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All Things Roman (History)
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Wile E. Coyote


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Grant wrote:
Mick probably doesn’t read Unz.com but there’s a good article therein about faked Roman History which quotes him

http://www.unz.com/article/how-fake-is-Roman-antiquity/


Thanks Grant. Very helpful.
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Mick Harper
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The main burthen of the Unz article is the wholesale faking of Classical history during the Renaissance. I stumbled on this quite independently and was bewildered -- and not a little put out -- to discover this was the subject of wholesale work by other revisionists. Though I had the quiet satisfaction of being proved right. (Assuming.)

Typically I have taken it further than they have but only in directions that the Big Cheeses like Formenko have already sketched out. I hope to God I don't end up as neo-Ishmaelite. A lot of it will appear in the new book. That is, a new improved old book so you lot -- unlike the world -- need not get your hopes up.
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Mick Harper
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Just to declare an interest, the bloke who wrote the piece said later in the comments (a vast number which I am working my way through)

Reading the feedback so far, I realize that most objections are about my tentative theory on the origin of Latin (inspired by M. J. Harper). Since I am no Latinist, I should perhaps have avoided bringing this linguistic issue, because it is not essential to the global picture I am heading towards. So I appreciate the objections, but I think there is still a big enigma about Latin’s origin, and obviously the standard explanation of why the Romanians speak Romanian (they learned it from Roman soldiers’ Vulgar Latin) makes no sense at all. So some alternative explanation is needed.

Since this was only a bit of a throwaway in THOBR and THOBR is a bit of a throwaway in my wider body of work, I have to say I preen with pleasure. But some other interesting stuff has come up (the site is unusually erudite, though infested with all the usual too). I will speak further, later.
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Mick Harper
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I'll take up one point not (only) because I am taken to task but because it raises an interesting point

I studied classical Latin for ten years and have a reasonable to superficial knowledge of French, Italian and Spanish.

A clear instance of 'the tyranny of knowledge'.

You quote Harper approvingly in that:
“The linguistic evidence mirrors the geography with great precision: Portuguese resembles Spanish more than any other language; French resembles Occitan more than any other; Occitan resembles Catalan, Catalan resembles Spanish and so forth. So which was the Ur-language? Can’t tell; it could be any of them. Or it could be a language that has long since disappeared. But the original language cannot have been Latin. All the Romance languages, even Portuguese and Italian, resemble one another more than any of them resemble Latin, and do so by a wide margin.”

I studied Latin for two years and French for four and when I wrote this I assumed it was completely uncontentious. I would have to amend this to 'blindingly obvious'.

That is pure and utter bullshit. French doesn't resemble Occitan more than any other. There is a veritable gulf between the two.

He's got a point, I was bullshitting in the sense I had assumed this to be the case from first principles. Does anyone here actually know? But that's the interesting point. Why doesn't everyone know? I would have thought it would be a basic duty of Linguistics to have worked out a statistical system to measure the difference between closely related languages.

In fact French is in a league of its own. It has very strong Germanic influence and it is very easy to demonstrate the fact that it is the furthest from classical Latin and also least resembles the other Romance languages.

Again, it would be nice to be able to refute this other than wiith "That's news to me." Though my critic is equally impressionistic

It is simply not true that all the Romance languages resemble each other more that than any one of them resembles Latin. All one needs is to take French, Italian and Latin.
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Wile E. Coyote


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The author is really trying to take a number of revisionists' work and make a stronger case. She or he tries to link to catastrophe theory.....

Heinsohn links with the cataclysmic paradigm pioneered by Immanuel Velikovsky,


There is a growing consensus that the sudden drop of global temperatures that marked the beginning of the geological era of the Younger Dryas 12,000 years ago started with a comet impact that blew large amounts of dust and ashes into the atmosphere, eclipsing the sun for years. This catastrophic comet and later ones may have formed the basis for the worldwide myths about flying and fire-breathing dragons

Growing consensus....Don't think so.....

There is an interesting paper here https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0155470#sec004 on how we evidence the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis.

