The Phantom Medieval Time Hypothesis -The Toast

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time travel 3According to the Phantom Time Hypothesis theory, the period between 614 AD and 911 AD didn’t exist; the history normally attributed to that time is either a misinterpretation or a deliberate falsification of the evidence.  If this were true, Charlemagne (reigned 768-814) never existed and the year 2012 is actually 1715.

Of course. Of course. The very fact that this possibility has never once occurred to me seems now to be the greatest argument in favor of its veracity. Childishly simple, yet profound. This explains everything, from the fact that “Charlemagne” is an anagram for “LOST TIME CHAP” to the inexplicable loss of 20 minutes in the middle of every Medieval Times floor show, when the whole room goes dark and every participant’s memory of the time immediately after the soup course until just before dessert becomes a throbbing, empty pulse.

“The idea was created in 1990 by a man called Heribert Illig and has since been developed by other German historians as well as conspiracy theorists.

  • Arguments in favour of the theory are as follows: The apparent stagnation in the development of architecture, ceramics and thought as well as the lack of substantial documentary evidence – this is why the first part of this period is called the ‘Dark Ages’  – suggests this period simply didn’t exist.”


  • There is very little archaeological evidence which can be reliably dated to this period; our account is based on a quite limited number of written sources (which could be faked or just wrong).

[in a broad, period-inaccurate Cockney accent]
“S’it Wednesdai or Fursdai todai?”
“Neivver, luv. It’s 1191.”
“Wot, 1191 already and me thinkin’ it’s still Whitsuntide of 697?”
“697 never ‘appened, mate.”
“Never ‘appened! Then me ol’ dad must be long dead.”
“If ‘e ever existed, poppet.”
“Bless moi soul, bless it indeed.”

  • The Pope introduced the new Gregorian calendar in 1582 to replace the Julian one, when it was 10 days out of sync. If the error had been building up since the introduction of the Julian calendar in 45 AD, it ought to have been 13 days out – so the intervening period must have been overstated by 300 years. Mainstream historians have a simple explanation, though: the purpose of the change was to bring the calendar into line with the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, not with 45 AD – which accounts for the discrepancy.

time travel 2“What shall I tell them, your Holiness?”
“Tell them…tell them it’s 1582.”
“My Lord, I –”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Tell the people the next 300 days do not exist. I command them to ignore the next 300 sunsets.”
“But the people will drop dead of exhaustion in the fields –”
“What is one extra day of work?”
“But it is three hundred –”
“It is what, Cosimo?”
“I — it is but one day. As you say, my Lord, it is but one day of extra work. I obey you.”
“See to it that you do. See to it that you do, lest you find yourself on a Venetian time-ship this time yesterday afternoon.”

  • Architect, astronomer, educator, philo­logist, folklorist, lawmaker, statesman – the range of achievements credited to Charlemagne is so great that it implies he is a mythical figure.

If Phantom Time Hypothesis holds up, who created the fake, and why? Perhaps the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III wanted to be on the throne at the time of the Millennium, 1000 ad, so he got chroniclers across Europe to invent and document an extra 300 years.

Illig’s followers face many difficulties of course: the theory has yet to explain how it would fit into the history of the world outside Europe, or into astronomical records, or into the tree-ring data.”

“Oh, and Cosimo?”
“Yes, my Dread Lord?”
“…Enlist the trees.”

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