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Inventing History : forgery: a great British tradition (British History)
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Mick Harper
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Remind me. I hope it wasn't just some dude throwing darts randomly.
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Ishmael


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I first publicly alluded to my suspicions regarding Pepys in this post. But I had had them for some time.

It only goes to show that our wholly independent methods of deconstructing the past are converging on a singular conclusion.
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Mick Harper
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Phew! I thought for one moment you might be the first member of our distinguished community to publicly allude to doubts over Pepys. As you have pointed out, you were the third. Nothing wrong with a bronze medal. Wear it with pride, my boy.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Divination is the mother of history.

I was simply researching why those who predicted, like William Lilly and others, that London would be subject to a great plague and fire were subsequently proven right.

Pepys just wrote up these predictions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lilly
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Hatty
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Wile E. Coyote wrote:
I was simply researching why those who predicted, like William Lilly and others, that London would be subject to a great plague and fire were subsequently proven right.

Was Lilly's 'prediction' of the Great Fire mentioned in any contemporary account(s) or do we only have his word for it, via his autobiography published in 1681?
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Wile E. Coyote


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Hmm good question. My understanding not based on primary sources is that Lilly was called before the Commons Committee in 1666 investigating the fire, to explain his visions, as they suspected of him starting it.
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Wile E. Coyote


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If it was known that there would be a fire, or that part of the city was deserted following the plague, that could explain the low death toll.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Civil war, the plague followed by fire sounds like biblical punishment.
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Hatty
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Wile E. Coyote wrote:
My understanding not based on primary sources is that Lilly was called before the Commons Committee in 1666 investigating the fire, to explain his visions, as they suspected of him of starting it.

According to the Wiki article, Lilly 'came into disrepute' post-Restoration. It was claimed his astrological predictions were politically slanted

Lilly describes the friendly support of Oliver Cromwell during a period in which he faced prosecution for issuing political astrological predictions


but the incriminating images were published in his book, Monarchy or No Monarchy, in 1651

Prediction of the Great Fire by William Lilly: Monarchy or no monarchy in England. 1651.
William Lilly was an astrologer who claimed he could tell the future. In his book, Monarchy or No Monarchy, published in 1651, he printed several hieroglyphics which he used to predict various events, including the Great Plague and the Great Fire. There are two relating to the fire - one shows a city by a river burning and the other depicts a pair of twins hanging over a fire (Gemini was held to be the ruling star sign for London). On 25 October 1666 Lilly was called before the Commons Committee investigating the fire to explain his visions, as they suspected his involvement in a plot. He admitted to making the predictions but said he had not known the dates and was released. Many other predictions about the Great Fire had been made throughout the 1600s
.

https://www.museumoflondonprints.com/image/379229/william-lilly-prediction-of-the-great-fire-by-william-lilly-1651

Thirty years later in his autobiography Lilly doesn't say he predicted the Great Fire, only that he was questioned about his prescience and apparently absolved

He also writes about the 1666 Great Fire of London, and how he was brought before the committee investigating the cause of the fire, being suspected of involvement because of his publication of images, 15 years earlier, which depicted a city in flames surrounded by coffins
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Mick Harper
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This is all much more significant that you might think. To get the measure of the man, and historians' measure of the man, we might start with this

Born the son of a yeoman farmer in Leicestershire, Lilly travelled to London as a youth to take up a servant's position. Seven years later he secured his fortune by marrying his former master's widow, allowing him the leisure to study astrology.

The idea of a yeoman farmer's son taking up a servant's position is preposterous. As is 'boots' stepping into the dead master's shoes. One might, I suppose, stretch it all into a Malvolio-scenario but this is almost certainly just a backstory devised by a common-or-garden shyster. Though a very successful one. We shall review his further career with this in mind.
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Mick Harper
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In 1644, during the English Civil War, he published the first of many popular astrological texts, and in 1647 he published Christian Astrology, a huge compendium of astrological technique. This was the first of its kind to be printed in the English language rather than Latin, and is said to have tutored "a nation in crisis in the language of the stars". By 1659, Lilly's fame was widely acknowledged and his annual almanac was achieving sales of around 30,000 copies a year.

This tells us he was an Official Government black propagandist. The great buying public bought agricultural almanacs which were somewhat limited in scope. The intelligentsia bought horoscopes which were altogether more sophisticated (and in Latin). Lilly was tasked with bringing the two genres together. You can guess what the stars predicted. Not the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 which brought his career to a juddering halt until

Lilly's autobiography, published towards the end of his life in 1681, at the request of his patron Elias Ashmole, gives candid accounts of the political events of his era, and biographical details of contemporaries that are unavailable elsewhere

On account of them being made up. Not that historians have twigged. Ashmole (of the Ashmolean) was the leader of the black propaganda industry preparatory to the next great leap leftwards, the Glorious Revolution.
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Wile E. Coyote


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That is helpful.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Where the Iceni burnt down London (Sacred chronology 60/61) there are layers of red and blackened earth discovered by Archaeologists. When you had the Hadrianic fire of London (Sacred Chronology sometime between 122-30) there is a layer of red and blackened earth)

This red and black earth then goes out of fashion.

The great fires of 675, 959, 1133 (5) 1212 (sacred chronology) don't appear to have left a trace of red and black.... 1666, the Greatest of the great fires you have accounts, the most famouus being Pepys, of the devastation and they have dug up some (not many) molten goods, but the red and black earth doesn't get a mention as far as I can see. Maybe it's not worthy of comment as the experienced London Archaeologist can spot these different rings of red and black in the layers?

Nevertheless it sems strange to me that this doesn't have the prominence in the records in the same way it is for the so-called Iceni fire.
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Wile E. Coyote


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There is an anomaly in the ortho accounts. On the one hand the fire spreads so quickly it decimates 13,000 houses, nearly 90 churches, and scores of public buildings. An estimated 100,000 people were left homeless, yet only six people died. So the fire travels so quickly they cannot save the buildings and landmarks, yet virtually everbody survives. The only conclusion is that people (including the elderly, disabled, young children, babies) despite being in a massively overcrowded city made mostly of wood, fled in an orderly fashion. Yet what does Pepys do when woken about the fire? He ignores this as fires were a common occurrence. It's either an anomaly or say massive numbers of deaths went unrecorded. Yet the accounts support the fact that the population was largely saved. It appears God wanted to punish the city not the inhabitants. Why would he do this?

The death toll from one single fire in Grenfell in London was 72.
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Mick Harper
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I disagree. Conflagrations of this type are always surprisingly light on the death front. It's true a Great Fire like London's spreads faster than the prevailing technology can cope with but that's still not very fast. When everyone's out and about already, everyone else is shifted out in plenty of time -- they know how fast seventeenth century fires spread. This is also true in the case of modern high rise fires, which also spread 'not very fast', hence the advice: sit tight and you'll be told. Cladding at Grenfell meant the prevailing technology could not cope.

In any case, if Pepys is spurious and the expectation would be a large number of people dying, he would have said a large number of people died.
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