Christianism ("Christianity"), Etc.

30 Centuries of Forgeries




Preface 1736-1736


Fake? The Art of Deception 1737-1751


An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent 1752-1753


Jean Hardouin 1754-1756


New Testament Studies 1757-1769


Bible Myths 1770-1776


Forgers and Critics 1777-1782


The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus 1783-1788


The Annals of Poggio Bracciolini and other Forgeries 1789-1825


The Jesus Mysteries 1826-1827


The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception 1828-1829


The Tradition of Manuscripts 1830-1830


A XVth Century Guide-Book to the Principal Churches of Rome 1831-1837



The Rise of Christendom 1838-1850


Josephus and Modern Scholarship 1851-1851


Tacitus, The Annals 1852-1853


The Annals of Tacitus 1854-1854


Tacitus Reviewed 1855-1855


The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus 1856-1857


Pliny, Letters 1858-1858


Tertullian, Apology 1859-1861


Eusebius 1862-1862


The Letters of Pliny 1863-1863


Tacitus; Pliny; Suetonius; Tertullian 1864-1864


The Oxford Classical Dictionary 1865-1865


Lucian 1866-1866


Lucian, And His Influence in Europe 1867-1868


Culture and Society in Lucian 1869-1869


Lucian 1870-1870


Lucian 1871-1874


Latin Dictionary 1875-1876


The Non-Christian Witnesses 1877-1878


SUMMARY (Tacitus; Pliny; Suetonius; Lucian) 1878-1879


APPENDIX (Wheless; Johnson; Arbuthnot; Farrer; Wilson) 1880-1899




Subject Index 1989-1991

Note: emphases on Christian presumed Pagan witnesses to (Jesus) Christ and Christians: Tacitus; Pliny; Suetonius; Lucian. [See: 1990, 1991].

PAGE 1735


I have had to quote the "Christian" authors Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and, many other ancient authors--"Pagan" and "Christian".

I realized years ago, that confidence in names of ancient authors, and, all their supposed writings, like religions, involves much faith, apologetics, etc. I asked (of necessity, myself): "where did they [and, who were they? and, when?] find the original manuscripts (autographs)?, under the beds of the authors?" I began researching. I began disappointments. [see 1752-1753, 1838-1850, 1878-1879]

I have not seen elaborate arguments, describing how we can be confident that all these persons existed, and that all (or some) of the writings ascribed to them, were by them. Fiats are presented, instead of proofs. Traditions! Presumptions!

In the literature, one is commonly exposed to pronouncements (implying validity), and, referred to elaborate German texts. Where are the attempted proofs? Books by L.D. Reynolds [Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (with N.G. Wilson), Oxford, 1974 (1968); Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics, Oxford, 1983] and Hermann Bengston [Introduction to Ancient History, 1970 (1949 German)], and websites like (Roger Pearse), do not suffice. These presentations are very attractive, overwhelming--and, often, a priori ["based on theory [hope; presumption; etc.] instead of experience" (Webster's L.P.)]--orthodox. [see 1766, 1781-1782]

Palaeographic evaluations: palaeography [see: (Greek) E.G. Turner, 1987; (Latin) B. Bischoff, 1990 (1979)] allows (conveniently), much subjectivity [see 1828-1829, 1841, 1859, 1889, 1890]; especially suspect, when the chronic apologists, Christians (for Christianism ("Christianity")), are affected/effected.

Supposedly 5 million words from Augustine are extant [see 1593; 1989]
[see Appendix III, 722, 725, 726, 727, 729, (Hardouin [see 1781 (Grafton)])].
Strikes me, considering the times, other authors, transmission, etc., as too many words [here come the forever--Christian apologetics [see 1684 (Kasmer)]].

Where are the early "Christian authors", with all of the supposed Christian popularity and influence, mentioned in (the extensive) Pagan literature?
[more--Christian apologetics!]. [see 1878-1879]

Christians have been witnesses for Christians--hence, the "histories".

Commonly accepted forgeries are commonly called: "clumsy [see 1989] forgeries". Other forgeries [see 1881 ("Forgery Defined")], can be called history.

Until proven otherwise, keep in mind: Fictions! Forgeries! Lies! Etc.!

Lino Sanchez, 11/2001 - 6/2002

PAGE 1736

from: Fake? The Art of Deception, Edited by Mark Jones, with Paul Craddock and Nicolas Barker, ©1990 The Trustees of the British Museum, First U.S. edition published 1990 by University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. [received (at the "completion" of Addition 36), and first seen, 1/5/2002]. [I thank Anthony Grafton (1782), for this reference].

"What is a fake and why are fakes made? Did the forgers of the Turin Shroud and Piltdown Man have the same motives? Does a famous Vermeer cease to be beautiful when it turns out to be a Van Meegeren, and is the Piranesi Vase an eighteenth-century masterpiece or a faked-up antique?

These are some of the questions discussed in this major survey of fakes and forgeries from ancient Babylonia to the present day. More than 600 objects from the British Museum and many other major collections are included here. There are spectacular fakes, once hailed as masterpieces of ancient and modern art. There are mermen and manuscripts, Chinese bronzes and Chelsea porcelain. There are literary and documentary frauds and political forgeries that have changed the course of history.

Both the methods used to make fakes and the recent scientific advances in their detection are described. But many puzzles remain: the book concludes with a discussion of intriguing cases like the Vinland Map, the 'Aztec' rock-crystal skull and the mysterious discoveries at Glozel which continue to perplex curator, historian and scientist alike.

With 130 color and 185 black and white illustrations.

Mark Jones is an Assistant Keeper, Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum. He is the author of The Art of the Medal, Medals of the Sun King, The Dance of Death and Contemporary British Medals, and is also editor of The Medal and Médailles" [back cover].

PAGE 1737


Acknowledgements page 6

Abbreviations 6

List of contributors 7

Preface 9


Why fakes? by Mark Jones 11

Forging the past by David Lowenthal 16

Textual forgery by Nicolas Barker 22


  1. What is a fake? 29
  2. Rewriting history 59
  3. The limits of belief: religion, magic, myth and science 79
  4. Faking in the East 99
  5. Faking in Europe from the Renaissance to the 18th century 119
  6. The 19th century: the great age of faking 161
  7. Faking in the 20th century 235
  8. The art and craft of faking: copying, embellishing and transforming 247 edited by Paul Craddock
  9. The scientific detection of fakes and forgeries 275
  10. edited by Paul Craddock and Sheridan Bowman
  11. The limits of expertise 291

Further reading 308

Index 310

[quotation marks omitted]. ["5"].

"Forging the past

David Lowenthal" [16]

"WE ARE GLUTTONS FOR FALSE FACTS; OUR CRAVING FOR FRAUD REJECTS ALL TRUTH BUT THE LOOK OF IT. We bring to the most improbable past an 'immense assumption of veracities and sanctities, of the general soundness of the legend', notes Henry James; we accept the 'extraneous, preposterous stuffing' of its empty reliquary ["repository or receptacle for relics"] shell. GLORYING IN FRAUD HELPS TO EXORCISE THE ANCIENT TERROR THAT A PAST NOT PERFECTLY TRANSMITTED WILL REVENGE ITSELF ON US. WE NEED FAKES TO SHIELD US FROM TOO SHARP A KNOWLEDGE. THE FALSE PAST COEXISTS ALONGSIDE THE TRUTH THAT EXPOSES IT, TO CUSHION THE EROSION OF SUSTAINING MYTH." [22].

PAGE 1738

"Textual forgery

Nicolas Barker" [22]

"The physical form of texts is books and manuscripts, but unlike other objects they cannot be made to display the falsity of texts, whether outright forgery or only fiction....

Some objects reveal the unseen more clearly than others: put a counterfeit coin against the original, and the nature of the deceit, base for precious metal, is obvious. Others, 'creative forgeries' of things that have no 'original' but answer some more abstract desire or value, defeat such easy comparison.

Of these, the oldest and by far the largest class is that of texts. Much more is involved here than the detection of a false object, although the creation of a false document may be an essential part of a fraudulent text. Beyond this, however, lies a false concept, literary, political or religious, which may itself be based on a tissue of facts and ideas, some true, others believed to be true but in fact false, others again known to be false but promulgated for reasons which may be 'good' as well as 'bad'. How old this practice is can be seen in the sections on Tradition and revival", 'Rewriting history', and 'The limits of belief'. The discernment of truth and the rejection of falsehood is the oldest of human intellectual activities: it is the foundation of criticism. One of the greatest critics, Richard Bentley, put it thus in his exposure of the false Epistles of Phalaris (36):

To pass a censure upon all kinds of writings, to shew their several excellencies and defects, and especially to assign them to their proper Authors, was the chief province and the greatest commendation of the Ancient Critics; and it appears from those remains that are left us, that they never wanted employment. For to forge and counterfeit Books, and father them upon great names, has been a practice almost as old as Letters.

Bentley goes on to deal with the motives for forgery: simple gain, 'glory and affectation, as an exercise of style, and an ostentation of wit'. The forgers might confess their deeds, rejoice in their exposure, or prefer 'that silent pride and fraudulent pleasure, though it was to die with them, before an honest commendation from posterity for being good imitators'. 'And', adds Bentley, 'to speak freely, the greatest part of mankind are so easily imposed on in this way, that there is too great an invitation to put the trick on them'." [23].

"The advent of Christianity, and the mass of apocryphal texts that grew up early in its history, merely augmented an already flourishing practice, only complicated by stricter canons of truth and falsehood, specifically addressed by St Augustine in De mendacia (AD 393). The Donation of Constantine and the Forged Decretals of Isadore (38) are a remarkable case in point, where the process of forgery lasted for centuries; the same is true of the false charters nd chronicle of the Anonymous Continuator of Ingulphus of Croyland. Even more remarkable is the Libre de tribus impostoribus, the wickedest of all books, which bracketed Moses, Christ and Mahomet as frauds: already in the thirteenth century Frederick II was accused of its authorship; the

PAGE 1739

philosopher Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639) evaded responsibility for it by creating a false legend of a printed text of 1538. The earliest surviving text appears to be the work of a Dutch libertin érudit about 1700. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (52) may end this catalogue of confusion and deceit. There were no Elders, and no Protocols. The Elders were a figment of Slavic anti-Semitism, the 'Protocols' an adaptation of Dialogue aux enfers..., an imaginary dialogue between Montesquieu and Machiavelli aimed at Louis Napoléon in 1868, made to serve anti-Semitic policy in Russia around 1900. Yet this pernicious work was recently in print in English in Los Angeles, and may be still." [24-25].

"In all this Bentley's dictum that 'the greatest part of mankind are so easily imposed on' is not to be forgotten. Claudio Bonacini, 'creating' a new sixteenth-century calligrapher or a letter of Galileo, told me how difficult it was to convince people that they were false. Frederic Prokosch, the forger of the first editions of Yeats, T.S. Eliot and other modern writers, who died in 1988, found his market's gullibility 'bizarre'. The full story of Hitler's diaries may one day be told, but one feature of it is obvious: the desire of any number of people that they should exist, which overrode the implausibility of the story and the poor quality of the forgeries as physical objects. Another example, in a quite contrary sense, is the story of the hapless Moses Shapira, who bought fifteen strips containing part of the book of Deuteronomy from Arabs who had found them in the Wadi Munjib in Jordan. He brought them to Europe in 1883, where they were universally rejected as forgeries: the text did not fit current theory, the script was illiterate, the finding a plausible tale. Utterly cast down, Shapiro committed suicide. But in 1959, following the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the question of the authenticity of Shapiro's fragments was reopened. Meanwhile, the fragments themselves have disappeared, and until they are found the mystery will remain.

Forged texts cannot be dismissed as mere pale reflections of their originals [for many "forged texts", no "originals"]. They are, at least, part, and not a negligible part, of the stemma of the text. They can also be deeply revealing witnesses of the 'sociology of the text', a mirror of the society which elicited the forgery. More important yet, as war advances technology so fake texts refine the critical impulse that can expose them. Forgery, like any form of imitation, embodies a creative impulse, and that is reason enough for taking its products seriously." [End of "Textual Forgery"] [End of "Introduction"] [26-27].


Rewriting History

More ancient, more potent and more pervasive than the faking of objects is the use of documents to misrepresent reality itself. This chapter deals with such deceptions, beginning in ancient Babylonia (34) and finishing in the propaganda warfare of the twentieth century.

THE PERPETRATORS OF SUCH FRAUDS WERE OFTEN PRIESTS, partly because it was they who had the learning and skills needed for the forgery of ancient documents and partly because religious foundations, being well endowed, needed to

PAGE 1740

protect their endowment. Their motives were sometimes worthy: knowing that a property belonged to his monastery, but not having the documentation to prove it, a monk might feel it his duty to provide what was lacking (39). They might be playful, as with the invention of eye witnesses to the Trojan War (37), or of a benign character for the notorious tyrant of Tarentum (36), but they could be far from insignificant in their effect. The Donation of Constantine (38) was the documentary foundation of the temporal power of the Papacy...." [59].

"These photographs [(complex) "(60)"] provide a neat summary of the central lesson of this section, that IT IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN SURPRISINGLY EASY TO INFLUENCE THE PRESENT BY ALTERING THE PAST. If this is in part because it can often be difficult to check the veracity of any account of a past that is, by its nature, essentially inaccessible, it is also and more disquietingly because LIES ARE OFTEN MORE ACCEPTABLE, MORE ATTRACTIVE, EVEN MORE COHERENT THAN THE TRUTH." [End of introductory remarks] [60].


34 Old Babylonian forged inscription

This stone cruciform monument from Sippar, southern Mesopotamia (Iraq), is an ancient forgery, most likely created during the Old Babylonian period (first half of the second millennium BC) but purporting to be of the reign of Manishtushu, King of Akkad (c. 2276-2261 BC)....

The monument comes into the category known as a fraus pia, or 'pious fraud'. It was probably produced by the temple priests in order to establish the great antiquity of the privileges and revenues of their temple, thus strengthening the temple's claim to them." [60].

"36 The Epistles of Phalaris, tyrant of Tarentum

This Alexandrian text of about the third century BC purports to be the letters of Phalaris, the cruel tyrant of Tarentum (Taranto in Italy) who, according to Pindar, had a bronze bull made in which he had criminals roasted, eventually suffering the same fate when his subjects revolted about 554 BC ...." [61].

"37 An account of the Trojan War by 'Dares' and 'Dictys'

For a history of the Trojan War, what could be better than the memoirs of a participant in that event? So it appeared to two Greek authors of first century AD, who exercised their rhetorical skills in composing the eye-witness accounts of 'Dares of Phrygia', a Trojan ally, and 'Dictys of Crete', a Greek ally. So also it appeared to numerous medieval authors, readers, artists and patrons, to whom Vergil's verses presented a less accessible and authoritative text and for whom Homer was generally only a name.

PAGE 1741

Most medieval literary and artistic versions of the story of Troy, including the illuminated [decorated (see 1756 (Hardouin))] manuscript here, would never have been created had not these GREEK TEXTS been TRANSLATED INTO LATIN IN THE FOURTH AND SIXTH CENTURIES AD and had not THEIR STATUS been GREATLY ENHANCED BY THE ADDITION OF PREFATORY LETTERS GIVING THE PRECISE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS. According to the purported letter from Cornelius Nepos to his fellow historian Sallust, Dares' text was found by him at Athens. Dictys' text, according to one Septiminus, was translated by him from a Greek manuscript in Phoenician characters which he had brought to Nero after its discovery at Knossos in Crete inside the very tomb of Dictys.

This manuscript includes, as part of a history of the world from the Creation to the time of Julius Caesar, a French prose adaptation of the twelfth-century Roman de Troie of Benoît de Sainte Maure, whose verses formed the most influential medieval texts to derive from those of Dares and Dictys. Among its many richly illuminated miniatures are those on ff. 140v[v?]-141, which portray the Greeks and Trojans as described in the text above, fighting the fourteenth and fifteenth battles. SMCK

Neapolitan manuscript, c . 1330-40 BL Royal Ms, 20 D I, ff. 140v-141 Literature F. Avril, 'Trois manuscrits napolitains des collections de Charles V et de Jean de Berry', Bibliothèque de l' Ecole des chartes 127 (1969), pp. 300-14; H. Buchthal, Historia Troiana, Studies of the Warburg Institute, 32, Leiden/London 1971, pp. 1-8" [61].

"Monkish forgeries

38 The Donation of Constantine, one of the 'Forged Dectretals [Decretals] of Isidore'

The 'FORGED DECRETALS ["PAPAL DECREES"] OF ISIDORE' ARE DOCUMENTS OF GREATER OR LESSER ANTIQUITY, SOME GENUINE, SOME FALSE, WHICH WERE ASSEMBLED IN THE NINTH CENTURY WITH THE OBJECT OF ENHANCING THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE CHURCH. The most famous document in it was the 'DONATION OF CONSTANTINE', the letter from the first Christian emperor to Pope Silvester I, giving him terrestrial power over the WEST (or was it over Italy?), while he retreated to his new Eastern capital. The words (Romanae et omnes Italiae seu occidentalium regionum provincias...nostro Silvestro universali papae concedimus) were precise yet not unambiguous: did the words after seu define or expand 'Italy' to include all Western Europe? Galican bishops preferred the former, papalists the latter definition. One thing was certain: the composition of the Donation predated the Forged Decretals, since it was quoted by Hadrian I in 777.

The credit for disentangling the complex web of deception surrounding the Decretals belongs to Lorenzo Valla (c. 1407-57). By applying a mind critically tuned not only to the chronology of historical fact but also to the use of language (much improved by the recovery of classical texts in the previous half-century), he was able to show which documents were genuine and which were later 'pious' fictions. His conclusions (reinforced independently by Cardinal Nicolas of Cuas) appeared in 1440. Valla's critical methods, as refined and improved (in terms of the physical structure of old documents) by Angelo Poliziano, remained the model and admiration of later scholars. The reformers, however, found grist for their mill in the tissue of papal lies

PAGE 1742

and aggrandisement (as they saw it) that Valla had destroyed. Thomas Cromwell was not slow to seize these possibilities, and the translation into English of Valla's text and its publication in 1536 was part of his carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign against the papacy in Henry VIII's interest, based on other historic documents as well as this, notably the Defensor pacis.

This was not the only appearance of the Forged Decretals in English history. The English Pope Adrian IV's claim to Ireland (and bestowal of it in 1155 on Henry VI, at the instance of John of Salisbury) was based on the Donation of Constantine. NB

A treatyse of the Constantyne, Emperor of Rhome...a declaration of Laurence Valla...against the forsayd privilege, as being forged, London [1534] BL c.37.h.7" [62].

"39 Medieval forgeries of royal writs [see 1777]

The possession of royal writs constituting written evidence of the conferment of favourable rights and immunities was of such importance to great early monastic foundations like Westminster and Battle Abbey that they sometimes produced spurious ones where the genuine article was lacking.

In the case of the writ purported to be of Edward the Confessor (a), THE INTENTION OF THE MONKS OF WESTMINSTER SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN TO EQUIP THEMSELVES WITH DOCUMENTARY SUPPORT FOR A CLAIM TO THE ESTATE OF ICKWORTH (SUFFOLK). They set out to achieve this aim by adapting or manipulating an authentic writ some time in the SECOND HALF OF THE ELEVENTH CENTURY and appending to it a copy of Edward's seal, possibly once part of another document.

The monks of Battle Abbey seem to have been similarly motivated. Wishing to defend what they considered their rights against possible episcopal threats, they decided in the twelfth century to produce additional evidence of royal privileges granted in the previous century (b). SMCK

39a Spurious Writ of Edward the Confessor, Westminster, (?) and half of 11th CENTURY

BL Sloane Charter xxxiv.1

39b Spurious Writ of William the Conqueror, Battle Abbey, 12th CENTURY BL Add. Ch. 70980

Literature F.E. Harmer, Anglo-Saxon Writs, Manchester 1952, pp. 316-18, 504-5;

B. Schofield, The Lane Bequest', British Museum Quarterly xi (1936-7), pp. 73-5"


"40 Fake seal matrix of Henry II (1154-89)" [63].

PAGE 1743

"41 Geoffrey of Monmouth,

Historia Regum Britanniae

Geoffrey of Monmouth was born ABOUT THE YEAR 1100, brought up at Monmouth, and later went to Oxford, where he met the Archdeacon Walter. From him Geoffrey obtained the foundation of his work, a 'vetustissimus liber' (a very ancient book), Britannici sermonis (in Welsh). He set to work and at least part of the Historia was in existence BY ABOUT 1135, when other chroniclers and writers began to make use of it....

Argument has gone on for centuries about Geoffrey's work and the extent to which it was derived from real sources. Needless to say, the 'ancient book' has disappeared, and we shall never know what it was, if it ever existed--a book of legends of Brut and Arthur of Breton origin, perhaps. It cannot even have been of great antiquity since Bede (c. 673-735) was clearly unaware of the tradition.

The significance of the Historia Regum Britanniae lies, however, not in its sources but in its subsequent influence; transformed by Malory in Morte d'Arthur, it became 'the Matter of Britain', and dominated British historiography right up to Our Island Story (1905), the standard children's history, still in print. It was itself the origin of the 'Grail' romances in all the European languages, as well as the long-lasting mythistory of England. NB BL Cotton Titus C.XVII" [63-64]. [See: 1882-1883].

"Pride in family, place and nation

42 Annius of Viterbo's fake texts and inscriptions [see 1964 (Wiener)]

Giovanni Nanni [see 1990] was born in Viterbo in 1432 (or 1437) and died in Rome in 1502. He was a Dominican, A TRAINED THEOLOGIAN who taught, preached and published mainly in Genoa and in Viterbo. Towards the end of his life he was raised to high office at the Papal Court by Pope Alexander VI.

HIS FAME RESTS ON HIS FORGERIES. Latinising Nanni to Annius to suggest descent from the Roman gens Annia, he made up a number of ancient historical texts and inscriptions, and wrote commentaries on them. The motive seems to have been a desire to glorify his native Viterbo as the metropolis of a primeval, golden-age Etruria.

He began by composing a local history of Viterbo, apparently lost except for an Epitoma, recently published. The side products of this were counterfeit inscriptions (b) in subrudimentary Etruscan (some letters correct, sense invented), doubtful Greek (purporting in one instance to be partly a transliteration of Aramaic), and more or less imaginary Egyptian hieroglyphic; also in Latin, where the script gives him away. He [Nanni] had them buried for imminent discovery, and when they were discovered wrote a commentary on a selection of six, which he addressed to the magistrates of Viterbo. As Roberto Weiss has pointed out, though devoted entirely to fakes, it is in fact the earliest Renaissance epigraphic treatise extant.

Having 'roused the history of Viterbo from its slumbers', and attached its beginnings to the 'theogony of heroes' who first settled Italy (chief among them Janus, an alias of Noah), Annius [Nanni] moved on to his magnum opus, an attempt to establish the central position of Etruria within the framework of universal history. Published in 1498, the Commentaria super opera diversorum auctorum

PAGE 1744

de antiquitatibus loquentium (a) combines chronology, topography and onomastics (mainly place-names) in an exegesis of ancient texts which, with one exception--Propertius' poem on the Romanised Etruscan god Vertumnus--are all forgeries, ascribed, again with one exception--the 'Persian' Metasthenes, no doubt a (punning?) transposition of the Greek Megasthenes, presented by Annius as a confusion rectified--to real authors: the Chaldaean Berosus, the Egyptian Manetho, Archilochus, Xenophon, Myrsilus of Lesbos, Fabius Pictor, Sempronius (Caius Sempronius Tuditanus, author of a work on Roman magistrates, rather than the historian Sempronius Asellio?), the Elder Cato, Philo of Alexandria, the Emperor Antoninus Pius. Citing and commenting, Annius establishes the anteriority of Etruscan to both Greek and Latin, deriving as it does from Aramaic, the language of Noah, if not of Adam.

But Annius [Nanni] is not merely telling a story and showing it to be true. He is, if anything, more concerned with method than with narrative, with demonstrating what constitutes history as opposed to fable, mainly Greek fable. His Metasthenes is given over to methodological postulates which are invoked throughout the Commentaria. Taking his cue from Josephus' attack on Greek historiography in the Contra Apionem (a debt he [Nanni] acknowledges), Annius opposes the fabulations of Greek historians--they were private individuals with no recognised status; they had no access to official records, their material was hearsay and opinion; they often contradict each other--to the veracity of Assyrian and Persian annals. These are based exclusively on official documents and put together by public scribes who have priestly status. Annius calls them 'public notaries of events and times'. His Berosus is the very model of such a functionary: he was a priest and he excerpted official records to compose a précis of the entire period of the Assyrian monarchy (this, again, based on Josephus). Annius does not share the humanist fascination with the classical historical text, Greek or Latin. Its literariness [(my definition) literature] is suspect to him. The Roman authors he 'produces'--Fabius Pictor, Sempronius, the Elder Cato--are to him antiquarians rather than historians (Antoninus Pius is brought in on account of his Itinerary--nothing could be less literary or more official). The irony of a treatise on epigraphy concerned exclusively with fakes is compounded by a forged historical text laying down rules of historical evidence.

Though Annius' fraud was seen through quite quickly, it had widespread and long-lasting echoes. His emphasis on chronology, his high valuation of the evidence of inscriptions, and more generally of names, his 'rules of historical evidence', his passion for Etruscan antiquities and his linguistic theories, all had a sequel. He [Nanni] became the prince of forgers with pride of place in the canon of 'learned impostors' and the distinction of an interdict in a decree issued by the Academy of Lisbon in 1721 naming him as an author not to be read. And his stones [testes (a post mortem acquisition?)] still stand [sic!] in the Museo Civico at Viterbo, a not unworthy tribute [to] the city's power to inspire loyalty [? (flight?)] in its sons. CRL.

42a Annius' Commentaria

BL IB 19034

42b Two of Annius' fake inscriptions 630 x 630mm (framed)

Museo Civico, Viterbo

PAGE 1745

Literature R. Weiss, 'Traccia per una biografia di Annio di Viterbo', Italia medioevale e umanistica v (1962), pp. 425ff.; R. Weiss, 'An unknown epigraphic tract by Annius of Viterbo', in C.P. Brand, K. Foster & U. Limentani (eds), Italian studies presented to E.R. Vincent...1962, pp. 101ff.; E. Tigerstedt, 'Ioannes Annius and Graecia mendax', Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies in honour of B.L. Ullman ii (1964), pp. 293ff.; Viterbiae Historiae Epitoma: Annio da Viterbo. Documenti e ricerchi, Contributi alla storia degli studi etruschi ed italici, I (1981); R. Rubini, 'Gli storici nei nascenti stati regionali italiani', Il ruolo della storia e degli storici nelle civiltà, Atti del Convegno di Macerata...1979 (1982). pp. 217ff.; R. Weiss, The Renaissance discovery of classical antiquity, 2nd edn, 1988"

"43 Genealogy of the House of Croy

This family tree of the wealthy ducal house of Croy, in the Low Countries, was one of the last in a long line of illustrious pedigrees which served to reinforce the prestige of almost every great European family in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Compiled about 1612 by Jacques de Bie from a manuscript written by the last duke, the genealogy is unusually complete, taking his ancestry back through Catherine of Croy, sister-in-law of King Andrew III of Hungary, to Attila, Nimrod, Noah, and finally Adam and Eve.

It is hard to credit that the erudite Duke of Croy believed this amazing genealogical sequence to be literally true, but this was the age in which James Usher [see #11, 252 (Ussher)], Archbishop of Dublin, compiled his chronology of the world on similar principles, establishing the date of the Creation as 4004 BC. NB BL 607.m.9" [65-66].


The limits of belief:
religion, magic, myth
and science
" [79]

"There is evidence here of medieval longing for direct contact with Christ and his saints, met by apocryphal letters (61, 62) and bogus relics (64, 65)." [79].

"Apocryphal letters

61 Letter of Christ to Abgar

In the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius (c. AD 260-c. 340) are found the earliest Greek versions of two letters supposedly exchanged between Christ and Abgar (4 BC-AD 50), King of Edessa [see 1989]. Eusebius claims that the letters were extracted and translated from Syriac originals among the archives of Edessa [see 1989 ("discovery")]. In his letter Abgar tells Christ that news of His miraculous cures has led him to believe in His divinity and to request His coming to cure his own affliction. He also offers his city as a refuge from the threats of the Jews. In reply

PAGE 1746

Christ blesses Abgar for his unseeing belief and, although refusing his invitation to his city, promises a life-giving cure through one of His disciples.

In addition to granting material authority to Eusebius' account of Thaddaeus' conversion of Edessa, these texts subsequently acquired a powerful talisman-like quality of their own. For, as is made clear in a text that often, as here, follows the reply of Christ, the owner of the manuscript ["text"] becomes the recipient of the letter, receiving for himself Christ's blessing and promise of health and life. The letter, therefore, fits very well with the other devotional and liturgical texts found in this early manuscript and with the Anglo-Saxon culture in which the manuscript was produced. SMCK

Mercian manuscript, early 9th century BL Royal MS 2 A XXX, ff. 12v-13 Literature E.A. Lowe, Codes Latini Antiquiores, il, Oxford 1934-71, no. 215; R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament, Oxford 1924, pp. 476-7" [79].

'62 Letter of Lentulus

This letter, which is said to have been addressed to the Roman Senate by a certain Lentulus, a Roman official in Judea in the time of Tiberius, records the appearance in that province of Christ. In so doing it apparently provides both extra-Biblical evidence of the existence of Christ and the description of his features so lacking in the New Testament. It reads, in part:

a man in stature middling...having hair of the hue of an unripe hazel-nut and smooth almost down to his ears, but from the ears in curling locks somewhat darker and more shining, waving over his shoulders; having a parting at the middle of the head according to the fashion of the Nazareans; a brow smooth and very calm, with a face without wrinkle or any blemish, which a moderate colour makes beautiful; with the nose and mouth no fault at all can be found; having a full beard of the colour of his hair, not long, but a little forked at the chin; having an expression simple and mature, the eyes grey.

This [fictional] description is perhaps one of the sources for the accepted formula for visual representations of Christ.

The letter can be shown to be an Italian humanist's version of an already existing text which is said to have been extracted from the annal-books of the ancient Romans. Moreover, internal evidence points to this text being a late medieval Latin translation of a Greek original, similar in many respects to the descriptions of Christ offered by the Greek texts of Nicephorus and John of Damascus.