The folks that oppose the Impact Theory did a dastardly blind test by sending off the same samples to different laboratories. Did they produce the same results. No.

For the questions presented at the outset of this paper, several answers can be provided. The identification of magnetic spheres is subjective and, therefore, their use as a proxy for an extraterrestrial event is meaningless until criteria are agreed upon for their identification. More generally, purported indicators in support of the YDIH are clearly not unique to the YDB.
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Mick Harper
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An excerpt from a forthcoming book by a well-known revisionist

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A great earthquake has been proposed. From then on a veil of darkness covers the history of the island.

This is familiar to students of academic paradigms. All subjects that use evidence from the past for their basic structures – the Life and Earth Sciences as well as history and archaeology – are keen on earthquakes. Or asteroid strikes, or volcanic eruptions, or tsunamis, or pandemics or... well, anything really so long as they have two characteristics:

Dramatic but extremely long-lasting effects when they occur in the past and we do not know what happened
Dramatic but not very long-lasting effects when they occur in the present and we do know what happened

A tsunami might kill a million people, the Black Death might wipe out a third of Europe, but life and the world go on relatively undisturbed afterwards. It is a bit heartless to say so which is maybe why these catastrophe theories tend to get an easy ride.

If an asteroid strike did for the dinosaurs, historians are quite safe proposing the sixth century ‘Justinian Plague’ as the cause of the collapse of the Mediterranean economy, or ‘the Little Ice Age’ of the fourteenth century to be a distant progenitor of the Peasants’ Revolt. I’d be up in arms myself. I’m always up in arms about academic paradigms that need spectacular but unobserved phenomena to survive. They even manage to survive me waving my arms about.
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Mick Harper
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Some other extracts from the same dude and attacking the poster rather than me but it raises one or two other things worth picking over

Finally it has long been known that Vulgar Latin was the ancestor of the Romance languages and not classical Latin.

There is no (or maybe little) evidence of this Vulgar Latin (also Soldiers' Latin, Dog Latin, Demotic Latin etc). What he means is that it has long been argued that the Romance languages must have come from Vulgar Latin because -- as I point out -- they cannot have come from Classical Latin.

It is rather the case that classical Latin had of course changed from the time of its inception until the break up of the empire. A change that wasn´t reflected in the writing.

That's lucky. No evidence.

English speakers are well acquainted with this phenomenon. English is still written as it was spoken several centuries ago although the language has changed very much.

News to me. I write (more or less) as I speak and English is (more or less) the same as it was several centuries ago.

That is why English is so extraordinarily difficult to spell. German and Russian spelling were both codified a mere 100- 150 years ago. Therefore the spelling much more accords to the spoken.

Well, that's at least an interesting point.

Finally about the conciseness of Latin which supposedly shows that it came into being as a sort of shorthand: it is easy to demonstrate that all Indo-European languages are moving from a complex grammar that allows the concise conveyance of meaning to a simplified grammar that needs more words.

I wish someone would. Oh, lookee here, he does

Case in point would be Sanskrit vs Hindi. Althochdeutsch vs Hochdeutsch. Old English vs Modern English. Church Slavonic vs Bulgarian. a.s.o. a.s.o.

No, he doesn't. Sanskrit and Old English (i.e. Anglo-Saxon) are not progenitors; I don't think Church Slavonic is a natural language and I have no idea what Altochdeutsch is. But he now goes on to agree with us good guys in another part of the Classical jungle

It might very well be that a good part of what we consider to be classical Latin writing was in fact invented in the Renaissance. But the Latin that the forgers were basing their forgeries on was nevertheless already extant.

OK, I can live with that. But can he?

Take Cicero's most important work “De Republica”. It was in fact found in 1809 in a Palimpsest. (Parchment that was overwritten.) It is definitely from the 4th century and comparing it to earlier finds one sees no great discrepancies.

You can pick your own bones out of that.
And there are many more such cases.

What we call a bogus list. (Of one.)

