In Memoriam Dr. Eugen Gabowitsch-sein Vortrag in London
- Hauptkategorie: Geschichte der Geschichtsanalytik
- Kategorie: Deutsche Geschichtsanalytiker
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Dr Eugen Gabowitsch (Karlsruhe, Potsdam; Germany)
What is this talk about? First of all I would like to ask the question ‘what is History?’ - and to explain why History starts today. History creation is all-important in the past and even today. I shall talk about how history was created in Sakha in the 19th and in Europe in the 16th century, about the role of Gary Kasparov in our movement and about the Book of Civilization. At the end, I would like to speak about Fomenko 1 and Fomenko 2 and about Velikovsky, Morosov and Russian historical criticism. My initial and not very good manuscript of the talk was corrected by Janek Pietron and I thank him for his assistance.
First of all, some general statements: the traditional model of the past as presented in thousands and thousands of historical books is wrong. The question is how wrong it is and when the main phase of the creation of history stopped (if it ever stopped).
The first question, ‘What is History?’ is new in the programme of SIS and is a result of some discussions during the conference. Even here, some people cannot distinguish between ‘history’ and ‘past’. It is important to understand that we are speaking about and giving critical analysis not of the past but of history, the written records of the past. Many people think that if they speak about history, they are speaking about a real past. This is not correct: they speak only about what they can read in books, not about the real past of mankind. If you do not separate these two positions or questions, in many cases you forget what you are saying. Are you speaking about some virtual world in which many pharaohs and kings are living, or are we speaking about a past in which we have no real information about much of this? Let us remember at any time: the history is only our model of the (mostly unknown) past.
History Starts Today
A very important point of the Russian way of thinking is ‘History starts today’. If you open a historical book, you first read that in (say) 7000 BC it was such a situation, 5000 years BC was the following situation, 2800 BC was the beginning of Sumerian civilisation. No explanation is given why it should be 2800 BC, just some numbers are given and after you have seen some five to ten numbers, there come some more exact numbers, 6 at the end, or something else - and you think, ‘oh, it’s very correct dating now!’. In reality, it is also a fantastical date, as all named dates with a lot of zeros. This is the traditional and false point of view about the begin of history in a very, very early past …
Therefore we are trying not to begin our historical description somewhere BC; we are trying to start today and move back slowly and explain each step of dating. For us, history begins today, rather than being based on the model of the past that you have. It is not a real past - it is only a model. We are forgetting that, so our imagination of the past in a lot of cases is not quite adequate. For us, history begins today also in the sense that we are only beginning to apply the interdisciplinary way of thinking, as you are trying to do here and the Russian critical writers are trying to do the same.
Even the nomenclature of people who are working in this field of history analysis demonstrate that it is a very interdisciplinary community: we have mathematicians, computer science experts, history and sociology professors, chemists, geologists and a lot of people from natural science and from technology, etc. The art critic Alexander Jabinski wrote a very interesting book, Another History of the Arts. This mixture of people of different professions is very good for critical research of the past.
The next point where we differ from historians is that looking from today, discussing any historical epoch, we first ask the question: ‘are we speaking of a real past, real persons, or possibly a virtual past, historical romance, myths, legends, etc.?’. This is a question I have never heard a historian really presenting and analysing, though it is very important.
I have got it in Russian translation, a sentence of Johan Huizinga, who wrote that in the Middle Age school system there was no place for history at all. Even at university, historical science was represented in a very limited way. It is difficult or impossible to name one important historical writing from a university of that period, i.e. before its beginning in the 19th century. My comment is that, as was clear to Theodor Mommsen at the beginning of the 20th century, it is clear that history is not science: it is a part of literature, part of philology. Therefore we can see such estimations, e.g., that the great Russian scientist and historian Lomonosov wrote his historical works as a writer and patriot.
When we say that history begins today and you can think of nothing in this context, consider the following situation: imagine that aliens are coming to the earth and, after asking us about our philology, our way of reproduction and some other important things, they ask us about our history and dating this history. What can we today explain in the connection with such questions? We have to develop a presentation which is understandable to somebody who has come from Mars and was never in our schools or universities and does not know our model of the past, so every step must be logically presented.