In this manuscript the letter is found in a sequence of texts relating to Roman history which were copied by an English scribe trained in a humanist culture in Italy. The context is very fitting and contrasts sharply with that of 61. SMCK

English manuscript, early 15th century BL Harley MS 2472, ff. 37v-38 Literature

R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament, Oxford 1924, pp. 477-8; exhibition catalogue, Duke Humfrey and English Humanism in the Fifteenth Century, Bodleian Library, Oxford 1970, no. 58' [79-80].

PAGE 1747

"Relics [see 1818-1823; 1831-1837]

Relic worship is much older than Christianity and has been inherent in the rites of many cults and societies. The Christian churches have usually (at the very least) tolerated relics, whether of a holy person, or of a place or thing made holy by association with a person or event. In the Middle Ages the supernatural power of relics was seen as an established fact of life, although giving rise to periodic controversy. Relics were bought and sold, swapped, given away as presents and souvenirs, stolen, worshipped and sometimes rejected. Their value could be startling: Louis IX of France paid at least 135,000 livres for the Crown of Thorns [see 1989] in 1239 and it was only the most famous of several relics which he housed in his Sainte-Chapelle in Paris; the building itself cost 40,000 livres to build. Authenticity was a more complicated matter: for instance, the efficacy of a relic to perform a miracle could 'prove' its authenticity....

There have been virtually no modern scientific analyses of relics for their authenticity. The recent radiocarbon tests on the Turin Shroud ["(317)"] are an important exception to this rule, their results proving what medieval historians have long known from a documentary source, that the Shroud was made in the mid-fourteenth century [see: (Acharya S)]

[see 1822]". [81].

"138 Drawings of fake inscriptions by Pirro Ligorio (1513-83) [see 1990]

Pirro Ligorio worked as an artist, architect and antiquarian for Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este and Popes Paul IV and Pius IX, for a time as architect of St Peter's, before ending his life as antiquarian to the Duke of Ferrara.

His work as an antiquarian consisted in part of making detailed drawings of antique coins, inscriptions and sculpture. In accordance with the custom of the time, he tended to complete fragmentary inscriptions and sculptures, not to mislead or deceive, but to restore his representation of antiquity to their original or ideal form.

In the seventeenth century, however, scholars like Ezechiel Spanheim and Cardinal Noris denounced him [Pirro Ligorio] as a fraud and his reputation has never recovered. More recent work has, however, tended to support Muratori's more favourable eighteenth-century judgement that 'they [Spanheim, etc.] were rash to damn and proscribe him indiscriminately. For the fact that a scholar's work contains some spurious or fictitious matter is no reason to condemn everything else he wrote as false'.

The two examples of Ligorio's inscriptions shown here are copies drawn for the seventeenth century collector and scholar Cassiano dal Pozzo from the original manuscript, now in Naples. Both illustrate the considerable difficulties in distinguishing the true from the false in Ligorio's work. The first (a) represents the tomb of a freedman of the gens Iulia from a columbarium discovered on the Via Appia. Where other witnesses record the inscription as reading simply C. JULIUS DIVI. AUG. L/DIONYSIUS/C. IULIUS/STYRAX, Ligorio has added the words AB. EPIST (ulis). LAT(inis).

PAGE 1748

The other inscription (b), though published as false in the past, is in fact authentic, as has been shown by examination of the original marble in the Museo Kircherano. It did, however, serve Ligorio as the basis for another, false inscription published alongside it in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinorum (CIL 930*b). GV

138a BM GR Franks II, f. 12 (CIL VI 684*)

138b BM GR Franks II, f. 25 (CIL VI 930* a)

Literature E. Mandowsky & C. Mitchell, Pirro Ligorio's Roman Antiquities, London 1963" [135-136].

"178 Forged manuscript of Aeschylus' Persae by Constantine Simonides

Constantine Simonides [1820? - 1867?], a Greek monk from Mount Athos, came to England in 1853. Soon after his arrival he offered five manuscripts, four of them 'scrolls' or vellum rolls, to Sir Frederic Madden, Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum. Madden rejected these as modern, but did purchase other works, mostly fragmentary but all genuine, including a tenth-century chronicle (Add. MS 19390) and an important collection of geographic texts (Add. 19391). Later in the year Simonides sold to Sir Thomas Phillipps, the 'vellomaniac' baronet of Middle Hill, the Hesiod scroll that Madden had rejected, as well as other pieces, and he agreed to copy others (which were 'difficult' to read); next year he offered him an even greater treasure, a vellum roll purporting to be 2,000 years old containing the first three books of Homer's Illiad. Phillipps, though by now not unsceptical, bought this too.

From 1854 to 1858 Simonides was in Europe, where he produced numerous other manuscripts, including an ingeniously simulated palimpsest, an early text partially erased and written over later; in this case the later text was genuine, and the 'early' text was added by Simonides [details?]. In Leipzig he also produced his most famous text, Uranius on the Kings of Egypt, which, if genuine, 'would have revolutionized Egyptian chronology'. At first accepted as genuine by Dindorf and the Egyptologist Karl Lepsius, it was later rejected. Simonides was arrested and charged with forgery, but then released.

By 1858 he was back in England, and in 1860 called on the Liverpool antiquary Joseph Mayer and his friend and curator John Eliot Hodgkin, by whom he was allowed to unroll papyri acquired by him six years earlier in Egypt. They included two genuine hieratic ["ancient Egyptian writing simpler than...hieroglyphic"] texts relating to tomb robberies, to which were now added 'fragments of a Greek text of the Gospel of St Matthew, purporting to have been written by Nicolaus at the dictation of the Evangelist in the fifteenth year after the Ascension', and other improbably early texts. These were examined and condemned in 1863 by the Royal Society of Literature [Christians?]; C.W. Goodwin pointed to fragments of red blotting-paper, relics of the removal of the hieratic text for which Simonides had substituted Greek.

Meanwhile, IN LATE 1862, SIMONIDES PUBLISHED HIS CLAIM TO HAVE WRITTEN THE CODEX SINAITICUS ["Its date is probably about the middle of the 4th[?] cent." (Ox. Dict. C.C.)] [see 1888-1891], THE EARLIEST COMPLETE NEW TESTAMENT IN GREEK. According to letters between himself, another monk, Kallinikos, and the Patriarch Constantius, he had undertaken it at the request of the Tsar. As proof he produced copies of this correspondence, allegedly lithographed by

PAGE 1749

himself as a student in Russia in 1853-5, including one stating that he had seen his work on a visit to Mount Sinai in 1852. In fact, the Codex had been discovered at the monastery of St Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula in 1844, and was presented by Tischendorf to the Tsar in 1859. It was bought from the Russian government by the British Museum in 1931.

Simonides left England in 1864 and died of leprosy in Alexandria in 1867. His last forgery, which came to light in Italy in 1871, was a vellum scroll of Aeschylus' Persae in uncial script; it was exposed by Friedrich Ritschl the following year and later given to the British Museum by Alfred Spranger. Simonides was not without defenders (or at least sympathisers), among them John Eliot Hodgkin, who preserved the papers, INCLUDING SIMONIDES' DEMONSTRATION OF HOW HE WROTE THE CODEX SINAITICUS; these were given to the British Museum in 1926. NB

BL Add. MS 41748 Literature J.A. Farrer, Literary Forgeries (1907) [see 1888-1894], pp. 42-66; A.N.L. Munby, Phillipps Studies IV (1956), pp. 114-31; D. Spranger, 'Alfred Spranger', The Book Collector 33 (1984), pp. 178-88; M. Gibson & S. Wright, Joseph Mayer of Liverpool (1988), pp. 53-4" [172]. [See: 1888-1891].

"180 'Merovingian' buckle depicting the Crucifixion

The buckle itself is genuine, seventh century, but the copper-alloy overlay with the Crucifixion is a modern addition. Recently radiography has revealed genuine silver-inlaid decoration beneath the faked additions...." [175].

"185 The 'Constantine bowl'

Although he had previously turned it down, this bowl was successfully sold to the collector Count Tyszkiewicz by a Roman dealer who had 'discovered' in its interior a previously unsuspected representation of Christ, together with two busts identified by a Latin inscription as the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and his second wife, Fausta.

While the bowl itself may be ancient, the engraved decoration of the interior, including the inscription purporting to date from Constantine's second marriage (AD 307-26), cannot belong to the Early Christian period. Both the beard and the cross-halo of Christ are anachronisms (probably copied from an eleventh-century Italo-Byzantine mosaic of the Last Judgement).

Other mistakes include the badly misunderstood costume, the seated pose with no provision for anything to sit on, and the bizarre termination of the figure between knee and ankle. The engraved decoration was probably executed late in the nineteenth-century, just before it was sold to Count Tyszkiewicz." [177].

PAGE 1750


"the revaluation of fakes is not only satisfying in itself, but also fascinating and salutary. The reaction of the collector or scholar who has been taken in is so varied as to run the whole gamut of human emotion from fury, to hurt pride, to amusement. But the final question is the one that appears to be unanswerable, although psychologists have tried to explain it: why does an object which is declared a fake lose virtue immediately? This question, which concerns the eye and mind of the beholder, should be pondered by all who read this book or visit the exhibition which it records.

There is a horrid fascination about fakes: although we sweep them under the carpet, we tend to discuss them and review them ad nauseam; but we review them in an almost shamefaced fashion because we as experts have bumped up against our own fallibility (even if the original mistake was not our own). We are all emotionally involved with fakes; nobody wishes to be associated with them. It is, therefore, with an extraordinary sense of gratitude that I express the thanks of the Museum, its Trustees and staff to all those who have lent fakes to this exhibition. Fortunately, most of the worst errors are our own, the result of nearly two and a half centuries of collecting. David M. Wilson" [9].

Comment: my principal experiences (in addition to daily living [in the United States, with its religions, hypocrisy, "political correctness", skullduggeries, etc.]) in "Fake? The Art of Deception", are: from my literary researches; collecting minerals and gemstones; researching a favorite artist, Dr. Atl (Gerardo Murillo) [1875 - 1964], in Mexico City; and, living 1984 - 1989 (in my 50's), in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.

PAGE 1751

from Appendix III, 719: An Essay in Aid of A Grammar of Assent, John Henry Newman [1801 - 1890], Edited with introduction and notes by I.T. Ker, Oxford, 1985 (1889) (1870).

"Father Hardouin [1646 - 1729] maintained that Terence's Plays, Virgil's 'Aeneid', Horace's Odes, and the Histories of Livy and Tacitus, were the forgeries of the monks of the thirteenth century.


"For let it be observed first, that


The existing copies, whenever made, are to us the autographic originals. Next, it must be considered, that the numerous religious bodies, then existing over the face of Europe, had leasure enough, in the course of a century, to compose, not only all the classics, but all the Fathers too. The question is, whether they had the ability."


"Hardouin allows that the Georgics, Horace's Satires and Epistles, and the whole of Cicero, are genuine: we have a standard then [by Hardouin] in these undisputed [?] compositions of the Augustan age. We have a standard also, in the extant medieval works, of what the thirteenth century could do [all of what they could do?]; and we see at once how widely the disputed works differ from the medieval. Now could the thirteenth century simulate Augustan writers better than the Augustan could simulate such writers as those of the thirteenth [what did you say?]? No [Yes!].

Perhaps, when the subject is critically examined, the question may be brought to a more simple issue; but as to our personal reasons for receiving as genuine the whole of Virgil, Horace, Livy, Tacitus, and Terence, they are summed up in our conviction that the monks had not the ability to write them [see 1753].

[see: 1690 (Poggio Bracciolini 1380 - 1459); 1989, 1991 (Poggio Bracciolini; Erasmus 1466 - 1536; Carlo Sigonio 1524 - 1584)]

PAGE 1752

That is, we take for granted that we are sufficiently informed about the capabilities of the human mind, and the conditions of genius, to be quite sure that an age which was fertile in great ideas and in momentous elements of the future, robust in thought, hopeful in its anticipations, of singular intellectual curiosity and acumen, and of high genius in at least one of the fine arts, could not, for the very reason of its pre-eminence in its own line [apparently, literature, which resulted in "the classics"], have an equal pre-eminence in a contrary one [which is?]. We do not pretend to be able to draw the line between what the medieval intellect could or could not do; but we feel sure that at least it could not write the classics. An instinctive [?] sense of this, and a faith [?] in testimony [?], are the sufficient, but the undeveloped [yes!] argument on which to ground our certitude [?]." [193]. [Note: Newman, at times, for an audience, was writing too fast].

"Our lawyers prefer the examination of present witnesses to affidavits on paper; but the tradition of 'testimonia', such as are prefixed to the classics and the Fathers, together with the absence of dissentient voices

["absence of dissentient voices", are not proof of "belief in the history of literature." "absence of dissentient voices", might, be proof of ignorance, fear, etc.],

is the adequate [?] groundwork of our belief in the history of literature." [193-194].

Comment: reference to 1752, and, above: "the monks had not the ability to write them"; "medieval intellect" "could not write the classics".

"Monks" ("medieval intellect"), and, their predecessors, could alter, simulate

[see 1989, 1991: Poggio Bracciolini; Erasmus; Carlo Sigonio],

etc.--"the classics", and, the Christian classics.

PAGE 1753

from: 1780 (Grafton, year 1990):


from: Appendix III, 725-732 (external quotation marks omitted):

Jean Hardouin 1646 - 1729

> all writings which are commonly thought to be old, are in fact, with certain exceptions...supposititious, and the FABRICATION of AN UNPRINCIPLED CREW of literary men.

> "Augustine" teaches absolute atheism under the guise of Christian language.

> Above all, in a matter that is vital it behooves each man to consult himself and to rely on his own judgment and proper senses for the purpose of considering and investigating the truth, rather than to be deceived by the errors of others, as if himself devoid of reason.

> Because you have had predecessors in time, it does not follow that they have exceeded you in wisdom, which, if it is given equally to all, cannot be wholly enjoyed by those who went before. To be wise, i.e., to seek the truth, is innate in all; and therefore they cease to be wise who, without any judgment, APPROVE WHAT OUR ANCESTORS INVENTED, and are LED LIKE CATTLE by others.

> Of the Greek and Latin "Fathers" there are not more works than were written within fifty years under the names of Luther, Calvin, and their followers. There are not so many works of "Augustine" as there are of "Tostatus" alone, or "Albertus Magnus" alone! As to Calvin's works, how much more cultivated is the style and manner! How much more abundant in every kind of learning are those of "Albertus Magnus!" If you expunge the constant iterations in Augustine, you will take away at least a fourth part of his works. In our own Society of Jesus there are seven writers, Salmeron, Vasquez, Suarez, Bellarmine, Cornelius à Lapide, Theophilus Raynaud, Petavius, whose books surpass in number and mass the so-called "Latin Fathers."

> But the truth is that most of those alleged "old writers" are describers, so to speak, rather than independent writers. They are copyists, as "Rufinus" and "Cyril" of "Augustine," "Ambrose" of "Philo" or "Basil," or "Hilary" on Ps. cxviii. "Justin," though he is reckoned earlier, copies "Theodoret," "Theophylact," "Oecumenius," and both of them copy "Chrysostom," etc.

PAGE 1754

They did not, like our Commentators, search for the true and genuine sense of Letters; this is sometimes painful; but they set down whatever allegories came into their heads, very often frigid and senseless, that others might copy them; for nearly all have the same things. It is fearfully tedious, therefore, to read them. And so, almost with running pen, they wrote these works, especially sermons, as they sometimes boast, in the course of one night. Sidonius [apparently, Sidonius Apollinaris c. 430 - c. 486 (Saint)] makes that statement about himself.

"Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, Theodoret, Justin," were really possessors of one library; they praise the same authors, they confute the same stories. And so with others.


> the monuments are all false on which commonly Catholic Doctors rely--not merely false, but adverse to the faith

> The best tradition is the unwritten [amusing! compare: verbal contracts]


> Books there were none or very rare outside the Libraries of the Monasteries down to the twelfth century, says Mabillon [1632 - 1707] in his work on Monastic Studies, bk. i., c. xvi., p. 136. He might have said with greater truth, that in those very monastic libraries there were none or very few before the fourteenth century.

> how many instruments have I myself detected to be false!

> In France are the greater part of the Latin Codices [Manuscripts]

> there are many Greek codices in Italy

> The Italians say that France is the repertory of the Latin MSS. [Manuscripts (Codices)]

> "Lupus of Ferrara," in his fifth epistle (p. 23 of Baluz' edition), says, "The writer Regius Bertcandus is said to have the measure written down of the ancient letters only, which are the largest, and are thought by some to be called Uncials." This passage indicates that the forgers had the measure and form of letters for each age; that they had not only parchments and inks, but the form of letters for all their alleged literary ages, which they might intimate in writing; so that a codex might simulate or be believed to simulate the age of the seventh, eighth, ninth, or other century.

PAGE 1755


> Father R. Simon, in his select Letters, tom.i., p. 218, says, "I will tell you only here in general, that very able critics have believed Greek MSS. to be twelve hundred years old, which were nevertheless quite new."

> We have no MSS. of the Bible in our Libraries that are not elegant, written and illuminated [decorated (see 1742, 1990)] in the best manner; because there are none there except corrupt ones

> In the whole of Greece this side of Byzantium, except perchance on Mount Athos--where the number of books in existence is unknown--you can hardly infer with certainty from Dom Bernard de Montfaucon's [1655 - 1741] description that there were one hundred Greek MS. books. Of the rest of the East we have no information. But in the West, that is, in France, Italy, England, Germany, Holland, he says on p. 21, that the number hardly reached twenty thousand. How many more than in the East! The reason is that in the West all were first written by the forgers. More has been adduced on this head in my work On Greek MSS.

> THE GANG OF FORGERS had Alphabets and Inks in both tongues, Greek and Latin, and parchments to suit every age. A notable example of the fraud is, that the copies which they made believe to be about one thousand years old (at the present time) wherever they were written, show the same form of writing, the same character; simply because the writers had the same alphabet before their eyes....

> "....who is ignorant that men and even the Pope himself in these matters of fact ["to...discern falsehood from truth"], are fallible and may be deceived?" [Hardouin, quoting a letter]

> So far then let what I [Jean Hardouin] have said suffice as Prolegomena to be read as a preface to my Censure, by which it will clearly appear as I hope, that the contrivers of so many Dogmatic works and of Ecclesiastical History (as they call it) had this object in view, to utterly ruin, if possible, the whole of Religion. From my treatise on the Ancient Coins of the French Kings it appears that this design was taken up by THE IMPIOUS CREW and meditated in the reign of Philip Augustus [Philip II (Philip- Augustus) 1165 - 1223]; much more under Philip the Fair [Philip IV, 'the Fair' 1268 - 1314], and Philip of Valois [Philip VI, of Valois 1293 - 1350]; that it afterwards was immensely enlarged through more than one hundred and fifty years. The End.' [168].

Comment: Much unfounded paranoia? Sabotage, (hopefully) in the service of the Catholic Church? A Jesuit tantrum? Etc.? [See: 1840-1842].

PAGE 1756

from: New Testament Studies, Philological, Versional, and Patristic, Bruce M. Metzger, Brill, 1980.

[Note: there is no focus on the pervasive, paramount subject--Fiction!].

"Chap. I is from the Journal of Biblical Literature, xci (1972), pp. 3-24." ["ix"].

"Chapter One [published 1972]

Literary Forgeries and

Canonical Pseudepigrapha" ["1"].

'First of all, it will be good to define terms. A literary forgery is essentially a piece of work created or modified with the intention to deceive. [see 1881 ("Forgery Defined")]

Accordingly, not all pseudepigrapha (that is, works wrongly attributed to authors) are to be regarded as forgeries. In the case of genuine forgery (if this oxymoron may be permitted) the attribution must be made with the calculated attempt to deceive. This consideration excludes from the category of literary forgeries both the copy made in good faith for purposes of study and the large class of writings that, in the course of their descent from antiquity, have become associated with the name of some great classical author or Father of the Church. Thus, if Lobon of Argos in the third century B.C. wrote the Hymn to Poseidon attributed to Arion, Lobon is not necessarily responsible for the attribution. A good example of the Church Fathers is the curious confusion [sic] by which the Pauline commentaries of the heretic Pelagius [c. 354 - after 418] have been transmitted to us under the name of Jerome [c. 342 - 420], one of his most bitter opponents. These commentaries are certainly pseudepigraphic, but just as certainly they are not forgeries.

A distinction must also be made between apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works. The term "apocrypha" belongs to the history of the canon and is far from being synonymous with pseudepigrapha. In fact, the question of false attribution played very little part in the identifying of the fourteen or fifteen books or parts of books of the traditional Apocrypha, most of which are regarded by Roman Catholics as deuterocanonical. Instead of the customary division of Jewish post-canonical literature into Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, it is better (as Torrey3 argued) to make the term "apocrypha" include all extra-canonical writings, and to use "pseudepigraphic" as a literary category, whether the book is regarded as canonical or apocryphal.

In the light of the preceding definitions and distinctions, the following pages will give consideration, first, to some of the chief motives that prompted the production of literary forgeries and other pseudepigrapha in antiquity. Secondly, attention will be given to ancient and modern evaluations of such literature and to a variety of attempts to solve the ethical, psychological, and theological problems connected with the existence of canonical pseudepigrapha.' [2-3].

PAGE 1757

"I. Motives of Ancient Pseudepigraphers" [3].

'(1) Over the centuries one of the most common motives in the production of forgeries has been the desire for financial gain. The formation of the two great public libraries of antiquity, that in the Museum of Alexandria, founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-246 B.C.), and that of Pergamum, founded by Eumenes II (197-159 B.C.), created a great demand for copies of the works of famous authors. According to Galen [129 - c. 199 C.E.], the learned physician of the second century A.D., literary forgeries were first multiplied in numbers when the kings of Egypt and of Pergamum sought to outdo each other in their efforts to increase the holdings in their respective libraries. Monetary rewards were offered to those who would provide a copy of some ancient author, and, in consequence, many imitations of ancient works were composed and palmed off as genuine.5

More than once Galen describes with indignation how the medical works by both Hippocrates [c. 460 - c. 377 B.C.E.] and himself had been corrupted by the interpolations [my guess: commonly, mini Forgeries] of unscrupulous and uncritical editors.6 Because of the production and sale of forgeries of works under his name, Galen drew up a little tract entitled On His Own Books.7 The immediate reason for writing it was the following incident. One day, in Shoemakers' Street in Rome, where most of the book-shops were located [sources? details?], Galen witnessed a scene that must have delighted his author's heart. A book was displayed bearing the name Doctor Galen. A discussion began as to whether it was a genuine work of Galen's. An educated man standing by, attracted by the title, bought it and began to read it at once to find out what it was about. He had not read two lines before he flung it aside exclaiming: "The style isn't Galen's! The title is false!"

This man, Galen comments approvingly, had had a good old-fashioned Greek education at the hands of the grammarians and rhetoricians. But times have changed. Aspirants to medicine and philosophy, without having learned to read properly, attend lectures on whose subjects vainly hoping to understand teachings which are the noblest known to men. Accordingly, to avoid false ascriptions to him of inferior writings Galen proposes to list and describe his genuine works--so he wrote the pamphlet entitled On His Own Books.' [3-4].

PAGE 1758

"(2) Occasionally a literary fraud was perpetrated from the motive of pure malice....

Another example is reported by Eusebius [c. 260 - c. 340],9 who mentions that early in the fourth century AD there appeared a document purporting to be the Acts of Pilate, filled with calumnies against the moral and religious character of Jesus.10 The author, plausibly thought to have been Theotecnus, an apostate from Christianity and a violent persecutor of the church at Antioch, of which city he was curator, issued an edict that schoolmasters should assign the document to their pupils for study and memorization." [4,5].

'(3) Much more often than malevolence were love and respect the motives that prompted the production of pseudonymous works. For example, the desire to honor a respected teacher and founder of a philosophical school prompted the Neo-Pythagoreans to attribute their treatises to Pythagoras himself, who had lived many centuries earlier.11 According to Iamblichus (ca. A.D. 250--ca. 325), it is most honorable and praiseworthy to publish one's philosophical treatises in the name of so venerable a teacher. Very rarely indeed, Iamblichus tell us, have Pythagoreans ascribed to themselves the glory of their inventions, and very few are known as authors of their own works.12 Thus it was, as Moffatt put it, nothing more than "innocent admiration and naive sympathy which prompted a disciple to reproduce in his own language the ideas, or what he conceived to be the ideas, of his master, and yet forbade him, out of modesty, to present these under his own name."13' [5].


"....It is significant that Josephus [c. 37 - c. 100], who has occasion in his parallel works to deal twice with the same situation, puts two totally different speeches into the mouth of Herod.18" [7].

'What goes under the name of Historia Augusta [see #24, 522-524] consists of a mass of speeches, letters, and documents that contain references to more than two hundred characters not elsewhere attested, most of them highly suspect. Among them are no fewer than thirty-five historians or biographers, cited as "authorities," most of whom scholars today (since Dessau's incisive analysis19) regard as bogus.' [7].

"(6) Among the several kinds of literary forgeries in antiquity, arising from diverse motives, that of producing spurious epistles seems to have been most assiduously practiced. There is scarcely an illustrious personality in Greek literature or history from Themistocles down to Alexander, who was not credited with a more or less extensive correspondence. Probably the most famous are the 148 Greek epistles supposedly written by Phalaris, tyrant of Acragas (Agrigentum) in the sixth century B.C., in which he appears as a gentle ruler and a patron of art and poetry. As is well-known, these were brilliantly and vigorously exposed in 1697-99 by Bentley as a worthless forgery,20 composed probably by a sophist of the second century A.D.

PAGE 1759

Besides letters which were falsely attributed to classical authors, other noteworthy forgeries include the Letter of Aristeas, the correspondence between King Abgar and JESUS, Paul's third letter to the Corinthians, his brief letter to the Laodiceans, and the Epistle of the Apostles. The fourteen spurious letters of the correspondence between the APOSTLE PAUL and SENECA [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] were forged at a comparatively early period, for they are quoted by Jerome [c. 342 - 420]21 and Augustine [354 - 430].22

The idea of a friendly intercourse between the illustrious Apostle ["Paul"] to the Gentiles and the pagan philosopher [Seneca (see Addition 34, 1580-1632)], whose Stoic teachings seemed to present so many points of contact with Christian doctrine, appealed strongly to the early Church Fathers. It was this that originally called forth the forgery and at the same time caused it to be handed down [imagine, what other forgeries (Fictions, etc.) were "called forth" and " be handed down"!]

[and, "The Annals of Tacitus", XIV:44, "Nero [Emperor 54 - 68 (37 - 68)] and the Christians", did not appear until the 15th century. Another Forgery! (see Addition 34, 1629)]." [7-8]. [See: Addition 34, 1580-1632 (Seneca)].

"(8) Still other literary forgeries and/or pseudepigrapha were produced when, for diverse reasons, various compositions were attributed to important figures of antiquity. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between deliberate forgery and convenient assignment of anonymous works to authors under whose influence they were written. The prestige of such diverse figures as Lucian of Samosata [c. 115 - c. 200] and John Chrysostom [c. 397 - 407] occasioned the false attribution of many stray treatises to each. We have 132 pieces bearing the name of Lucian, besides some epigrams; in the opinion of most classicists, many are either certainly or probably not his [see 1865-1874 (Lucian)]. According to one reckoning of Chrysostom's works, about 900 sermons (300 printed, the rest in manuscript) have been falsely attributed to that Father.23 Similarly, the computistic writings of the Venerable Bede [c. 673 - 735], which were required textbooks everywhere in the Carolingian system of schools, soon attracted other similar treatises assembled by librarians from a variety of sources.24 Among Latin poets, Vergil [Virgil 70 - 19 B.C.E.] attracted a good many imitators, some of whose feeble attempts are included among the short poems that are customarily identified under the rubric Appendix Vergiliana.25

PAGE 1760

Besides such assignments for the sake of convenience,


Two of the earliest such forgeries in Greek history date from the sixth century B.C. According to the geographer Strabo [c. 60 B.C.E. - 20 C.E.],26 in order to provide support for the Athenians' claim to the island of Salamis, a verse was interpolated in the Iliad27 by either Pisistratus [600 - 527 B.C.E.] or Solon [640 or 638 - 559 B.C.E.]. Again, according to Herodotus [c. 485 - 425 B.C.E.],28 Onomacritus [c. 520 - c. 485 B.C.E.], the friend and counselor of Pisistratus, was banished from Athens when it was proved that he had interpolated in the Oracles of Musaeus, which he had edited, a passage showing that the islands off Lemnos would disappear in the sea." [8-9].



Although the reasons for their production are not always apparent today, in many instances we can ascertain with tolerable certainty which one of a wide range of motives was responsible for their origin." [10].

"II. Problems Concerning Canonical Pseudepigrapha" [10].

'(a) That persons in antiquity were aware of the concepts of forgery and plagiarism33 is plain from the existence of a wide range of words used to describe and condemn such practices, e.g., ...[5 Greek words], adulterare, confingere, falsare, supponere, etc.34 That scholars in antiquity were able to detect forgeries, using in general the same kinds of tests as are employed by modern critics, is also well attested. Thus, in his Vita Horati Suetonius [c. 69 - after 122 ("until 121/2 secretary to the Emp. Hadrian." (Ox. Dict. C.C.))] mentions, "There have come into my possession some elegies attributed to his [Horace's] pen and a letter in prose, supposed to be a recommendation of himself to Maecenas, but I think that both are spurious; for the elegies are commonplace (vulgares), and the letter in addition is obscure--which was by no means one of his faults."

During the third century Dionysius, the scholarly bishop of Alexandria, made a most sophisticated and extensive criticism of the style, vocabulary, and content of the book of Revelation, in which he proved that it was not written by the fourth evangelist but by a different John.35

PAGE 1761

Jerome recognized two kinds of pseudepigrapha: forgeries and false attributions. A study of Jerome's critical procedures reveals that he knew several definite criteria for distinguishing between spurious and genuine writings and that he used them with intelligence and discretion. For example, he takes into consideration such points as the following when reviewing a possibly false ascription:

(1) Could homonyms [same names] be the cause of a false inscription?

(2) Is the book in question inferior in subject-manner or treatment to other works by the same author?

