Ages no paradigms have ever been challenged. This may sound pathetic or megalomaniacal; and accusations of this kind will come from specialists, who have to reckon with enormous shiftings and new structures in their field. But nevertheless this question can only find an answer through discussions within academic circles if it isto be answered at all.

Let us go through some of the questions in detail. First question: Why do we suppose that three centuries have been faked in medieval history? Our discovery began when we accidentally learned about the problem of faked documents in the Middle Ages. Incidentally the German “Monumenta Germaniae Historica” had just published the papers of its conference “Fälschungen im Mittelalter” (München, September 16th to 19th, 1986) (Niemitz 1991).

Thus it was easy to study the last results of this particular research. You can find medieval falsifications in every kind of documents. The medievalist is confronted with a “dangerous and confusing host” (Fuhrmann 1988,5) of false documents and this was the reason for organizing the conference. The Bavarian state secretary of education and culture, Hans Maier, summarized the problem – and nobody came to contradict him: “‘Falsifications in the Middle Ages’ – are really no minor subject for medievalists. In this conference we treat the central problem of historical-scientific research, the ‘discrimen veri ac falsi’, i.e. the question for authenticity of the documents and even more – the concept of truth in an important period of history of mankind.” (Maier 1988,63).

The important question of the medievalist is: How was history made? Because he knows how false history can be made. We were really impressed by one of the lectures – a lecture about the great number of fakes and suspicious documents. It was at the end of the conference when Horst Fuhrmann, president of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, emphasized a special peculiarity of some of the important faked documents. He demonstrated that the important fakes of the Roman Catholic Church have an anticipating character (Fuhrmann 1988,89). These documents had to wait their great moment to come. “Centuries after being produced
these fakes were integrated into the framework of the clerical and laical world .” (Fuhrmann 1988,90). Fuhrmann’s opinion was that in the first place the environment (“Umfeld”) must exist before a fake can be effective.

“It is naive positivism to argue, that fakes like the ones represented here could have changed the world. An assertion like this confuses cause and effect: rathera correspondingly changed world had accepted the fakes. Or in other words: The evolving Papal centralism didn’t need the fakes; but the fakes needed the evolution of Papal centralism in order to become successful.” (Fuhrmann 1988,91).

But why then did the church falsify documents, when they were unnecessary? Yet this was not what aroused our astonishment although this statement, even born from need to solve a riddle, is a ridiculous explanation. We were shown fakes from preceding centuries. We divined chronological distortions. Therefore we inspected the calendar calculation mentioned above with the result of a time error amounting to three centuries.

Then we looked for ‘gaps’ in special reports and publications, also for periods of stagnation or strange events repeated in similar manner after approximately 300 years. I only refer to some of a great number of puzzles: a gap in the history of building in Constantinople (558 AD – 908 AD); a gap in the doctrine of faith, especially the gap in the evolution of theory and meaning of purgatory (600 AD until ca. 1100, Le Goff 1990); a 300-year-long reluctant introduction of farming techniques (three-acre-system, horse with cummet) and of war techniques (stirrup) (White 1968, 66); a gap in the mosaic art (565 AD – 1018 AD); a repeated beginning of the German orthography etc. etc. (Illig 1991; Niemitz 1991; Zeller 1991). The puzzles of historiography led the way, pointing out again and again the ‘gap’ which we soon termed ‘phantom time’.

But who could have had an interest in faking so many documents? And why did the ‘fakers’ need a phantom time of 300 years? We developed two hypothesis which basically don’t contradict.