The next point is that history creation is continuing. Some years ago, Clark Whelton presented in an SIS meeting a very radical time-leap for the history creation process: the Gregorian Calendar Reform in 1582. His opinion was that after that term, the history is in some sense reliable. Today we can partly agree with this statement but in many cases the reliable history begins much later.
Speaking about history, I would like to present a part of the Book of Civilisation. For each word connected with past the time is indicated when it was used for the first time in English literature. I have divided them into groups - Religion, Antiquity, Science, Middle Age - and we can see that in all of these groups the most important words were used for the first time at quite a late time: 14th, 15th century and even much, much later. Sometimes all these terms, for example connected with Islam, begin at the end of the 16th century, Greek words. We think they have been a long, long time in use and the orthodox model of the past says that Islam began in the 7th century. It is wrong: Islam begins much, much later, possibly in the 16th century or even in the 17th century. In 1603, a Turkish sultan declared Islam as the state religion for the first time in history. We can see some terms about science - ‘almagest’, ‘astronomy’, ‘astrology’, etc. begin in the 14th or 15th century. If we look for antiquity, ‘Etruscan’ was named in 1706 for the first time, ‘Golden Age’ in 1505, so think about what this means.
The opinion of Whelton was that after 1582 history is in some sense reliable. Three years ago in our internet magazine History and Chronology we claimed the initial time for history to be reconstructed was about the year 1650. Our opinion was that everything before must be checked. Intensive contacts with the Russian community of historical analysis have helped me to revise my own optimistic evaluations. Today I would like to say that the process of history creation has never stopped and today is possibly even more intensive than in early times. Some examples follow.
India is still trying to develop a new, grander, model of the Indian past which excludes all conflicts, wars, violence in general and other acts of ‘non-Indian’, ‘non-Gandhian’ events. It is the official program of the Indian government that history must be taught to children in schools of India in this new, politically and ideologically correct way. Other examples are connected with China and other countries. NB!!!
The Great Wall of China was in reality a pure European myth for many centuries and was built only after 1950. I know the reaction - I published a paper about this and there is a book by a professional historian who says the same; but of course nobody reads such papers and books - everybody is reading newspapers and looking at cinemas and they have a wrong model in mind that this Chinese Wall has existed for 2000 years. For 100 years nobody in China had any information about it. All the European visitors had books and stories about the Great Wall of China but it was impossible to find a picture or an old Chinese drawing showing the wall. Now of course, the situation is quite different - over the last 50 and more years the Chinese Communists constructed this wall and now they proclaim that it is even older than the oldest of early estimates. Clark Whelton reported in our magazine about this new development in modern Chinese history creation.
Another example: the German invention of book printing in the traditionally-named 15th century, 1440 is the earliest estimation. This invention works perfectly in Europe as we have a phonetic way of writing, so all our languages use phonetic alphabet. Now the official point of view is that 300 years before, in the 11th century, someone in China invented metal forms for printing one book - so they produced millions of symbols, metallic forms for letters, printed a book and then forgot it - just to have a place in history. In reality I think somebody translated in, say, the 17th century into Chinese some (possibly Dutch) book about the technology of printing in Germany. Later this book was rewritten, corrected and published another time. Today it is a part of Chinese history.
As another example, were logarithms invented in China 500 years before they were invented in the Netherlands? Somebody checked the two publications and it was possible to see that each printing mistake made in Napier’s tables of natural logarithms (first published 1620) had been repeated in the Chinese book which was - as the historians said - 500 years older! Is this is a usual way of doing history?
The Spanish Armada of 300 big ships is today an important part of the Chinese history of the early 15th century. You can read in each Chinese history book that in 1405 they sent a big Armada of 300 very big ships, some of them 150m long, something that it is impossible to construct from wood, and they sent this Armada to India, to Arabic countries and so on, without any clear aim, and they repeated these expeditions six or seven times. It is a tale which was of course made after reading a book about the Spanish Armada in some late time.