(3) When was the book written, and how does this probable date agree with other historical evidence?

(4) Do statements in the book or the point of view contradict or conflict with undeniably authentic writings of the alleged author? (Jerome regarded this evidence as of little value)

(5) Is the style of the work appropriate to its language, time of composition, and author? (Jerome was particularly sensitive to stylistic tests but realized that they must be used with caution and restraint).36

It is instructive to examine some of the specific reasons adduced by patristic writers for or against the genuineness of certain disputed books. With regard to the Book of Enoch, for example, apparently some persons in the early Church were inclined to doubt that the antediluvian ["a person who lived before the flood"] could have written the book since it would have perished in the flood. Tertullian, however, suggests that they should take into account the circumstance that Noah, the survivor of the flood, would have heard from Methuselah the preachings of Enoch, "since Enoch had given no other charge to Methuselah than that he should hand on the knowledge of them to his posterity."37

On the other hand, Tertullian is severe in his judgment against the Asiatic presbyter who acknowledged that he had written the Acts of Paul and Thecla. The author defended himself at his trial by pleading that it was because of his love for the great Apostle that he had composed the account. His plea, however, was unavailing, and he was deposed from the ministry--and rightly so, Tertullian implies, because in the book the author made Paul guilty of allowing a woman to preach and to baptize!38

In other cases, however, when a given author was held to have been in personal contact with an apostle, Tertullian apparently saw no difficulty in regarding the work as essentially that of the latter ["apostle"], for he says, "[The Gospel] which was published by Mark may be maintained to be Peter's, whose interpreter Mark was; for even the narrative (digestum) of Luke is generally ascribed to Paul--since it is allowable (capat videri) that that which disciples publish should be regarded as their masters' work."39

PAGE 1762

About the year 200 Bishop Serapion of Antioch prohibited the reading of the Gospel of Peter in the parish of Rhossus, a city of Syria lying northwest of Antioch. On a former visit to that place he had indeed permitted the church to read the book (a work till then unknown to him) in its services. Soon afterward heresy broke out in Rhossus, and some appealed to the Gospel of Peter in support of Docetism. Thereupon Serapion examined the book and, finding some parts of it to be unorthodox, he rejected it peremptorily as a forgery (...[Greek word]).40

In like manner the vehement warnings in the Apostolic Constitutions (6.16) against "the poisonous books which Simon and Cleobius, and their followers, have compiled under the name of Christ and his disciples" are motivated far more on the ground of what was taken to be their heretical teaching than because of their pseudonymous character. Similarly CYRIL OF JERUSALEM [c. 355 - 387],


[Excellent summarization! Of course, include "the four gospels" in this description, and, the New Testament is completely summarized]

(... [3 Greek words]). The Manicheans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which, tinged with the fragrance of the evangelical title, corrupts the souls of the more simple."41

From the preceding examples it appears that patristic writers condemned pseudonymous works not merely on literary grounds but also, and sometimes primarily, on doctrinal grounds [see 1762 (Acts of Paul and Thecla)].42 After the limits of the canon became more widely recognized, pseudepigrapha ["forgeries and false attributions" (see 1762)] that were also apocryphal [I prefer: apocrypha "that were also" pseudepigraphal] were put on the forbidden list of works. But there were many exceptions--probably because there were many different motives that led to the production of pseudepigrapha--and no strictly consistent policy or pattern can be discerned either in the selection of the OT or the NT books or in the rejection of other books.' [10-13]. [See: 1716].

[from footnote 33] 'Copyright did not exist until relatively modern times. As G.H. Putnam points out,

"No such thing as literary property [defined as ownership in a specific literary form given to certain ideas, the right to control such particular form of expression of those ideas, and the right to multiply and dispose of copies of such form of expression] can be said to have come into existence in ancient times, or in fact until some considerable period had elapsed after the invention of printing" (Authors and their Public in Ancient Times (2d ed.; [New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1894] iv) [)].' [11].

PAGE 1763

'Arnold Meyer made a brief but comprehensive survey of religious pseudepigraphic literature, giving more attention to Jewish examples than Torm [Friedrich Torm] had done.48 He argues as follows:

"If a writer in the Old Testament introduces God as speaking, and thus man is confident that he can speak as God, so also the [early] Christians are able to use transmitted sayings of Jesus and compose speeches such as the Sermon on the Mount or, in a freer manner, to produce discourses of Christ, as the Fourth Evangelist is generally acknowledged to have done. If one thus is able to speak freely as God and Christ concerning any historical tradition, then it is no great step beyond if one should believe himself warranted to write in the name of a Patriarch or of an Apostle."48

It should, therefore, not be regarded as unusual that several pseudepigrapha are included in the canon, for


'The most recent extensive contributions to the discussion of religious pseudepigrapha and literary forgeries in antiquity are those of Joseph A. Sint55 and Wolfgang Speyer [see 1991],56 both of whom make a sharp distinction between secular and religious documents. Sint classifies ancient pseudonymous writings in two main categories, those arising from mythical and religious motivating forces, and those arising from literary forces, though he admits that these categories are not mutually exclusive. Speyer's classification is more detailed. After differentiating between secular and religious documents, he classifies the latter in three categories:

(a) Genuine religious pseudepigrapha, widespread in the Near East and also known in Greece and Rome, emerged from mythological origins and represented a deity or a mythological personage as the author [compare: Old Testament. New Testament.].

(b) There were also forged religious pseudepigrapha which imitated the genuine religious pseudepigrapha, and

(c) FICTIONAL religious pseudepigrapha [and "canonical literature"], which were artistic compositions that belong to the realm of poetic art.

PAGE 1764

It was the heretics, Speyer [see 1991] thinks, who began the production of "pious" forgeries in the early church [that, is a '"pious"' statement! They were all heretics! (see below) (see #10, 233 ("Note"))].

In the ensuing struggle with gnosticizing and libertine communities, orthodox writers (such as, for example, the author of the Epistle of Jude) adopted pseudepigraphy, which had proved to be an effective literary contrivance.57 In the ensuing years, when there was so much talk about forgeries which were also regarded as heretical, the composition of pseudonymous writings in a good sense was rather unlikely. In fact, according to Speyer, only a few authors, particularly those in remote regions, employed the pseudepigraphic format (Einkleidung) in a good sense.58

Apart from questions that might be raised concerning the validity of Speyer's attributing the origin of "pious" pseudepigrapha to heretics,59 it is problematic how far such schematically ordered classifications are really helpful in the evaluation of pseudepigrapha. At most they draw attention to the variety of motives that led to the production of forgeries and pseudepigrapha, and the consequent difficulty of applying any one criterion in judging them. Speyer's tendency, however, toward setting up strict categories occasionally makes for artificial distinctions.

One must conclude from the preceding survey that literary forgeries were of many kinds, from the amusing hoax to the most barefaced and impudent imposture, and that the moral judgment to be passed on each must vary accordingly. Indeed, in many cases such a judgment can be only tentative, not only from sheer inability to discover the motive which prompted the author, but also because the Platonic doctrine of the "noble falsehood"60 pervaded Greek speculation and passed by inheritance to hellenistic culture in general [see Addition 27, 1251 (Eusebius)]. Thus it is not surprising that the assumption underlying the attitude of many was that the mere formal accuracy of a statement was of infinitely less importance than the religious or moral value of its content.' [16-17].

PAGE 1765


The bibliography on the subject of literary forgeries and pseudepigrapha is very extensive. In addition to the books and articles that are mentioned in the footnotes of the article, the following selected titles are significant for one or another aspect of ancient, medieval, and modern forgeries." [21]

[Note: bolded brackets, and contents, are by the author (Bruce M. Metzger)].


"Wolfgang Speyer [see 1991], Bücherfunde in der Blaubenswerbung der Antike (Göttingen: Vadenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970). [Deals with writings thought to have descended from heaven [compare: Old Testament. New Testament.], writings from tombs and from the earth, and writings from temples, libraries, and archives.]

Archer Taylor and Fredrick J. Mosher, The Bibliographical History of Anonyma and Pseudonyma (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1951). [Admirable in every respect.]" [21].


L.C. Hector, Palaeography and Forgery (London and New York: St. Anthony's Press, 1959). [Deals with the pre-Mabillon period of palaeographical criticism.]

T.F. Tout, "Mediaeval Forgers and Forgeries," BJRL 5 (1918-20) 208-34.



F.F. Abbott, "Some Spurious Inscriptions and their Authors," Classical Philology 3 (1908) 22-30. [Of a total of 144,044 Latin inscriptions in vols. II through XIV of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 10,576 are spurious [see 1825 (Paret)]; that is, one to thirteen. Perhaps the most prolific forger was Pirro Ligorio [1513 - 1583] [see 1990] (the successor to Michaelangelo [sic] in supervising the work at St. Peter's in Rome), who was responsible for 2995 of the 3645 spurious inscriptions in CIL VI, 5.]

James A. Farrer, Literary Forgeries (London: Longmans, Green, 1907; reprinted, Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1969) German translation by Fr. J. Kleemeier, Literarische Fälschungen (Leipzig: Th. Thomas, 1907). [A wide-ranging account of frauds perpetrated by English, German, Greek (Constantine Simonides), Irish, Italian, and Scottish forgers.] [see 1888-1894 (Farrer)]

Edgar J. Goodspeed, Strange New Gospels (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1931); reissued with significant additions under the title, Modern Apocrypha (Boston: Beacon Press, 1956); reprinted under the title Famous Biblical Hoaxes (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968) [see Addition 34, 1518].' [21-22] [End of Chapter One].

PAGE 1766

"Chapter Thirteen [published 1979]

St. Jerome's Explicit References

To Variant Readings

In Manuscripts of the New Testament" ["199"]

"Among the more scholarly patristic writers Origen and Jerome take first place in the Eastern and Western Churches respectively." ["199"].


The data assembled above tend to confirm the generally favorable estimate held by scholars as to Jerome's sagacity as a textual critic.1" [207].

"Chapter Two [published 1970]

Names for the Nameless in the New Testament

A Study in the Growth of Christian Tradition

As nature abhors a vacuum, so early Christians were reluctant to leave unidentified this or that person who is mentioned but not named in the pages of the New Testament. Since those who are curious generally attempt to satisfy their curiosity, pious readers and hearers of the Gospel narratives sought to supply answers to such questions as: What were the names of the Wise Men and the shepherds who came to worship the Christ-child? A list of the names of the twelve apostles is given in each of the Synoptics, but who exactly were the seventy disciples whom Jesus also sent out (Lk. 10, 1 ff.)? At the time of Jesus' trial several persons are mentioned in the canonical sources without being given more precise identification, such as Pilate's wife, the centurion stationed at the Cross, the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus, and the officer in charge of the soldiers guarding the sepulchre. TRADITION PROVIDED NAMES FOR ALL OF THESE--sometimes several different names...." ["23"].

"Appendix [published 1976, 1977]

A Lexicon of Christian Iconography1

In 1968 the first volume of a monumental publishing enterprise came from the press, Herder's Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie. The editor, the late Engelbert Kirschbaum, S.J., had planned the work to embrace six volumes, 1 to 4 dealing with general Christian themes, and 5 and 6 dealing with saints and other holy persons. The scope of the latter part, however, has subsequently been expanded, with the consequence that instead of two volumes, four will be needed to deal in a more comprehensive way with the saints that are to be included." ["211"].

PAGE 1767

'The longest article in the first volume of the Lexikon is devoted to "Christus, Christusbild" (100 columns). Here the subject matter is considered under headings devoted to Early Christian art, Byzantine and Eastern Christian art, the art of the Carolingian and subsequent epochs, Gothic art, the Renaissance and baroque period, the nineteenth century, and the Eastern churches of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Of course all artistic efforts to represent the physical appearance of our Lord rest entirely on the pious imagination of artists, for the New Testament, as is generally conceded, is entirely silent as to whether he was tall or short, heavy or slender, swarthy [dark] or light-complected. Several scholars, however, have thought that one or another stray comment in the gospels may bear on the subject. Rendel Harris, for example, raised the question whether Jesus may not have been a short man. The proof text to which he appealed is ambiguous, namely, the statement that Zachaeus climbed a tree in order to see Jesus "because he was little of stature" (Luke 19:3). Harris asked: Who was short, Zachaeus or Jesus? The answer, however, must surely take into account the consideration that, if Jesus had been short in stature, the records would have mentioned [amusing! an apologist's, pathetically grasping, argument from silence] other persons besides Zachaeus who would have had difficulty in seeing him in the midst of the crowds.

Again, some have deduced from a passage in the Fourth Gospel that Jesus was prematurely aged. In John 8:57 the question is addressed by the Jews to Jesus, "You are not yet fifty years of age, and have you seen Abraham?" Why, it has been asked, should Jesus, who presumably had just turned thirty, be compared with someone "not yet fifty" unless he appeared to be much older than his years? But the passage is susceptible of other interpretations. One need not follow A.T. Olmstead who, earlier this century, deduced from the passage that Jesus was born about 20 B.C. and therefore would have been about fifty at the time represented in the account. It is altogether probable that, perplexed over Jesus' earlier paradoxical statement ("Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad," John 8:56), the comment of his hearers means no more than, "You are not yet half a century old, and how can you have seen Abraham, who lived centuries ago?"

The absence of information in the gospels as to Jesus' physical appearance, however, did not discourage Christians in subsequent centuries from imagining what he looked like. Several of the early Church Fathers, including Tertullian and Origen, held that Jesus was ugly and even repulsive. The basis for such an opinion was the Old Testament description of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 applied literally to Jesus ("he has no form or beauty that we should desire him," for he is "like a root out of dry ground"--that is, deeply lined and wrinkled). On the other hand, other Church Fathers, including Augustine and Jerome, supposed that Jesus was supremely handsome, the archetype of manly beauty. They based this opinion on such Old Testament passages as Psalm 45, "you are the fairest of the sons of men," and the Song of Songs, which speaks of one who is like "the rose of Sharon," and who is "the chiefest among ten thousand."

Despite a relatively full list of early representations of Christ (most of them depicting him without a beard), the author makes no reference to the beardless bust

PAGE 1768

of a young man, with the chi-rho symbol behind his head and with a pomegranate (symbol of immortality) on either side of him, in the Hinton St. Mary floor-mosaic, dated by J.M.C. Toynbee to the fourth century (Journal of Roman Studies 54 [1964]: 1-4), and therefore the earliest presumed representation of Christ so far known to have been made in Britain [see Addition 21, 1120-1124 (Ancient Britain (Del Mar))]. The author might also have exploited much more fully (col. 372) the evidence from coins struck by Christian emperors, such as those of Justinian II (685-695 A.D.) [see #2, 21, 121.]. Regrettably there is no mention, much less discussion, of the diversity of representations of Christ (with and without a beard [see #9, 225], with curling and with straight hair), nor of the significance that his image comes to displace that of the emperor on the obverse side of the coin. No illustration of a coin is provided. On the references in the New Testament Apocrypha to early Christian depictions of Jesus, see now J.D. Breckenridge, "Apocrypha of Early Christian Portraiture," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 67 (1974): 101-109.' [213-214]. [See: Addition 21, 1116].

'U. Nilgen's article on "Evangelisten and Evangelistensymbole" is packed with information, well-ordered and illustrated. It may be mentioned here that the significant study on "Portraits of the Evangelists" by A.M. Friend, Jr. (Art Studies, 5, 7 [1927, 1929] was to be followed by further investigation into the antecedents of the Christian representation of the evangelists. These studies, as Professor Friend once told the present writer, involved identifications of the specific classical authors whose iconographic representations Christian artists adopted as models for the four evangelists, namely the philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, and Epicurus, and (for a second series) the poets Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Menander [see Addition 34, 1641-1643, etc.]. Unfortunately Friend died before he was able to work out completely these identifications, but they will be published, along with the supporting evidence, by Kurt Weitzmann in a posthumous publication of Friend's research (see Illuminated Greek Manuscripts from American Collections, An Exhibition in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann, ed. Gary Vikan [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973], p. 47 [see pages 44-49: "Portraits of the Evangelists in Greek Manuscripts"], n.).' [214-215].

PAGE 1769

from: Bible Myths, and Their Parallels in Other Religions, Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with Those of Heathen Nations of Antiquity, Considering also Their Origin and Meaning, By T.W. Doane [1852 - 1885 (note the brevity of life. note the accomplishments.), with numerous illustrations, Seventh Edition,

"He who knows only one religion knows none."--Prof. Max Muller [1823 - 1900].

"The same thing which is now called CHRISTIAN RELIGION existed among the Ancients. They have begun to call Christian the true religion which existed before."--St. Augustine. [see #3, 68, 358.]

"Our love for what is old, our reverence for what our fathers used, makes us keep still in the church, and on the very altar cloths, symbols which would excite the smile of an Oriental, and lead him to wonder why we send missionaries to his land, while cherishing his faith in ours."--James Bonwick [(prolific author) 1817 - 1906].

New York, The Truth Seeker Co., Publishers of Freethought Books, 38 Park Row, 1948 (c1882).




PAGE 1770

Out of this number it has been claimed that one (Josephus) spoke of Jesus, and another (Tacitus) of the Christians. Of the former it is almost needless to speak, as that has been given up by Christian divines many years ago. However, for the sake of those who still cling to it we shall state the following:

Dr. Lardner, who wrote about A.D. 1760, says:

1. It was never quoted by any of our Christian ancestors before Eusebius.

2. Josephus has nowhere else mentioned the name or word Christ, in any of his works, except the testimony above mentioned,3 [see footnote, below] and the passage concerning James, the Lord's brother.4

3. It interrupts the narrative.

4. The language is quite Christian.

5. It is not quoted by Chrysostom,5 though he often refers to Josephus, and could not have omitted quoting it, had it been then, in the text.


1The Rev. Dr. Giles says: "Great is our disappointment at finding nothing in the works of Philo about the Christians, their doctrines, or their sacred books. About the books indeed we need not expect any notice of these works, but about the Christians and their doctrines his silence is more remarkable, seeing that he was about sixty years old at the time of the crucifixion, and living mostly in Alexandria, so closely connected with Judea and the Jews, could hardly have failed to know something of the wonderful events that had taken place in the city of Jerusalem." (Hebrew and Christian Records, vol ii. p. 61.)


2Both these philosophers were living, and must have experienced the immediate effects, or received the earliest information of the existence of Christ Jesus, had such a person as the Gospels make him out to be ever existed. Their ignorance or their willful silence on the subject, is not less than improbable.

3Antiquities, bk. xviii. ch. iii. 3.

4Ibid, book. xx. ch. ix. 1.

5John, Bishop of Constantinople, who died [407. (c. 347 - 407)]

6. It is not quoted by Photius [4th century], though he has three articles concerning Josephus [c. 37 - c. 100].

7. Under the article Justus of Tiberius [contemporary of Josephus (Dict. Greek and Roman Bio. and Myth.)], this author (Photius) expressly states that his historian (Josephus), being a Jew, has not taken the least notice of Christ.

8. Neither Justin [Justin Martyr c. 100 - c. 165 (?)], in his dialogue with Typho [Trypho] the Jew, nor Clemens Alexandrinus [c. 150 - c. 215], who made so many extracts from ancient authors, nor Origen [c. 185 - c. 254] against Celsus [2nd century], have even mentioned this testimony.

9. But, on the contrary, Origen openly affirms (ch. XXXV., bk. i., against Celsus), that Josephus, who had mentioned John the Baptist, did not acknowledge Christ.1 [see footnote, 1772]

PAGE 1771

In the "Bible for Learners," we read as follows:

"Flavius Josephus, the well-known historian of the Jewish people, was born in A.D. 37, only two years after the death of Jesus; but though his work is of inestimable value as our chief authority for the circumstances of the times in which Jesus and his Apostles came forward, yet he does not seem to have ever mentioned Jesus himself. At any rate, the passage in his 'Jewish Antiquities' that refers to him is certainly spurious, and was inserted by a later and a Christian hand. The Talmud compresses the history of Jesus into a single sentence [see #3, 47], and later Jewish writers concoct mere slanderous anecdotes. The ecclesiastical fathers mention a few sayings or events, the knowledge of which they drew from oral traditions or from writings that have since been lost. The Latin and Greek historians just mention his name. This meager harvest is all we reap from sources outside the Gospels."2

Canon Farrar [Frederic William Farrar 1831 - 1903], who finds himself compelled to admit that this passage in Josephus is an interpolation, consoles himself by saying:

"The single passage in which he (Josephus) alludes to Him (Christ) is interpolated, if not wholly spurious, and no one can doubt [see Addition 29, 1281 ("bullshit")] that his silence on the subject of Christianity was as deliberate as it was dishonest."3

The Rev. Dr. Giles, after commenting on this subject, concludes by saying:

"Eusebius is the first who quotes the passage, and our reliance on the judgment, or even the honesty, of this writer is not so great as to allow of our considering everything found in his works as undoubtedly genuine."4

Eusebius, then, is the first person who refers to these passages.5 Eusebius, "whose honesty is not so great as to allow of our considering everything found in his works as undoubtedly genuine." Eusebius, who says that it is lawful to lie and cheat for the cause of Christ.6 [see footnote, below] This Eusebius is the sheet-anchor ["A large anchor, formerly always the largest of a ship's anchors, used only in an emergency." (O.E.D.)] of reliance for most we know of the first three centuries of the Christian history. WHAT THEN MUST WE THINK OF THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA?


1[from 9. (1771)] Lardner: vol. vi. ch. iii.
2Bible for Learners, vol. iii, p. 27.
3Life of Christ, vol I. p. 63.
4Hebrew and Christ, Rec. vol. ii. p. 62.
5In his Eccl. Hist. lib. 2. ch. xii.
6Ch. 31, bk., xii. of EUSEBIUS Prae paratio Evangelica is entitled. "HOW FAR IT MAY BE PROPER TO USE FALSEHOOD AS A MEDIUM FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO REQUIRE TO BE DECEIVED;" and he closes his work with these words: "I HAVE REPEATED WHATEVER MAY REBOUND TO THE GLORY, AND SUPPRESSED ALL THAT COULD TEND TO THE DISGRACE OF OUR RELIGION." [(10/7/2006) this is disputed by Roger Pearse. Richard Carrier defends it. Sources are very problematic. My guess: the above Eusebius "quotations" should be deleted].

PAGE 1772

The celebrated passage in Tacitus which Christian divines--and even some liberal writers--attempt to support, is to be found in his Annals. In this work he is made to speak of Christians, who "had their denomination from Christus, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate."

In answer to this we have the following:

1. This passage [Annals 15:44 (see 1852-1853)], which would have served the purpose of Christian quotation better than any other in all the writings of Tacitus, or of any Pagan writer whatever, is not quoted by any of the Christian Fathers.

2. It is not quoted by Tertullian, though he had read and largely quotes the works of Tacitus.

3. And though his argument immediately called for the use of this quotation with so loud a voice (Apol. ch. v.), that his omission of it, if it had really existed, amounts to a violent improbability.

4. This Father has spoken of Tacitus in a way that it is absolutely impossible that he should have spoken of him, had his writings contained such a passage.

5. It is not quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus, who set himself entirely to the work of adducing and bringing together all the admissions and recognitions which Pagan authors had made of the existence of Christ Jesus or Christians before his time.

6. It has been nowhere stumbled upon by the laborious and all-seeking Eusebius, who could by no possibility have overlooked it, and whom it would have saved from the labor of forging the passage in Josephus; of adducing the correspondence of Christ Jesus and Abgarus, and the Sibylline verses; of forging a divine revelation from the god Apollo, in attestation of Christ Jesus' ascension into heaven; and innumerable other of his pious and holy cheats.

7. Tacitus has in no other part of his writings made the least allusion to "Christ" or "Christians."

8. The use of this passage as part of the evidences of the Christian religion, is absolutely modern.

9. There is no vestige nor trace of its [Annals 15:44] existence anywhere in the world before the 15th century.1

10. No reference whatever is made to this passage by any writer or historian, monkish or otherwise, before that time,1 which, to say the least, is very singular, considering that after that time it is quoted, or referred to, in an endless list of works, which by itself is all but conclusive that it was not in existence till the fifteenth century; which was an age of imposture and of credulity so immoderate that people were easily imposed upon, believing, as they did, without sufficient evidence, whatever was foisted upon them.

11. The interpolator of the passage makes Tacitus speak of "Christ," not of Jesus the Christ, showing that--like the passage in Josephus--it is, comparatively, a modern interpolation, for

12. The word "Christ" is not a name, but a TITLE;2 it being simply the Greek word for the Hebrew word "Messiah." Therefore,

13. When Tacitus is made to speak of Jesus as "Christ," it is equivalent to my speaking of Tacitus as "Historian," of George Washington as "General," or of any individual as "Mister," without adding a name by which either could be distinguished. And therefore,

PAGE 1773

14. It has no sense or meaning as he is said to have used it.

15. Tacitus is also made to say that the Christians had their denomination from Christ, which would apply to any other of the so-called Christs who were put to death in Judea [? (references for this clause?)], as well as to Christ Jesus. And

16. "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts xi. 26), not because they were followers of a certain Jesus who claimed to be the Christ, but because "Christian" or "Chrstian," was a name applied, at that time, to any good man.3 And,

17. The worshipers of the Sun-god, Serapis, were also called "Christians," and his disciples "Bishops of Christ."1 [validity?]

So much, then, for the celebrated passage in Tacitus.' [564-568].

[footnote] '1 [from 9. (1773)] The original MSS, containing the "Annals of Tacitus" were "discovered" in the fifteenth century. Their existence cannot be traced back further than that time. And as it was an age of imposture, some persons are disposed to believe that not only portions of the Annals, but the whole work, was forged at that time. Mr. J.W. Ross, in an elaborate work published in London some years ago, contended that the Annals were forged by Poggio Bracciolini, their professed discoverer. At the time of Bracciolini the temptation was great to palm off literary forgeries, especially of the chief writers of antiquity, on account of the Popes, in their efforts to revive learning, giving money rewards and indulgences to those who should procure MS. copies of any of the ancient Greek or Roman authors. Manuscripts turned up as if by magic, in every direction; from libraries of monasteries, obscure as well as famous; the most out-of-the-way places,--the bottom of exhausted wells, besmeared by snails, as the History of Velleius Paterculus, or from garrets, where they had been contending with cobwebs and dust, as the poems of Catullus.' [566].


1[from 10. (1773)] A portion of the passage--that relating to the manner in which the Christians were put to death--is found in the Historia Sacra of Sulpicius Severus [c. 360 - c. 430?] ["historian and hagiographer"; "priest" (Ox. Dict. C.C.)], a Christian Father, who died A.D. 420; but it is evident that this writer did not take it from the Annals. On the contrary, the passage was taken--as Mr. Ross shows--from the Historia Sacra, and bears traces of having been so appropriated. (See Tacitus & Bracciolini, the Annals forged in the XVth century, by J.W. Ross.) [see: Addition #35, 1688; 1813, 1853, 1991 (Sulpicius Severus)]

2[from 12. (1773)] "Christ is a name having no spiritual signification, and importing nothing more than an ordinary surname." (Dr. Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 64.)

"The name of Jesus and Christ was both known and honored among the ancients." (Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. iv.)

"The name Jesus is of Hebrew origin, and signifies Deliverer, and Savior. It is the same as that translated in the Old Testament Joshua. The word Christ, of Greek origin, is properly not a name but a title signifying The Anointed. The whole name is therefore, Jesus the Anointed or Jesus the Messiah." (Abbott and Conant; Dic. of Relig. Knowledge, art. "Jesus Christ.")

PAGE 1774

In the oldest Gospel extant, that attributed to Matthew, we read that Jesus said unto his disciples, "Whom say ye that I am?" whereupon Simon Peter answers and says: "Thou art THE CHRIST, the Son of the living God....Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus THE Christ." (Matt. xvi. 15-20.)

This clearly shows that "the Christ" was simply a title applied to the man Jesus, therefore, if a title, it cannot be a name. ALL PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WHICH SPEAK OF CHRIST AS A NAME, BETRAY THEIR MODERN DATE.

[footnote] 3 [from 16. (1774)] "This name (Christian) occurs but three times in the New Testament, and is never used by Christians of themselves, only as spoken by or coming from those without the Church. The general names by which the early Christians called themselves were 'brethren,' 'disciples,' 'believers,' and 'saints.' The presumption is that the name Christian was originated by the Heathen." (Abbott and Conant: Dic. of Relig. Knowledge, art. "Christian.")

"We are called Christians (not, we call ourselves Christians). So, then we are the best of men (Chrstians), and it can never be just to hate what is (Chrst) good and kind;" [or, "therefore to hate what is Chrestian is unjust."] [Justin Martyr: Apol. 1. c. iv.)

"Some of the ancient writers of the Church have not scrupled expressly to call the Athenian Socrates, and some others of the best of the heathen moralists, by the name of Christians." (Clark: Evidences of Revealed Relig., p. 284. Quoted in Ibid. p. 41.)

"Those who lived according to the Logos, (i.e., the Platonists), were really Christians." (Clemens Alexandrinus, in Ibid.)

"Undoubtedly we are called Christians, for this reason, and none other, than because we are anointed with the oil of God." (Theophilius of Antioch, in Ibid. p. 399.)

"Christ is the Sovereign Reason of whom the whole human race participates. All those who have lived conformably to a right reason, have been Christians, notwithstanding that they have always been looked upon as Atheists." (Justin Martyr: Apol. 1. c. xlvi.)

Lucian makes a person called Triephon answer the question, whether the affairs of the Christians were recorded in heaven. "All nations are there recorded, since Chrstus exists even among the Gentiles."

[footnote] 1 [from 17. (1774)] "Egypt, which you commended to me, my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconsistent, and continually wafted about by every breath of fame. The worshipers of SERAPIS (here) are called Christians, and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find), call themselves Bishops of Christ." (The Emperor Adrian to Servianus, written A.D. 134. Quoted by Dr. Giles, vol. ii. p. 86.)' [567-568].

