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Forgery: Modus operandi (British History)
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Mick Harper
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You appear to be suffering from a bit of careful ignoral yourself. What is it? The bogusness of the whole thing is not at issue. We are dealing with the part of 'it' that was the pride and joy (for a bit) of the British Museum, not other bits that went thisaway and thataway and may well have been thownaway.

What I want to know is where is the BM's bit? If, as seems likely, the extremely crooked combo of Augustus Franks (Director) and Antonio Panizzi (Chief Librarian, or his doubtless equally bent successor since he died in 1879) were paid off to sign off on the scroll in 1883 then we know a) it was put on display to enormous acclaim; we can suppose b) it was found later to be a fake; so what we need to find out is c) what happened next? Since it was another bit that went via the widow to Quidditch, this bit must be somewhere inside the British Museum still.

If so, the significant aspect for us is they are keeping extremely mum.
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Mick Harper
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A fab article in medium.com today about a New/Old/New Testament https://medium.com/belover/that-time-they-found-another-new-testament-9549a82a25f5

Reasonably hilarious but what I found eerie was that the writer -- and all his correspondents -- don't ever mention the whole thing could be put to bed by spending fifty quid on a carbon test. (A few hundred on a non-destructive one in case it is genuine.) No, they must join the five hundred years of scholars chatting about it.

It reminds me of the O J Simpson trial. "He left his DNA all over the shop. Life without parole. Next!" Nah, what's the fun in that?
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Mick Harper
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The favourite way to account for things that should be there but aren't is to claim they were removed by some descending ban of nogoodniks. Vikings being the most favoured of all though it was still going on as late as the French Revolution when the sans-culottes made off with all sorts. Apparently they specially liked ancient manuscripts and Anglo-Saxon whale bone psalters. "Do you want this casket, Marie-Claire, make a lovely sewing box for your Trisha, would that?" "No, ta, I've got me hands full with this tumble dryer." Anyway we are always on the lookout for choice examples and this came my way today

How A Mysterious and Unknown People Laid Siege To The Greatest City In The World
https://medium.com/war-stories/how-a-mysterious-unknown-people-laid-siege-to-the-greatest-city-in-the-world-a4e72f0edcb1

Yup, it was the Rus aka the Vikings. Now one of the problems when inventing historical events is the handling of historical records. Generally you can stitch a whole bunch of events together and call it a Chronicle. Historians insist on contemporary records but 'contemporary' can stretch to many hundreds of years later if the actual contemporary record has somehow been lost. But losing the contemporary record itself needs careful handling if the people-who-nick-everything have just left. Why not not make it in the first place?

If there was an official record of the total losses inflicted on Constantinople during the siege of 860CE it has been lost. It is also likely that the officials on duty did not want to record the embarrassing defeat or that the emperor did not want to remember how his abandonment of the city left it open to attack from a pagan horde.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Yup, it was the Rus aka the Vikings.

Generally you can stitch a whole bunch of events together and call it a Chronicle.

What is the difference between a chronicle and a saga, Sensei?
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Mick Harper
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I'm glad you asked, O questing pupil. Hatty, what's the... oh, all right, if you're busy watching the Euros you can catch up later. One difference is that chronicles cannot exist. They are supposed to be contemporary, real time, summations of the events of a given year. But, if you think about it, and I did for a long time for another book what we were writing, they can't be. It starts off with a simple application of Rule No 1 in the Forgery Detective's Handbook, "Is it true of you?"

I want you, Wile E Coyote, to summarise the last twelve months of national and international news in, say, a hundred words, and write it up in a nice big blank book (£1.75 from Ryman's) with The Wiley Chronicles in big letters on the front (John Bull No 3). Get back to me in a year's time and I'll tell you what to do next.

But not at home. You'll have to do this in a ninth century Irish monastery. Sorry, rules are rules. No Rymans, no John Bull, no Radio Telefis Eirann. If the abbot says to you, "Brother Wiley, what is the purpose of this? It's using up quite a lot of our resources. Twelve bullocks had to die for that pile of parchment and that's just for starters." You say to him... well, what exactly?
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Mick Harper
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Next thing ya gotta do, Wiley, is start adding the past. Now I know with your attention span you're already having problems with last year but how are you with a thousand years ago? Hatty did all the donkey work -- no cracks about typecasting -- but as I recall (this is several years ago for me, remember) Irish annals normally go back to Biblical times. Which is OK for Biblical events, it's right there in the scriptures, but when it's Culiacan invading Ireland with the Bogalots that's an awful lot of remembering year to year and no more than harp strings to help you.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll manage. It's now the future that's staring you in the face.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Mick Harper wrote:
Anyway, I'm sure you'll manage. It's now the future that's staring you in the face.


