Deconstructing The Western Tradition, Part I.
A brief introduction to a critical analysis of ‘primary’ source material as the foundation of the so-called Western Tradition which focuses on the work of Herodotus
The problem of historical chronology is one which until recently garnered little attention. With the development of the information revolution through the internet, broader segments of humanity were given access to academic source and primary source material. Thus the academic “Ausländer”, the Generalist, and free-thinking layman alike were able to, for the first time, critically review the ‘iron tenants’ of many fields including historiography. New questions have been raised which could not have been possibly raised by past generations of scholars due to the authoritarian structure of modern academia. This structure tends to preempt the possibility of the development of paradigm shifting approaches. The political and anti-critical nature of the modern and post-modern peer review process essentially disallows for entire revisions of the present body of knowledge. As explained in Kuhn’s ground-breaking work, the “Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, the machinations of academia specifically require that ‘truth’ by sacrificed on the altar of ‘knowledge’. It is both required and justified by its internal logic.
Thus prior to the first years of the alleged 21st century, such a a paradigm shifting approach with the possibility of widespread reception was impossible.
While limited by the conditions inherent in this format, the Center for Syncretic Studies will be taking small portions of anomalous material in consensus historiography and review them critically, while at the same time offering plausible alternatives which adhere more closely to the scientific scrutiny of Ockham: “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate” (“entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily”). Significant elements of methodology borrowed from the Russian chair of the Mathematics Department at Moscow State University, Dr. Anatoly Fomenko, will be used as well.
Many swings of the axe must be taken at the base of the tree of mainstream consensus historiography. And while it is already an accepted ‘problem’ (read: fact) within consensus history that there exist practically no primary source materials from classical antiquity, there are still many who cite with vigor the works of supposed antiquity historians. One of the major figures of classical antiquity historiography is Herodotus, and so let our first ‘swing’ be taken at this. It is typical in mainstream historiography to differentiate the method of Herodotus with that of Thucydides, the latter being considered more precise and linear in his exploration of the related material. Nevertheless Herodotus is upheld as an example of a certain ‘type’ of history, and more importantly the events which Herodotus describes are used in relative, i.e, dependent dating methods in relation to other events, conditions, and people in history.
While called the greatest liar in history by others, it is perhaps that the problem lays with his ‘discoverer’ Lorenzo Valla. This is because of the inconsistencies within Herodotus’s work, and also the argument that some of the events which he claims to have been a witness percipient is not possible. This where our attention should be placed first. The person-hood of ‘Herodotus’ is also then in question. A single page manuscript from the 10th Century AD is all that can be independently dated and verified as a work titled ‘HERO DOTUS’.
There are then 8 additional single page works that have been, until recently, considered a part of this work, from the 11th-12th Centuries AD because they are written in a similar “fragments” or ‘box prose’ style. However its already been long established that this style was used by a number of tellers of Hero-ic legends: Diodorus (alleged 49 BC), Strabo (alleged 15 AD), Photius (alleged “897” AD).
The original script of Agatharchides, often has three widely varying readings or “fragments”. This is instructive because Photius, who lived in the alleged “900” AD (the same time as the oldest manuscript of Herodotus) greatly changed. There were additional significant embellishments replete with his own comments of Agatharchides words when compared to the older versions of Diodorus and Strabo. Of course none of the three agree and indeed contain many differences, and this is connected to the Renaissance ‘Humanist’ dilemma in verifying the authenticity of Diodorus and Strabo as well.
‘Photius’ seems to stand as the only independently verified, circa 900 Ad historical source for works associated as that of ‘Photius’ – but the 900ad date is likely off by an order of 100-200 years even in consensus chronology due to feudal-property distortions made upon year-dates.
Many of the works originate from modern-day central Turkey while others originate from Egypt.
In the 19th century, various members of English royal amateur societies made trips to Turkey to ‘uncover’ various artifacts which were claimed to be evidence of ‘Hellenic Classical Antquity’. Without delving into the subject too much here, these need to be understood within the context the ‘Great Game’ and the English Empires war against the Ottoman Empire. A large part of this war was a ‘cultural’ war. In many cases artifacts of Byzantine Empire and it’s eastern successor Seljuk Rum ( i.e “Rome”, later called Ottoman) Empire were appropriated by the English, stripped of their more recent Greco-Anatolian or Hyeksos-Egyptian heritage, and placed in a distant quasi-mythical past dated vaguely in a world spanning as far back as the alleged 15th century BC, and as ‘recently’ as the 4th century BC. The English then superimposed over this their own trajectory as being the true inheritor and progeny of this newly constructed ‘western heritage’.