PAGE 1775

NOTE.--Tacitus [c. 55 - 120] says--according to the passage [Annals 15:44 (see 1852-1853)] attributed to him--that "those who confessed [to be Christians] were first seized, and then on their evidence a huge multitude (Ingens Multitudo) were convicted, not so much on the charge of incendiarism as for their hatred to mankind." Although M. Renan [Ernest Renan 1823 - 1892] may say (Hibbert Lectures, p. 70) that the authenticity of this passage "cannot be disputed," yet the absurdity of "a huge multitude" of Christians being in Rome, in the days of Nero, A.D. 64--about thirty years after the time assigned for the crucifixion of Jesus--has not escaped the eye of thoughtful scholars. Gibbon [Edward Gibbon 1737 - 1794] --who saw how ridiculous the statement is--attempts to reconcile it with common sense by supposing that Tacitus knew so little about the Christians that he confounded them with the Jews, and that the hatred universally felt for the latter fell upon the former. In this way he believes Tacitus gets his "huge multitude," as the Jews established themselves in Rome as early as 60 years B.C., where they multiplied rapidly, living together in the Traslevere--the most abject portion of the city, where all kinds of rubbish was put to rot--where they became "old clothes" men, the porters and hucksters, bartering tapers for broken glass, hated by the mass and pitied by the few. Other scholars, among whom may be mentioned Schwegler (Nachap Zest., ii. 229); Köstlin (Johann-Lehrbegr., 472); and Baur (First Three Centuries, i. 133): also being struck with the absurdity of the statement made by some of the early Christian writers concerning the wholesale prosecution of Christians, said to have happened at that time, suppose it must have taken place during the persecution of Trajan, A.D. 101. It is strange we hear of no Jewish martyrdoms or Jewish persecutions till we come to the times of the Jewish war, and then chiefly in Palestine! But fables must be made realities, so we have the ridiculous story of a "huge multitude" of Christians being put to death in Rome, in A.D. 64, evidently for the purpose of bringing Peter there, making him the first Pope, and having him crucified head downwards. This absurd story is made more evident when we find that it was not until about A.D. 50--only 14 years before the alleged persecution--that the first Christians--a mere handful--entered the capitol of the Empire. (See Renan's Hibbert Lectures, p. 55.) They were a poor dirty set, without manners, clad in filthy gaberdines, and smelling strong of garlic. From these, then, with others who came from Syria, we get our "huge multitude" in the space of 14 years. The statement attributed to Tacitus is, however, outdone by Orosius [early 5th century], who asserts that the persecution extended "through all the provinces." (Orosius, ii. 11.) That it was a very easy matter for some Christian writer to interpolate or alter a passage in the Annals of Tacitus may be seen from the fact that the MS. was not known to the world before the 15th century, and from information which is to be derived from reading Daillé [Jean Daillé 1594 - 1670] On the Right Use of the Fathers, who shows that they were accustomed to doing such business, and that these writings are, to a large extent, unreliable.' [568] [End of Appendix D.]

PAGE 1776

from: Forgers and Critics, Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship, Anthony Grafton, Princeton, c1990.

"The satirist Lucian [c. 117 - c. 180] [was it Lucian? (see 1865-1874)] showed off his forger's dexterity and his critic's competence at one and the same time by forging a work in so convincing a replica of the notoriously obscure style of Heraclitus [fl. c. 500 B.C.E. ("Heraclitus is the first Greek thinker to have a theory of *psych or '*soul' as it functions in the living person." (Ox. Class. Dict.))] that it deceived a famous critic.32 [German reference. "famous critic"? Galen? (see 1865)]" [19].

"If literary and religious forgery and their counterpart modes of criticism survived the fall of the ancient world, however, forgery and criticism of legal authorities became the dominant new forms in the Middle Ages. MOST PRACTITIONERS OF FORGERY AND CRITICISM WERE CLERICS AND LAWYERS. Forgers usually wanted to equip a person or an institution with a basis for possession of lands or privileges....

The most literary and elaborate of medieval forgeries--the Donation of Constantine, the notorious EIGHTH-CENTURY document that tells the tale of how the Emperor Constantine, cured of leprosy by Pope Sylvester, showed his gratitude by conveying the entire Western empire to the Church and departing for Byzantium--makes a powerful effort to give the appearance of including legal documents formalized in expression and attested by the requisite witnesses. The volume of this activity was never small; perhaps half the legal documents we possess from Merovingian [c. 500 -751 C.E.] times, and PERHAPS TWO-THIRDS OF ALL DOCUMENTS ISSUED TO [AND BY] ECCLESIASTICS BEFORE A.D. 1100, ARE FAKES...." [24]. [See: 1743].

[following, is a prologue, to a forgery, by Erasmus] 'Hase's [Karl Benedikt Hase (another forger!)] reputation as man and critic has at least been mixed; that of Erasmus has been almost spotless. Modern scholars quite reasonably revere him [Erasmus] as one of the great exposers of error and mendacity. He had a deep knowledge of ancient history and literature and a keenly discriminating sense of style. Turned on the rich corpus of texts traditionally attributed to Seneca [see 1632, 1736]--some classical and some late, some pseudepigraphical and some forged, and some by another author of the same name--these sharp instruments of dissection easily excised the supposed correspondence of Seneca and Saint Paul from the genuine matter. Erasmus' pungent preface used stylistic, historical, and substantive arguments:

"There is nothing in the letters from Paul worthy of Paul's spirit. One hardly hears the name of Christ, which normally pervades Paul's discourse. [The author] makes that powerful defender of the Gospel cowardly and timorous....And it's a sign of monumental stupidity when he makes Seneca send Paul a book De copia verborum [On Building Vocabulary] so that he will be able to write better Latin. If Paul did not know Latin he could have written in Greek. Seneca did know Greek."12

PAGE 1777

PURGING THE SPURIOUS, IN FACT, WAS CENTRAL TO ERASMUS' SENSE OF HIS CALLING AS A CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR. It inspired his removal of the comma Johanneum (I John 5:7), the most explicit scriptural support for the doctrine of the Trinity, from his first edition of the New Testament. His [Erasmus] distaste for a culture nurtured on literary deceit emerges from his life of Jerome, with its trenchant attack on the medieval legends of superhuman cures and interventions that had distorted and disguised the facts.13 When Erasmus defended the arguments by which he, like Lorenzo Valla before him, had denounced the corpus of Dionysius the Areopagite, he made clear his opposition to all production of fraudulent works, even in support of desirable ends: "In those days even pious men thought it pleasing to God to use this deceit to inspire the people with eagerness to read."14

In 1530, Erasmus published his fourth edition of the works of Saint Cyprian. This included as a stop-press supplement a treatise, De duplici martyrio (On the Two Forms of Martyrdom) [more, Martyrology], which, as its table of contents said, was "DISCOVERED IN AN ANCIENT LIBRARY; MAY IT BE POSSIBLE TO SEARCH OUT OTHER VALUABLE WORKS OF HIS AS WELL."15 The treatise praised the virtues of martyrs in the traditional sense, THOSE WHO DIED TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE TRUTH; but it went on to praise other forms of Christian life--the life of those willing to die but not called upon to do so, the life of the virgin who struggles to avoid a sin--as equivalent in merit to martyrdom [proto- "Soap Operas"]. It takes a position highly sympathetic to Erasmus, who had always disliked the kind of Christianity that equated suffering with virtue, and had always preferred the human Christ hoping to avoid death in Gethsemane to the divine Christ ransoming man by dying at Calvary. It is preserved in no known manuscript or ancient library. It explicates scriptural passages in peculiar ways, ways also found in Erasmus' New Testament commentaries. And it is written in a beautiful but peculiar Latin honeycombed with biblical and patristic citations and marked by a frequent use of nouns with diminutive endings--the very Latin in which Erasmus wrote the great literary works that he acknowledged, like The Praise of Folly, and the funnier one that he did not [acknowledge], the Julius Excluded from Heaven.

De duplici martyrio is not Erasmus' discovery but his composition; it marks an effort to find the support of the early Church for his theology at the cost--which he elsewhere insisted must never be paid--of falsifying the records of that Church.


[43-45]. [See 1805 (Paret)].

[footnote] "16. Cf. Erasmus' provision by back-translation from the Vulgate of the Greek text of the last six verses of the Apocalypse, in its own way a form of invention of evidence that his manuscripts did not provide. See B.M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, 2d ed. (Oxford, 1968), 99-100." [139].

PAGE 1778

"Erasmus was not the only grave and learned gentleman to hoax the entire world of learning with an uncharacteristic piece of fakery.

Carlo Sigonio [see 1991], later in the sixteenth century, was the dominant scholar of his day in two or three fields--the reconstruction of the chronology and constitutional history of early Rome, the history of medieval Italy, and the theory of historiography. A revered teacher and prolific writer, he was especially known for his mastery of Cicero's works and HIS own ABILITY TO WRITE PURE CICERONIAN PROSE. Early in the 1580s he brought out a new text supposedly communicated to him by a printer--the Consolation, mentioned above, which Cicero wrote on his daughter's death. This work, preserved only in fragments and testimonies by classical authors, was avidly bought, eagerly read, and immediately denounced. Contemporary readers thought the work tried far too hard to prove its own authenticity; it contained Italianisms of style, alien turns of thought, and even phrases borrowed from earlier Renaissance writers. Though not all agreed where responsibility must lie, many attached it to Sigonio himself, especially when he defended the book, lamely but doggedly, against all attackers. The controversy brought only discredit on Sigonio, and the text itself seems unworthy of his attention, or his authorship.17 Still, it seems certain that Sigonio did write it, perhaps as an exercise in the rhetorical genre of the Consolation, perhaps with help--yet certainly under false pretenses. [see 1901-1903]


In Sigorio's [Sigonio's] case, unlike in Erasmus', there is no obvious idealistic justification for his act." [45, 48].

"THE DESIRE TO FORGE, IN OTHER WORDS, CAN INFECT ALMOST ANYONE: THE LEARNED AS WELL AS THE IGNORANT, THE HONEST PERSON AS WELL AS THE ROGUE. In some contexts, naturally, it did not seem so immoral as in others--or, perhaps, did not seem immoral at all. Nanni [Annius of Viterbo (Giovanni Nanni) c. 1432 - 1502 (Catholic Encyc.)] [see 1744-1746], for example, was a Dominican [Dominicans: "The Hounds of Hell"!]; the mendicant friars of the later Middle Ages often seem to have acted on the assumption that real records and facts needed to be heightened and dramatized if they were to do justice to their sacred subjects. Medieval Dominican biographers of Saint Jerome embroidered the facts they had with the more colorful story that he had reappeared again and again after his death in solid, material form--that he had pushed an insufficiently respectful abbot to the edge of a cliff and allowed him to live only after he promised to build a church and dedicate it to Jerome. Early sixteenth-century Dominicans in Bern adorned a statue of the Virgin Mary with drops of varnish, to show that the statue wept and thus possessed miraculous powers; they even spoke through her lips, inserting a speaking tube to utter supposedly divine prophecies and commands.18 Like those earlier rabbis whose exegetical method of aggadah, the provision of edifying stories, filled in the factual gaps and missing motives in the austere dramas of the Pentateuch, the Dominicans invented the texts and facts they needed even when discussing subjects and beings of the utmost seriousness. There was after all no other way, in this increasingly

PAGE 1779

literate and critical age, to defend the orally transmitted traditions of the late medieval church. Nanni participated not only in a long-term literary tradition of forgery but in the late medieval fiction-producing culture of his order [see Appendix III, 724 (Benedictines [see 1989])]; as well; no wonder, then, that he felt licensed to restore [?] the truth [?] by pia fraus.

But to infer, as some historians have done, from single cases like Nanni's the more general assertion that the flourishing of forgery reveals that early periods did not share our notion of truth and authority, is surely unjustified. Forgery evidently tempts the virtuous as well as the weak, and has been practiced by those who condemned it most sharply. General theses cannot possibly do justice to this tangle of complex individual cases." [48-49].

"If generalizations shed little light on the obscure realm of ends, they brilliantly illuminate the vivid realm of means. Forgers have been as consistent over the ages in their choice of media as they have been diverse in their personalities and interests. A relatively restricted group of colors makes the forger's palette, now as two millennia ago. After all, the forger has to carry out a limited range of tasks, one that has not altered greatly over time. He must give his text the appearance--the linguistic appearance as a text and the physical appearance as a document--of something from a period dramatically earlier than and different from his own. He must, in other words, imagine two things: what a text would have looked like when it was written and what it should look like now that he has found it. Two forms of imagination should lead to two different, complementary acts of falsification: he must produce a text that seems distant from the present day and an object that seems distant from its purported time of origin. Two further technical tasks remain: he must explain where his document came from and reveal how it fits into the jigsaw puzzle of other surviving documents that makes up his own period's record of an authoritative or attractive period in the past. Imagination and corroboration, the creation of the forgery and the provision of its pedigree: these deceptively simple requirements are almost all that a forger has to meet. But they are not exhaustive, and the last one is as crucial as it is often elusive. THE FORGER NEEDS TO GIVE HIS WORK AN AIR OF CONVICTION AND REALITY, A SENSE OF AUTHENTICITY." [50-51].

"The richest of all historical studies on forgery, Wolfgang Speyer's [see 1991] magnificent Die literarische Fälschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum [1971], arranges material from virtually all primary and secondary sources on ancient criticism in a lucid, jargon-free, and mercifully concise account. Speyer reveals again and again the penetrating insight and meticulous attention to detail that Alexandrian and Christian scholars often brought to the tasks of higher criticism. Yet Speyer's book implies that the criticism now practiced differs fundamentally from that known before the last centuries. He suggests that criticism has become in modern times an objective study applied to all sources; criticism in antiquity was a subjective study applied to sources one wished to attack. The one ["objective"] forms part of philology, the other ["subjective"] part of rhetoric; the one ["objective"] takes an impartial and exhaustive approach, the other a subjective and erratic one. This distinction is vitally important, as we will see, but it needs qualification and supplementation if it is to yield the fullest possible insight.2" [70-71].

PAGE 1780


'A Note on

Further Reading

For a condensed but comprehensive survey of the general history of scholarship in the West, see L.D. Reynolds and N.G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars, 2d ed. (Oxford, 1974), which ranges widely and offers helpful guidance to the monographic literature. More detailed accounts are provided by the old but informative History of Classical Scholarship by J.E. Sandys (Cambridge, 1903-1908), and the two more recent volumes by R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship from the Beginnings to the End of the Hellenistic Age (Oxford, 1968) and History of Classical Scholarship from 1300 to 1850 (Oxford, 1976), best consulted in the revised German edition, Die Klassische Philologie von Petrarca bis Mommsen (Munich, 1982).

The best single prospect of the whole history of forgery, as I have said before, is afforded by W. Speyer's [see 1991] Die literarische Fälschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum (Munich, 1971), which includes much material on modern forgery (and criticism) as well as their earlier counterparts. N. Brox offers a lucid and helpfully skeptical supplementary account in Falsche Verfasserangaben (Stuttgart, 1975). The older compilation by J.A. Farrer, Literary Forger [Forgeries] (London, 1907) [see 1888-1894], is broad-gauged and informative, though generally antiquated on points of detail. The most stimulating general treatments in English are G. Bagnani, "On Fakes and Forgeries," Phoenix 14 (1960): 228-244, and R. Syme, "Fiction and Credulity," in his Emperors and Biography: Studies in the Historia Augusta (Oxford, 1971). The best recent survey in English is B. M. Metzger, "Literary Forgeries and Canonical Pseudepigrapha," in New Testament Studies: Philological, Versional, and Patristic (Leiden, 1980), 1-22 [see 1757-1769]; see also D.G. Meade, Pseudonymity and Canon (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1988). both have good bibliographies. Some of the more original and influential articles on forgery in the ancient world are collected in Pseudepigraphie in der heidnischen und jüdisch-christlichen Antike, ed. N. Brox (Darmstadt, 1977).

On medieval forgery, see in general P. Lehmann, Pseudo-Antike Literatur des Mittelalters (Leipzig, 1927; repr. Darmstadt, 1964); H. Fuhrmann, "Die Fälschungen im Mittelalter," Historische Zeitschrift 197 (1963): 529-554; G. Constable, "Forgery and Plagiarism in the Middle Ages," Archiv für Diplomatik, Schriftgeschichte, Siegel - und Wappenkunde 29 (1983): 1-41; and P. Meyvaert, "Medieval Forgers and Modern Scholars: Tests of Ingenuity," in The Role of the Book in Medieval Culture, ed. P. Ganz (Turnhout, 1986), I:83-95.

PAGE 1781

For forgery and its neighbors in Renaissance culture, the most insightful general treatment remains C. Mitchell, "Archaeology and Romance in Renaissance Italy," in Italian Renaissance Studies, ed. E.F. Jacob (London, 1960); for criticism, see the contrasting general accounts of P.G. Schmidt, "Kritische Philologie und pseudoantike Literatur," in Die Antike-Rezeption in den Wissenschaften während der Renaissance, ed. A. Buck and K. Heitmann (Weinheim, 1983), and A. Grafton, "Higher Criticism Ancient and Modern: The Lamentable Deaths of Hermes and the Sibyls," in The Uses of Greek and Latin: Historical Essays, ed. A.C. Dionisotti et al. (London, 1988).

On the new pasts invented in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see in general I. Haywood, The Making of History (Rutherford, Madison, and Teaneck, 1986). An invaluable guide to the Enlightenment's new forms of historical consciousness is L. Gossman's Medievalism and the Ideologies of the Enlightenment (Baltimore, 1968). Perhaps the deepest study of a modern forger is that found in the notes to D.S. Taylor's edition of Chatterton's Complete Works (Oxford, 1971); see also his fine work, Thomas Chatterton's Art (Princeton, 1978). I. Haywood's Faking It (Brighton, 1987) summarizes the argument of his larger book and briefly considers both some more recent literary forgeries and the related question, into which I cannot enter here, of the forgery of works of art. See also the far more elaborate, and still stimulating, treatment of the latter topic by O. Kurz: Fakes, 2d ed. (New York, 1967).

No single work surveys all the methods of detection applied by modern critics, but R.D. Altick's The Scholar Adventurers (New York, 1950) vividly describes a number of them as applied in specific episodes. Finally, the BRITISH MUSEUM FORGERY SHOW OF 1990 [see 1737-1751] will present the largest assembly yet made of forged texts and objects. Its catalogue (by N. Barker) will not only reproduce many of these but also provide further information on many of the literary forgers and critics discussed in this book.' [151-153] [End of: "A Note on Further Reading"].

PAGE 1782

from: The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus, by Arthur Drews [1865 - 1935], Tr. Joseph McCabe, Watts, 1912. Arno reprint, 1972. [See: 1856-1857].


--It is, however, not superfluous, perhaps, to consider more closely what is regarded as the most important profane witness for the historicity of Jesus--that of Tacitus. Such witnesses still seem to make a great impression on the general public. Even theologians who are themselves convinced of the worthlessness of such witnesses as regards the problem we are considering do not fail, as a rule, to repeat them to "the people" as if they gave some confirmation of their belief in an historical Jesus. That would be prevented once for all if it could be proved that the whole passage is not from the pen of Tacitus at all. However, this statement, which I advanced in the Christ Myth in accordance with the view of the French writer Hochart, has been so vehemently attacked, even by those who, like Weiss and Weinel, admit the worthlessness of the passage as far as the historicity of Jesus is concerned, that it seems necessary to inquire somewhat closely into the genuineness of Annals, xv, 44.' [24-25].

'Arguments for the Genuineness.

There can, of course, be no question of any impossibility of interpolating the passage [Annals 15:44 (see 1852-1853)] in the Annals on the ground of "the inimitable style of Tacitus," as defenders of the genuineness repeat after Gibbon.1 There is no "inimitable" style for the clever forger, and the more unusual, distinctive, and peculiar a style is, like that of Tacitus, the easier it is to imitate it. It would be strange if a monastic copyist of Tacitus, occupied with his work for months, if not for years, could not so far catch his style as to be able to write these twenty or twenty-five lines in the manner of Tacitus. Teuffel, in his Geschichte der Röm. Literature (5th ed. 1890, ii, 1137), commends Sulpicius Severus [see 1991] for his "skill" in imitating Tacitus, among others, in his composition. Such an imitation is not, in my opinion, beyond the range of possibility. Moreover, as far as the historicity of Jesus is concerned, we are, perhaps, interested only in one single sentence of the passage, and that has nothing distinctively Tacitan about it.

PAGE 1783

Equally invalid is the claim that the way in which Tacitus speaks of the Christians excludes all idea of a Christian interpolation. Von Soden thinks that

Christians "would certainly have put early Christianity in a more favourable light, as they always did when they falsified the story of the rise of Christianity [pause] in the historical works they read."

He overlooks the fact that the injurious epithets on the new religion and its adherents would probably, in the opinion of the forger, tend to strengthen its chances of passing as genuine. They are just what one might suppose to be in harmony with the disposition of Tacitus. The expressions, moreover, are at once enfeebled by the reference to the sympathy [see 1815 (Paret)] that the Romans are supposed to have felt for the victims of Nero's cruelty. It is a common occurrence in the accounts of the Christian martyrs for the pagan opponents of Christianity to find their hostility changed into sympathy, and recognise the innocence of the persecuted Christians. We need quote only the description of Pilate in Matthew and Luke--his "I find no blame in him" and "I am innocent of the blood of this just man"--and the supposed words of Agrippa when Paul is charged before him: "This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds."1 So Pliny the younger condemns the Christians in his letter to Trajan, although he acknowledges their innocence. This, it is true, is not the case with [pseudo] Tacitus; he seems rather to regard the Christians as guilty, whether or no they were the authors of the fire. But he allows the spectators to be touched with pity for the executed Christians, and thus awakens a sympathetic feeling for them in the readers of his narrative.

It is said, however, that Tacitus, "on account of the difficulty of his style and his whole attitude, was not generally read by Christians," so that his text is, "in the general opinion of experts, the freest from corruption of all the ancient writings." So at least von Soden assures us (p. 11). In this, however, he is merely repeating the opinion of Gibbon. As a matter of fact, none of the works of Tacitus have come down to us without interpolations [see 1852, etc.]. This supposed "purity of the text of Tacitus as shown by the oldest manuscripts" exists only in the imagination of Gibbon and those who follow him. It is, further, not true that the Christians did not read Tacitus. We have a number of instances in the first centuries of Christian writers who are acquainted with Tacitus, such as Tertullian, Jerome, Orosius, Sidonius Apollinaris, Sulpicius Severus, and Cassiodorus. It is only in the course of the Middle Ages that this acquaintance with the Roman historian is gradually lost; and this not on account of, but in spite of, the passage in Tacitus on the Christians. This testimony of the Roman historian to the supposed first persecution of the Christians would be very valuable to them for many reasons.' [25-27].

PAGE 1784


is further confirmed by the fact that the other witnesses that are quoted for it are just as vague and indecisive. What propagandist material would not the details of this first persecution of their faith have furnished to the early Christians! Yet what trace of it do we find in them? Let us take the evidence of Melito of Sardis. In his writing to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in which he endeavours to explain to the Emperor how beneficial Christianity had been to Roman power, we read: "The only emperors who, seduced by evil-minded men, sought to bring our religion into evil repute, were Nero and Domitian, and from their time the mendacious calumny of the Christians has continued, according to the habit of people to believe imputations without proof." In these words, which, moreover, are only known to us from Eusebius,1 there is no question of a general persecution of the Christians under Nero; it is merely stated that Nero tried to bring the Christians into bad repute. Dionysius of Corinth (about 170) also, and the presbyter Caius, who lived in the time of the Roman bishop Zephyrinus (about 200), affirm only, according to the same Eusebius,2 that Peter and Paul died the death of martyrs "about the same time" at Rome,3 [see footnote, 1786] which does not necessarily mean on the same day or the same occasion, or that the "trophies of their victory" are to be seen on the Vatican and the road to Ostia. Of the Neronian persecution they tell us nothing. In Tertullian's Apologeticum1 we read that Nero, cruel to all, was the first to draw the imperial sword against the Christian sect which then flourished at Rome. He thinks it an honour to himself and his co-religionists to have been condemned by such a prince, since everyone who knows him will see that nothing was condemned by Nero that was not especially good. But there is nothing in his [Tertullian] words to show that he was thinking of anything besides the death of the apostles Peter and Paul. Indeed, he says expressly that the apostles, scattered over the world at the master's command, after many sufferings at length shed their blood at Rome through the cruelty of Nero, and he [Tertullian] urges the pagans to read the proofs of this in their own "Commentaries"; which is much the same as when

TERTULLIAN REFERS TO THE ROMAN ARCHIVES [Tertullian: Apologeticus XXI:20 (is "archives" in the Latin?)] THOSE WHO DOUBT THE GOSPEL NARRATIVE OF THE EXECUTION OF JESUS [a classic Bluff (see Loeb, Apologeticus, 112 (footnote [?]))! Tertullian? Century?].2 We read much the same in the same writer's Scorp., ch. xv: "Nero was the first to stain the early faith with blood. Then was Peter (according to the word of Christ) girded by another, as he was fixed to the cross. Then did Paul obtain the Roman right of citizenship in a higher sense, as he was born again there by his noble martyrdom [martyrology!]."3

There remains only the witness of Eusebius and of Revelation [negated] [not presented]. Eusebius, however, merely reproduces4 the statement of Tertullian that Nero was the first of the emperors to become an open enemy of the divine religion. He writes: "Thus Nero raged even against the apostles [Fictional characters! (see #8, 200-203)], and so declared himself the first of the arch-enemies of God. It is recorded that under him Paul was beheaded at Rome and Peter was crucified under him." In proof of this he points to the fact that the names of Peter and Paul have

PAGE 1785

remained until his time on an inscription in the burying-place at Rome [more martyrology!].' [32-34].

[footnote] '3In this connection it may be observed that all these references in EUSEBIUS must be regarded with the greatest suspicion. This man, whom Jakob Burckhardt has called "THE FIRST THOROUGHLY DISHONEST HISTORIAN OF ANTIQUITY," acts so deliberately in the interest of the power of the Church and the creation and strengthening of tradition that far too much notice is taken of his historical statements. "AFTER THE MANY FALSIFICATIONS, SUPPRESSIONS, AND FICTIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN PROVED IN HIS WORK, HE HAS NO RIGHT TO BE PUT FORWARD AS A DECISIVE AUTHORITY; AND TO THESE FAULTS WE MUST ADD A CONSCIOUSLY PERVERSE MANNER OF EXPRESSION, DELIBERATE BOMBAST, AND MANY EQUIVOCATIONS, SO THAT THE READER STUMBLES UPON TRAPDOORS AND PITFALLS IN THE MOST IMPORTANT PASSAGES." (J. Burckhardt [1818 - 1897], Lebon Konstantins, 2nd ed. 1860, pp. 307, 335, 347.)' [32-33].

"....Paulus Orosius also, the friend and admirer of Augustine, relies expressly on Suetonius for the expulsion of the Jews from Rome under Claudius, and even mentions the Neronian persecution, which, according to him, spread over every province of the empire,2 but for this does not quote the witness of either Tacitus or Suetonius. When we further reflect that neither Trajan nor Pliny mentions the Neronian persecution of the Christians in his correspondence, although there was every occasion to do so, since they were discussing the judgment and treatment of the Bithynian Christians, we can hardly do otherwise than regard THE PASSAGE IN SUETONIUS'S LIFE OF NERO as A LATER INTERPOLATION [see 1878]." [36].

"When we take account of these many possible interpretations of Annals, xv, 44, all of which are as probable as, if not more probable than, the customary Christian explanation, the narrative of Tacitus cannot be quoted as a witness to the historicity of Jesus. We may say, indeed, that history has hitherto treated the passage, in view of its importance, with an absolutely irresponsible superficialness and levity...." [55].

"The Roman Witnesses"

'II. Arguments against the Genuineness.

(a) General Observations.--As regards the passage in Tacitus, the simple credulity with which it had hitherto been accepted led to a sceptical attitude, not only abroad, where the Frenchman Hochart,1 the Dutchman Pierson,2 the English author of Antiqua Mater [1887], Edwin Johnson, the American William Benjamin Smith in Ecce Deus (1911), and others assailed its genuineness, but also in German science. Besides Bruno Bauer,3 H. Schiller has drawn attention to certain difficulties in the Tacitean tradition that had been overlooked; and even Arnold acknowledges, though he endeavours to show the unsoundness of the critical view of the passage, that "this reference, which had hitherto been regarded as quite simple and easy to understand, has been very little understood."4 According to Hochart the passage ["The Annals of Tacitus", XV:44] contains as many insoluble difficulties as it does words.5 ....' [37].

PAGE 1786

'Death by fire was not a form of punishment inflicted at Rome in the time of Nero [Emperor 54 - 68 (37 - 68)]. It is opposed to the moderate principles on which the accused were then dealt with by the State. The use of the Christians as "living torches," as Tacitus describes, and all the other atrocities that were committed against them, have little title to credence, and suggest an imagination exalted by reading stories of the later Christian martyrs. The often quoted statements of Juvenal and Seneca have no bearing on this; they are not connected with the Christians, and need not in the least be regarded as references to the members of the new sect sacrificed by Nero.

