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
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.
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