If the Renaissance was the only time when Latin writers were discovered one might follow the author. In reality there are many finds before and after the Renaissance.

Nobody's arguing with that.
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Mick Harper
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I must break off to bring you this aside from the comments (there are eight hundred of them so a lot of ground gets covered). It concerns someone from my youth who doesn't get much airplay nowadays. Maybe old hands might chime in with their recollections.

Although the Fomenko group may not be aware of it, a discovery that would greatly (and comically!) support their view concerning Medieval history and the nature of early Christianity was suppressed by the Jesuit-inspired career assassination of John Allegro, one of the philologists on the team deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls. Forgive me if this seems a little off topic, but it does connect.

Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross was a cause celebre of the sixties and a great favourite of those of us taking mushrooms for non-culinary purposes.

Allegro was a young fellow and perhaps overly enthusiastic over his finding that the Dead Sea Scrolls seemingly had references to the use of psychedelic mushrooms, but he crossed the line when he published a photo taken at a very old center of Christian worship in southern France, a photo of a wall painting showing Adam and Eve standing around a stylized “mushroom tree” with the psychedelic mushroom Amanita mascara as the fruit.

The way we used to put it to Christian squares was, "Hey, man, didn't you know Jesus was a mushroom?"

The attack on Allegro’s interpretation of the “tree” was organized by Gordon Wasson, a mushroom historian of sorts and vice-president of Chase-Manhattan bank, along with the distinguished art historian Erwin Panofsky. The attack has now been exposed as fraudulent (by the anthropologist cited below) and carried out under false colors – the Jesuit Gordon Wasson did not reveal his conflict of interest; he was in charge of the Vatican’s account at Chase Manhattan and a frequent visitor to the Pope.

You couldn't make it up if you were trying to write about who was making it up.

Allegro’s career was ruined, but more importantly for this discussion, no other research into representation of psychedelic mushrooms in Medieval Churches was carried out until recently.

Not sure what his career was by this time. Anyone know what happened to him?

However, It is now blazingly obvious that Medieval representations of Amanita and also psilocybin mushrooms are to be found in Christian art work stretching from England, through France (including six panels in Chartres Cathedral), Germany, Poland, Russia, all the way down to Turkey. This supports Fomenkos idea that Christianity, a very different Christianity than that after the inquisition, was the religion of a nearly worldwide empire during the Middle Ages.

There's a BBC-4 series in there. Not.
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Mick Harper
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A few nuggets from the comments which I will copy here without comment (but tidied up)
------------------
If you speak one West Romance language you can learn the others very easily, or even understand them without having to learn anything. I don’t think that it takes more than a few weeks to learn French if you speak Spanish (or the other way around). But learning Latin may take a long time, maybe years whether you start from Spanish or from French.
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I am German and I have studied Latin for ten years. I can read Italian and Spanish newspapers without having studied the languages more than superficially. French is much further away from either of those languages. You can easily demonstrate that by juxtaposing the original Latin with whatever evolved in those three languages. As I am not French I cannot say for certain how long it would have taken me to learn either Italian or Spanish. But I am absolutely certain that Italians and Spaniards will learn each others languages much more quickly than they would learn French.
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Finnish is as concise, if not more so, than Latin. Given the geographic range of the language group (Hungarian is also of the same language group) it is not unreasonable to assume Latin is real. Not a big fan of Wiki, but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_noun_cases
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These are reasonable objections. What became French has a good deal of German and Scandinavian influences and is something of an outlier among Romance languages. I’m also not sure about Portuguese being that similar to Spanish.
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The overall point about classical Latin being a synthetic language, and not actually spoken, is reasonable. However, conventional thinking today seems to hold that Latin is an Italic language, part of the Italo-Celtic branch of the Indo-European languages. Illyiran is also considered to be an Italo-Celtic language, and definitely spoken in the Balkans in antiquity.
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“Her thesis was that she proved their were horses in America prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Her resources were old Indian lore”