From a Russian source I would like to bring an example about the history of Sakha - does anybody know what Sakha is? The Turkish folk of Sakha or Yakuts had been moving from Mongolia to today’s homeland around the Lena River for 400 years, officially from 1000 AD until about 1500 AD. In the 19th century, Sakha nationalism appeared which was strongly against the Russians. Only in the 19th century did any scientists start to collect Sakhan folklore and Sakha literature started to develop. Sakha was part of Russia from the year 1630. Today the Sakhan autonomous republic covers about one fifth of the full Russian territory, the biggest republic in the Russian federation. The Sakhan population of Russia was about 400,000 at the end of the Soviet era; today it may be about half a million.
Now, one name: Tiganda Khan is a legendary figure in Sakhan folklore. This mythical nobleman of the Tangalas tribe, one of many many Sakhan tribes living in the Yakutsk area - Yakutsk is today the capital of the Sakhan republic - plays a very important role in hundreds of legends and tales. Sakhan nationalism created out of this legendary character a historical feature, a king of Old Sakha and so on. In reality, there was never a kingdom of Sakha - in the old time there was only a set of single tribes. Historians have demonstrated that non-historical sources referred to Tiganda Khan but modern Sakhan historiography continues the creation of a new eastern Charlemagne, a king of Sakha.
This is only one example of such modern history creation; my son is the editor of a Russian magazine for politics and culture in Moscow and he sent me this paper. I am quite sure that if I try to do a search, I can find a lot of such examples from the history of Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenia, Ukraine - I know that in Ukraine people are writing a long new history of the Ukrainian past. In my homeland, Estonia, we have today possibly the longest history in the world - yes, any Estonian history book begins at 5000 years BC, when Estonian tribes lived on this territory. Of course it is a tale, of course it is impossible to check, but it is a tendency which is today working in all countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe: every even very small country must have a long and reach history. That is the way of historian thinking in the 20th century.
Now I want to say something about history creation in the 19th century. You know Burma, or Myanmar, an Asian country in which - historians say - in the 19th century a chronicle was completed, a ‘Mirror Palace Chronicle’, about a very, very long Burman history. This Palace Chronicle must have based on something earlier but nobody has seen the latest. For me it is quite clear that before the European idea of long history reached Burma in the 19th century and it was impossible to produce such a long history. Nobody knows if the coming of the early time which is reported in this chronicle really existed but one Russian historian started to analyse this chronicle and quite quickly he found out that many dynasties are just duplicated - they repeat themselves, the same as Fomenko found for world history. However Fomenko was doing a very exact analysis with computers and comparing a lot of different events during each reign. This man was working in the usual manner of historians, just comparing names and numbers: this is like this, this is a copy of this dynasty. After such analysis, he shortened the Burmese history by almost a thousand years. When one analyses this short Burmese history, it comes out that the average reign of each ruler was 32 years, which is at least two times too much, so this short Burman history must be shortened by another 50%, and possibly even much more, and even after that, a big part of this history is quite, quite legendary. So this is one example of doing history in the 19th century.
The most important time of creating history was the 18th century. At this time was created the Russian history, the German, the Chinese; we have an especially clear picture about the creation of Chinese history. It was created using historical books translated from different European languages into Chinese. All these - now Chinese - books have been incorporated into Chinese history as a genuine part of it. Chinese writing is not phonetic, so after a translation, you can never say from which language it was translated and it can be proclaimed as an original Chinese book. In this virtual ‘Chinese history’ we can find parts of the Roman, Russian, German, Spanisch etc. history, almost all European inventories … The real Chinese history begins possibly after the 14th century AD - quite, quite late from the traditional point of view. Before that, China had even no idea of history in the European sense. The idea of history in China was quite different - it was moral history: what we can say about the past which is very useful for the world as we see it today.
In India, there was no historical idea until the European conquest, so real Indian history begins in the 16th century. As one Japanese scientist has said, today Indian history is like a phone book, a lot of names collected from different poems without any historical events or any correct dating.
