Flipping through history textbooks while trying to assimilate the agonizing words on the grey pages explaining monumental events of the past is quite a memory from our school days. However, what if I told you that a large part of world history was just made up? Yes you heard right, a mere fragment of imagination! According to the Phantom Time Hypothesis, this is exactly what happened! This bold conspiracy theory outlines this very bizarre possibility and was first proposed by German historian Heribert Illig. While at first glance one would want to discard the theory, Illig makes rather puzzling but intriguing points which makes the conspiracy theorist in you wanting to know more!
The year 1986 marked the inception of this fantastical theory when Illig spotted a missing piece in historical records. According to him, the years 614-911 A.D. never happened! The scarcity of historical records present from the specified time period made Illig believe that the early Middle Ages were completely fabricated. Illig and other Phantom Timers hold that important historical figures said to have been alive at this time (Charlemagne and Alfred the Great, for example) either existed at different points in time or were totally fictional.
This theory speculates the possibility that the distortion of the historical timeline may have been a result of some confusion when the Pope switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 A.D., where there was a discrepancy of at least 10 days. There may have been a gross evaluation error or misinterpretation of documents as well.
He wanted to make the sure the celebration of Easter would always coincide with the spring equinox; to erase the ten day error that had accumulated over the last 1600 years due to each year in the Julian calendar being roughly 11 minutes and 14 seconds longer than the actual year; and to change the leap year from every four years to 97 out of every 400 years (every 4.124 years) in order for the accumulation of days not to happen again. Pope Gregory’s revisions stuck and the Gregorian calendar is still in use today. History is not new to the face of forged documents or claims.
Scarily, it might not have been unintentional at all! Intentional? Now what could be the motivation for that? Why would people spend painful hours trying to fabricate or rather, create a history that didn’t exist? The leading theory is that Pope Sylvester II and the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III were behind it all. Peculiar; as is this entire affair. However, the reason is more juvenile than you think. To put in in simple terms, a perfectionist streak in their minds convinced them that it would be tasteful to say that they ruled during the year 1,000 A.D.
Though theorists point to misdated documents and artifacts, scientific dating techniques such as dendrochronology and radiometry support what we’ve all learned in history class. However, there is always that microscopic possibility that exists within the proposed reality. It is hidden away in years of practice and continuous preaching of set ideas and principles. Not everything in history is perfect or proven. If one really looks behind the mundane façade of supposed facts, we might uncover an unexpected gem about the real proceedings of our history!
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