Hypothesis One: Otto III didn’t live accidentally around the year 1000 AD; he himself had defined this date! He wanted to reign in this year, because this suited his understanding of Christian milleniarism. He defined this date with the help of his famous and well-versed friend Gerbert de Aurillac, later Pope Sylvester II. In reality they lived approximately seven hundred years after the birth of Jesus Christ, but never until then had the years been reckoned ‘after Christ’. Perhaps unaware of their error and without intending to falsify they defined one special year as ‘1000 AD’ (Illig 1991). Consequently chroniclers had to invent 300 years of history. To fill up empty periods – what a great occasion for dynasties and kings! You can design the planned future as a construct of the past, and this apparently happened: Otto III construed Charlemagne as the model hero he himself wanted to be. Supposedly he sketched Charlemagne’s history only a bit, or it wasn’t even him but the generations after him who lined out a whole full life picture. Especially the clergy hoped to get advantage in its confrontation with the emperor, which had started in the 11th century.

Hypothesis Two: Constantine VII of Byzantium (905 – 959 AD) organized a complete rewriting of the whole Byzantine history. The famous German Byzantinist Peter Schreiner has demonstrated how official historiography interprets this process: beginning in the year 835 AD monks rewrote piece by piece all texts which had been written in Greek maiuscula, in the new form of writing hence called minuscula. Schreiner postulates that each text was produced
only once. Then the originals were destroyed (Schreiner 1991,13). This means that all existing texts of the then leading culture nation had been changed or rewritten completely in new script in the lifetime of two generations, or even faster, and have been well invented, we suppose (Illig 1992).

It is not important to explain the motivation of the emperor Constantine VII. I only want to demonstrate, that an action of rewriting and faking like this has happened. If it could happen in Byzantium, it might have happened at any other place, too. Moreover Theophanu, mother of Otto III, came from Byzantium and was a niece of the emperor Tzismiskes (emperor from 969 AD until 976 AD), a descendant of the same dynasty as Constantine VII. As to the question of who faked and why, there could be many speculations. Its seems that in this question surprises are ahead which could create trouble for many academic institutions as well as other social groups.

Second Question: How is it possible to do research work of this kind inside the scientific community? Is it perhaps necessary to research outside the scientific community, because it would demand a big change of paradigms, which means the end of certainty with regard to chronology. Usually a program of research relies on given research problems, which the general public defines. What will happen when the new research program in regard with its thesis or approach is too far from general public interest or too far from the academic society? (Who shall give financial support?) Then we don’t have the capability of joining ‘normal science’. I am aware of standing on the shoulders of our predecessors and that we work using their results, I can only emphasize again and again my respect for archaeologists and other scientists who are able to uncover artifacts and construct theories on them.

I would like to repeat that our method consists in questioning specific research problems of archaeology and historiography. I must emphasize that the thesis of the phantom years is one proposal for solving those problems. It works surprisingly well and yields amazing results. It seems that scientists today do not see the common pattern in all the problems, which repeatedly appear, because there exists an unexpressed and unconscious prohibition against questioning the chronology as if it were unimpeachable. My request therefore is: where and how could our research work possibly join? What could we do together? Until today our research work was done marginally, but from now on it enters an important stage. The project has become so big that it cannot be worked out by a few people with small resources. Support from official institutions has become necessary so that we can continue our work at the edge of specialty (“im Rand des Faches”) as suggests Krohn and Küppers; papers in their book “The self-organization of science(-society)”: “It is only through activities in the margin of scientific institutions that outsiders can amplify the disturbances, so that instabilities will appear, which in the end will restructure existing research.” (Krohn, Küppers 1989,95).

If some colleagues accuse us of unrealistic or even fantastic behavior, I wish to express that it could not be a mortal sin in the business of science to question paradigms and slaughter holy cows. In case we are forced to turn to the general public in order to raise funds, this strategy will do as well. But: “One of the strongest but unwritten rules of scientific life is the interdiction against appealing to statesmen or to the general public in matters of science” (Kuhn 1970). Kuhn supposes: “As the unity of the scientific performance is a solved problem and as the group knows well which problems are already solved, only few scientists would be willing to take up a standpoint that reopens research on many already solved problems.” (Kuhn 1970). Our thesis produces new problems and questions – especially seemingly solved ones. But it promises to solve more problems than ever before in the historiography of the early Middle Ages.