As I am short of time, I cannot speak about Isaac Newton who is very popular in the Russian history analysis: he demonstrated in his chronological studies that different chronologies are results of analysing of different historical sources (therefore no single correct chronology is possible). Let me discuss the newest Russian book which exists in a - not very good but understandable - English translation. The authors of this Book of Civilisation are two Russian professors, one a very famous man from Moscow University, Kessler, who is a chemistry professor, and the other Davidenko who is a retired geology professor. The introduction to this book was written by Gary Kasparov, who is today playing a very important role in the organisation of this movement: he writes critical papers, publishes them in mass magazines and he organises discussions in TV. He is also trying to organise an international checking of all historical artefacts in all museums of the world, based on the modern scientific methods of chemical, physical etc. analysis.
The main idea of Kessler and Davidenko is that with the history of technology we can demonstrate that normal history writing is not correct, as many artefacts - e.g. some granite statues - were impossible to produce without steel implements; a lot of coins were made with alloys which never existed in these times; a lot of manuscripts were written when this writing was first introduced in the 7th century and so on.
One example is, you have spoken a lot about Egypt here, the Nefertiti head. Can you see how this sculpture was made? It was put together from two parts, so each part was made separately from concrete and put together, and one of the technological ideas of the critical writers is that many important sculptures and even pyramids were made using this technology. For example, a typical Egypt obelisk. No instrument was known at the time for doing such deep and such nice holes [incisions] in this form, only if this was pressed in not rock-hard concrete, special concrete, geopolymer (the terminology of the French chemist Joseph Davidovits from his book The Pyramids: An Enigma Solved, Saint-Quentin, 2001), as it is called, only then can we imagine how such things have been produced.
Morosov, Velikovsky and Fomenko
Now we must turn to the initiator of the Russian critical analysis of the history and chronology Nicolay Morosov. You all are interested in the Russian roots of Velikovsky. For me it is also a very open and interesting question whether Velikovsky read the books of Morosov. The first book of Morosov, a very strong critique of chronology, was published in 1907 when Velikovsky was 8 but it was republished many times and it was translated in 1912 into German, so it is possible that he read this book after emigration. In 1914, as Velikovsky started to study at Moscow University, Morosov’s second book was published, so it is possible that he received some ideas from Morosov. In the later times, during emigration, possibly, he was not so interested in obtaining Russian books and reading them but some ideas of Velikovsky are quite close to the general ideas of Morosov, who started the Russian historical critical research, so it is a very interesting question. Possibly members of the family can help to clear up this point of whether really he was acquainted with Morosov.
To finish, some words about, Fomenko 1 and Fomenko 2. Morosov wrote 10 or more but published only 7 volumes of his Russian book Christos by 1932. Till the end of his life in 1946 no additional volumes were published. The book was not officially prohibited, but not wanted by Soviet ruler and so almost forgotten. In the years 1975-76 a known Russian mathematician Mikhail Postnikov presented the work of Morosov in a course of lectures for young mathematicians of the Moscow university (Fomenko, Mishtchenko etc.). This was the begin of Fomenko-1, a critical author with an interdisciplinary habit of research, who completely destroyed the old model of the past. During 20 years he published papers and books, in which the statistical and natural-scientific analysis of the history started by Morosov was continued and widened. In English some of his books are available.
Notes and references
1. Fomenko A.T., Some New Empirico-statistical Methods of Dating and the Analysis of Present Global Chronology, 1981. London, The British Library, Department of printed books. Cup. 918/87.
2. . Fomenko A.T., Kalashnikov V.V., Nosovsky G.V., Geometrical and Statistical Methods of Analysis of Star Configurations. Dating Ptolemy’s Almagest, CRC-Press, USA, 1993.
3. Fomenko A.T., Empirico-statistical Analysis of Narrative Material and its Applications to Historical Dating
Volume 1: The Development of the Statistical Tools.
Volume 2: The Analysis of Ancient and Medieval Records.
Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 1994.
A list of English papers of Fomenko is presented at www.jesus1053.com.
Under Fomenko-2 I am understanding the very active team Fomenko-Nosovsky, which in last 10 years published a lot of very interesting book, in which they try to demonstrate, how a new historical model of the past can bee developed. This model describes the whole history of mankind as only c. 1000 years long and changes many events in the history. Unfortunately none of these books have been translated into English or German.