You are so right, except that is the "manage" bit. I am handicapped, as you say, by a lack of disciplined work ethic, and a schoolboy urge to throw in Nobby jokes. Apologies.
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Mick Harper
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No worries, but that is a worry for the annals/chronicles. Brother Wiley, who's been responsible for a) keeping himself abreast on what's been happening locally, nationally and internationally in the teeth of a Dark Age and b) precising the details each year in the annals/chronicles has c) been caught keeping abreast with locals rather too much and has been reassigned. The HR department for the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Chronicles as there are various versions, has to keep this up for several hundred years. The Irish ones even longer than that.

Not just continuity-of-scribal newshounds but of the physical existence -- or fidelious copying -- of the book itself, not to mention the physical existence of the monastery itself since, according to the annals/chronicles themselves, they were all constantly being assailed on a regular basis by everything from famines and plagues to Vikings and new religious brooms. It was what we specialists call a Dark Age.

But worse is yet to come.
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Mick Harper
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The whole point of chronicles is that they are supposed to emphasise your own importance in history. If it's the Annals of Ulster, which has entries that span the years from AD 431 to AD 1540, there's no knowing from one year to the next whether it's the Archbishopric of Armagh that needs founding good and early, a Great Visitation killing all the kine in the year when St Columba went off to Iona or your right to graze sheep in perpetuity anywhere in the Disert of Downpatrick being granted to you by St Patrick. How do you adjust the historical record when it's written in one long continuous contemporaneous account?

No wonder the Annals of Ulster are only available in a copy made in ... er ... 1541. Good copy though. Good enough for historians to treat it as primary evidence for the history of Ireland between AD 431 and AD 1540.
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Wile E. Coyote


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How do you adjust the historical record when it's written in one long continuous contemporaneous account?

You move from a fixed miraculous starting point, and insert mythic critical events (viking invasions) to create a more recognisable picture, which is now set within a confined known space in the not so distant past, from there you can cunningly plot a a more certain, ordered past to the current day, including some events that actually occurred? For sake of consistency and plausibility you then chronologically order the mythic critical events in the style of the newer stuff, to give you a perfect time line from the start?
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Mick Harper
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Personally I think you're overthinking it. I was more referring to the physical problem of scratching something out without someone saying, "Oy, someone's scratched this out." Like if, say, you were wanting to enclose the Disert of Downpatrick and you didn't want the locals complaining, "You can't do that, people have been grazing sheep there since...forever."

This is what historians can never get through their tiny heads. Nobody's been interested in academic history until very modern times. The only reason people have been at all interested in the past is as a source for precedent, tradition and established rights. If they're real, everybody knows about them and they don't need to be recorded. If they aren't you have to make them up. Only then do academic historians come along and, not having access to the real spoken stuff, use the made-up written stuff instead.

The whole of Irish history is junk but just you have a look at Wiki if you want to know what academic historians believe happened in Ireland going all the way back to when MacOggin the Noggin's Dun Cow jumped over the moon. Wake up, Ireland [or fill in your own country] and get used to having no history.

Now you were asking about sagas...
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Wile E. Coyote


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Now you were asking about sagas...

I was.
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Mick Harper
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I was hoping you'd take that as a sign-off. Too much like hard work since we haven't really gone into them. I assume, from first principles, that they're sixteenth to eighteenth century (possibly even later) and are for intra-Scandinavian political purposes -- Danish claims to Iceland and Greenland, that sort of thing. And not excluding Iceland's claims to autonomy from Denmark. But please don't let that stop the rest of you going into the matter with a finer narwhal's tooth comb. You may need to be armed in any case, passions can get aroused.

As far as I can tell 'the' sagas don't have much significance for the rest of us apart from providing the underpinnings for the We-Love-The-Vikings industry. The key, as always, is to find out when they were discovered not when they were 'written' (or 'copied'). And not necessarily to believe that at first blush either. I am presuming that not a single one will have been carbon-dated. Far too important.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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How about the Norse sagas that got written down?

I refer (of course) to Freyia Völundarhúsins.
a.k.a. Maria Christine Kvilhaug
a.k.a. The Lady of The Labyrinths

If I understand it correctly , the Norse (traditional) folks only started writing it down after they realised the Nouveau-Norse-Christians had started writing down other watered-down legends.

After which it became a contest in who's got the biggest legend?
Your legend mileage may vary.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Boreades wrote:
who's got the biggest legend?


Very good.
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