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History Online - Chronology

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Ancient and Medieval Chronology

Ancient originals and medieval duplicates
Anachronisms as common feature in medieval chronicles

The "Renaissance effect" of duplicating antiquity is vividly expressed in traditional chronology.

Plato is the founder of Platonism; his teachings were revived several hundreds of years later by another, the famous Neoplatonist Plotinus (A.D. 205-270). His name is almost identical to that of his teacher Plato. Neoplatonism then died, too, but was revived again in the llth century by another famous Platonist, Pletho, a name which is again accidentally almost identical to Plato. Freed of all vowels, Plato, Plotinus, and Pletho are simply identical names.

It is assumed that Pletho revived ancient Platonism. Plato's manuscripts first appeared from oblivion just in the time of Pletho, i.e., in the 15th century [62]. Pletho organized the well-known Pletho Academy in Florence, an exact analogue of the ancient Platonic Academy [62]. He was the author of the famous Utopia (both Plato and Pletho wrote Utopias), the Laws, which, unfortunately, has not survived in complete form. But the text of Plato's Laws was preserved. Like Plato, the 15th-century Pletho put forward the idea of an ideal state, his theory being extremely close to that of Plato. "Imitating" them both, Plotinus also hoped that the emperor would help him found the town of Platonople in Campania (again in Italy), where he would introduce aristocratic and communal institutions "conceived by Plato" ([63]).' The number of these strange "duplicates" in traditional chronology is quite large.

One of the basic reasons for at least two variants of dating ancient and "medieval" documents is due to the Renaissance, when all the antique (now regarded as ancient) branches of science, philosophy, culture, painting, etc., were revived. It is assumed that the "ancient and brilliant Latin language" degraded at the beginning of the Middle Ages into a rude and awkward tongue which started acquiring, and did acquire, its former brilliancy only during the Renaissance. This "Renaissance" of the Latin language (as also that of iancient Greek) did not start any earlier than the 8th-9th century [64]. Startling with the lOth-llth century, the famous medieval trouveres came to make juse of the stories now called by the historians "the masquerade of classical (remembrances" [64]. In the llth century, The History of Ulysses appeared, fin which the well-known (and allegedly Homer's) fabula was retold from the {"medieval approach" (speaking of knights, ladies, tournaments, etc.); but on the other hand, all the elements which would later be regarded as intrinsic of any antique story had already been present ([64]; see also the "antique" activity of the famous medieval poet Homer (Angilbert), who lived at Charlemagne's court in the 9th century. He was "the most important member of the scientific community at the Aachen court" ([63]). According to J. Demogeot:
"It was the end of the 12th or in the 13th century when ... the trouveres ... started to speak with a certain satisfaction, 'this story (i.e., the story of the Trojan War-A.F.) is not commonplace; nobody has yet written it'. For them, it was almost a traditional story" ([64]).

As a matter of fact, the Franks regarded themselves as formerly having lived in Troy (!), whereas one author in the 7th century, Fredegarius Scholasticus, points out king Priam as a figure belonging to the medieval epoch [64].

The Argonauts' expedition was also claimed to have coincided with the Trojan War when the conquering Crusaders, analogues of the Argonauts, rushed into the far regions of Asia. Alexander the Great flooded France with compliments [64]. Speaking of the Trojan war, some medieval authors call Paris (Alexandros) a Parisian ([57]) - French name.

Learn how and why Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt were invented during Renaissance.

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