Palmer photo Gabowitsch I
A figure, now in the British Museum, from the Ming Dynasty of China, generally believed to date from the sixteenth century AD (photo: T. Palmer). According to the orthodox view of history, the Great Wall of China as we now know it was constructed mainly during the Ming Dynasty, to prevent a Mongol invasion from the north.
Q1 David Roth: You say the Great Wall of China was built after 1950. If I look at a book that was printed in the 1930s, what will I find?
EG: After my article was published, of course many people tried to find old pictures and photographs of the Great Chinese Wall, to hardly any avail. I am not saying that no fortification had previously been built in China. I am saying that the idea of the Great Chinese Wall was produced in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, but the construction of the long, long, long wall which links all these fortifications was started in the time of Mao Dzedong and Deng Xiaoping. Of course, during the time of the last dynasty in China, there were very strong fortifications to the north of Beijing and some other places but there was never the idea of building a long, long wall to protect China from the Mongols – which is a crazy idea.
DR: If I look in my book, it won’t say ‘The Great Wall of China’ in the 1930s? When was that phrase used?
EG: You will find the phrase used because European writings about a ‘Great Chinese Wall’ had been translated into Chinese by that time, and the idea had already caught on with Chinese intellectuals. However, the only real objects that there were in the 1930s were a lot of earth walls in very bad condition in different parts of China.
DR: You say my book won’t have an article headed ‘The Great Wall of China’?
EG: An article, yes, but the Great Wall itself didn’t exist at that time. At the end of the 19th century in Europe there was a debate on whether the Great Chinese Wall exists. A French author wrote a book saying it did not exist. Some Russians tried to find this wall and couldn’t. Even earlier, a European painter had been in China and came back with a picture of the Great Chinese Wall. He saw one fortification of some kind, or possibly even a 10 km long wall, and he exaggerated its length by a factor of 50. Of course something was there, but it was not the Great Chinese Wall.
Q2: It was not reported by Marco Polo, he never mentioned the Great Wall.
EG: He didn’t mention the Great Wall, he was never in China, and we don’t know if his writings are fiction or not - possibly they are fiction written by another person who had travelled in Eastern Russia. There is a book in German, Marco Polo war nie in China, Fomenko has written about the geographical limits of Polo’s trip and many Russian critics have, independently of each other, proved that he never was in China.
Q3: In support of what you said, a history professor from Scotland told me about ten years ago that he had been aware of a book by a French researcher about the supposed kingdom of Southern Arabia round the Yemen and this French writer had come to the conclusion that large sequences of these kings had been duplicated and duplicated to produce a long history, so that is in support of what you are saying.
Q4 Steve Mitchell: Similarly, I have got some support: the Chinese language as we know it from the ancient bronze inscriptions had been destroyed by the early 17th [and 18th?] century Jesuit German scholars and the truth is that there is no bridge that says what this particular glyph means on the early bronzes.
EG: This is not about language but about writing - that’s different. Not just German but also Portuguese, Italian, Belgian etc. Jesuit scholars created Chinese history.
SM: Yes, but there is no intermediate reading between this tradition and the present one, and that was fabricated and controlled by the Jesuits.
EG: It would be very interesting for me if you could give me some more information about that. I can only say that Morozov said the idea was that the Chinese writing was a product of European thinking. When Europeans came to China, in every village people spoke a different language, it was impossible to develop a common writing system for languages in which phonetically there could be four tones, or seven, or eleven, or thirteen - they spoke quite different languages, so the only possibility was to use pictures. This idea was probably developed and completely realised by the Jesuits, but I think it is also possible it emerged a little earlier, when Buddhism had come from India to China, and thence to Japan, Korea, Vietnam etc. In any case I am sure that such a complex writing system was impossible to develop and implement without the support of a language with a phonetic alphabet.
SM: Are you suggesting that they fabricated the original bronze glyphs? It may well be that they put their own interpretation on them.
EG: In developing hieroglyphic writing, people tried out a number of different systems, which is why we no longer read some of the old glyphs. But I cannot rule out that many of the bronze inscriptions were made by, or under the influence of, the Jesuits.