The victims cannot possibly have been given to the flames in the gardens of Nero, as Tacitus says. According to his own account, these gardens were the refuge of those whose homes had been burned, and were full of tents and wooden sheds. It is hardly probable that Nero would incur the risk of a second fire by his "living torches," and still less probable that he mingled with the crowd and feasted his eyes on the ghastly spectacle. Tacitus tells us in his life of Agricola that Nero had crimes committed, but kept his own eyes of them. THE GARDENS OF NERO (ON THE PRESENT VATICAN) SEEM TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AS THE THEATRE OF THE DEED MERELY TO STRENGTHEN THE LEGEND THAT THE HOLY OF HOLIES OF CHRISTIANITY, THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER, WAS BUILT ON THE SPOT ON WHICH THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYRS HAD SHED THEIR BLOOD.1 [see 1815]

Finally, there is the complete silence of profane writers and the vagueness of the Christian writers on the matter; the latter only gradually come to make a definite statement of a general persecution of the Christians under Nero, whereas at first they make Nero put to death only Peter and Paul. The first unequivocal mention off the Neronian persecution in connection with the burning of Rome is found in the forged correspondence of Seneca and the apostle Paul, which belongs to the fourth century. A fuller account is then given in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus [see 1991] (died 403 A.D.), but it is mixed with the most transparent Christian legends, such as the story of the death of Simon Magus, the bishopric and sojourn of Peter at Rome, etc. The expressions of Sulpicius agree, in part, almost word for word with those of Tacitus. It is, however, very doubtful, in view of the silence of the other Christian authors who used Tacitus, if the manuscript of Tacitus which Sulpicius used contained the passage in question. We are therefore strongly disposed to suspect that the passage (Annals, xv, 44) was transferred from Sulpicius to the text of Tacitus by the hand of a monastic copyist or forger, for the greater glory of God and in order to strengthen the truth of the Christian tradition by a pagan witness.1 [see footnote, 1788] [see 1813]

But how could the legend arise that Nero was the first to persecute the Christians? It arose, says Hochart, under a threefold influence. The first is the apocalyptic idea, which saw in Nero the Antichrist, the embodiment of all evil, the terrible adversary of the Messiah and his followers. As such he was bound, by a kind of natural enmity, to have been the first to persecute the Christians; as Sulpicius puts it, "because vice is always the enemy of the good."2 [see footnote, 1788] The second is the political interest of the Christians in representing themselves as Nero's victims, in order to win the favour and protection of his successors on that account. The third is the special interest of the Roman Church in the death of the two chief apostles, Peter and Paul, at Rome. Then the author of the letters of Seneca to Paul

PAGE 1787

enlarged the legend in its primitive form, brought it into agreement with the ideas of this time, and gave it a political turn. The vague charges of incendiarism assumed a more definite form, and were associated with the character of Antichrist, which the Church was accustomed to ascribe to Nero on account of his supposed diabolical cruelty. He was accused of inflicting horrible martyrdoms on the Christians, and thus the legend in its latest form reached the Chronicle [Historia Sacra (see 1990)] of Sulpicius. Finally [third] a clever forger (Poggio?) smuggled the dramatic account of this persecution into the Annals of Tacitus, and thus secured the acceptance as historical fact of a purely imaginary story [Nero, and, "Christians"].

We need not recognise all Hochart's arguments as equally sound, yet we must admit that in their entirety and agreement they are worthy of consideration, and are well calculated to disturb the ingenuous belief in the authenticity of the passage of Tacitus. It seems as if official "science" is here again, as in so many other cases, under the dominion of a long-continued suggestion, in taking the narrative of Tacitus to be genuine without further examination. We must not forget what a close connection there is between this narrative and the whole of Christian history, and what interest religious education and the Church have in preventing any doubt from being cast on it. Otherwise how can we explain that no one took any notice during the whole of the Middle Ages of a passage of such great importance for the history and prestige of the Church? No one, in fact, seems to have had the least suspicion of its existence until it was found in the sole copy at that time of Tacitus, the Codex Mediceus II, printed by Johann and his brother Wendelin von Speyer [see 1991] about 1470 at Venice, of which all the other manuscripts are copies.1 Our historians as a rule are content to reproduce the narrative of Tacitus in somewhat modified [see 1852 ("eclectic")] terms, without making any close scrutiny of Annals, xv, 44 [see 1855]; thus does Domaszewski, for instance, in his History of the Roman Empire (1909), to say nothing of the numerous popular manuals of history. BUT OUR WHOLE SCIENCE OF HISTORY IS STILL, AS REGARDS THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY,



[footnotes (see 1787)] "

  1. In his De l'Authenticit des Histoires et des Annales de Tacite Hochart points out that, whereas the Life of St. Martin and the Dialogues of Sulpicius were found in many libraries, there was only one manuscript of his Chronicle [Historia Sacra (see 1990)], probably of the eleventh century, which is now in the Vatican. Hence the work was almost unknown throughout the Middle Ages, and no one was aware of the [supposed] reference in it to a Roman persecution of the Christians. It is noteworthy that Poggio Bracciolini seems by some lucky chance to have discovered and read this manuscript (work quoted, p. 225). Cf. Nouvelles Considerations, pp. 142-72.
  2. Compare Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., ii, 28." [46].

PAGE 1788

from: "to the path breaker J.W. Ross (1878)", THE ANNALS OF POGGIO BRACCIOLINI AND OTHER FORGERIES, LOUIS PARET. Augustin S.A. 75018 Paris, Pb., 1992 [1995?], Numero d'Imprimeur 2-907 179-17-9 [my copy, is the only copy I have encountered (no copy in the University of California system)]. [See: 1690]. [Note: many misspellings, etc. (most are noted). Translation, etc., problems?].

[typed letter, inserted in book]

'Paris, 26.4.1997

Louis Paret...[Paris address (I mailed a letter requesting communication (no response)), and phone number (did not function for me), omitted]

University of Tennessee Knoxville.


The title refers to the forgery committed by the Florentine Poggio Bracciolini from 1423 to 1429.

This forgery was denounced by J.W. Ross in 1878 and by P. Hochart in 1890 and 1894. The author [Louis Paret] adds 14 arguments to the 18 arguments of Ross and Hochart.

The "Annals" are written on two parchments kept in the Laurenziana Library of Florence.

One, listed as Mediceus II, written in Lombard letters, relates in books XI to XVI the lasts years of Claudius (47 to 54 a.D.) and the first 12 years of Nero (54 to 66, two years before his death in 68). It appeared around 1450 in Florence, in an unexplained manner. "Certain aspects of its discovery are veiled in obscurity" - Michael Grant.

The other, Mediceus II [?] 58.1, written in Carolingian letters, describes in books I to VI, the reign of Tiberius (14 to 37 a.D.) "Rescued from the forests of Germany", it was bought for 500 gold sequins from an unknown seller by Pope Leo X in 1513.

As these Annals (name coined in 1533) were unknown until 1450 and 1513, their origin is wrapped in mystery. They are said without proofs by some Latinists to date from the eleventh century [ninth century claimed for Annales I-VI (see 1852 (Tacitus, Jackson), 238], though during these 400 years (c. 1050 to 1450) no author alludes to these texts.

Dating by C14 will easily reveal the age of the two parchments. The laboratory of Professor Willy Wölffi, which groups the physicists of Federal polytechnic School of Zürich and the Institute Paul Scherrer of Villingen (Switzerland) and ascertained the true age of the Turin Shroud, will easily determine the age of two parchments and the eventual difference of age between them which appeared mysteriously at an interval of 80 years.

Universities can certainly obtain from the Laurenziana the few square centimetres of parchments needed for the dating, from the bottom of pages and from the pages left for unexplained reasons partially unwritten with the uncompleted text.

The other 24 forgeries, culled from the tens of thousands of forgeries exposed by hundreds of specialists, have been chosen for their amusing character or their lethal result.' [End of letter]. [Received this book c. 7/22/2001].

PAGE 1789


(1) the page on Deuteronomy is inspired from F. Delisch (Bible and Babel, 1903) and Joseph McCabe.

(2) the critic of the Ignatius letters and the Pliny letters owes much to R. Joly of the Free University of Brussels.

(30) [sic] the Lyons martyrs [see 1798] are "eliminated" on the obvious basis of Tertullian's Apologet. c. 192 aD and Iraeneus [Irenaeus] adv. Haer; c. 202 aD.

(4) the Donatio Constantini is derived mostly from Ignasz Döllinger, who opposed the dogma of Papal infallibility.

(5) Eleven days are taken from J.V. Leclerc (1838)

(6) the chapter on Ptolemy is summarized for Astronomy from Robert Newton (the crime of Claudius Ptolemy) and for Geograph [apparently, Geography] from G. Berthelot (l'Asie ancienne. 1930)

(7) the forgeries in Ancient times, Middle Ages and modern are quoted from the exhaustive--and exhausting--Fälschungen by W. SPEYER [see 1991] (München 1971) which condenses the findings of 7 industrious Germans from 1890 onward and reports some 6,000 forgeries of all types.

(8) for the Annals of Tacitus, the book "Bible Myths" [see 1770-1776] 1920 gave me in a foot-note the name of J.W. ROSS (1878). In the British Library the book revealed to my surprise that not only the famous paragraph 44. of book XV (146 words) was forged, but the whole book (87,534 words). The two books (1890, 1894) of P. Hochart add only a solid argument for the forgery and some debatable suggestions.

(9) the Historia Augusta (110,000 words) denounced by H. Dessau in 1889, is described briefly.

(10) the chapter Relics is taken mostly from the standard work of Collin de Plancy (1828) and from 7 others [see 1824].

(11) the largely ignored or denied MADOC story is taken wholly from Richard Deacon (N.Y. 1966) who crossed alone the Atlantic Ocean in a small flat-bottomed landing craft of World War II. He obtained information from 30 specialists, mostly in Wales and libraries in Wales, London, New York and Amsterdam.

(12) Marco Polo's Devisement is the story of a true voyage to China, despite the doubts raised by experts since 1828 and repeated in 1995.

(13) the page on Vespucci condenses the authoritative work by F.J. Pohl (N.Y. 1944)

(14) The pages on W. Shakespeare from the definitive "Shakespeare rediscovered" by Clara Longworth Countess Chambrun (N.Y. 1938)

(15) The rehabilitation of Richard III from the mythoclastic "the daughter of Time" by Josephine TEY (n.d.) and from Historical enigmas (1981) of Hugh Williamson.

(16) "a necklace for the Queen" is condensed from standard historical works.

(17) Leo Taxil's fantastic books, from the review HISTORIA.

(18) "History of a myth" by Norman Cohn supplied the pages "Protocols of (the Sages) of Zion". Some Communist statistics explain the articles of the London Times and the Morning Post in 1920.

(19) Several true and false scientific forgeriesfrom [forgeries from] 1917 to 1934.

PAGE 1790

(20) the vexed question of the authorship of the Piltdown skull forgery follows Stephen Jay Gould, and for the Sinanthropus it quotes Hervé Le Goff.

(21) for the Lusitania sinking, H. Le Goff completes with many important details (1982) omitted by Colin Simpson (1971)

(22) The murder of Marshal Tukhatchevsky by Stalin is taken from the review Historia

(23) the statistics of the Nazi death camps are taken from the "Atlas of the Shoah" [Holocaust] by Martin Gilbert [see Addition 37, 2007].

(24) the pages on Eisenhower are wholly from "Other losses'["] by the Canadian James Bacque (Toronto 1989) who for years conducted research in official and military circles in Washington including Col. E.F. Fisher, Chief Historian of U.S. Army.

Though the million of German war prisoners missing represents scarcely 2% of the war casualties of 1939-1945, the fact that [they] died in peace time makes this story worth retelling.

(25) a brief article on art forgeries, maintaining only four well-known fakes--from the review of Science et Vie.' [no page numbers]

[End of Acknowledgements].

PAGE 1791


The following text is not to be construed as denying or affirming the divinity of YESHUA HA NOZRI (Jesus)

Joseph WHELESS [see 1880-1881] writes: "Even a casual study of the Four Gospels reveals that alleged doings and sayings attributed to Jesus are scraps of fiction framed to fit and hang upon the flimsy pegs of some odd ends out of Hebrew scriptures and tortured by the sophistry of Christian priests into a "prophecy of God" somehow "fulfilled" by this or that of the alleged sayings or doings of Jesus.

Like Proscrustes' bed [Greek legend], the Hebrew texts existed and the pious "Fathers" invented Jesus-incidents which they tortured to fit the bed

Pagan fictions

Greek, Persan [sic], Hindu, Chinese, Maya gods or rulers born of virgins

Hebrew texts

Mish[n]ah 5:1
Isaia [sic] 33:16
Jer. 31:15

Hosea 11:1

Isaia 35:5-6

Amos 2:16
Zach. 9:9

Isaia 16:7
Jeremiah 7:11

Ex. 12:46
Psaum [sic] 34:31
Zach. 12:10

Isaiah 22:22


Mary still virgin bears


Birth at Bethlehem
Birth in grotto
Rachel in Babylon cries for
 her children

Flight into Egypt

the Just heals the sick

the just flees naked
rides ass into town

grotto of brigands
[2 Greek words]

none of his bones..broken

side pierced by lance

keys of the House of David


Matt. I: 18-19
Luke I:34


Matt. 2:1
Lk. 2:7
Matt. 2:18 (Herod)

Matt. 2:13-14

Matt. 4:24
Lk. 4:40, 5/35
Mk. 1:44, 3:5, 5:24

Mk. 14:51-52
Mk. 11:1-5
Lk. 19:28-34
Matt. 21:12-17
Mk. 11:17

John 19:34

John 19:33

Matt. 16:18-19

(text [which text(s)?] ignored by Ireneus [Irenaeus] in 180 but known by Tertullian in 200 a.D)' [5] [End of entry]. [See: 1504-1518 (Shires)].

PAGE 1792

'IGNATIUS [see 1706 (Strange)]

IGNATIUS, attested only by Eusebios [Eusebius] of Cesarea, c. 302 (Hist. eccl. III:36) and by 7 forged letters. Eusebius terms him the third Bishop of Antioch in Syria, deducing this from the Chronologie of Julius Africanus who knew "by tradition" the names of the bishops of Antioch since 150 aD to 210 when he wrote. To obtain a list of Antioch bishops corresponding to the list of fabulous bishops of Rome from St Peter down to 150, he eecided [decided] to give Ignatius the third position, after Peter and an unknown second. From this Chronology and as the forged letters gave no clue to any date, Eusebius calculated that Ignatius had been martyred in 107 under Trajan.

Such is the rickety scaffolding accepted by all "pious" writers. AS USUALLY FORGERIES TANGLE WITH OTHER FORGERIES, if Ignatius had been executed in 107, Pliny, Imperial Legate in Bithynia would not have had to requext [request] Trajan in 110, for information about the procedure against the numerous Christians in Bithynia and the usual punishments. Trajan or the Imperial Chancery would have replied curtly, after wondering about Pliny's ignorance, that Christians were to be punished according to the "Institutum Neronianum" (invented by Tertullian c. 192) and the [supposed] execution of Bishop Ignatius [?] 3 years previously.

The credibility of Julius Africanus [c. 180 - c. 250 ("Christian writer")] is about nil, as this worthy reports having seen at Apamea the planks of Noah's arch the terebinth bush where Jacob buried his Mesopotamian idols and Jacob's tent, while he was guarding his flock.

"Ignatius" travels from Antioch to Smyrna (Lydia) mentions no city in the 5 provinces he crosses on the way and sends 7 letters to Christians in Lydia only. The forger is a Smyrniote. The 7 Ignatius letters are addressed to the Christians in Ephesos, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia, Smyrna, Rome and to Polycarpos, bishop of Smyrna.

According to the letters, Bishop Ignatius is the only one of his community to be condemned. All his flock is left in perfect peace. Phila. 10.1 "I am told that thanks to your prayers..the Church of Antioch in Syria is in peace.. Elect a deacon.. Smyrn. 11.2-3 "your Church should send a messenger to Syria to rejoice.. to have peace and recovered their greatness and been would be well of you to send a messenger with a letter to celebrate with them the recovered peace thanks to God". Polycarp. 7.1-2 " the Church of Antioch is in peace, thanks to God.."

It is absurd to believe that only the Bishop of the sect was seized and sent overseas with an escort of ten soldiers to Rome to be executed.

The forger of Pliny's letter n 96 (p. 10) states that provincial Christians so numerous in the small towns of Bithynia were executed and Christian Romans sent to Rome for execution. But in Antioch, the largest Roman city in Asia Minor, only the bishop is seized to be martyred in Rome. And ten soldiers (10 "leopards") guard him from Antioch to Rome, expensive escort!

Ignatius is taken to Rome under heavy guard, not directly by ship as St Paul did, but through Cilicia and Phrygia, where small Christian communities dating from St Paul existed, but no letter or even a mention of them.

Ignatius writes to 6 Churches but not to his own Church at Antioch, he cites Antioch 3 times (Phil. 10.1, Smyrn. 11.1, Polyc. 7.1) but 14 times "Syria" or "the

PAGE 1793

Church in Syria"[.]

"Ignatius" finds a messenger to carry a letter to Rome, 2000 km distant, but he only suggests 4 times (1 to Antioch, 3 to Syria) (Phil. 10.1) to send a message to the flock in Syria. "it is convenient for you to send one of your faithful to go to Syria to rejoice witthem [with them] over the peace they now enjoy".

The forger makes Ignatius write to 6 Churches but not to his own for a simple reason: if the forged letter to Antioch (probably forged around c. 163 and not in 107) had come to the true bishop of Antioch, the forgery would have been obvious to the Christians there, who recollected no persecution. And neither their bishop Theophilos (c. 160 aD, attested by St Jerome. Ep. 151. ad Algasiam). A successor to the martyred bishop would not have failed to extol in his sermons the memory of his predecessor cruelly martyred in Rome and who now looked down from Heaven upon his successor and his flock.

In his letters Ignatius mentions no companions of martyrdom escorted with him, though he mentions several visitors: the deacon Philo, the Syrian Rheus Agal., one Ephesan and six more in Eph. 2

In the forged letter of St Polycarp to the Philippians in Greece, Ignatius has two companions, Zosimos and Rufus sent with him to Rome for execution. Yet "Ignatius" does not mention these two future martyrs. The Polycarp letter contradicts itself. In chapter 9, Ignatius is already dead, holy, makarios[?]. In chapter 13 ": let us know what you have ascertained about Ignatius and his companions".

In writing fromTroas [from Troas] (180 km NW from Smyrna) (Smyrn. 13:2) Ignatius does not mention their bishop Polycarp. "I greet..I salute.." but no Polycarp. "Your bishop worthy of God" Polycarp is still ignored.

In the "Martyrdom of Polycarpos" (17.2) the forger suggests to Nicetas, father of the Irenarch Herod and brother of alce [Alce] to request the magistrate to deliver the corpse of the martyr. In two letters (Smyrn. 13.2, Polyc. 8.3) "Ignatius" greets the Smyrniote Alce. If Ignatius was martyred in 107 and Polycarp in 163, there is an unexplained interval of 55 years.

The interpolated Polycarp letters prove clearly the place of forgery: Smyrna. Polycarp, the Christian bishop of Smyrna apparently a quarrelsome personnality [personality], provoked the ire of the pagan population who compelled the governor to execute him. The Irenarch ["An Eastern provincial governor or keeper of the peace, under the Roman and Byzantine empires." (O.E.D.)] pleaded that the games being over, Polycarp could not be thrown to the beasts. But he had only a few soldiers under his orddrs [orders] for a province of perhaps one million inhabitants (Roman peace was no mere word) and mob violence obliged him to let Polycarp be executed. A case of intercommunity squabble, infinitesimal compared to the slaughters of Jews and Greeks in Cypre, etc..running into the 50,000. (JUSTER [probably, Jean Juster 1881 - 1915])

All letters are addressed to Smyrna and nearby towns: Ephesos 50 km, Magnesia 80 km, Philadelphia and Tralles 100 km, whereas Antioch is distant by 800 km as the crow flies, 1300 km by the land route. Between Smyrna and Antioch lie Phrygia Cilicia and Caria, with 8 towns visited by St Paul, including Tarsus his birth place and Laodicea, one of the 7 cities of the Apocalypse. Even when he writes from Troas, 2 of the 3 letters are sent to Smyrna.

PAGE 1794

Some 200 years later a forger of the 4th century saw the need of "completing" the Ignatius letters, with letters to the Christian communities in the provinces between Antioch and Smyrna: one to Antioch (at last!) one to Tarsus, birthpaplace [birthplace] of St Paul, another to the deacon Heron and Maria. As the previous forger had forged a letter of Polycarp to the Philippians in Greece, the later forger, an Aryan or an Apolinarist, forged also a letter to the Philippians.

Ignatius is thus taken to Rome under heavy guard, through all the West of the province of Asia. His really amiable escort allows him to pen letters to the Churches there and to receive local Christians. Those should be hunted, according to letter n 97 of Trajan. to Pliny in Bithynia. As "delatores" received part of the property of those they denounced [compare: the Inquisitions], the guardsmen lost the opportunity to make some fast sesterces.

All these letters are similar in general contents. They are really only sermons disguised as letters. They pursue two main purposes:

(1). injunctions for the complete obedience to bhishops [bishops]: By insistence on the hierarchy: Bishop, priest, deacon, the absolute rule of the bishop over his flock. No baptism, no communion, no marriage without his approval. The bishop represents God, his priests are the "Senate of the Apostles", the deacons are "Ministers of Jesus Christ" (Magn. 6). The flock is to revere the bishop as Jesus himself. The priests are subservient to him, as the strings of a lyre. (Ephes. 4:1)

(2) the fight against Heretics, as numerous as the Orthodox. Epiphanos [Epiphanius] in his Panarion [see 1803] lists 80 heresies to match the 80 concubines of the Canticle. In his Philosophoumena Hyppolytos denounces the sects. The greatest heresiarch of the second century was MARCIO of Pontus in Bithynia. He is the "first-born son of Satan". (see p. 12)

Most of the above is taken from Robert JOLY, Université Libre in Brussels. He places [2 vertical marks ("in"?)] 161-2 the execution of Polycarp 165-8, the seven letters of Ignatius [sic].

But he [Robert JOLY] admits both the Pliny letters on the Bithynia Christians in 110 aD under Trajan and the Lyons martyrs in 177 aD under Marcus Aurelius (Hist. eccl. of Eusebios). This author [Louis Paret] does not deal [does deal (see: 1795-1798 (Pliny); 1798-1800 (Marcus Aurelius))] with theee [these] two forgeries.' [6-9]

[End of entry].

'PLINIUS [see 1701-1702 (Strange)]

PLINY jr, born in 62, held many public functions. He was named sevir equitum, in 90 quaestor by Domitian, in 92 tribunus plebis, in 93 quaestor and senator, in 105-7 curator alvei Tiberis. In 100 he redacted the gratiarum acto ordered by a SC ["Senatus Consult" (see: 1797, 1802)], later expanded to the 20,000 words of Panegyrique.

With his friend and senior colleague Tacitus, Pliny was the most prominent lawyer of his times. For 28 years in Rome he pleaded famous cases, some in presence of the emperor. (p. [sic]

PAGE 1795

In 110-111 aD Trajan named his Legatus Augustii pro praetore consulari potestate in the province of Bithynia in Asia minor to redress the provincial finances bankrupted by uncontrolled expenses and thefts.

After 18 months of travel in Bithynia and sending 95 letters to Trajan, most about trifling topics, his letter n 96 appears about Christians in Bithynia, the only letter concerning Christians among the 368 letters of the 10 books of letters.

Pliny's letters were published in his life time in 9 books. Book 10 was published after his death. Sidoine Apollinaire in Gaul (430-487) knew only 9 books. Book 10 contains 107 letters (106 [96] Pliny to Trajan [see 1858], one (n 97) of Trajan to Pliny.

In this letter of 410 words, Pliny asks Trakan [Trajan] to rule under which charge is he to prosecute and condemn Christians. Without waiting for the imperial answer, Pliny writes that he had the native Christians executed (jussi duci) and the Christians of Roman citizenshio [citizenship] noted for shipment to Rome (adnotavi in Urbem remitendos).

Prudently the forger omits the date of the process, the city where these criminal Christians were arrested, their names and their number, the date of executions, the names and number of the Roman citizens to be sent to Rome.

Pliny who for 28 years pleaded in Rome and attended court cases, tells Trajan that he never attended lawsuits against Christians and that he ignores for which crime they are to be punished (cognitionibus de Christianis interfui numquam. ideo nescio qui [quid] et quatenus aut puniri soleat aut quaeri [see 1863]).

Despite this ignorance, Pliny had those who persisted in being Christians executed. Those who abjured by "cursing" Christ were released.

One Christian testified that Christians met before dqwn [dawn] to pray to "Christ nearly God" and expressed their will to commit no crime of assault, theft or adultery.

The forger thought himself very clever in contrasting the innocuous belief of Christians withe the harsh ness [with the harshness] of the judgment over a "perverse superstition held stubbornly" (pertinaciam et inflexibilem obstinationem)

"This case eequir s [requires] Trajan's ruling, in view of the great number of Christians of all ages, ranks, of both sexes. Temples are deserted and sacrificial beasts no longer bought. I will punish their stubborness [stubbornness] and inflexible obstinacy in their perverse superstition." (pravam, immodicam)

The utter lack of logic in Pliny's letter is matched by that in Trajan's answer of 83 words. "You did well..Christians are not to be searched for (conquerendi non sunt) those summoned who persist are to be punished."

One quirk of Roman law was that there was no State prosecutor. To be brought before a judge, criminals had to be denounced by "delatores".


Had Nero burnt or thrown Christians to the dog in 64, Trajan could not have answered ": Thou hast taken the right way..Impossible to follow an absolute rule.."

In 130 by Hadrian's [see 1989] order, all the praetorian edits of permanence were collected into the Edictum Julianum, adopted as statutory for the Senate. No mention of these dangerous monotheist Christians.

PAGE 1796

In 192 aD Tertullian reading Trajan's answer (this shows the forged letters n 96 and 97 were published in the second century [maybe! Interpolated in Tertullian? Etc.?]) writes angrily ": Trajan spares and punishes. If you condemn, why dont [don't] you search for them? If you do not search for them, why dont [don't] you absolve?".

In legalistic Rome, a judge had only to cite a law (lex) or an S C ["Senatus Consult" (see below; 1802)] or an edict, before sentencing Christians, instead of sentencing for a "nomen" synonimous [commonly: synonymous] with crime (flagitia cohaerentia nomini).

Pliny, this experienced lawyer, had in 110 aD never heard of a law, Senatus Consult, Imperial rescript, praetorian edict or of an "exemplum". All these suppose a minimum degree of importance of the custom or of the crime.

Moreover in the Roman Empire, neither a Roman citizen nor a provincial (termed peregrinus in Rome) was compelled to a cult, to render hommage [French] [homage] to a specific god or to the emperor. These obligations incurred only to funcionaries [functionaries] and magistrates, until tje [the] advent of Christian emperors who became "divine" c. 350 aD onward.

Still less a Roman or a provincial could have been compelled to "curse" his local divinity. Absolute religious tolerance was one of the few virtues of Roman rule. Roman authorities were interested in the peaceful collection of taxes and the maintenance of peace.

That Christians were already in 110 so numerous in Bithynia as to leave the temples deserted and sacrificial beasts to remain unsold is highly improbable. Bithynia and Phyrgia were the country of origin of the cult of the Mother Goddess CYBELE impersonated in the black stone brought in great pomp to Rome in 205 bC, to protect Rome from Hasdrubal.

As said before, criminals, in the absence of State prosecutor, could be summoned before judges only by "delatores". If Christians had been considered criminals in Bithynia in 110 aD, delatores who received part of the possessions of the condemned would not have failed to denounce MARCIO [?], a Christian bishop [? (story "improbable" (Encyc. Rel. and Ethics, V. 8, 407, N. McLean))] and wealthy shipowner [? (commonly a description of Marcion, died, c. 160)], surely well-known in a small province.

His son Marcio [Marcion, died c. 160] was in the second century the "arch-heretic" the "son of Satan", violently denounced by all Christian writers: Justin, Denys of Corinth, Philippos of Gortyne in Crete, Modeste Melito of Sardis, Iraeneus of Lyon, Theophile of Antioch, Miltiade, Proclus (himself an heretic) Rhodon, Clement of Alexandria, Bardesane of Syria. Tertullian writes "the Marcio heresy filled the whole world". The pagan Celsus [c. 178 C.E.] known only from the lengthy refutations in contra Celsum of Origen (adv. Marcion. V: xix, knows only two churches: the Catholic and the Marcionite.

MARCIO [Marcion] son went to Rome in 138, exposed his "heresy": Jehovah was a cruel and false god. christ was the real Savior. He offered the sum of 400.000 sesterces to the dignitaries of the Church in Rome but his thesis and his money were not accepted. Surely this sum would have tempted delatores in Bithynia and in Rome.

PAGE 1797

Authenticity of letters 96, 97 [of Pliny]
J. Semler does not mince words. "stolidissimae nugae, fraudesque non piae, sed impudentissimae". (["]stupid nonsense, humbug, very impudent frauds".[)]





E. Desjardins


 F. Boissier


B. Aubé


 E. Renan


P. Dupuy


 E. Babut


E. Havet

(1994) [1884?]

 J. Lebreton


P. Hochart


 R. Goguel


C. Guignebert


 WHC Frend


On Pliny: E. Allain: Pline et ses héritiers. 2 vols. 1901

A.M Guillemin: Pline et la litt. de son temps. 1929, 1969

Betty Radice [see 1858]: in Empire and aftermath. London 1975.

articles by: G. Sicard, J.B. Charpentier, Sherwin-White [see 1863] (1966, 1968, JTS 1952) Sir Ronald Syme [see 1991].' [10-12] [End of entry].


In a lengthy text, 3755 Greek words, in Bk. V of his Historiria [Historia] ecclesiastica, Eusebios of Cesarea [Eusebius of Caesarea] c. 302, writes: "The very illustrious Churches of Lyons and Vienna to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia (about their martyrs)..IV:1 recommend Irenaeus then priest at Lyon to (Eleutherios) Bishop of Rome ..Christians were "insulted, stuck, dragged, pillaged, stone, emprisoned [now, imprisoned] IV:3 beheaded, thrown to beasts..under emperor Antonin.""

Camille Julian, specialist in the history of Gaul, attests this wholesale execution of some 50 Christians? Ernest LAVISSE foremost French historian in the 19th century, in the 47 editions of his History of France (1913-1951) accepts the martyrdom of Blandine, the slave girl steadfast until death.

Eusebios wrote first that the martyrdom took place i, 167 under Antonin the Pius dead in 161. He later changed to 177, under Marcus Aurelius. His history, written 125 years after the supposed event and in Bithynia, 2000 km East of Lyon, as the crow flies or 60 days of sea travel, is obviously forged.

COMPLETE RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE RULED IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE. IN ITS 4 MILLION SQUARE KILOMETER, 100 MILLION PEOPLE REVERED 1200 GODS. In Rome and Italy, people revered Egyptian deities (Isis, Serapis) the Anatolian Cybele

(p. ) In the provinces some Roman soldiers and even tribunes revered the Iranian Mithra or local gods.

Only municipal dignitaries had, at fixed feasts, to honor the official Olympian gods and the deified emperor, excluding those murdered for glaring crimes and vices as Caligula or dethroned as Nero.