What can I request from the historian, the archaeologist of the Middle Ages, the philologist and the philosopher? What would I do in their place? Important is the need for discussion and sponsorship. There exist two attitudes toward research: One of them is direct professional approach (history, archaeology, and philology); the other is discussing the theory of knowledge and science. Obviously our project is one of interdisciplinary research. Only in this way we can produce the expected change of paradigms with the necessary emotional distance.


The following literature is only a fraction of what should have been named.

Various essays by
Illig, Müller, Niemitz, Zeller and Topper directly related to the phantom time hypothesis are
listed separately later.

Adam, Ernst: Epochen der Architektur. Vorromanik und Romanik. Frankfurt/Main 1968

Cahen, Claude: Der Islam I, Fischer Weltgeschichte Band 14. Frankfurt/Main 1968

Clot, André: Harun al-Raschid. dtv 11312, München 1990

Fehring, Günter P.: Einführung in die Archäologie des Mittelalters. Wissenschaftliche
Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt, 1992

Fuhrmann, Horst: Von der Wahrheit der Fälscher. In: Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Band
33, Fälschungen im Mittelalter, Internationaler Kongreß der Monumenta Germaniae
Historica, München 16.–19. September 1986, Teil I:83–98

Haarnagel, Werner: Die einheimische frühgeschichtliche und mittelalterliche Keramik aus den
Wurten „Hessens“ und „Emden“ und ihre zeitliche Gliederung. In: Praehistorische Zeitschrift

Hodges, Richard: Dark Ages Economics, The origins of town and trade A.D. 600–1000,
Duckworth, London 1982

Hodges, Richard; Hobley, Brian: The rebirth of towns in the west AD 700–1050. CBA
Research Report No.68, Alden Press Ltd, Oxford 1988 (Tagungsbericht von 1986)

Hollstein, E.: Dendrochronologische Untersuchungen an Hölzern des frühen Mittelalters. In:
Acta Praehistorica 1(1970):147–156

Hollstein, E.: Mitteleuropäische Eichenchronologie. 1980

Hubert, Jean; Porcher, Jean; Volbach, W. Fritz: Die Kunst der Karolinger. Von Karl dem
Großen bis zum Ausgang des 9. Jahrhunderts. München 1969

Illig, Heribert: Hat Karl der Große je gelebt? Bauten, Funde und Schriften im Widerstreit.
Mantis Verlag, Gräfelfing 1994

Karayannopulos, Johannes: Die Entstehung der byzantinischen Themenordnung. Beck,
München 1959

Keller, Cornelius: Zeiger der Zeit, Neue Datierungsmethoden korrigieren die Geschichte. In:
Bild der Wissenschaft 1/1992:16–20

Kuhn, Thomas S.: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press, 1970

Krohn, Wolfgang; Küppers, Günter: Die Selbstorganisation der Wissenschaft. stw 776,
Franfurt/Main 1989

Le Goff, Jaques: Die Geburt des Fegefeuers. dtv, München 1990

Lilie, Ralf Johannes: Die byzantinische Reaktion auf die Ausbreitung der Araber, Studien zur
Strukturwandlung des byzantinischen Staates im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert. In der Reihe
Miscellanea Byzantina Monacensia, Heft 22. München 1976

Lindenschmit, Handbuch der deutschen Alterthumskunde. Erster Teil: Die Alterthümer der
merowingischen Zeit. 1880–1889

Lüling, Günter: Über den Ur-Qur’an. Ansätze zur Rekonstruktion vorislamischer christlicher
Strophenlieder im Qur’an. Erlangen 1974

Lüling, Günter: Die Wiederentdeckung des Propheten Muhammad. Eine Kritik am
„christlichen“ Abendland. Erlangen 1981

Roth, Cecil; Levine, I.H. (eds.): The Dark Ages. Jews in Christian Europe 711–1096. Volume
11 of the World History of the Jewish People, London 1966

Schmidt, Burghardt: Zur absoluten Datierung bronzezeitlicher Eichenholzfunde.
Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 14(1984):233–237