Q5 Trevor Palmer: Whilst it may be argued that Chinese writing was compiled by the Jesuits and so on, in England we know there has been a continuity of languages in different styles, which we can trace back generation after generation after generation for well over a thousand years, so how could that possibly fit into your model?
EG: It’s very simple, you have the wrong chronology.
Q6 In what year did we suddenly say, we now live in the year 1485 or 1762, what year did we first start to number our years?
EG: May I speak for another two hours on the history of calendars? It is impossible to answer this question briefly but the only thing that’s important is the time distance between us and an historical event. To give just one very brief example, some of the dolmens in the Caucasus which are generally thought to be thousands of years old were built in the 19th century. For more detail, let me refer you to a great book, The Dolmen Path. The Caucasus Dolmen’s Anthology, 1999, on the construction of monoliths in the North-Western Caucasus, about which there is a lot of information on my website.
Q7: What about the history of the arts?
EG: I am sure nobody here has seen the Russian book A Different History of Art by Alexander Zhabinsky. This book demonstrates that the entire history of art does not reach back longer than 1000 years, and all other periods of the history of art (Ancient Greek, Roman, Ancient Egyptian, Early Medieval) are projections of the art of later times onto these imaginary, virtual times. All ‘previous’ art was, in reality, produced in the past millennium.
Q8: If you’re working with tools, it depends on whether it’s iron or steel.
EG: Steel is needed in most cases - but steel has only been produced in the past 1000 years, or even less.
Q9 Steve Mitchell: Regarding changes in art, in Greek art, changes were fast. In Egyptian art, the changes are subtle, if you take Egyptian art at any point it’s difficult to see the changes. Antique style continues forward in time and it’s just a suggestion that the kouros is similar to the Egyptian statue, etc., it is not necessarily of the same period.
Q10 Birgit Liesching: I think we saw yesterday the statue of Tuthmosis III that stands in the museum at Karnak, which is much more life-like and much more like later Greek sculpture than this comparison. We should also see what was produced in the contemporaneous period in Egypt - there may have been things that looked exactly the same as Ramesses II and this was where they got their inspiration. I don’t think you can prove anything with that comparison.
EG: Zhabinsky does say he suspects an influence but in his book hundreds of examples are presented which demonstrate how the actual art of the past millennium was ‘distributed’ throughout previous history.
Fig. 1. Young ladies at a ball. This mosaic has a traditional interpretation as an ancient imagination - but never more in the ‘ancient’ period and for more than a thousand years after it one can find pictures of young ladies in slip and bra. This is a typical Renaissance work of art.
Fig. 2. Two portraits of the same person? Or of two relatives? In the history of art this two works of the same art style are dated with 14 centuries in-between: a Roman portrait of AD 60 and a Renaissance portrait from the year 1474. In Zhabinsky’s book (p. 157) hundreds of examples demonstrate that a big part of Renaissance art was set in ancient times by wrong dating traditions.
Fig. 3. Very late genesis of the most important ‘historical’ conceptions. This table from the Book of Civilization (p. 50) demonstrates at which times according to Webster’s Oxford Dictionary many important notions from history, religion and science have been for the first time used in written English. One ‘can clearly see that the whole antique cycle appears in the English language in the middle of the 16th century as well as the concept of antiquity … Related to Islam notions appeared in the 17th century.’.
Fig. 4. (Files Gutrasiert-Cäsar und Gepflegtes-Bart). Barbers as less known part of the virtual ‘ancient’ history. Well cared-for beard and hair of a ‘Roman’ emperor, well shaved Caesar: how have they be served by their barbers in a time without any steel tools? Did all these ‘Roman’ rulers in reality live in the first four-five centuries of the second Christian millennium?
Fig. 5. (File Laokoon) A marble serpentine: Laocoon was produced by Michelangelo who used the stucco technology. As Fomenko and Nossovsky mentioned, by a modern restoration, 1960, all three raising arms of the sculptural group have been broken: for imitation of the ‘antique’ origin? It was never possible to produce the long serpent of the piton from a marble block without modern electric cutting tools. However it was possible to make the giant snail from a plastic mixture with organic agents which after being polished imitates the marble. This technology was in use in the time of Michelangelo.