PAGE 1798

CHRISTIANISM, IF AT ALL NOTICED, WAS CONSIDERED AS A VARIANT OF JUDAISM [see 1504-1518], WHICH WAS NOT ONLY A RELIGIO LICITA [(provisional) permitted religion] BUT IT ENJOYED SPECIAL CIVIC PRIVILEGES as the religion Jews declared in c. 170 "allied of the Roman People" in the war against Antiochos IV Epiphanes. CHRISTIANISM had the added advantage that it did not practice circumcision, equaled by Roman law to castration, rated as a crime, when practiced upon non-Jewish males. The difference between CHRISTIANISM and Judaism were in Pagan eyes minimal, "as a fight about the shadow of an ass" (contra Cels. III:1)

The massive silence described on pages 69 to 73 of Christian writers down to 1470 on the martyrs of Nero in 64 aD includes the Lyon martyrs of 177 aD;

Worse: in his Apologeticum, Tertullian in North Africa in c. 192, 15 years after the Lyon executions of 177, praises Marc Aurel [Marcus Aurelius], as protector of Christians, this very wise Emperor.

In recent times religious writers explain the persecutions of Christians as judged "asocial" and "hating mankind". But St Paul writing to Christians in Rome, mentions 23 "brethren" some in the house of a freedman of Nero. In Gaul and the West all the Christians were "Graeculi" from Asia Minor, Palestine Syria and Roman "Asia" (now Turkey). If they "hated mankind" they could have stayed at home, to hate their fellow provincials, saving the 1000 sesterces for the trip to Italy [A Delight!].

In fact Gauls remained solidly pagan until c. 450, 300 years after Marc Aurel, when finally convinced, at least externally by Imperial edicts, Imperial gold and preference. They had clung tenaciously to their "false" gods and idols (Epona, Esus, Lug, Maternae etc..) Local heroes became Saints.

The first Christian burial attested archaeologically in Lyon dates of 252, 75 years after the supposed mass execution.

That Christians from Vienna (Narbonensis province) could have been "martyred" in Lyon is unthinkable. The Prefect of Narbonensis would not have permitted this breach of his jurisdiction. Even Harnack (Ausbreitung..) admits this.

The legal Codex compounded under Hadrian [see 1989] c. 135 of all edicts of consuls and emperors does not mention this criminal Christians nor legal proceedings against this new sect.

Th. MOMMSEN [Theodor Mommsen 1817 - 1903], despite his profound knowledge of the Roman legal procedures (Römisches Strafrecht) argues lamely that Christians were prosecuted under the law of coercio [coercion(?)], applied sometimes mildly, sometimes harshly" by jusges [judges], not specifying where, when and by whom.

If Nero in 64 aD had executed Christians by the "Institutum Neronianum ["] invented by Tertullian in 202, why neither Pliny nor Trajan mention this edict? The ponderous legal system of Rome precludes the execution of Romans and provincials without lengthy proceedings, witnesses, speeches, appeals to the emperor (provocatio as granted to St Paul in Palestine[)(?)].

Irenaeus, a Greek well attested historical personnage [personage], visited Pope Eleutherios in Rome in 202 aD. He had succeeded to the phantom bishop Pothin (Gree, ?) martyred in 177. In his homelies [homilies] he never mentions his glorious predecessor, who would have showered blessings upon the faithful flock at Lyon.

In his adversus Haeresos IV:30.3, he writes "Egyptians owed nothing to Hebrews..the Romans owe us nothing. On the contrary, the world is in peace thanks to them, so that we can travel without fear, whereever [wherever] we want".

PAGE 1799

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Glen W. Bowersock of Harvard came to the Symposium held in Lyon in 1977, 1800 years after the [supposed] manslaughter and pointed out slyly that 9 names of the alleged martyrs are the same as those of the Montanists in H. eccl. V:13.20.

Had Eusebius run short of Roman names for his invented martyrs?' [13-14] [End of entry]. [See: #17, 360-362 (Bowersock)].


It would be easy to impress and tire readers with dozens of pages filled with forgeries culled from the books of H. Hagen (1889) E. Stemplinger (1912) Th. Birt (1913) R. Sabbadini (1914) H. Willrich (1924) F. Torm (1932) A. Meyer (1932) A. Sint (1960) and specially from W. SPEYER [see 1991] (München 1971) who MENTIONS BRIEFLY 7000 ESTIMATED GREEK, ROMAN AND CHRISTIAN FORGERIES. Most of the following examples are cited from his work.


Few have been detected, but these few show that priests found since earliest times forgeries to be the easy way to wealth.

The decree on the grave of Amenophis III (1405-1372) was forged to ensure permanent rights to Theban priesthood.

The stele discovered at Elephantine by H. Brugsch to protect "for ever" the priests of god Chnoum was erected by order of Ptolemaios V Epiphanos in 187 bC and not by Pharaoh Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty (c. 2700 bC) to legitimate the retunr [return] of the Southern Provinces.

Wisdom sayings were ascribed to Amenhotep, son of Hapu (K. Sethe 1897). Letters were forged under the name of Agathodaimon to Osiris, and of Isis to her son Horus.

The Harris Papyrus was redacted [redacted (probably, commonly) = forgery, on a "sliding scale" (see 1991 (redaction))] by order of Ramses IV (c. 1160 bC) in the form of his father's testament.


GREEKS HAD 26 WORDS TO NAME FORGERIES, ROMANS HAD "ONLY" 15. Text criticism, denunciation of forgery and of interpolation began in Greece in the 5th century bC., based as now on style study, on words used in anachronism [see 1888].

The ARGUMENT A SILENCIO was first used by GALEN [129 - c. 199] in "de glandibus" alleged to be by Hippocrates [c. 460 - c. 377 B.C.E.] but rejected because not mentioned by any of Hippocrates' colleagues.

PAGE 1800

Diogenes Laertios [Diogenes Laertius 3rd century] ascribed an epigram on Midas to Cleobulos and not to Homer who lived centuries before Midas. Demetrios of Magnesia [fl. 50 B.C.E.] pointed out that the letters of Epimenides to Solon, written in Attic and not in Cretan was a forgery. Theopompos concluded that the peace treaty of Kallias in 489 bC with the Persians was false, as it was written in Ionic and not in Attic letters. Apollonios Melon judged false an oracle cle [delete "cle"] of the Delphy Pythia, being uttered in trimeter instead of hexameter.

Herodot [Herodotus c. 485 - c. 425 B.C.E.] (II:116) denied Homer the authorship of Kypria and (IV:32) of the Epigons, on the basis of their contents. The forgery of "Diktys of Knossos", companion of Idomeneos in the Trojan war, was immensely popular for centuries, even in the Middle Ages in Western Europe.

From the 2nd century bC, Alexandrian catalogues became the reference. The works declared false by Kaikilios of Kale Akte and Dyonysios of Halikarnassos were no longer read and disappeared. Menedemos of Eretria accused Aeschines of having pirated Socrates' sayings, obtained from his wife Xantippe. Emperor Julian attributed the tragedies of Diogenes of Sinope to his disciple Philiskos of Aegena.

Aristoxenos [4th century B.C.E.] asserted that Plato had plundered Pythagoran texts, an accusation repeated for centuries.

Demokrit [Democritus c. 460 - c. 370 B.C.E.] was one of the most plagiarized authors, the main plagiarist being Bolos of Mendes [Bolus of Mendes (Egypt) 3rd century B.C.E.] denounced by Seneca jr. [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] Sextus Julius Africanus, bibliothecary of Alexander Severus forged some Homer verses and the "Medicine of Homer" under Galen's name. The Epucurian [sic] Zenon of Sidon rejected as forgeries several letters ascribed to Epicurus. Diogenes Laertios [Laertius] denounced the 50 letters attributed to Epicurus by the Stoic Diotimos.

No names can be ascribed to forgers passing under the names of Orpheos, Musaios, Linos, Pythagoras, Homer, Hesiod, Plato, Democrit, Eudoxos, Aeschylos, Socrates, Demosthenes, Isocrates, Lysias, Galen.

Oracles forged for political purposes were said to be inscribed on buried copper plates [compare: "Copper Scroll" ("two fragments"), found March 20, 1952, Qumran (The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, 21)] or on temple walls. Decrees of assemblies were published.

The oracles of Zeus Ammon in Egypt declared Alexander to be the son of God. All Greek cities feigned to accept it. Only Sparta declared dryly ": if Alexander wants to be a god, let him be [see #24, 509]."

Herakleides Pontikos [Heraclides Ponticus 4th century B.C.E.] was said by Diogenes Laertios [Laertius] to have bribed the Pythia to obtain oracular praise. Herodot [Herodotus c. 485 - c. 425 B.C.E.] (V:56-61) states that inscriptions in faked antique letters were shown in temples. Six centuries later Pausanias [fl. c. 150 C.E.] quotes some old inscriptions of late priestly origin. (8:10.10--14.6)

Hymns were ascribed to Homer, genealogies to Hesuod [Hesiod fl. 8th century B.C.E.], anecdotes to Hippocrates, fables to Aesop.

The forged testament of Alexander to his mother Olympia (Fr. gr. Hist. 659) written in 321 bC and later interpolated with clauses favoring Rhodes as quoted by Diodoros (20:81) had political purposes.

PAGE 1801


Plautus [c. 254 - 184 B.C.E.] was the most plagiarized author. Eight philologists claimed that many of his comedies were forged: Accius, Aelius Stilo, Aurelius Opilius, Servius Clodius, Manilius, Volcacius Sedegitus (c. 150) M. Terentius Varro (de comediis Plautinis) and Aulus Gell[i]us (3:3.1 - 13) (+) ["(+) Of the 130 comedies ascribed to Plaute, they ["Eight philologists"] accept only 21 and 25."]

Pliny condemned the letter of Sarpedon written on papyrus unknown to Homer. Marital complains repeatedly (VII:12.5-9--VII:72.12.6--X.3.5--10:33.5.10) of forgers writing under his name verses offensive to important men. Caligula forged some letters to his sisters.

Caesar used spurious Sybill oracles for political purpose. Dio Cassius (44:23) says that by order of Mark Anthony, Vaterius, Caesar's secretary, falsified Senatus Consults and Caesar's testament. Augustus had some Sybill oracles burnt (Livy IV:20.6) and oubted [doubted] some Caesar's speeches.

Cicero (Brutus 11:42) "Rhetors are allowed to lie in historical texts". He proved the forgery of C?Verres [Gaius Verres c. 115 - 43 B.C.E.] by the correction of tabulae publicae. He doubted all religious oracles as that of Praenest (2.85,2.104, 12.1.1, 12.116) and many religious writings (Ep. ad ..Dolabella). He denied (de officiis. 3.1.4) all writings ascribed to P. Scipio Africanus.

For political reasons Cicero was the target of several forgers who wrote "Invectives" under the name of Catilina and Marc Anthony, as denounced by Asconius. The Epistola ad Octavianum was forged in the 3rd or 4th century aD by a rhetor (R. Lamarchias 1968).

Aulus Gell[i]us (N.a. 4.18.6) mentions the doubts raised by several writers on Scipio's and Cicero's speeches. Cierco [Cicero] was accused of having falsified a decree of Tribune L. Pacilius to defend Clodius (Cic. pro Plancio 77) (P.W. L.A. 1194.30.21.7[)]

Caesar was said to recognize, as soon as heard, whether Cicero's jokes were true or forged.

Livy denounced several forged SC ["Senatus Consults" (see above; 1797)] of the 5th century aUc. (III:55.13) He writes guardedly of the speeches of Scipio and Tiberius Gracchus. ("si modo ipsorum sunt quae feriuntur ["]).

According to Dionysios of Halikarnassos (Ant. Rom. 4.62.6) Varro proved by a wrong akrostichon the forgery of Sybilline oracles. Sueton [Suetonius] (Vesp. 6.4) mentions one true-or-false letter of Otho to Vespasian. Ammianus Marcellinus mentions the forgery of Silvanus Francus by Dynamios. In his Apolegica, Apuleius [born c. 123] denounces a forged letter written by the nephew of the wealthy widow Pudentilla, to prevent him from marrying her.

omans [Romans] imitated the Greek classification of works

as genuinae, spuriae, ambiguae. ...[3 Greek words]

The collecting zeal of Ptolemids, Attalids of Pergamum, Lagids of Alexandria provoked many forgeries.

The deadliest forgery of antiquity is that of Eros, secretary of Aurelian. By his too rapid wealth, he had aroused the wrath of his master. In fear for his life, he wrote in the hand of Aurelian a list of courtiers to be executed. These murdered Aurelian. (Stein. art. [apparently the damaged word is "Eros"]. PW 61 (1907) 543 sq.

Greek and Roman forgeries condensed from W. Speyer, p. 111-146' [34-37].

PAGE 1802


(see #18, 367) (see:;]

In the first five centuries, forgeries and counter forgeries were exchanged between the "orthodox" backed by the Pope in Rom [Rome] and the ["]heterodox".

However in the Byzantine (Greek) church the faithful consider themselves as "orthodox" and the Romans as somewhat heterodox.

Numberless sects appeared and disappeared, each holding a doctrinal view of God and salvation. The "Panarion" [see 1795] of Epiphanos [Epiphanius] lists 80 heresies (to match the 80 concubines in the Canticle of Canticles, but actually "onl" ["only"] 70). Of all these sects, only Nestorianism lasted for centuries and spread as far as Mongolia where Mongolian princesses in Karakorum adopted it.

Paul denounces letters forged under his name (Thess. 2.2, 3.7 Cor. 11.3.5) and false apostles claiming to ne trie [apparently: be the] Apostles. In his Apocalypse, "John" curses those who dare tamper with his text (22.18 sq). Forgers operated from earliest times.

The formation of the Canon led to a critical survey of texts ascribed to the Apostles. As the Greeks and Romans, Origen (186-252) classified the works as accepted (...[Greek word]), doubtful (...[Greek word]) and false (...[Greek word]). Eusebios (265-340) followed: doubtful (...[Greek word]) forged (...[Greek word]) divided into two subclasses: (1) the orthodox forgeries: Acts of Paul, the Hermas Shepherd, the Petrus Apocalypse, the Barnabas letter, the Didache, perhaps the Apocalypse of John and the Evangil of the Hebrews. (2) the heretical forgeries: the evangils of Peter, Thomas, Mathias, the Acts of Andrew, John and other Apostles.

Julius Africanus [c. 180 - c. 250 (see 1990)] classifies texts as perfectae, mediae et nullus auctoritatis (Tast. regil. 17.7) Eusebios of Cesarea [Eusebius of Caesarea], no mean forger himself, complains that Devil's apostles have interpolated his letters (H.e.IV:23.12)

Origen complains un ad quosdam caros Alexand. (quoted by Rufinus) of the forgeries of his doctrines, but comforts himself by the forgeries of Pauline texts. Athanasius (295-373) related how an Arian falsified his texts (Apol. ad Const. 19 PG)

Basileios was incensed by a false letter of him spread by Eustathios of Sebaste. Theodoros of Mopsuestia saw his texts falsified by Apollinarusts. Cyril of Alexandria mentions forgeries of his texts. (Ep. 40, Patr. Gr. 77.201) Orosius convicted of forgery the slave Stilichos. Jerome complains of false letters in his name (Apol. ad Rufin. 2.24) St Augustinus sealed his answer to a doubtful invitation to a council.

Texts of Popes (Innocens I, Leo I, Pelagius, Gregorius I, Julius) were forged by Monophysites, Apthartodocetes and other heresiarchs. In his "Tractatus contra Monophysitas" Emperor Justinian compared Apollinarists texts with tupposed [supposed] works of Athanasios and Cyril to ascertain the forgeries.

In the Council of Chalcedon (451 aD) both Monophysites and Duophysites battled with falsified letters of their adversaries.

In the 5th Council of Constantinople, the texts of Cyril and Theodorus of Mopsiestia [Theodore of Mopsuestia c. 350 - 428] were rejected as falsified.

PAGE 1803

The result of such strife was in the 6ch Council of 680-681, both parties agreed to seal their respective archives and to open them only during the sessions, so that no forgery could be made, once the discussions had begun. A Harnack (Dogmengeshichte 2.433) terms it "the antiquarian and paleographic [also, palaeographic] Council". In it the "Sermo of Patriarch Menos (dead 552) to Pope Virgilius" was declared forged from the appearance of the letters. Two letters of Pope Virgilius to Justinian and Theodora were found to be interpolated by Malarios, Patriarch of Antioch, in the sense of the Monotheletes.

In the Council of 787 only complete texts were accepted, since "florilegia" (extracts) were not convincing (Van den Ven 1955).


In the West, the struggle for power between Bishoprics provoked thousands of forgeries. The fight for primacy opposed Rome to Aquileia and Ravenna, in Spain Merida to Barcelona, Toledo to Oviedo, in Gaul Arles to Vienna and Lyon, in England Canterbury to York.

Churches and monasteries invented saints by the thousands to justify land rights, privileges and exemptions. "Victa" and "Passio" of saints were composed to satisfy the religious feelings of the faithful on anniversary days. Bishoprics and even cloisters forged saints. Metz forged Clemens, Trier invented Valerius, Eucarius, Maternus. Mainz invented Crescens.

These forgeries were confirmed by saintly bones bought in East and in Rome. All biographies of saints were pure inventions. They vied in stories of weird tortures and of miracles, which remained undoubted until Le Nain de Tillemont published in 1698 his "Memoirs to assist["] etc.. [sic] in which he denounced the falsity of thousands of hagiographies, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PETER AND PAUL, TOO DANGEROUS TO TACKLE, though he had elected to live in Belgium, far enough of the long arm of French kings egged on by their bishops.

His pathbreaking was followed by the "Bollandists" of Jean Bolland, Daniel Papebrook, G. Mensken. Leading Catholic (Mgr Duchesne) and Protestant scholars (A. Harnack) scores of others (A. Ehrhard, B. Neumann) have demolished thousands of saints. One of the more entertaining demolishers is the Jesuit DELAHAYE [see #13, 322-323; etc.]. His "Legends of Saints" knocks off haloes and crowns by the hundreds. His "Les passions des martyrs", more systematic and not translated, exposes the false edicts of Hadrian [see 1989] and Julian. Spoofs of "Imperial edicts are the obligatory ornaments in Passion histories".

In "White Magic" Dr. C.G. Loomis classifies some 10,000 miracles under 12 headings. This book gives us a sad idea of the credulity of our ancestors.

In Northern Gaul, St. Venevieve erectedd [erected] church in 475 to Saint Denis near Paris, where the Merovingian kings were crowned. Hilduin (814-840) brandishing unreadable Greek manuscripts identified this St Denis with the Athenian Denys Areopagytes, converted by St Paul.

Archbishop Hincmar by bold forgeries obtained for Rheims the primacy in Gaul. From Charles the Bald in 869 all French Kings down to 1824 were crowned and anointed with an heavenly oil replenished miraculously through ten centuries.

PAGE 1804


From the 12th century onward, pseudo-ancient literary works appeared, few of their authors have been traced. Pseudo-Ovidiana (de vetula) Ps-Martial, Ps-Apuleius, Ps-Hyeronimus (Ep. Valerii ad Rufinum) redacted [redacted a pseudo work!] by Walter Map in the 13th century, the Ps-Boethius (de disciplina scholarum) a mystification. P. Lehmann discovered the author's name (Conradus) in the acrostichon of the Spragis.

In the Renaissance humanist[s] avoided religious forgeries and redacted [details? (can redaction be forgery, by a coward, etc.? (see 1991 (redaction)))] antique texts out of love for classical antiquity. P.C. Decembrio or B. Alberti redacted a letter of Virgil to Mecenas. The Florentine A. Lancia wrote in Italian a letter of Lucilius to Seneca, as pendant to the letters of Seneca to Lucilius. The Dominican Giovanni Nanni [see 1990] (Nannius) of Viterbo (1432-1502) in his Antiquitatum variorum published in 1498 in Romalleged [Rome alleged] works of Berosos, Archilochos, Plato and others.

Joachim Camerarius (d. 1574) forged letters between Paul and the presbyter of Ephesos. In a book published in 1595 at Leyden under the name of Enniussome verses allegedly of Paulus Merula. Francusco Membeccari presented 19 letters in Latinof [Latin of] Libanius "translated from Greek". A. de la Salle seems to hvve [have] redacted a fragmentary Invective Catilina-Cicero. The Napolitan [Neapolitan (connected with Naples, Italy)] Piero [Pirro] Ligorio (1530-1596 [1513 - 1583]) [see 1990] forged many inscriptions. Natali Conti (1530-1582) forged quotations in "Mythologiae" published at Venice in 1552.

Johann von Trittenheim (1462-1516) forged a work allegendly [allegedly] written uner [under] Chlodowig in the 6th century. Even Erasmus [see #1, 9, 70. (Erasmus forgery)], who bitterly complained of forgeries forged in 1530 works of Cyprian. In the 16th century, Enrique Cajad buried at Cape Cintra in Portugal some Latin verses in honor of the conquest of India by the Portuguese and were admired as ancient sybilline oracles. The monks Roman de Higuera and Lupiano Zapata forged chronicles in honor of their convents. False inscriptions "discovered" by Morales, Ponce, Resende and Andreas Schott were accepted in the Thesaurus of Gruter.

W. Speyer [see 1991] (1971) quotes various forgers in Germany; France, Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries. Curzio Inghirami (1614-1655) wrote about Etruscan antiquities. Chr. Pfaff forged fragments of Iraeneus allegedly found in Turin. Under the name of Messala Corvinus, "de progenie Augusti Caesaris" and under the name of Papirius Latro "de situ Reatino" were published in Turin.

Other forgers mentioned by W. Speyer: W. Ahlwardt (d. 1830) forger of Pindar, F. Wagenfeldt forger of Sanchuniathon, A. Bielowski forger of Pompeius Trogus, K. Simonides Uranius in Egypt[,] E. Lenormand as Mertzides (Greek inscriptions)

PAGE 1805


Mystifiers who write for no monetary gains wre [were] not known in antiquity. They balance between the pleasure of taking in the public and their colleagues and that of having their talent admired, once recognized.

True mystifiers are rare. Some mystifications were intended as literary exercises, as the works of Fobanus Hessus (1514) Letters of Maria Virgo to God Father, Maria Magdelena to Jesus, Lydia to Paul, de institutionem puerile.

M. Parenti (Firenze 1951) cites several such works. Some supposed forgeries as "Consolatio ad Liviam" were found to be true (Torino 1956)

In the 19th century, the greatest mystifier was Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870) prolific author of 22 historical novels, some still readable [amusing]. In 1825 he wrote the "Theatre of Clara Gazul" and in 1927 "La Guzla", an anagram. "Illyrian Lieder of Hyacynth Maglanovitch". The book bore a photograph of himself as H. Maglanovitch.

In 1845 he wrote the novel CARMEN, the tragic ending of the love story of a Spanish customs sergeant and a female cigar maker. The music of G. Bizet made this opera a success lasting to this day.

In 1862 Vrain-Lucas [Vrain-Denis Lucas] [see Addition 33, 1450-1453; 1990], a hunchback of a poor peasant family, who had worked in a genealogical cabinet and followed history courses at the Sorbonne, contacted the Academician Michel Chasles, a wealthy mathematician and geometer and in the course of 5 years sold him 27,545 letters for the enormous sum of $100,000. (some $1,000,000. at present) A. Thierry 1911.

These letters were written by 660 illustrious persons

["Lucas also made crude approximations of Carolingian script and archaic orthography, but his texts are all essentially in modern French." (Prince of Forgers, Rosenblum, 1998, 3)]:

Sapho [Sappho], Lazarus, Alexander to Aristotle, Maria Magdalena, Attila, Vercingetorix to Caesar, Cleopatra to Caesar, Charles the Great (in 802) Joan of Arc (1430) Galileo (1641) Pascal to Newton.

In the Academy of Sciences of Paris in 1867 these letters were declared clumsy forgeries [see 1989]. Vrain-Lucas [Vrain-Denis Lucas] was condemned to 2 years of jail. The letters were bequeathed to the National Library.' [39-43].

PAGE 1806


In 1878 an Englishman not otherwise known, J.W. ROSS [see 1991] published in London a book of 430 pages, entered in the British Library as 11840 i 4 "Tacitus and Bracciolini" in which he asserted that the works of Tacitus were written by the well-known Florentine Poggio Bracciolini between 1424 and 1427 and copied in ancient letters until February 1429.

This book was received in England with massive indifference. It decided however Philippe [Polydore] HOCHART [b. 1831] of Bordeaux to write two books (1890 300 pages, 1894 275 pages) amplifying the thesis of ROSS, adding "not all the Ross arguments are valid. Death overtook him in the state of poverty and isolation, the lot of researchers" [this comment instantly endeared Polydore Hochart--to me].

[see: "Tacitus and his manuscripts" (orthodox presentation. Have corresponded with author (Roger Pearse)):]

[see: Poggio Bracciolini, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1997, Vol. 9, 543: "Poggio invented the humanist script (based on the Caroline minuscule)"; "Lorenzo Valla [revealer of the famous forgery, "The Donation of Constantine"], with whom Poggio engaged in some of the most notorious and vituperative polemics of a polemical age"; "POGGIOS ABILITY TO HANDLE LATIN AS A LIVE IDIOM IS BEST SHOWN IN HIS COPIOUS CORRESPONDENCE...."]

This thesis was termed "ingenious guesses" in 1893 by Ph. FABIA, who received from the French Academy of Letters a prize for his "Sources of Tacite" (462 pages).

Sir Ronald SYME (dead 1989) knighted for his life-long study of Tacitus, read certainly the books of Ross & Hochart, may have mentioned them in the thousands of pages of his studies, but not to my scant knowledge of his works.

The great French specialist Wuilleumier who edited and commented Tacitus, noting the 1205 similarities tabulated on page 110 wrote "Ross-Hochart forget that the Medicis parchment dates from the 9th [?] and 11th [?] centuries". P. GRIMAL, the foremost French latinist at present, does not mention the two sacrilegious authors.

The compendium of Latin literature of SCHANZ-HOSIUS on page 642 says "for the sake of curiosity, we may mention P. HOCHART 1890 and 1894 who denies the authenticity of Tacitus [details?]"

L. PARET condenses the 950 pages of Ross and Hochart and extracts 9 irrefutable and 6 probable arguments. From his studies he adds 9 irrefutable and 7 debatable arguments.' [50].

PAGE 1807

'TACITUS [see 1703-1704 (Strange)]

Biography: Place, dates of birth and death unknown. Son of a military tribune in Otho's army. Named by Domitian praetor in 88, by Nerva in 97 Consul suffectus. In 78 married daughter of Agricola, proconsul in Great Britain. In 98 wrote "Life of Agricola", in 99 Germania [see 1959-1967], in 102 Dialog of Orators In 112 named proconsul of Province Asia, attested by inscription found in Mylasa (Caria) published by D. & D. in Bull. corr. hell. 1890, p. 621.


In 104-109 he wrote Historiae of which only books I-IV are complete and parts of Bk V remain. Attested by Pliny jr. intimate friend and as lawyer junior colleague of Tacitus. Ep. 7.33

In Historia Augusta, forged in 337-361 or 390-00, the chief forger "Vopiscus" relates that Tacitus, emperor [see 1809] for a few months in 275 ordered all public libraries to stock ten exemplars of Historiae on their shelves.

Tertullian (Apol. 161) "Cornelius Tacitus in quinta historiarum suarum". St Jerome (347-420) (comm. ad. Mach. 3, 14 (25:1522 Migne) believe that Tacitus wrote 30 volumes. Sidonius Apollinaris (4.14:1) c. 480 mentions Gaius Tacitus.


Not attested in antiquity. The name Annales was coined in 1533 from Bk IV:32 "nemo annales nostros cum scriptura eorum contenderit, qui veteres populi Romani res composuere.

Michael Grant, in his preface of the translation writes: "certain aspects of the discvoery [discovery] in the 14th and 15th centuries are veiled in obscurity".

In 1429 Poggio Bracciolini, noted discoverer of ancient manuscripts, seems to have brought to light books XI-XVI, (Claudius and Nero) in lombard letters, now in the Medicean Library at Florence, as Mediceus II 68.2

The first modern mention of Annals and Historiae seems to be by Zacco Polentone in 1463 (["]librorum Taciti numerum affirmare satis certo non audeo"[)]. In 1469 Vindelinus of Speyer printed at Venice the books XI-XVI.

According to P. Wuilleumier, Nicolo Nicoli bequeathed a manuscript at an unspecified date to the Convent of San Marco in Florence, whence it went to the Laurentian Library in Florence, as Mediceus alter LVIII.2 This in-f manuscript, written in lombard letters, consists of 47 sheets (40x27 cm) with two columns of 35-36 lines. It describes the life and death of Claudius (-10/54) and 10 years of Nero's reign (54-64). Book XVI breaks off with the last words of Thraseas, about to die after having the veins of his arms cut. Why did the scribe leave the sentence unfinished? The dramatic suicide of Nero is a so much more interesting topic, why did not the author cover the last four years of Nero?


In 1513, shortly after his accession Leo X promised generous rewards for Greek and Latin texts brought to him. In 1515 the first five books of Annales were brought to him, written in small Carolingian letters, now in the Laurentianum Library, as Mediceus prior LVIII.1.

PAGE 1808

In his Papal bull, Leo X [Pope 1513 - 1521 (1475 - 1521)] said "After We purchased at a high cost these books of Cornelius Tacitus lost for some centuries, the merits and beauty of the work have decided Us to raise them promptly from dust and oblivion. We have chosen (Beroaldo) as publisher. We forbid to all those who will read Our bull--toprint [to print] for 10 years from today this work without our express permission, under pain of 200 ducats to pay without delay into the Apostolic Chamber".

In his dedicatory Epistle to Leo X, Beroaldus [Philipus Beroaldus 1472 - 1518 (also: Filippo Beroaldo 1472 - 1518, "librarian of the Vatican collection under Leo X and editor of Tacitus." (Dict. Renaissance, c1967))] mentions no place of discovery, no papal functionary, no sum disbursed (500 gold sequins [source?]) no seller.

[Beroaldus, to Leo X] "At Your elevation, You announced that You would reward those who would bring works out of their hiding places. This hunt found in the forests of Germany these 5 books hidden there for many centuries. (quae venatio Cornelii Taciti hos primos quinque libros, qui per longam saeculorum ambitum fatuerant in saltibus Germaniae invenit).

As true Father of us all, You [Leo X] ordered for the public weal"

Alcuati at Milano writing to Arcimboldi, later Archbishop of Milano writes succinctly "priores quinque libros de barbaris redemptos".