Schreiner, Peter: Die byzantinische Geisteswelt vom 9. bis zum 11. Jahrhundert. In: Anton
von Euw; Peter Schreiner (Hgrs.): Kaiserin Theophanu. Begegnung des Ostens und
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Museums zum 1000. Todesjahr der Kaiserin. Band II; Köln 1991

Stamm, Otto: Spätrömische und frühmittelalterliche Keramik der Altstadt Frankfurt am Main
(Schriften des Frankfurter Museums für Vor- und Frühgeschichte). Frankfurt/Main 1962

Vychitil, Peter: Keramik des 8. bis 13. Jahrhunderts aus Siedlungen am Maindreieck. Beiträge
zur Anwendung quantitativer Methoden. Habelt, Bonn 1991

White jr., Lynn: Die mittelalterliche Technik und der Wandel der Gesellschaft. München 1968

Willkomm, Horst: Kalibrierung von Radiokarbondaten. In: Acta Praehistorica 20(1988):173–

The following papers directly related to the phantom time hypothesis appeared in
Vorzeit-Frühzeit-Gegenwart – Interdisziplinäres Bulletin, since 1995: Zeitensprünge
Mantis Verlag, Heribert Illig
Lenbachstraße 2a
D-82166 Gräfelfing
Phone: +49 89 878806
[“1/91” means: “Issue 1 of year 1991”. The papers are between five and 23 pages long.]

Illig, Heribert (1/91): Die christliche Zeitrechnung ist zu lang

Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (1/91): Fälschungen im Mittelalter

Illig, Heribert; Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (1/91): Hat das dunkle Mittelalter nie existiert?

Illig, Heribert (2/91): Augustus auf dem Prüfstand

Zeller, Manfred (3–4/91): Deutsche Literatur im Mittelalter

Illig, Heribert (3–4/91): Väter einen neuen Zeitrechnung: Otto III. und Silvester II.

Illig, Heribert (3–4/91): Dendrochronologische Zirkelschlüsse

Illig, Heribert (5/91): Jüdische Chronologie. Dunkelzonen, Diskontinuitäten,

Illig, Heribert (2/92): Wann lebte Mohammed?

Illig, Heribert (2/92): Der Kruzifixus. Sein „doppelter“ Ursprung im 6. und 10. Jahrhundert

Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (3/92): Archäologie und Kontinuität. Gab es Städte zwischen Spätantike
und Mittelalter?

Illig, Heribert (4–5/92): 614/922 – der direkte Übergang vom 7. ins 10. Jahrhundert

Müller, Angelika (4–5/92): Karl der Große und Harun al-Raschid. Kulturaustausch zwischen
zwei großen Herrschern?

Illig, Heribert (4–5/92): Alles Null und richtig. Zum Verhältnis von arabischer und
europäischer Kultur

Illig, Heribert (4–5/92): Vom Erzfälscher Konstantin VII. Eine „beglaubigte“
Fälschungsaktion und ihre Folgen

Zeller, Manfred (1/93): Die Steppenvölker Südost-Europas in der Spätantike und im

Illig, Heribert (2/93): Das Ende des Hl. Benedikt? Der andere ‚Vater des Abendlandes‘ wird
auch fiktiv

Illig, Heribert (2/93): Langobardische Notizen I. Urkunden, Stuckfiguren und kaiserlose

Illig, Heribert (2/93): St. Denis und Suger – zum zweiten. Wie ein Karolingerbau
verschwindet und Frankreich entsteht

Marx, Christoph (3–4/93): Datieren vor der Gregorianischen Kalenderreform

Illig, Heribert (3–4/93): Kalender und Astronomie

Zeller, Manfred (3–4/93): Das Kalifat der Omaijaden

Zeller, Manfred (3–4/93): Der Iran in frühislamischer Zeit

Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (3–4/93): Eine frühmittelalterliche Phantomzeit – nachgewiesen in
Frankfurter Stratigraphien

Topper, Uwe (1/94): Die Siebenschläfer von Ephesos. Eine Legende und ihre Auswirkungen

Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (1/94): Byzantinistik und Phantomzeit

Illig, Heribert (2/94): Doppelter Gregor – fiktiver Benedikt. Pseudo-Papst erfindet Fegefeuer
und einen Vater des Abendlandes

Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (2/94): Die Dauerkrise frühmittelalterlicher Keramikforschung

Topper, Uwe (3/94): Zur Chronologie der islamischen Randgebiete. Drei Betrachtungen

Zeller, Manfred (3/93): Zentralasien im frühen Mittelalter. Auswirkungen der Rekonstruktion
bis nach China

Topper, Ilya Ullrich (4/1994): 300 Jahre Phantomzeit? Kritische Anmerkungen

Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (3/95): Die “magic dates” und “secret procedures” der

Illig, Heribert (1/96): Streit ums zu lange Frühmittelalter. Mediävisten stolpern über hohe
Ansprüche und leere Zeiten

Topper, Uwe (2/96): Wer hat eigentlich die Germanen erfunden?

Zeller, Manfred (2/96): Die Landnahme der Ungarn in Pannonien. 895 findet dasselbe statt
wie 598

Illig, Heribert (3/96): Roms ‚frühmittelalterliche‘ Kirchen und Mosaike. Eine Verschiebung
und ihre Begründung

Marx, Christoph (3/96): Der (bislang) letzte „Große Ruck“ 1348. Die Schwelle vom
Mittelalter zur Neuzeit

Blöss, Christian; Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich (3/96): Der Selbstbetrug von C14-Methode und

Topper, Uwe (4/96): Hinweise zur Neuordnung der Chronologie Indiens

Illig, Heribert (4/96): Flechtwerk und Ketzertum. Langobardische Notizen II

Zeller, Manfred (4/96): Die Nordwestslawen im Frühmittelalter

Müller, Angelika (4/96): Die Geburt der Paläographie

Illig, Heribert (4/96): Wie das letzte Aufgebot. Historiker bringen kein stichhaltiges Argument
gegen die Phantomzeit

Illig, Heribert (1/97): Ein Schwelbrand breitet sich aus. Zur Fortführung der Mittelalterdebatte

Illig, Heribert (1/97): Zur Abgrenzung der Phantomzeit. Eine Architekturübersicht von
Istanbul bis Wieselburg

Illig, Heribert (2/97): ‚Karolingische‘ Torhallen und das Christentum. Rings um Lorsch und

Recent books about the phantom time hypothesis:

Blöss, Christian; Niemitz, Hans-Ulrich: C14-Crash – Das Ende der Illusion, mit
Radiocarbonmethode und Dendrochronologie datieren zu können. Mantis, Gräfelfing1997,
ISBN 3-928852-15-9

Illig, Heribert: Das erfundene Mittelalter – Die größte Zeitfälschung der Geschichte. Econ,
München 1998, ISBN 3-612-26492-3

Illig, Heribert: Wer hat an der Uhr gedreht? Wie 300 Jahre Geschichte erfunden wurden.
Econ, München 1999, ISBN 3-612-26561-X

Topper, Uwe: Erfundene Geschichte – Unsere Zeitrechnung ist falsch. Herbig, München
1999, ISBN 3776620854
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Old Monday, March 24th, 2008   #3
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Turul 's reputation has not travelled afar.

Here is an excerpt from an article that looks at the theory of Illig & co from a Hungarian perspective. This is relevant due to the ever amassing evidence collected since the mid 80's (by the people previously mentioned) to the effect that the Hungarian chronicles of the Middle Ages seem to uniquely support Illig's theory. These chronicles have been totally dismissed by the mainstream historical-scientific establishment due to their "absurd statements", questioning established official chronology. When compared to Western historical documents and chronicles the Hungarian chronicles seemed inaccurate, but the Western historians and scientists never considered the possibility the Hungarian chronicles were the correct ones and that the Western chronicles were the made-up ones!