Besides the single page which can be independently dated to the year 900 AD, a nearly convincing secondary set are the Oxyrhynchus Papyri from Egypt which are dependently dated. These are not forgeries, but are nevertheless suspect artifacts. The main reason why dependently dated artifacts must be placed aside as suspect is that the dependent factors which date them are also seriously called into question. One of the primary methods used to dependently date the Oxyrhynchus Papyri which was found at the close of the 19th century, as belonging to the 3nd through 5th century AD are their similarity to other Oxyrhynchus Papyri found at the same time which contain deuterocanonical texts which are dependently dated to that same period.
Prima facie, using more consistently the very same declared methods of dependent dating utilized by the consensus historiographers, these ostensible works of Herodotus should be considered from the first several centuries of Christianity. Taking all other conventional dating norms as dogma – would place them in the 4th century AD rather than the 5th century BC. Yet these are placed in the 5th century BC because events they describe have been dated – again through dependent methods – in the 5th century BC. What we are left with is a complex web of interdependent dating methods which are ultimately an exercise in tautology.
What we are often presented as the work of Herodotus is not the single independently dated page titled ‘Hero-dotus’, nor are we presented the several other Egyptian pages which seem to date from the 12th century AD but are officially dated from the 4th century AD, but rather the ‘expanded’ version which gives us the sense of Herodotus using folksy expressions and many speculations and digressions, giving us the sense of the ‘character’ of Herodotus. These are doubly problematic.
Lorenzo Valla was a ‘court historian’ for the Piccolomini family. The critical observer should understand the extremely problematic nature of ‘court historians’.
When the Piccolomini family encountered another powerful family, and the claim over disputed Fiefs had to be argued before a Magistrate, Mr. Valla would ‘discover’ documents that were allegedly hundreds of years old which ‘inserted’ another patriarch or two of the Piccolomini family line. This process when repeated a few times alone added about 100 years to ‘Italian’ history. Many families did this, all had their own court historians, and ‘renaissance’ Italian history was thus expanded several hundreds of years artificially. The effect of this being that numerous events believed to have taken place in the 16th century may have occurred, all other things being equal (though they aren’t) in the 14th or 15th century.
The entire work of ‘Herodotus’ too was ordered by the Piccolomini family, based on fiction, outside the tattered and weather worn ‘one page’ HERO DOTUS from the alleged year 900ad. This was possibly written by the actual ‘Photius’. Photius, or Fotos I, was also the ‘half’ Cesaro-Pope of Synarchic rule in Constantinople and was a ‘Khazar face’ and was said to be of Armenian extraction, as were a number of other ‘Roman’ emperors. This is the facial type of people depicted in nearly all Byzantine paintings of political and religious figures.
The use of the round number date ‘900 AD’ also raises questions. The additional 8 pages/parts considered part of Hero-dotus are interdependently established to be from the 11th and 12th centuries – or during the 1st – 3rd Crusades. Taken together with a real lack of any account of a ‘Herodotus’ before the 10th century AD, this relates to the yet-to-be developed proposition that the Peloponnesian Wars were the Medieval Crusades.
In the manner typifying the renaissance Humanist methodology, Byzantine works from two centuries before were translated into Latin (or any of the Italian dialects) and ‘officiated’. As an aside, this also raises the question as to which matters of Byzantine history were appropriated, i.e localized, by the Italians and given an earlier chronological footing.
Cardinal Francesco (Frankish) Todeschini (German) Piccolomini required this work to -among other things – establish Valla as a real historian, so that other of Valla’s claims necessary to then present day Piccolomini claims to other people’s lands would be considered legitimate in the eyes of the ruling Magistrate. Significantly, however, was the broader need to significantly lengthen the ‘look and feel’ of Italian history itself – in connection with the fictionalized ‘Roman Empire’ of the [A]Ittilic peninsula. The earliest independently verifiable ‘Roman Empire’ of the Attilic peninsula could then be placed in the period of Attila and/or Otto I and the proto-Holy Roman Empire of cis-trans-Alpine central Europe. The letters ‘I’ and ‘A’ appear interchangeable in much of language, with Ittalic or Attila both meaning ‘line’, ‘liner’, best translated as ‘Ruler’. Thus Attila the Hun is not a name, but a conventional way of naming the Ruler of the Huns (Magyar). Following this rationale, Italy could have been named after its conqueror, Ruler of the Huns.
It was of such importance that the creation of this forgery was demanded upon Lorenzo Valla by none other than Pope Pius II. Pius II was hardly pious, and was himself a member of the Piccolomini ‘mafia’. His infamously litigious nephew was the Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini himself.
The issue of Herodotus is not anomalous, but chosen for its typical nature: how Italian Humanist court historians took medieval Roman (Byzantine) works and appropriated, localized, and possibly gave them a much older chronological position.
In our next installment we will be looking at some of the general mechanisms which allow for a rational explanation and motive for the distortions upon historical chronology.