Why does this manuscript sold to Leo X differ by its carolingian letters from the manuscript of 1429 with lombard letters? why did it appear 80 years later? 56 years after the death of Poggio in ln 1459?

Poggio had five sons: Giovanni-Bautista, Giovanni-Francisco, Filipo, Pietro-Pablo, Jacopo. Four became priests. Jacopo conspired with the Pazzi against the Medicis and was hung from a window of the palace.

At the elevation of Leo X, Giovanni-Francesco, 65 years, was the sole survivor, heir of the property and papers left by his father [Poggio Bracciolini]. He could hardly say to have found the manuscript in his heritage. Someone had to pretend a discovery in Northern lands. German forests were a convenient place. Giovanni died, taking his secret with him in the grave.

The loss of the Annals in antiquity is improbable. In 275 the short-lived Emperor Tacitus [note: not, the historian Tacitus c. 56 - c. 120 C.E.] had ordered every library to stock 10 exemplars of the Historiae. This ensured the survival of the Historiae.

But hundreds of works not protected by Imperial fiat survived. In thousand of rolls we have the works of Cicero, dead 163 years before Tacitus, those of Titus-Livius dead 43 years before, the 37 books of Pliny's Natural History, to quote only the authors from which Poggio derived his Annals.

We have thousands of fragments left by hundreds of Latin authors, as well as the complete works of Velleius Paterculus[,] Valerius Maximus, near contemporary of Tacitus, of Quintilian, Seneca, Juvenal, Martial, his contemporaries, of Silius Italicus, Statius, etc.. Also hundreds of manuscripts of Greek authors, especially Dio Cassius (dead 235)

Copyists would not have failed to copy these Annals with their vivid descriptions ofthe [of the] most "picturesque" emperors.

Same massive silence in the Middle Ages, until Zecco Polentone, friend of Nicolo, writes "librorum Taciti numerum affirmare non audeo" (I dare not..)'

[51-53] [End of entry].

PAGE 1809

'ROSS [J.W. Ross, author: "Tacitus and Bracciolini", 1878]

His arguments, amplified further on, are as follows:

8 irrefutable

  1. p. 15 complete silence about Annals until 1470
  2. p. 20 Christian martyrs of XV:44
  3. p. 48,159 London in time of Claudius
  4. p. 52 Antonia, mother of Germanicus
  5. p. 61 Annals I:1 contradicts Historiae I:1
  6. p. 72 Animosity against Greeks
  7. p. 345 Natalis, chief plotter [see 1814, 1817]
  8. p. 377 extension of poemerium

7 debatable

  1. p. 233 Oracle of Colophon
  2. p. 237 Nineveh no longer extant
  3. p. 337 no Temple of Fortuna
  4. p. 44 Furius Camillus
  5. p. 39 Interest rates
  6. p. 275 Cumanus and Felix
  7. p. 117 linguistic differences" [68].

1 Complete silence about the Annals, until after the first printing in 1470 at Venice by Vindelinus of Speyer. This argument merges with argument (2) the lengthy refutation in 3 pages of the Christians burnt in 64 ad. by Nero.

2 Ann. XV:44 [see 1852-1853] "Christians were made scape goats by Nero [according to the Christian Fictions]; refined torments on these people hated for their crimes (flagitia) vulgarly called Christians, named after Christ executed by Procurator ["prefect" (Harper's Bible Dict.)] [see 1851] (sic) Pontius Pilatus in time of Tiberius. This awful superstition had spread from Rome where all shameful vices immense multitude was found guilty..for their hatred of mankind. Dressed in animal skins, they were torn by dogs or burnt on crosses to lighten the darkness..[sic]"

Amazing! the massive silence of Pagan and Christian writers alike about these horrid Christian criminals and their just punishment lasted for 1400 years, until the Annals became known.

No historian: Philo, Josephus, Pliny the Elder, Curtius Rufus, Suetonius [debateable, see 1878], Lucius Florus, Appianus, Justinus, Dio Cassius, -- no geographer: Pausanias, Pomponius Melo, Strabo, -- no poet Statius, Silius Italicus, Perseus -- no satirist: Juvenal who mocks Syrians and Graeculi, Martial -- no grammarian: Quintilian, Aulus Gellus, devote a word to this sect which tried to destroy the Urbs ["The city of Rome" (Ox. Latin Dict.)].

PAGE 1810

Only two clumsy interpolations were made later to prove the existence of this new god Christ. One in Jesephus [Josephus]: this man, if he can be called a man.. In Sueton [Suetonius] (Nero 16 [see 1878]): ["]under Nero many abuses were suppressed: a limit was set to expenditures -- public banquets limited to distribution of food -- the sale of cooked viands in taverns was prohibited, only pulses and vegetables -- PUNISHMENT INFLICTED ON CHRISTIANS, A SECT GIVEN TO A NEW AND MISCHIEVOUS SUPERSTITION -- the old rights of chariot drivers to riot, beat and rob citizens were ended.. [sic]"

St Paul accused in Palestine by Jews before Felix, brother of Pallas (Acts 24:1) In 52 aD appealed to Caesar (right of provocatio of Roman citizens) He went to Rome under armed guard. In Epistl. to Romans "to all in Rome beloved of God["] etc.. (I:7) "I am ready to preach the Gospel to you in Rome also["]. In XVI: 1-15 he greets the "Saints" Priscilla, Aquilla, Epaenetus, Mary, Andronikos, Junia (my kinsmen) Amplias, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, and those in the house of Narcissus (Claudius' freedman) Tryphne, Tryphon, Persis, Rufus, Asynicritos, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobos, Hermes and their brethren Philogos, Julia, Mereus and his sister Olympia and all the Saints with them.." St Paul was judged in 63 or 65 and set free. The incendy [sic] of [(my choice) fire in] Rome took place in 64. He stayed in Rome two years "in his own hired house" and unimpeded [...(Greek word)] made eight disciples, some in the "House of Caesar" before going probably to Spain, the "limits of the West" [...(Greek word)] to [...(3 Greek words)] (acc. to Epist. of Clement to Corinthians chapt. V. All this disproves the "immense multitude" of the tortured Christians in 64 aD. 33 (25+8) [source?] "Saints" in a city of one million inhabitants.

100 years later, "CHRISTIANISM" hardly noticed in an Empire of 60 to 80 millions [see #18, 374 (McCabe)] was considered as an improved variant of Judaism, a "religio lictita" [(provisional) permitted religion] which had been granted several privileges. Since the war of Rome against the Seleukid Antiochos Epiphanes in - 170, the Jews allied of Rome had been declared "friends of the Roman people".

In the first century Christians never called themselves Christians [see 1676-1687] but by 20 other names: brother, friend, disciple[,] saint, pious, chosen, just, faithful, devout, truthful[,] religious, believer, God-fearing, worthy, observant, living, reverent, servant of God.

Justus of Tiberias, in the same district of Jesus, wrote about Roman rule and the Jewish rebellion, and no mention of Jesus, to the wonderment of Photios, Patriarch of Constantinople in the 9th century?[sic] This history prudently disappeared after Photios.

In his famous paragraph XV:44, Poggio tangles with the forger of letter n 96 in the exchange Pliny-Trajan, alleged in 110. Pliny jr. the foremost lawyer with his friend Tacitus under Trajan, asks the emperor how to deal with Christians. "I never took part in suits against them, therefore I dont know which pursuits and penalties to be applied. Those who persevered I had them executed to punish their obstination". Trajan's reply (letter n 97) is equally absurd. "You did well, Christians are not to be pursued, those who persist when summoned are to be punished."

Some 80 years later Tertullian [c. 160 - c. 220] writes angrily": Trajan spares and punishes. If you condemn, why dont you search for them? if you dont search for them, why dont you absolve?" (story of the martyrs of Bithynia on p. 10)

PAGE 1811

Why did Trajan not reply curtly to Pliny "why, dont you remember that Christians burnt two thirds of Rome and were justly burnt by Nero, only 50 years ago?"

The Christian Apologists of the 2nd and third centuries ignore completely these Neronian cruelties. More, they vie in declarations of loyalty to the Empire. Had not their God said "render to Caesar that is of Caesar"?

Aristides c. 145 writes an Apology to Emperor Antonius (138-161), no word of Christians burnt as arsonists.

Bishop of Melito of Sardes c. 170 in his Apology "the Empire was created by God to foster the spread of CHRISTIANISM in mankind. Under Augustus CHRISTIANISM began. A great proof of the excellence of the Christian religion is that it spread simultaneously with the happy beginnings of the Empire, that nothing bad occured [occurred] to the Empire since Augustus' reign. On the contrary the Church has been brilliant and glorious as the progress of the Empire." (Euseb. H.e. IV:26.7.8)

Quadratus praises the Imperial rule (Euseb. IV:3.1)

Apollinaris of Laodicea praises Mark-Aurel [Marcus Aurelius] (161-180)

Athenagora [Athenagoras 2nd century] writes c. 176 to Mark Aurel "all the earth enjoys deep peace through your wisdom. All are ruled by just laws in the whole universe. The laws established by your ancestors conform to a perfect justice."

Ireneus, bishop of Lyon (180-208) (adv. haer.) "Romans owe us nothing. On the contrary the world is in peace thanks to them, so that we can travel fearlessly

[... (Greek word)] on land and on sea, wherever we want."

"In Rome the faithful of everywhere met and disputed openly". (III:3.2)

Tertullian of Africa (155-220) writes that under Nero the imperial sword struck Christians (caesariano gladio ferocisse [5:3][)] but no burnings, no dogs. In the same Apologeticum (33.1) "the Empire was chosen by God [source?]. I could say with reason: Caesar belongs rather to us, since he was set up by our God [30:2]. The world is better every day (ipse orbis cultior dedie) [source?]. This century has restored the triple virtues of the Empire (Septimus Severus, Julia Mammea, Julia Maesa) [source?]. We can cite a protector of Christians, this very wise Emperor (Mark Aurel [Marcus Aurelius]) who attests (a Christian miracle in Germany) [5:6].["(?)]

Origen (183-252) points out the sychronism [synchronism] EMPIRE-CHRISTIANISM [see: #6, 179; #8, 204-207; #10, 226-240; (Imperialism)]. The Empire is the God-willed preparation of Mankind to the Gospel [see #6, 179].

Lactantius (260-325) of Cirta (Numidia) laments the unavoidable decadence of the Empire (Inst. VII:15.11). The sinister prophecy of the Sybilline books fills him with horror. Though he accuses Nero without details, he writes "after Domitian, the Church was even more brilliant and flourished even more. etiam multo clarius floridius enituit["]).

Eusebios [Eusebius] of Caesarea (265-340) who devotes 3755 Greek words in his ponderous Historia ecclesiastica to the supposed Lyon martyrs [another forgery. see 1798-1800] in 177 under Mark-Aurel [Marcus Aurelius] ignores completely the "ingens multitudo" burnt as torches or eaten by dogs. On the contrary, to him

["(?)]the Empire realizes a part of the Divine plan to redeem mankind, the Divine aim of history".

PAGE 1812

Only two Pagan writers mention Christians. CELSUS [see 1879] (c. 160) His virulent denunciation of CHRISTIANISM does not mention Christian arsonists. His text is known only through the long refutations of Origen [see 1879].

LUCIEN (Lukaios) [Lucian] of Samosata (Syria) (125-192) in his 80 works he mentions Christians only in Peregrinus [see 1873-1874] (11.6) and Alexander [see 1871-1872] (25.38) Born in Egypt, secretary a cognitiabus, archistator praef. in Egypt. In Peregrinus he depicts Christians as morally blameless, with brotherly love, credulous zealots, believe themselves immortal and despise death. All goods are held in common and a clever impostor could rapidly become rich at their expense, they adore a crucified god and are visionary [see 1848, 1878; (Lucian)].

HOCHART (1894, p. 1-5) informs about Christian writers of the early Middle-Ages.

St Jerome [c. 345 - 420] who spent his youth in Rome ignores completely the roasted Christians. Only St Peter, 25 years Bishop of Rome (39-64) had his head cut off the same day as St Paul. Orosius (480-573) bishop in Spain and Cassiodorus (Cronica c. 430) ignore the Neronian cruelties. Likewise Isidore of Sevilla, Freculphe of Lisieux, Adon of Vienna, Vincent of Beaucais (15th century) and Dante Alighieri.

Bocaccio (1313-1375) mentions only Peter & Paul [see 1785] as martyrs.

ROSS in 1878 followed p. 22 a false lead. He quotes the following plagiarisms:

Inditum imperatori flammeum dos et geniales torus et faces nuptiales..ut at ferarum tergis contecti laniatu canum interirent..crucibus affixiaut flam in usum nocturni..urerentur

(Sulpicius ii:28-29) [see 1688, 1853]

["Tacitus"] Ann. XV:37

Inditum imperatori flammeum [", missi1 auspices," (Loeb)] dost [dos et] genialius torus et faces nuptiales..[Ann. XV:44 follows] ut ferarum tergis contecti laniatu canum interi crucibus affixi aut usum nocturni urerentur. [see 1688, 1853]

HOCHART (1894, p. 143) points out that Sulpicius Severus [c. 360 - c. 420-425 (CE)], a Gaulish cleric of the 5th century, in his other well-attested works (Letters, Dialogues, Vita St Martini) never mentions, even once, this Historia Sacra [or, Chronicle (CE)]. Neither does any other writer. A manuscript was discovered by a cetain [certain] Flores in the 13th century [details?], then lost again and rediscovered by Poggio.

This "Historia Sacra" invents a Council in Egypt in 337 in favor of Athanasius and a Council of Sardica in 347 convened by Constantine. (dead in 337)

Sigonius [Sigonio 1524 - 1584], himself a renowned forger writes in Comment. Hist. Sacra ["Historia Sacra"] ": See how Sulpicius confounds facts and ates [dates]! He is the only one to tell these things! he adds what others have omitted, I wish he had never written about these things"

But this ["Historia Sacra"] religious work was of no interest to buyers in Italy. It had been mentioned by no writer, until "discovered" by Poggio. It was finally printed in 1556 by Flach Francowitz[.]' [68-72].

PAGE 1813

'5 The clearest denial of the authenticity of the Annals is expressed by Tacitus in the first paragraph of Historiae. "I will begin my work at the second consulate of Servius Galba, because the 820 years of the previous period (down to 68 aD, year of Nero's death) have been related by numerous authors eloquently and with freedom. If I live I propose to relate the principate of Nerva and the imperium of Trajan without love or hatred". (neque amore et sine odio)

Despite this clear statement, Poggio decided to forge an history from the death of Augustus to the death of Nero. In case some readers would know the statement in Histories, Poggio gave some clever reasons for his change of mind.

"The prosperous or adverse (times) of the ancient Roman people are recorded by famous authors. The times of Augustus did not lack distinguished minds but rising flattery deterred. The reigns of Tiberius, Caius, Claudius and Nero, while they shone, were falsified out of fear, after their deaths redacted out of recent hatreds. Hence my decision to report little about Augustus and his end (but) mostly on the reigns of Tiberius and others (writing) without wrath or partiality, having little cause for these (feelings)."

[note: 6 (not presented), is not in numerical order, and occurs on the following book page (75)]

7 In the PISO plot mentioned in 3 words by Sueton [Suetonius] but which Poggio blows to 24 chapters, Poggio mentions [glancing, I noticed 11 mentions] Antonius Natalis as chief plotter 5 times [see 1817].

THIS NATALIS [Antonius Natalis (Roman knight)] WAS DEAD BEFORE THE PISO PLOT [see below]. Seneca (Ep. 87[)]: "Nuper Natalis/tam improbae linguae quam impurae in cujus [cuius] ore feminae purgabuntur[purgabantur]/et multorum heres fuit et multos habuit heredes [see translation, below]."

[[translation ("prudery"?)] "recently Natalis--a man whose tongue was as shameless as it was dirty, a man whose mouth used to perform the vilest offices--was the heir of many, and also made many his heirs." (Seneca, Ad Lucilium, Epistulae Morales, Loeb Classical Library, vol. II, 333)]

J.W. Ross with Victorian prudery does not quote the 10 indecent words [see above].' [74].

Comment: Reference to: "This Natalis was dead before the Piso plot." If accurate, outstanding evidence for a forgery; but, caveats apply. Was it the same "Natalis"? Was he dead "before the Piso plot"? Did Seneca write this? Etc.? [See: 1817].

PAGE 1814

'Nero's Christian torches may have been copied by Poggio from Juvenal (Sat. I:155) ..taeda (pine torch) lucebis in illa quo [qua (John E.B. Mayor, 1966)] stantes ardent qui fixo gutture [pectore (Mayor)] fumant.

Juvenal [c. 55 - c. 140] who lived in Rome, wrote this in 120 aD, he never mentions Christians, whether living or burnt to death.


[faggot: "A bundle of sticks, twigs, or small branches of trees bound together...for use as fuel" (O.E.D.)]

Poggio added the most unlikely details. HOCHART pointed out that Nero would not have Christian torches set up in his gardens, where he had given refuge to the homeless.

That the homeless having lost all their belongings would pity the burning Christian arsonists, as "victims of Nero's cruelty" goes against common sense. In the amphitheaters the Romans delighted in watching the agony of gladiators who had not harmed them in the least. A fortiori ["for a still stronger reason" (Random House Webster's College Dict.)] would they delight in watching the torture of arsonists who made them homeless. In the "games without mercy" (munera sin misione) they shouted to the winner "hoc habet (take that) recipe ferrum (get the iron) vebera (strike) jugula (kill) ure (burn)["] [see 1784]' [73]. [See: 1629; 1787-1788].

PAGE 1815


In the 575 pages of his two books (1890, 1894) Polydore Hochart [b. 1831] reproduces some letters of Poggio to Niccoli with strong clues to the planning of the forgery. He names several Middle Age writers ignorant of the Nero martyrs. He furnishes revealing details on the skills of copysts [copyists], on Poggio's way of life, he contributes some plagiarisms which escaped Sir R. Symeand [Syme and] FDR Goodyear, but only two fair arguments for the forgery. He noticed however a glaring anachronism [see 1888], ranking with the "London" of J.W. ROSS.

Poggio mentions twice "gubernaculus", (sternpost) rudder. This device appeared in Canton in the first century bC (acc. to Joseph Needham) and was introduced in Europe end eleventh senturyor [century or] beginning twelfth century, 1000 years after Germanicus issaid [is said] to have used ["gubernaculis"] in Ann. II:6 and Anicetus in XIV:4-5.

II:6.3 plures adpositis utrimque gubernaculis converso ut repente remigio hinc vel illinc adpellerent...

This is obviously copied From Germania 44:2 OF THE [NOT (see 1966)] TRUE TACITUS: the Suiones (Swedes) in the Black Sea (some early Vikings ?): pari utrimque prora et mutabilis remigio quando hinc vel illinc adpellere.

But Poggio confounded prow ["the forepart of a ship or boat; bow."] with rudder. Double-prowed ships were no novelty. They are mentioned in Sophocle fragm. 135. employed in the siege of Byzantium. Dio 74.11.3

This shows that Poggio took it from the Germania manuscript brought by the Herschfeld [[Hersfeld Abbey] "Convent near Fulda" [64]] monk. [see 1965]

FDR Goodyear of Cambridge University noted that analogy (t.23. 1981) but did not query the rudder. [like other areas of Paret, I have not tried to confirm this argument (expose?). Commonly, the abilities of a superb Latin scholar, are essential].


A valid argument of Hochart may be the "allusion" in Ann. III:58 (Hochart 1894, p. 214).

The charge of flamen dialis remained vacant for 72 years after the death of Lucius Cornelius Merula, but "with no interruption of ceremonies nor damage to the cult".

The charge of flamen Augusti was somewhat similar to the Pope. Clement V transferred the Papal Seat to Avignon (France) in 1305. Gregory IX transferred it back to Rome in Jan 1377. Poggio was very much enemy of the Papacy, though he was Papal secretary. This hostility to clerics common in Italy at the time has already been noted. (Machiavelli, Dante, etc..) p. 60

Since the effective absence of Popes from Rome was 70 years, it also resembled the "Babylonian Captivity" denounced by Jeremiah and 2000 years later by Petrarca.

PAGE 1816

In Ann. IV:33, Poggio may have indulged in a left-hand critic of the cruel rule of Idespots [despots] over Italian cities of his time.

Though Poggio did not like England (parum diligo. Epist. I:2) he admired the government balance between monarch, noblemen and commoners; "delecta ex iis et consociata respublicae forma laidari facilius quam evenere". A government of these three elements is easier praised than found" [double quotation mark?].

--Hochart doubts that Rome, two thirds destroyed by the incendy [sic] [fire] could be rebuilt in two years and a new palace (Domus Aurea) with woods, lawns and lake also.

Poggio mentions that Nero returned from Antium only when the flames approached the Domus Transitoria which housed paintings and sculptures. In the 16th century the new palace had long crumbled. When excavated, the Lacoon was retrieved from the "grottoes" and the word "grotesque" was coined.' [78-79].

'NATALIS [Antonius Natalis (Roman knight)] [see 1810]


Sueton [Suetonius] (Nero 36) "two plots were discovered. The earlier and more dangerous was that of PISO at Rome and the other by Vinicius at Beneventum and detected there."

Poggio ["Tacitus"] does not mention the Vinicius plot but devotes 24 lurid chapters to the Pisonian plot and the punishment of his coplotters.

Poggio slipped on one plotter NATALIS, which he mentions 6 [glancing, I noticed 11] times (chapt. 49, 56[,] 61,71)

[Loeb Classical Library, see Annals, Book XV: 50, 54, 55, 56, 60, 61 (60, 61, not listed in Index (for "Natalis")), 71. Natalis is mentioned 2 times in 50, 3 times in 56, 2 times in 60.]

but who was finally pardoned.

Poggio did not read Seneca's Epistol. 87:16 but erudite J.W. Ross did. In 1878, out of Victorian propriety, he omitted the 10 obscene central words: "Nuper Natalis (tam improbae linguae quam impurae in cujus [cuius] ore feminae purgabuntur [purgabantur] [for translation, see 1814]) et multorum heres fuit et multos habuit heredes). Natalis had died before the plot [see 1814].' [95].

PAGE 1817

'JESUS (BODY PARTS) [see 1748; 1831-1837 (Relics)]

1. Foreskin (paaeputium [praeputium]) kept by Mary after circumcision. 12 in France, 1 in Belgium, 1 in Germany, 1 in Rome. The one best attested at Charroux (Poitiers) said to have been given as betrothal gift by Empress Helena to Charles the Great, who had Charroux built to house it in 788. A bulla of Clement VII in 1379 grants indulgences to sightseers. Henry V sent it to London to help in the birth of Henry VI from Catherine of France. Confirmed by royal ordnance of 1447. Louis XI worshipped it in 1464.

2. Navel (umbilical chord) authenticated by Pope Clement V in 1310. 2 in France, 2 in Italy, 1 in Cosstantinople [Constantinople].

3. Blood. in crystal vials. 8 in France, 4 in Italy, 2 in Belgium, 3 in Constantinople. One drop had an adventurous history. Nicodemus caught some blood on a parchment, put it in a bird's beak. The bird landed in Normandy, where the Abbey of Bec-Halluin was founded in 1200 by the Duke of Normandy. The drop in Bruges (Belgium) of Abbey of St Basil, liquefied every Friday from dawn to 3 p.m. (1148-1310) when a criminal uttered a blasphemy, it became solid.

4. Teeth. One milk tooth at Soissons. Guibert, abbot at Nogent wrote a book contesting its authenticity. Several adult teeth at Charroux.

5. Nails. 5 nails of left hand, 2 nails of right hand. Charroux

6. Hairs. in Church of St Alban (Namur) confirmed by bulla of 1249. 2 hairs in Chartres 1322. also at Lucca (Italy).

7. Beard. one curl at Wittenberg 1509.

8. Tears. in crystal vial, shed on Golgot ha [Golgotha] at Vendome. 5 in France.

9. Sweat on the Golgot ha [Golgotha (Calvary)], at Vienne and St Omer.

10. Breath. at Genova. doubtful.

PAGE 1818

11. Crown of Thorns [see 1989]. made of twigs of Acacia horrida, var. nilotica, with thorns of 5-10 cm (2-4 in.) kept in the chapel of Bucoleon in Constantinople. In 1204 the Crusaders came to Constantinople to pass through Anatoliato Palestine to rescue the Holy Sepulchre from the Moslems. But following the counsels of the Venitian Doge Dandolo, they sacked the city and dethroned the Emperor. Byzantium fell to Baldwin of Flanders, as well as one-fourth of the relics, including the Crown of Thorns, which was sent to Venice, as security for a money loan. In 1238, St Louis IX repaid to the Venitians [Venetians] the loan of 13,134 gold perpres[?]. The crown arrived in Paris in 1239. The king and all his Court, in shirt and naked feet, carried it in 1248 to the Saint Chapelbuilt [Chapel built] expressly to receive it. In the course of time, the kings sent some 70 spines to other kings, to Venice and other churches.

12. Seamless robe. with half-sleeves. Increasing in size with age of God. at Argenteuil and Trier (Germany)

13. Shirt, sandals, shawl, belt. at Athens.

14. Swaddling clothes. at Prag, received by Karl IV.

15. Manger craddle [cradle] of Bethlehem. in Church of Our Lady Bethlehem

16. some straw of the manger.

17. some of the incense brought ty [by] the 3 Magi to Bethlehem

18. some of the gold pieces brought by the 3 Magi.

19. the skulls of the 3 Magi

20. bones of the 3 Magi

21. skulls, tibias, femurs of the Innocents slaughtered by Herod. (204 parts at Wittenberg)

22. part of the rock shown by Satan to Jesus in the desert.

23. 12 baskets of bread multiplicated miraculously by Jesus

24. jars of water changed into wine at Canna wedding.

25. spines of the fishes fed to 5000 people.

26. some of these dried fishes.

27. bones of donkey on which Jesus rode on Palm Sunday.

PAGE 1819

28. some of the palm leaves carried on that day.

29. piece of the cloth whth [with] which Jesus dried Apostles' feet.

30. some of the water used to wash apostles' feet

31. piece of sail of bark in which disciples fished on Lake of Tiberiad.

32. piece of broiled fish offered to Jesus by Peter.

33. table of Last Meal (whole)

34. part of said table. Frankfurt.

35. table cloth (whole) in Golden Fleece, Burgundy.

36. Calice [Chalice] of Last Meal

37. some crumbs of Last Meal

38. comb of cock who crowed in Caiphas' house, awakening Peter to his duty.

39. some feathers of said cock.

40. stick on which cock crowned [crowed].

41. basin in which Pontius Pilatus washed his hands

42. some of the 30 silver coins paid to Judas

43. Judas' leather bag

44. 10 feet of the rope used by Judas to hang himself

45. Judas' lantern.

46. Holy Cross, obtained by Helena; mother of Constantine, in 324 pieces. 35 splinters at Wittenberg.

47. Nails of cr cifixion [crucifixion]. at Wittenberg and Venice

48. Lance plunged into Jesus' body on cross.

49. sponge filled with vinegar.

50. purple robe worn by Jesus on ascent of Golgotha.

51. rods of flagellation.

PAGE 1820

52. dice thrown by soldiers to decide of purple robe.

53. Holy Shroud. Compiègne (destroyed) Besançon (visited by Louis XIV) Cadorcen (1930) now Lirey-Turin. [?]

54. blood-stained whipping post.


55. Hair, ranging from blond to black.

56. robes and mantles.

57. veils

58. girdles. the one dropped by Mary when ascending to Heaven, at Prato. In 1638 Ann of Austria, pregnant of Louis XIV, had this girdle sent twice to her from Puy Notre Damae in Anjou.

59. slippers.

60. crown.

61. chapelet

62. tears

63. autograph

64. coffin. Emperor requested bishop Juvenalis to send it to Constantinople.

65. House at Nazareth. discovered by Empress Helena. translated later by angels to Loretto (Italy).

The enormous demand for relics in Western Europe could be satisfied only with bones. Those of Palestinian origin fetched higher prices. Though bone splitting was forbidden very early by emperor Theodose [apparently, Theodosius I, Roman Emperor 379 - 395] in 389, breaking of bones was the only way to satisfy the demand of churches, abbeys and monasteries.

PAGE 1821

John the Baptist. 6 skulls. For the one at Amiens, the cathedral was built to house it. The skull at Constantinople was taken to Venice in 1204. Also one finger of the right hand, one tooth.

St Peter (corpse) Pope Hormisdas (515) refused it to Justinian.

St Paul (corpse) Pope Gregory I (590) refused it to emperor.

Luke (skull) brought to Constantinople in 356.

Mark (skull and one thumb)

Andrew (skull) brought from Achaia to Constantinople in 356.


St Stephen besides 11 skulls left one of the rocks with which he was stoned (at Tavaux, Haute Vienne).

Female saintsare [saints are] few. Besides Saint Agnes cited above, Margarita left one finger, Maria-Magdalena her hair and two skeletons (Vezelay, St Maximin). Perpetua and Felicitas were revered in Numidia before the Arab invasion.

In the Dombes district, 40 km north of Lyons, one four-footed St Guinefort was revered. This greyhound had saved his masters infant from a snake bite but was injustly killed by his master, whose castle was then cursed and fell in ruins.

From the 13th century onward for five centuries, peasants brought their sick "changeling" children for identification or cure. Etienne de Bourbon tried without avail to stop this cult.

From the 13th century Church authorities tried ineffectually to stem the flood of saints revered by the masses (as by the "Forma interrogandi" of Gregory IX in 1232).

The " Crown of Thorns" [see 1989] cost St Louis IX 100,000 coins of 4.2 grams of gold at 22 carats, or some 400 kilograms of gold. As one laborer earned then 5 grams gold per year, this crown made of some twigs of Acacia horrida cost the salary of 80,000 laborers for one year.

According to the study by C 14 in 1988 of the Holy Shroud of Turin, it was woven of linen grown in the Near East between 1260 and 1390. J. Nickell: Inquest on the shroud of Turin. (1988. 178 p) [see 1748]

Collin de Plancy [see 1824] estimated that from the holy bones purchased in Western Europe some 500,000 to 600,000 skeletons could be reconstituted. In Milano, the Church of St Alexander owned 144,000 relics. The 400 churches in Rome housed many more.

