Calendars and Sea Levels

12 Sep 2014

Yes, back to another post at ... which on this occasion takes a look at Illig, Niemitz, and Hunnivari, who have each produced a different version of an AD revision to that of Gunnar Heinsohn. I'm not sure to what extent the arguments are valid but here we go - starting with Zoltan Hunnivari, who was unable to find a suitable eclipse to fit the prodigy seen on the death of Augustus Caesar in AD14. This supposes that such a prodigy did occur and even if it did that it was an eclipse (or rather an annular eclipse). Lots of points that may not be relevant to begin with, but the blog author raises this as a possible pointer against the orthodox AD chronology.

His next point concerns Hans Ulrich Niemitz who came up with some calendar anomalies - which again, may or may not be relevant. In 1582 the Pope was persuaded to introduce the Gregorian calendar - a corrected version of the Julian calendar which was associated with Julius Caesar. Now, here is the interesting point. The Julian calendar no longer corresponded with the astronomical situation and had accumulated an error of 10 days. It takes 1257 year to accumulate an error of 10 days but this only takes us back to AD325. Caesar died over 300 years prior to that, so does that mean there is a gap in the chronology of that length of time?

325AD is also famous for another event - the Council of Nicaea in Bithynia called by the emperor Constantine the Great. Did he introduce the Julian calendar?

Malaga Bay has a different take on what might have happened - and it involves Gunnar Heinsohn's proposed catastrophe (or a catastrophe on a greater scale than anyone up to now has envisaged in early AD). The difference between Julius Caesar and Constantine adds 3 days - and the inference is that a 13 day error should have been apparent in 1582. Malaga Bay suggests the proposed catastrophe involved a tilt in the axis of the Earth, a slight one to be sure but a tilt that accounts for the difference between 13 days and 10 days (which we may note assumes Caesar introduced the Julian calendar rather than Constantine). In bringing in the idea of a tilt in the axis of the Earth Malaga Bay quotes Velikovsky liberally - and why not. His argument also involves the Low Countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, and parts of Germany on the North Sea coast) as in the process the region was flooded  and people migrated across the North Sea into Britain. Now, in SIS journals we have had various articles by Steve Mitchell where he has dsicussed a rise in sea levels in the Late Roman and post-Roman periods, one effect of which was the flooding of the Fen lands (on the opposite side of the North Sea from the Low Countries referred to by Malaga Bay). His idea was that the land sank in relation to sea level, an effect he especially saw as occurring in eastern Scotland (and all of the eastern side of the country from Caithness to Kent). It is something that is distinctly odd given that Scotland is supposed to be bouncing back from the Ice Age glaciation. Mitchell envisages the bounce back as just that - a series of up and down movements over time. The same effect could, we might suppose, be possible via a small shift in the tilt of the Earth - but would require a suitable catastrophic event.

Basically, Heinsohn telescopes two 'events' into one. He also adds another one at 930AD which as far as I can ascertain is evidenced in tree rings by a fall in temperature for several years. The two earlier events differed in that they both were quickly followed by epidemics (of unknown provenance). The important thing to note is that it was the epidemics that were disastrous in that they caused a drastic drop in population levels in the civilised world (the Roman and Persian empires). It is also true to say that population numbers in the western empire, including Britain, never reached the numbers prior to the 3rd century AD event. Roman towns in Britain during the 4th and 5th centuries were much smaller - in comparison to the same settlements in 2nd and early 3rd centuries AD. This alone suggests the two events were just that - two events. In Heinsohn's scenario a major catastrophe occurred in the 3rd century AD - there would have been no smaller settlements to succeed them. Neither would Roman villas have morphed into manor estates in the Saxon and Norman periods. Unless the extent of the catastrophe is being exaggerated - to fit the Heinsohn pattern he has previously deployed in the BC period.

Steve Mitchell was not convinced a major revision was necessary (one along the line lines of Hunnivari, or even somewhat reduced - a figure around 150). His response to Heinsohn was negative - and the fact Heinsohn used his 'dark earth' deposit as evidence of a catastrophe was not accepted gracefully. This almost mirrors the way Heinsohn made use of Illig's revision - and it again was met without a sign of glee. I'm not sure why Malaga Bay is persuaded by Heinsohn's arguments - perhaps he likes the parts that were borrowed from others. It is worth noting that Mitchell and others looked into Dionysius and the tables for calculating Easter. This is one really difficult area for any kind of meaningful revision of AD chronology - and Bede certainly made use of Dionysius. It's all well and good redating various documents but Bede was real flesh and blood and Mitchell based his research around the endeavours of Bede in his monastery in northern Britain and approached the problem from the perspective of that monk - what books and documents he would have had at hand, and how he made use of the Easter tables. He discovered a grey area - a period of time that Bede could not breach (but it was around 150 years - but could possibly be expanded a little way either end). This, Mitchell equated with David Keys dividing line between the classical Roman world and the modern era, separated by a catastrophe, that of Baillie (in early 6th century AD). This low growth tree ring event may turn out to have an origin in a volcano rather than a cosmic object* - in so doing the whole idea of a catastrophe at that time may have to be abandoned. However, David Keys saw it as a volcanic event, a huge eruption somewhere in SE Asia (such as Indonesia) and the effects were the same - apart from the epidemic with an origin in space. Presumably, it was this basic idea of a catastrophe creating a dividing line and mucking up knowledge of true chronology that attracted Heinsohn to the debate - as a relative latecomer. Way to go on this subject.

* Baillie appears to have opted for a volcano in his latest paper rather than an event involving a comet - although he accepts the latter may have prompted the former. He seems to have done this as a means of coming to terms with the ice core people - a sort of treaty of mutual accord. The difference between tree rings and ice cores at this point was roughly 15 years - yes that 15 years keeps popping up and appears to be meaningful in some kind of way.Mitchell noted the Romans made use of 15 year units and suggested one of them had been left out and meant 15 years were added when Dionysius introduced the Easter Tables based on the Alexandrian time reckoning. Mitchell went on to suggest Bede incorporated the 15 year fault line in his calculations - but reading his argument in full is necessary. 

Basically, we need to bear in mind this whole argument around an AD revision is complex - and Heinsohn has the knack of making it all look too simple. He is very good at the broad brush approach but avoids (like the plague) the detail of the argument. He leaves that to others to ruminate on - basically getting people to run with his ideas. I think he needs to provide some genuinely hard evidence to back up his proposed revision in order to make that running worth while.