That’s not unreasonable, actually. We can be pretty sure the Indians led to the die-off of megafauna of North America. If you’re not familiar with a horse as a source of motive power, it looks like a lot of grass-fed food. Could Indians have encountered North American horses, killed them off before domesticating them, and had some memory of them? Unlikely, but not unreasonable.
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I’d like to mention that the Justinian Plague, about 500-650 AD was responsible for the so called dark ages. So many Europeans and mid easterners died that no histories were written and in some areas the grandchildren of the survivors didn’t know who built those huge buildings all around them.
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What happened after the fall of Rome and 700 AD cannot be discussed without acknowledging the enormous death rate of the Justinian Plague from Britain and Germany to N Africa and the Mid East and W Asia.
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I can confirm Harper´s quote is correct. I´m Spanish, Catalan and I can understand without any problem be it Italian, Portuguese, French or Occitan and yes, they do resemble each other a lot, the closest the more. But still I´m unable to properly understand Latin, I´ve to guess too many blind spots when reading it.
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There are many scholars by now who accept that Romance languages do not come from Latin. There are many suppositions on which would be then the oldest language of the Romance ones. Some authors like Yves Cortez (author of the book “Le français ne vient pas du latin”) believe the origin would be a kind of ancient Italian. Carmen Jimenez Huertas is still on the search (an English subtitled interview with her addressing the issue: https://youtu.be/SPI_Y4hdIaU ) Some other researchers like Ribero Meneses or Julio Cejador mean that the oldest was Basque, strongly related to Greek and then to Spanish and the rest of the Romance languages.

Carmen Jimenez Huertas talks more about this “prosody” connection during her interview linked above. In fact Greek, Basque and Spanish resemble a lot too, they only use five vowels and pronunciation is very similar, one must accurately enunciate each letter as written when reading them.
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Wile E. Coyote


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What are the odds

Pliny the Elder died in AD 79 in Stabiae while attempting the rescue of a friend and his family by ship from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which had already destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.[4] The wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the volcano's eruption did not allow his ship to leave port, and Pliny died during that event.[5

That the commander of the Roman fleet is also the author of Historia Naturalis, a famous ancient book on natural history.

The author of said book, which contains sections on, and catalogues examples of, volcanoes including linking these portents to Rome's fortune, then sails out and dies in perhaps the best known example of an erupting volcano.

The writer's nephew, who has by then inherited his Uncle's library, then proceeds a number of years down the line to write two letters to a famous historian of his day, vividly describing his uncle's death in the Bay of Naples, but not mentioning at all that the areas of Pompeii or Herculaneum were destroyed by this volcano.

The early literary tradition confuses uncle and nephew.

Modern history now has 6 or 7 different dates for the eruption.

Readers decide. This is Wiley's take.

Damnatio memoriae is a modern Latin phrase meaning "condemnation of memory", indicating that a person is to be excluded from official accounts. Depending on the extent, it can be a case of historical negationism. There are and have been many routes to damnatio memoriae, including the destruction of depictions, the removal of names from inscriptions and documents, and even large-scale rewritings of history.

Were fictional insertions of a famous relative into history ever attempted?

Pliny the younger to Tacitus wrote:
For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading; above measure blessed are those on whom both gifts have been conferred. In the latter number will be my uncle, by virtue of his own and of your compositions.[2]
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Mick Harper
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One thing you should factor in is that later scholars passing off their own work as 'Classical' tended to choose famous names as the pretended author. Ptolemy being the soppiest. It sounds as if Pliny was selected more than once.

We did give Pliny (the elder) the treatment a long time ago (can't remember the details). And of course 'the Elder' and 'the Younger' has been a signature of many of the rapscallions that have been brought to book in the sacred portals of the AEL.
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Ishmael


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Soon you'll catch up with me on Pitt the Younger.
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Wile E. Coyote


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I was getting really worried that Ishmael had been imprisoned by JT, that's Trudeau not Timberlake for newbies, but then I realised that if he wasn't actually in the clink, he could never write Ishmael's "Prison Notebooks".
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