Historical fakes: what is it and what are the most famous

Validate your thesis with an ancient source, renovate a piazza without disturbing its original appearance, or become famous for discovering an unpublished work of literature. historical forgery it is an instrument that man has used extensively in past ages. However, regardless of the purpose for which documents and works were compiled or built, such practices often created great difficulties in interpreting facts or dating architecture and paintings. However, observed today they look like funny anecdotes.

we’ll see then what are fake historians and what cheat more startlingfrom Donation of Constantine To Bell tower which dominates Piazza San Marco in the lagoon.

Historical forgery: definition

In philology, paleography and art history, the term historical forgery it is used to refer to documents, artifacts, works or architectures that are erroneously believed to date from certain periods of the past, before they were actually created. So you can define everything with this name imitates styles or tell the facts with specific intent change observer or reader.

For example, in the artistic and architectural realm, these might be artifacts or buildings designed according to medieval taste but built in the modern era. On the other hand, in the case of written sources, these could be texts developed in the Middle Ages, leading contemporaries to think that they are dealing with a much older document.

However, very often I historical fakes they have created more than one embarrassment in the academic realm, resulting in such a vast topic as to mislead even the most important scholars. However, in other cases it was a matter of necessity connected with unforeseen circumstances, as happened with some architectural works that were destroyed and rebuilt in style, but with better materials and technologies.

Historical forgery: the most striking in architecture

As expected, historical forgery also appliesarchitecture and lies in the exact reproduction of the style of the past, which makes it difficult to determine the actual period of construction. However, unlike what happens with documents, it is very difficult to do this with the specific intent to deceive the observer, given the impossibility of hiding the construction site. Thus, the misunderstanding could only concern works of the past, the dating of which may be difficult due to the lack of reliable sources.

In this sense, one of the most famous historical forgeries concerns an Italian building, namely bell tower of San Marco To Venice which, although perfectly reproducing the characteristics of the original tower built in the 9th century, is actually a construction from the early 20th century. The sudden collapse of the structure necessitated its restoration, for which the then mayor Filippo Grimani ordered the exact reproduction of the medieval architectural scheme, uttering the famous phrase: “How was it, where was it“.

However, similar measures have been taken in the past. French architect who lived in the 19th century. Eugene Viollet-le-Ducfor example, devoted himself several times to the exact reconstruction gothic medieval monumentsinterfering with buildings such as Notre Dame Cathedral To Paris after the damage caused by the French Revolution. Staying in ItalyInstead, the practice of restoring works destroyed during two world conflicts twentieth century.

The most famous historical documentary fakes

In the field of documentary film historical forgery it had a completely different meaning and was used to justify political and religious positions or to gain publicity by pretending to discover important documents that were in fact forged.

One of the most famous cases is presented Donation of Constantine. More precisely, it is a decree in which the Roman emperor granted the then Pope Sylvester I important concessions, including primacy over the Eastern churches, papal sovereignty over all priests, and the supremacy of papal authority over imperial authority.

However, thanks to a careful analysis of the text in 1440, the philologist Lorenzo Valla managed to demonstrate unauthenticity of a document. The Latin used in writing could not in fact be traced back to the language of the 4th century. Thus, it was a decree written specifically to justify the position of the Church at the turn of the millennium.

At the end XVIII centuryon the other hand, the discovery of some caused a stir unpublished works attributed to William Shakespeare, which included previously unread tragedies and a series of letters to his wife, Anne Hathaway. It was later revealed that all the lyrics were written by a contemporary artist. William Henry Ireland.

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