05 December 2010


In the interest of historical accuracy, I should rectify a point I erroneously made above.

I have a text, pulled off my bookshelves, about historiography I have been carrying since I was a grad student, at Ohio University, 1982-86-- "A Preface to History," by Carl Gustavson, first published 1955, and re-printed 1983. In it Gustavson takes up the idea of the supposed general panic leading up to year A.D. 1000. It did not happen. It was first debunked by a Benedictine monk in the 19th century who examined all available documents from ca. A.D. 1000 and found no allusion to the alleged hysteria in the primary sources. But the untrue story has been repeated many times and re-visited a decade ago leading up to year 2000. The original fabrication (traced back to 1605) only assumed the hysteria. (Look at early European explorers and maps; they assumed much, including monsters of an imaginative variety.) An assumption of the storyteller of 1605 was that the Christian calendar was in sufficiently wide use in Medieval times for most people to realize that a new millennium was approaching. This was a false assumption.

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