This enormous number of relics could be obtained only by the breaking of bones and by the spurious attribution of multiple bones to the same saint.

For instance St Lazarus left 3 skeletons, at Marseille, avalon and Autun. Saint Agnes left three skeletons, at Rome, at Montresa (Spain) and Utrecht.

Saint Peter left 32 fingers, St Matthew eleven legs, St John the Baptist left 13 skulls, 20 jaws, 60 teeth.

PAGE 1822

Teeth of thousands of Saints, well known or of local fame only were revered [see #6, 167; etc.]. To house one tooth of St Lawrence, Philip II built his Escorial Palace near Madrid in the shape of the grid on which this Saint was said to have been burnt alive.

In a religion based on the belief of sin, of eternal punishment in Hell and of eternal bliss in Heaven, relics were revered for their magical power over life after death.

It was an easy step to the belief in their power to prevent and to cure diseases, to help in childbirth (Catherine of France with Henry VI, Anne of Austria for the birth of Louis XIV).

This belief in the magical power of relics stopped for 1500 years medical progress which had begun with Hippocrates and Galen in Greece and thus caused the death of millions, otherwise curable.

The cult of relics had another indirect deleterious effect. The enormous amount of work needed to build 350,000 cult buildings, devoid of practical use except to glorify and "adore" unseen supernatural beings, could have been directed to practical uses: the sanitation of cities, the fight against epidemics, roads, canals, irrigation, flood prevention.

But all civilizations have erected wonderful structures to honor their gods and rulers: Karnak, Luxor, Abu Simbel, the Parthenon, Teotihuacan, Tikal, Chichen Itza

[I photographed the Kukulcán pyramid, and, the Great Ballcourt (Nikon, tripod, time exposures), alone, Midnight-2:00 a.m., early 1980's. Consorting with Mayan Gods (reciprocated?). Heard one (?) overhead, in the Ballcourt. At first, extremely scary! Probably a Bat species pursuing insects, and seemingly capable of high speed, 180 degree turns--hence, the very alarming sounds.],

Pagan, Borobudur, the Schwedagon pagoda at Rangoon, covered with 20 tons of gold (40 million gold sheets of 0.5 gram) the Vishavanâtha of Khajurato, the Brihadishvara in Thanjavur, the Minakshi of Madurai, Angkor Vat and Angkor Tom.

The technical achievements of Christian churches, the domes of Latran and Saint Sophia, the vault of Beauvais (48 m) the tower of Strasbourg (142 m) and Ulm are admirable but did not lead to the betterment of the mud hovels of the commoners, the construction of sewers and the prevention of epidemics.

PAGE 1823

Bibliography [apparently, for Paret: 122-127 (my pages: 1818-1823)]

1. Analecta Bollandiana 1880-1930. Brussels

2. Bluche R. la vie quotienne au temps de Louis XIV

3. CABANEL Claire: Culte de la tunique 17 siècle. Nanterre

4. CABROL-LECLERCQ (Dom) Dict. Archeol.chr. et liturg. tome 14. 1948. col. 2312-2323, 2630.

5. CHEVALIER Ulysee (Chanoine): Etude critique du St Suaire Paris 1900

6. COLLIN de PLANCY: Dict. des reliques. 2 tomes. 1828.

7. COMBES (L. de) Invention de la vraie Croix 1903: p. 97, 209-10

8. DELAHAYE R.P.: Légendes hagiographiques p. 185-7

    : Leg. lettres tombées du ciel. Acad.Roy.Belg.

    : Passions .. 1966

9. DOLAN: History of the Reform.

10. DURAND (Abbé): L'écrin de la Vierge. 3 vols. Lille 1885

11. ESTIENNE H.: Analog. pr Herodot. chap. 38 Le Duchat, Haag 1723

12. HISTORIA: la verge de Moise. F. Rabadeau-Dumas

13. LALANNE Ludovic: Curiosités et Traditions. p. 123-4

14. LUCAS Henry S. Renaissance and Reformation. Harper Bros.

15. LUCHAIRE A.: Culte des reliques. Rev. Paris July 1900.192-3

16. MELAT G.: Echos merveilleux. s.d.

17. MELY. M. de: Chemises de la Vierge. Chartres 1885

: Lapidaires grecs 1902...St Suaire 1904

18. REAU L.: Iconographie art Chrétien. 6 vols. PUF 1957

19. SMEDT de (R.P.) Acad.Sci. Belles Lettres, t. X 1903 p. 148. Liège 1883

20. STRING FELLOW BARR: Pelerinage [sic] of Western man [Barr, Stringfellow. Peregrinage = Pilgrimage]

21. TOMEK W.W. Prag 1892-3. Encycl. Brit. edn 1911

22. SAINT YVES P.: Les Saints etc..1907..Reliques 1912

23. USENER M. HM/Archiv. relig. Wiss. 1904

24. VALLET de VIVILLE: Mem. Sect. Antiq. de la Morinière. t. 6 2nd part. XL

25. VOOGT Paul de: l'hérésie de Jean Huss. Louvain 1975.' [122-128].


PAGE 1824

[back cover]

'Forgery began even before the creation of the script with letters invented by gifted Phoenicians scribes. The title of this book could have been "THIRTY CENTURIES OF FORGERIES" [see 1735].

25 forgeries sensu lato ["In the broad sense" (] appear in this book in an approximate chronological order.

From 1890 onward seven industrious Germans studied forgeries. In 1971 W. Speyer [see 1991] condensed their findings and added of his own. Some 6,000 forgeries can be tabulated from his dense text and the numberless footnotes with cryptic abbreviations, but nobody really cares if in the 3rd century bC. Artemon plagiarized Dionysios Skytobrachion or the reversed [sic].

In 1990 Anthony Grafton [see 1777-1782] of Princeton University described in a graceful style notorious forgeries of abstruse subjects (French edition 157 pages, 15 pages of notes and bibliography)

In 1908 F.F. Abbott found that out of 144,044 epigraphies in the Corpus (C.I.L.) 10,576 are false [see 1766]. Only one amusing mystification, alleged stone inscriptions [inscription], not included in the C.I.L. is reproduced at length: "Eleven days" perhaps by Carlo Sigonio [see 1991], which fooled Latinists for 200 years, with the critic by [delete "by"] J.V. Le Clerc in 1838 exposing the forgery.

RELIGIONS, BEING HUMAN INVENTIONS, ARE APT TO FOSTER PROFITABLE FORGERIES. The chapter of relics since antiquity will divert all readers except priests, although some priests since earliest times exposed the frauds.

The martyrs of Bithynia, Smyrna, Lyons and Rome are eliminated by evidence taken from contemporaries.

The chapter on Tacitus forms one third of the book (62 pages out of 218), the hard core of the book, in fact the cause of its redaction [1995?]. Even the suggested C 14 dating will not convince all Latinists of the forgery by a brilliant Florentine in the 15th century. May important Universities obtain this C 14 dating and ponder the arguments for the forgery.

The chapters on Shakespeare and Marco Polo are denials of forgeries (the Baconian authorship and Marco's non voyage).

In the course of history three forgeries resulted in death; the murder of Emperor Aurelian in 275 by his secretary's forged letters--in 1937 the execution of Marshal Tukhatchevsky by a Gestapo-NKVD forgery--in 1945-46 the death by starvation and diseases of one million German war prisoners through the denial of the 1927 Geneva convention, mostly by a semantic fraud (POW to DEF).' [back cover].

PAGE 1825

from: The Jesus Mysteries, Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Harmony Books, c1999. [Must See!]. [See: 1734].

[For this book reference, I thank Robb Marks, Bookseller: 1/800/66WALDO; e-mail:].


'The Falsification of History

The Roman Church required a suitable history of its faith that vilified its enemies and celebrated its triumph as a sign of its God-given destiny. The truth of Christianity's origins was, therefore, rigorously suppressed and a more acceptable history was concocted--a fabrication, which is still taken to be accurate by the vast majority of people to this day.

The Gnostics regularly and unashamedly created fantasy gospels. But they acknowledged that they were mythologizing. Their works, of which THE JESUS STORY itself is an example, were never meant to be taken as anything other than allegorical fiction [see #24, 497 (C.W. King)]. When the Literalists ["orthodox"] created their fantasies, however, they attempted [and, succeeded,] to pass them off as historical records. These works, which form the basis of the traditional history of Christianity, are blatant forgeries.198

At the end of the second century Paul's original letters were interpolated and new ones forged to bring him into line with Literalist Christianity and distance him from Gnosticism. As part of the general Romanization of Christianity, a tradition was even fabricated that Paul had been in close communication with the eminent Roman statesman Seneca. Three hundred manuscripts still survive containing eight letters from Paul and 11 letters of Seneca in reply--all complete fakes, of course, but believed genuine until the last century! In them, Seneca is made to embrace Christianity and Paul to nominate him as official preacher of the gospel at the imperial court!199 In the FOURTH CENTURY, on the basis of these fabrications, Jerome

[c. 342 - 420] included Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] among his catalog of Christian saints.200

Letters were also forged in the names of various apostles. These are now included in the New Testament and regarded as holy scripture, but at the time were viewed with suspicion. Even Eusebius, the mouthpiece of Catholic propaganda, regarded the authenticity of the letters of James, Jude, Peter, and John as dubious and the Revelation as entirely spurious.201 Letters attributed to early Christians such as Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, and Clement of Rome continued to be forged, adulterated, and added to well into the fifth century.202

TRANSLATING WORKS INTO LATIN AFFORDED OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISTORTION. In this way teachings such as those of the Christian philosopher Origen [c. 185 - c. 254] were made to appear in sympathy with what was regarded as orthodox at the time.203

PAGE 1826

Fictitious biographies were routinely constructed for Christian saints, often directly based on the lives and legends of dead Pagan holy men.204 Stories were invented of Peter coming to Rome and being crucified upside down to give credence to the Church of Rome being the center of Christian power. But these tales were invented so late that no one even considered including them in the New Testament.

Popular Gnostic works were edited to remove their Gnostic teachings and replace them with doctrinally correct material.205 Christians even adapted Pagan works to endorse their own dogma. Oracles by the Pagan Sibyl, which prophesied the coming of Jesus, were forged early in the fourth century and quoted by Constantine himself at the Council of Nicaea as proof of Jesus' divinity.206 They even forged a Testament of Orpheus in which the ancient prophet [Orpheus] of the Mysteries was made to deny his former Pagan teachings.207

Clumsy Christian additions [forgeries ("interpolations")] were made to the works of the Jewish Pythagorean Philo [13 B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E.],208 and ridiculous legends invented that he had held discussions on the Law with the disciple John and met Peter in Rome!209 The Jewish historian Josephus [c. 37 - c. 100] was likewise transformed into a Christian and was even equated with the New Testament figure of Joseph of Arimathea!210 As previously discussed, additions were made to his [Josephus] works that reverentially testify to the historical existence of Jesus.211

A further document attributed to Josephus called On the Essence of God was also forged to reinforce the previous forgery by putting Christian doctrines into Josephus' [c. 37 - c. 100 C.E.] mouth. Through careful linguistic studies, scholars now know "beyond any doubt" that the forger of this text was none other than Hippolytus (c. 222), the arch-heresy-hunter and protégé of Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200]!212 Scholars have also shown similarities in language and style between this forgery and Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians, which was written to call into question the authenticity of the first (genuine [not genuine!]) letter.213 So, Hippolytus may well have also been the forger of this letter of Paul.214' [237-239].

PAGE 1827

from: The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, Summit Books, c1991. [See: chapter "6 The Onslaught of Science"; etc.].


The Onslaught of Science

"....a scholar or graduate student in Britain, or the States, or anywhere else, having established some academic credibility with a thesis or publication in one or another sphere of biblical study, would apply for access to the Qumran material. He'd have no reason to expect a rebuff--would assume the scrolls were available for study by anyone who had acquired legitimate academic credentials. In every case known to us, however, requests for access have been summarily refused, without apology or explanation--and with the inevitable concurrent implication that the applicant himself was somehow inadequate.

Such, to take but one example, was the case for Professor Norman Golb of the University of Chicago. Professor Golb had done his doctoral dissertation on Qumran and on Qumran-related material found in Cairo. Having amassed years of experience in the field, he [Norman Golb] embarked on a research project to check the palaeographical dating of the scrolls, which had been established by Professor [Frank] Cross of the international team and which Golb felt could be improved. To confirm his thesis, Golb of course needed to see certain original texts--photographic facsimiles would obviously not have sufficed. In 1970, he was in Jerusalem and accordingly wrote to de Vaux, then head of the Ecole Biblique and the international team, requesting access and explaining that he needed it to validate a research project which had already occupied years of his life. Three days later, de Vaux replied, stating that no access could be granted without 'the explicit permission of the scholar who is in charge of their edition'.22 The scholar in question was the then Father Milik, who, as de Vaux knew only too well, wasn't prepared to let anyone see anything. After all the time and effort he had invested in it, Golb was obliged to abandon his project. 'Since then,' he told us, 'I HAVE HAD GOOD REASON TO DOUBT ALL CROSS'S DATINGS OF TEXTS BY PALAEOGRAPHY.'23" [115-116].


Science in the Service of Faith"

"Birnbaum's [Solomon Birnbaum] ["bizarre" palaeographic] method, as Eisenman [Robert Eisenman] says, 'is, of course, preposterous'.36 Nevertheless, Birnbaum employed his technique, such as it was, to establish 'absolute dates' for all the texts discovered at Qumran. The most alarming fact of all is that adherents of the consensus still accept these 'absolute dates' as unimpugnable.

Professor Philip Davies of Sheffield states that 'most people who take time to study the issue agree that the use of paleography [also, palaeography] in Qumran research is unscientific', adding that 'attempts have been made to offer a precision of

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dating that is ludicrous'.37 Eisenman is rather more scathing, describing Birnbaum's endeavours as 'what in any other field would be the most pseudo-scientific and infantile methods'.38 To illustrate this, he provides the following example.39

Suppose two scribes of different ages are copying the same text at the same time, and the younger scribe were trained more recently in a more up-to-date 'scribal school'? Suppose the older scribe were deliberately using a stylised calligraphy which he'd learned in his youth? Suppose either or both scribes, in deference to tradition or the hallowed character of their activity, sought deliberately to replicate a style dating from some centuries before--as certain documents today, such as diplomas or certificates of award, may be produced in archaic copper-plate? What date could possibly be assigned definitively to their transcriptions?

In his palaeographic assumptions, Birnbaum overlooked one particularly important fact. If a document is produced merely to convey information, it will, in all probability, reflect the most up-to-date techniques. Such, for example, are the techniques employed by modern newspapers (except, until recently, in England). But everything suggests that the Dead Sea Scrolls weren't produced merely to convey information. Everything suggests that they had a ritual or semi-ritual function as well, and were lovingly produced so as to preserve an element of tradition. It is therefore highly probable that later scribes would deliberately attempt to reproduce the style of their predecessors. And, indeed, all through recorded history, scribes have consistently been conservative. Thus, for example, illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages contrived to reflect a sacred quality of antiquity, not the latest technological progress. Thus many modern Bibles are reproduced in 'old-fashioned' print. Thus one would not expect to find a modern Jewish Torah employing the style or technique used to imprint a slogan on a T-shirt.

Of the CALLIGRAPHY IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, Eisenman concludes that 'they simply represent a multitude of different handwriting styles of people working more or less at the same time within the same framework [compare: palaeography], and TELL US NOTHING ABOUT CHRONOLOGY AT ALL'.40

Cecil Roth of Oxford was, if anything, even more emphatic: 'In connection for example with the English records, although a vast mass of dated manuscript material exists covering the entire Middle Ages, it is impossible to fix precisely within the range of a generation ["generation": annoying to define. a number please!] the date of any document on the basis of palaeography alone'. He warned that 'a new dogmatism' had arisen in the field of palaeography, and that 'without any fixed point to serve as a basis, we are already expected to accept as an historical criterion a precise dating of these hitherto unknown Hebrew scripts'. He ["Cecil Roth of Oxford"] even, in his exasperation of the complacency and intransigence of the international team, had recourse to the unscholarly expedient of capital letters:


PAGE 1829

from: The Tradition of Manuscripts, A Study in the Transmission of St. Cyprian's Treatises, Maurice Bévenot, S.J., Professor of Ecclesiology and Lecturer in Patristics at Heythrop College [University of London], Oxford, 1961.

"3. Transmission and stemmata

[stemma (Pl. stemmata): "A diagram which represents a reconstruction on stemmatic principles of the position of the surviving witnesses in the tradition of the transmission of a text, esp. in manuscript form." (O.E.D.)]

A word should perhaps be here added on what may be called the by-product of all this industry. It is customary to find in the preface to the critical edition of an ancient author, a stemma or family tree, designed to throw light on the relationship existing between the surviving MSS....

'Contamination' among the MSS upsets all our calculations. It is one of the chief merits of Dr. Paul Maas's booklet Textkritik, that with his closing words he recognizes this by quoting the graphic comparison of Otto Immisch. As the chemical formula lays down inexorably the arrangement of the atoms in each compound

[Comment: useful analogy! In general, I have little confidence, in the "word merchants", who have not had, at least, the basic science education of American Physicians, Dentists, and other science based specialists],

so too does the stemma lay down the relations between the MS readings for each passage--but only 'if we have a virgin tradition. No specific ["remedy"] has yet been discovered against contamination' (Paul Maas, Textual Criticism (1958), p. 49).

The reader will recognize that in the earlier part of this study there is a manifest groping after the construction of a stemma which should embrace all our data satisfactorily. Not all the checks which these efforts encountered are recorded here. It was only after the variant readings throughout the treatise had been compared, MS by MS, that the now obvious fact was recognized, viz. that there had been so much comparison and correction of readings in the ancestors of our MSS, that the creation of a stemma as ordinarily understood was now impossible.


But it would seem wise [pause] at least seriously [awkward] to face the possibility that THE COMPLICATIONS IN THE ANCESTRY OF OUR PATRISTIC MSS ARE SUCH THAT WE SHOULD LAY ASIDE THE PRETENCE OF BEING ABLE TO RECONSTRUCT STEMMATA THAT REALLY THROW LIGHT ON THEIR DESCENT. Perhaps some other way of expressing the relationship between our MSS can be found which will be more in conformity with the facts."

[5-7] [End of "3. Transmission and stemmata"].

PAGE 1830

from: A XVth Century Guide-Book to the Principal Churches of Rome, Compiled

c. 1470 by William Brewyn, Translated from the Latin with introduction and notes

by C. Eveleigh Woodruff, M.A., Hon. Librarian to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, The Marshall Press, Limited, 1933 (c. 1477). [Note: this book was written before the Protestant Reformation (16th century)]. [See: #6, 166-179].

"The Church of St. John Lateran, the

Head of the World and of the City*"

"The Tabernacle of the Relics. [see 1991 (Relics)]

Also, in the nearest tabernacle (? to the altar) are these relics:--

The tiara or coronet (regnum) with which St. Silvester, the pope, was crowned1.

Also, the head of St. Zachary, the father of St. John the Baptist.

Also, the head of St. Pancras, which dripped with blood for three days, when this church was burnt by the heretics.

(Here are) certain relics of St. Mary Magdalen.

The knife of St. Laurence, the martyr.

A tooth of the apostle Peter.

The cup in which St. John the Evangelist drank the poison, and received no hurt.

The chain (cathena) with which St. John the Evangelist was bound when he was led from Ephesus to Rome.

The tunic of St. John the Evangelist*, which was placed over three dead persons and forthwith they arose.2

The ashes of St. John the Baptist, and some of his hair.

Some of the milk, hair, and vestments of St. Mary the Virgin, and the shirt which the Virgin Mary made with her own hands, for Jesus Christ.

The linen cloth with which Christ dried the feet of the Apostles at supper.

The pincers (forbices), and the reed with which Christ was smitten, and some of the wood of the cross.

The purple robe stained with drops of the blood of Christ.

The veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which she placed as drawers for Christ on the cross.

The foreskin of our Lord Jesus Christ when he was circumcised.

Some of the water and blood which flowed from the side of Christ.

In the greater tabernacle are the heads of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, reverently laid up in a case of silver shaped like a man's head1.

Also, in the chapel which is in the lower part of the church, over (super) the altar, is the table on which the Lord Jesus Christ supped with his disciples.

Also, the ark of the covenant, and Aaron's rod2." [25-26].

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'The Chapels at the Font of


At the door where the Font (fons) of Constantine is, there hangs a tablet on which is the following inscription: "This church is called 'Ad Fontes Constantini' because within this great circular building the Emperor Constantine was baptized by blessed Silvester, and Christ appeared to the said Constantine when he was baptized3."

In this church are many relics and many bodies of Saints and many indulgences, and especially in the chapel of St. John the Baptist1, into which women do not enter, where there is remission of all sins....' [26-27].

"The Relics in the Chapel of the


In the chapel of the Saviour, or, as it was called in old time, of St. Laurence,--in the holy Lateran palace, there is a picture of the Saviour by St. Luke, but he [Luke] did not put in the colours...." [27-28].

"at one time, the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul were here, but the blessed Pope Urban the fourth (1261-1264) removed them and set them up, marvellously adorned, over the high altar of the Lateran church, in the presence of all the people of Rome; but the other relics aforesaid, he suffered to remain in this same chapel.1

[Other relics are]:

The chin of the Apostle St. Bartholomew*.

The relics of St. Matthew, the Evangelist,--in a crystal phial.

Some of the garment of blessed John, the Evangelist--in a silver coffer.

The relics of St. John the Baptist,--in an ebony coffer...." [29].

PAGE 1832

"Church of S. Pudenciana."

'Pudenciana 2 [see footnote, below]*

In the church of St. Potenciana (sic) [proto-"Freudian slip"] there is a little chapel in which St. Peter celebrated his first mass.

Also, in another and larger chapel in the same church is laid up the blood of three thousand martyrs in an aperture (foramine) which is walled round with white marble arranged in a square; and I have been twice within it (et fait interius bis).

In this chapel is an altar near which is the mark (signum) of the consecrated host, which fell upon a stone of white marble imprinting it in a very miraculous manner; this imprint is covered over with iron-work, "Anglice grated wt yren."

In this church also, is the bench upon which the Lord Jesus sat together with His disciples at the Supper; also, some of the thorn and crown (sic) of the Lord, and part of one of the nails with which Christ was crucified, also some of the wood of the Cross of Christ.

Also, some of the stone of the Lord's tomb; some of the stone of the pillar at which Christ was scourged in Jerusalem, in Pilate's house; some of the crib in which Christ was born on the day of His Nativity; some of the bones of St. Bartholomew the Apostle; some of the ribs of St. James the Apostle; a tooth of St. Peter the Apostle; some of the garments, or priestly vestments of St. Andrew the Apostle; some of the arm of St. Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist; a bone of St. Paul, the Apostle*.

Some of the head of St. Thomas, the Apostle; a bone from the head of St. Barnabas, the Apostle; some of the hairs of Mary Magdalene; something of St. Potenciana [sic]; some of the veil of the Virgin Mary; some of the wood of the bier upon which the body of Mary was carried for burial.

Also, the relics of St. Silvester, St. Gregory, the Pope, Zachary, the prophet; St. John the Baptist, etc.

This church is near to the church of St. Mary the Greater.'

[35-36] [End of entry: "Pudenciana"].

[footnote] "2The church of S. Pudentiana [sic] on the Viminal is said to have been built during the second century on the site of the house in which the Senator Pudems received St. Peter, and was restored during the pontificate of Siricius (384-398) Gregorovius. op. cit." [35].

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"The Church of St. Paul1

The church of St. Paul, the apostle, belongs to the monks of the order of St. Benedict.

Beneath the high altar are the glorious middle parts of the bodies of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, which a long time ago were divided by the blessed Pope Silvester." [36-37].

[footnote] "1The basilica of St. Paul on the Ostian way, according to the Liber Pontificalis was erected by Constantine over the tomb of the Apostle. It was reconstructed on a larger scale by Valentinian II (386), and after being subjected to several restorations was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1823. The rebuilding of the church was completed in the year 1854." [36].

"Also, on the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul there are as many indulgences as there are at St. Peter's, namely, a thousand years.

Also, at the entrance of the same church [apparently, "basilica of St. Paul"], where the head of St. Paul was found, there are every day as many (blank) and also remission of a third part of all sins.

Also, on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, there are indulgences of a thousand years.

Also, on the day of the Holy Innocents,--many of whose bodies, together with those of blessed Timothy, Julian, and many other martyrs, rest in the same basilica,--there are indulgences of XL years." [37].

"Also, in the said church is the chain with which St. Paul was bound; an arm of St. Anne, the mother of Mary the Virgin with flesh on the bone (?) (in carne ossis) (sic); the head of St. Stephen, pope and martyr, and many other relics." [37].

PAGE 1834

"Church of S. Maria in Ara Coeli."

'The Altar of Heaven (ara celi)1*

This is that venerable altar of Heaven concerning which in the lessons for our Lord's Nativity, we find these words:

"When the emperor Octavian had reduced the whole world to the rule of Rome, it pleased the Senate to will that he should be worshipped as God. The emperor, however, being a prudent man, and knowing that he was mortal, was unwilling to usurp to himself the attributes of deity (deitatis nomen). Nevertheless, at the pressing request of the Senate, he summoned the Sibylline prophetess, desiring to know by her oracular declaration, if any greater man than he had ever been born into the world. When therefore on the day of the Lord's Nativity, the Sybil being in the place which at that time was the Emperor's bed-chamber, there appeared at mid-day, a golden circle round the sun, and, in the midst of the circle, the most beautiful Virgin holding her Son in her arms. Then the Sybil showed the vision to the Emperor, who, as he was marvelling at this strange sight, heard a voice saying to him 'This is the Heavenly Altar,' and forthwith he offered on this altar incense to the Christ and His Mother."

Wherefore, that everything which is above written may be kept in remembrance, and all may know that this altar is the chief altar of the world, you will find, inscribed on marble, between two pillars, these verses:


Know one and all who climb the heavenly stair

That this first altar of our Lady fair

By the Emperor Octavian was reared

What time to him the Holy Child appeared.

Afterwards Anacletus, the fourth pope* (76-90) after the blessed Peter, consecrated and dedicated this venerable Altar of Heaven. Within it lie the venerable bodies of these saints2:

"Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, who found the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; the holy martyrs Arthemius, the tribune; Abundus and Abundancius. The indulgence of this venerable altar of heaven (according to what is contained in the register of the lord Pope, which is kept in the registry of St. Peter in which all the indulgences of the city are registered) is three thousand years, and this is doubled on the feast of the Assumption, for then there are six thousand years, as I found inscribed on a tablet (tabula) upon (super) a sarcophagus, beneath the altar3, which is called the altar of heaven.

Also, THERE IS A PICTURE OF THE VIRGIN MARY IN THE MIDST OF THE SUN WITH HER SON IN HER ARMS, depicted with angels, upon the wall above the high altar in the same church." [43-45].

PAGE 1835

"Concerning the Picture of St. Mary Painted by St. Luke

Also, on a tablet hanging near the above, is the following inscription:

The faithful who shall inspect these present letters, and are desirous of knowing something about the efficacy of the sacred picture of the Virgin Mary which blessed Luke, the evangelist, painted...." [47].

"The Stairway of Heaven (Scala Coeli)

This is the second chapel2* that was founded in the whole world in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is called the Stairway of Heaven because it was here that the blessed Bernard was deemed worthy to see the ladder which reached to heaven. Whosoever celebrates or causes a celebration to be made in this chapel for souls in purgatory, they (the said souls) for the merits of the same Blessed Virgin Mary shall speedily be set free...." [50].

"The Chapel Scala Celi3.

It was found by our predecessors of old time in certain writings that the second chapel which was founded in honour of Holy Mary, is the church of St. Mary of the Heavenly Stairway, in which beneath the altar, repose ten thousand bodies [crowded!] of saints and martyrs slain in the time of the emperor Tiberius [another excellent example, of "Christian history"]...." [51].

"The Church of the Holy Cross*"

"it is recorded that Pope Silvester, Pope Gregory, Pope Alexander, Pope Nicholas, Pope Pellagius and Pope Honorius* gave to all, who at any time of the year, shall come for devotion and pilgrimage to the holy places in Rome, amongst which is this one, an indulgence of a thousand years, and to those who shall die on the journey the remission of all their sins1." [53].

"Concerning the Jerusalem Chapel5

This most sacred and venerable chapel, which is called the Jerusalem Chapel, the blessed Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, built in what aforetime was her bed-chamber (cubiculum). And the blessed Silvester, the pope, adorned and sanctified this chapel on the xxth day of the month of March, on the eve of St. Benedict's day. And the notable relics, which are recorded below, were laid up in the altar of the aforesaid chapel by the hands of blessed Silvester, at the request of the aforesaid Helen, which relics, the blessed Helen herself brought from Jerusalem, at the request of the aforesaid Pope.

PAGE 1836

First, the cord with which Christ was bound on the Cross.

Two sapphires, one of which is full of the precious blood of Christ, and the other of the milk of the glorious Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ.

Also a large piece of Christ's garment; a large piece of the veil of the mother of Mary, the Mother of Christ; a large piece of Christ's garment (probably repeated by mistake); some of the hair of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the sponge together with the salt and vinegar that were offered to Christ.

Also, xi thorns [see 1989 (Crown of Thorns)] of the Lord's crown; a large piece of the garment of St. John the Baptist; the fore-arms of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul; a lump (massa), like a loaf, formed of coal ashes and the fat [my favorite!] of the blessed Laurence, the martyr; a lamp filled with sweet oil (balsamo), in which floats the head of blessed Vincent, the martyr.

In the said chapel there is daily an indulgence of xxvii years and xxvii quarantines, which begins on the fourth day of the week before Passion Sunday, and lasts throughout the whole year.

Also, Pope Stephen, who died here, gave an indulgence of all sins to all who come hither truly penitent and confessed." [54-55]

1831-1837, from: A XVth Century Guide-Book to the Principal Churches of Rome, Compiled c. 1470 by William Brewyn, Translated from the Latin with introduction and notes by C. Eveleigh Woodruff, M.A., Hon. Librarian to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, The Marshall Press, Limited, 1933 (c. 1477). [Note: this book was written before the Protestant Reformation (16th century)]. [See: #6, 166-179].

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