It now seems that the Bavarian researcher Illig and his colleagues are right and the Hungarian chronicle tradition is supporting their case.

Until now the international scientific world has treated as holy writ such Western chronicles as for example the work of Einhard about the life of Charlemagne. Despite the obvious absurdities practically every statement, every half sentence was taken at face value. This is the very same international scientific world which ignores in its entirely the medieval Hungarian chronicle literature and brands it from the viewpoint of historical science as untrustworthy. On what basis? Why are our historical scientists using such double standards in this matter? Why is a medieval Hungarian chronicler more untrustworthy than a Western counterpart? We know the answer: due to reasons of chronology. Namely, the official academic argument goes that the medieval Hungarian chronicle literature, which derives altogether only 104 years between the death of Attila and the Magyar reconquest, is guilty of such obvious stupidity that it is impossible to take it seriously from a historical-scientific point of view and accept its claims as trustworthy! Do we understand this? Our Lord Jesus Christ was also sentenced to death because when asked by Caiaphas he stated the truth about himself! They treat the Hungarian chronicle tradition the same way: the reason they don’t take its statements seriously and consider it untrustworthy from a historical-scientific point of view is that it states the truth! Because it courageously and simply leaves out – skips – the fictitious period which probably was smuggled retrospectively into history. The possibility that maybe the problem is not with the statements of the Hungarian chronicles after all, but that the chronology itself is incorrect and that some flaw slipped into our chronological system has so far not entered our scientists’ minds.
Taken from the article The Dark Pages of the Middle Ages written by Gyula Tóth, a Hungarian writer, May 4th 2006.
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Old Monday, March 31st, 2008   #4
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I must admit that this is all very interesting. Prior to this, however, I was not familiar with Illig and had never heard of him.

On the other hand, have you ever come across the “New Chronology” of Anatoly Fomenko? Fomenko is a Russian mathematician, who espouses some similar ideas about history (e.g., the early Middle Ages, as we think of it, never occurred). Fomenko also claims that what is known as ancient history is just a re-rendering of events that occurred during the later Middle Ages. Most of what we consider to be history before the Renaissance was concocted by various scholars. The Old Testament, another invented history according to Fomenko, is actually based on events that occurred in Europe and the Byzantine empire during the 14th through the 16th centuries C.E. The “John” who authored the Biblical book known as the Book of Revelation was actually the 15th century scholar Johann Reuchlin and the Trojan War is actually based on the events of the Crusades.

In case anyone is wondering, no, I am not a follower of Fomenko’s views. I am just a collector of interesting (and sometimes bizarre) ideas and viewpoints.

Does anyone know if the ideas of Illig and Fomenko share a common connection?

In case you are interested, here are some links to Wikipedia articles about Fomenko and the New Chronology:
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Turul 's reputation has not travelled afar.

What you mention about the Book of Revelations being written in the 15th century is touched upon in the article I started a thread with, called Forged Origins of the New Testament.

As for the story of the Trojan War being based on the Crusades, it might just dovetail with this theory: New Evidence Indicates Legendary Greek Tales Took Place in the Baltic

I don't know much about Fomenko's theory, other than that he is basing it on purely mathematical calculations. I find this to be insufficient. Even if his calculations seem correct, they would still need to be backed with physical evidence, like archaeological finds. This is why Illig is questioning the existence of the 297 years of the Middle Ages in the first place: due to lack of physical evidence. Incidentally, Illig's theory questions the alleged Viking raids on European cities due to the lack of any and all physical evidence: no scorched earth, no burnt-down cities, no skeletal remains from great battles, no weaponry found. Nothing. The only "evidence" for these raids are historical documents and chronicles written by Christian monks and scholars that have been proven to be historical forgeries.

I have to say though, that I haven't studied Fomenko's claims as of yet. When I find the time I might look into it. For now, I'm focussing on Heribert Illig and his group. They have propagated their theory since the mid 80's and have not been refuted yet. If anything, the more research they are conducting the more support they find for their initial thesis.
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