Ways of thinking

From: Geoff Bagley (gbagley@ntlworld.com)
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 05:39:36 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Ways of thinking"

    Though I generally 'lurk' on this list, I thought members might be
    interested in an article in today's Daily Telegraph (England) as it shows
    the thought processes and methodology of peple who are attacking in the
    received status quo in another area of history/thought

    Geoff Bagley

    ISSUE 2155 Thursday 19 April 2001

      King Arthur was really a Russian, say Slavs
    By Marcus Warren in Moscow

     TO the alarm of Russian intellectuals, a new Slavocentric history of the
    world that suggests Britain was once part of a Russian empire is attracting
    growing numbers of converts.
    The history, known as "New Chronology", rejects orthodox dating and makes a
    welter of fantastic claims, including that King Arthur was a Russian prince
    and that the early King Henrys were known as Khan Rex. Its supporters go
    further and combine the classical and medieval periods into a catch-all
    grand theory of Byzantine and Russian cultural might.

    All accounts of events up to the Renaissance are forgeries hiding the truth
    and extending history artificially into the past, they argue. Far from being
    dismissed as nonsense, books on the theories are packing the shelves of the
    history sections of major book stores. The school has also secured the
    energetic support of Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster.

    After refusing for years to take it seriously, conventional historians are
    sounding the alarm at the phenomenon, denouncing New Chronology as the work
    of charlatans set on robbing Russia and the rest of the world of their past.
    Anatoly Fomenko and Gleb Nosovsky, the mathematicians from Moscow University
    who have developed the theory, are unimpressed by the efforts of historians,
    archaeologists, astronomers and linguists to prove them wrong.

    Mr Fomenko said: "Theirs are not arguments but ideology and hanging labels
    on us. There is nothing academically serious in anything our opponents have
    written about us, just emotions." Basing their findings on what they say are
    irrefutable astronomical and statistical data, the mathematicians have
    filled hundreds of pages with what they call "our reconstruction" of past

    Their concept of a mega-Russian empire occupying Eurasia and the British
    Isles until the 16th century and their belief in a total falsification of
    the past are increasingly fashionable. Kasparov, who is fronting a
    television series on the inconsistencies of traditional chronology, said: "I
    consider myself to be part of a team. It's quite a big group and it's

    In the provinces, Mr Fomenko's history is entering the mainstream, with some
    officials in charge of school curricula lobbying for the theories to be
    included in textbooks. Igor Danilevsky, a specialist in medieval history,
    said: "At this rate I would not be surprised if in five years school leavers
    come to me with their heads stuffed with all this."

    Historians' reputation as servants of the old regime and the haste with
    which they overturned old orthodoxies after the collapse of communism
    discredited the profession and helped the rise of the likes of Mr Fomenko,
    he said. Other academics are more aggressive. Valentin Yanin, head of Moscow
    University's archeology faculty, compared Prof Fomenko to the magician David
    Copperfield, and called Kasparov "his Rottweiler".

    Many of the mathematicians' linguistic arguments rely on intellectual
    sleights of hand akin to conjuring. The Highland county of Ross is posited
    as proof that the area was part of a Russian empire. The French word for
    "Scotland" (Ecosse) hints at the presence of Cossacks.

    References to England as "an island" are not to be taken at face value
    either. In fact it was an "Asia-land", revealing its origins in the East.
    The violence done to Russian history is just as brutal. Ivan the Terrible
    never existed and the version of Russia's past that has come down to us was
    invented by the Romanovs to justify their seizure of power.

    The mathematicians and Kasparov strongly deny any nationalist subtext to
    their history, despite its vision of a mammoth Russian empire stretching
    from the Atlantic to Japan. Their critics are unconvinced.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Apr 19 2001 - 05:39:53 EDT