Friday Fun: Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks

Oct 08 2010 Published by under friday fun, history

Ah, The Onion. I haven't used them in a while for my Friday Fun and it was feeling like it was way overdue.

As usual, classic stuff: Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks:

A group of leading historians held a press conference Monday at the National Geographic Society to announce they had "entirely fabricated" ancient Greece, a culture long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization.

The group acknowledged that the idea of a sophisticated, flourishing society existing in Greece more than two millennia ago was a complete fiction created by a team of some two dozen historians, anthropologists, and classicists who worked nonstop between 1971 and 1974 to forge "Greek" documents and artifacts."

And lest people think that this frivolous article has no bearing on the weighty issues of the day in terms of scholarly communications...

"Honestly, we never meant for things to go this far," said Professor Gene Haddlebury, who has offered to resign his position as chair of Hellenic Studies at Georgetown University. "We were young and trying to advance our careers, so we just started making things up: Homer, Aristotle, Socrates, Hippocrates, the lever and fulcrum, rhetoric, ethics, all the different kinds of columns--everything."

See! They were driven to perpetrate the greatest hoax of our times by research metrics!

And there's even science-y content too:

"Geometry? That was all Kevin," said Haddlebury, referring to former graduate student Kevin Davenport. "Man, that kid was on fire in those days. They teach Davenportian geometry in high schools now, though of course they call it Euclidean."

(As a counterpoint to this article, check out this slightly older Onion piece: Archaeologists Unearth Lousiest Civilization Ever.)

16 responses so far

  • Knurl says:

    So Prometheus didn't invent the barbecue? My weekends will never be the same.

  • Andrew G. says:

    Paging Jean Hardouin...

  • John Thielking says:

    This is obviously a work of fiction since I was learning about the Greek Myths in high school in 1979. School textbooks don't get updated that fast.

  • linda says:

    Really?

    I do not think so. may be they invented that everything is Greek! But I do not think that the masterpieces, philosophers did not exist...may be many of them were Albanians...this is a logical thought since Albanian language is older than Greek..Albanians (Ilirians) have been always there, next to Greek (for not to say before), so how it is possible one populations next to the other for thousand of years did not produce everything where the other produced everything. Then are the archeology and linguistics, is Albanian language that explain that...even the genes.

  • Gigi says:

    Linda babe the Albanian language is made out of turkish, Greek, Italian and slavic words.in Fact albanians are not natives of the Mediteranean or the Balkans. Ancient Albania was in Caucasus and Albanians are azeri new comers in the are of the Balkans. They do not speak a word in common with ancient Illyrians and half their country is full of ancient Greek theaters and temples. Sorry but archaeological evidence always come to clear out ignorance

  • George says:

    Gigi, it's alright to hate albanians, but the words you are using to set your kind of propaganda isn't a very constructive answer to put. You are wrong and your words are nonesense, so please go read a book, before you contribute by your ignorance.

    Thank you.

  • Mike says:

    Ha what a bunch of lies... everyone is jealous of what the ancient Greeks did. Thats all this is about

  • Collin says:

    @3,4
    This is humor. Please read their disclaimer:
    http://www.theonion.com/faq/#faq-editorial

  • John Dupuis says:

    Yeah, Colin. Wow. Sometimes the Internet just surprises the hell out of me.

  • The Seer says:

    I'm african american and have no connection to my roots because as most know, my ancestors came here as slaves. I was not privy to knowing how far m
    y roots go back because my people came to america as slaves. Growing up I was always told that africa was the mother of all life and that brown toned people were here first and our history is the purest. Recently I learned that white skin is a mutation that occurred only about 10,000 years ago and also that blue eyes were a mutation. Knowing this has changed everything that I learned in school. Its always been whispered among my family that most history concerning whites was forged. The reason why so many ancient artifacts were missing noses and lips were to hide the african influence in their features. Now hearing that Greece was a large hoax has confirmed what most of my people already knew. By the way guys you shouldn't be telling anyone to go pick up a book since obviously you can't believe what they tell you. If this article hasn't proven that, you guys need to reconsider a lot.

  • Hasheem Mecca says:

    Now we know why they referred to Greek history as Mythology..All white people of Europe was taught in Africa..They stole, and even tried to make Kemet(egypt) gods there own, and even tried to to make the culture there own..They were straight savage before being civilized by the Original man, and Women of the planet..

  • aggelos says:

    satyra = satyric is also greek idea a word is born with an idea.

  • jerry hirshberg says:

    Now that Rupert Murdoch and Fox News owns National Geographic, expect more of this utter BS.

  • samos says:

    This Is a blatant lie paid for by Turkey and other ignorant meat heads and scholars who are really whores ..I and others toured greece many times and the ancient monuments like the Parthenon in Athens and the monuments in samos and Athens and Sparta and Macedonia were in fact built over 2000 to 2500 years ago. People who were scholars and not ignorant idiots would have known better

  • otieno says:

    Here, in Africa, we already knew the Europeans began their civilization by violence, lies and stealing from our 10,000 year old civilization in Egypt. The European version of the origins of western civilization has always been a myth, since 325BCE and Ptolemy I.

  • Tina says:

    Mythology's existed way before Greeks appeared on historical scenario. Greeks just excepted it all.
    Whats interesting is, if Greeks did not do all that smart stuff in
    ancient history as referred by historians, how come nobody mentioned other ancient nations who might have done all
    and still exist, but are never referred to as creators of civilisation. Like, Mycenaean, Macedonians and other,
    who had writing, which meant they invented , philosophy, and other art, music and so forth. Why not give credit where credit is due. Why all has to belong to Greeks, who to this day of
    1965 did not dance Horo, but have learned it from Macedonians. Who original refer to the national dance as ORO. Something even Alexander the grate danced with his Macedonian soldier. So the ORO was ancient Macedonian invention, nobody talks about.
    Why? Afraid from truth. Why? don't like Macedonians.
    Why? what do you have against nation of people whose
    ancestors derive from ancient Macedonian people.
    Why are so many lying about Macedonians and their civilized
    life stile, which was excepted by Greeks, Slavs, Bulgarians, Albano-Turks, and the world.
    So, stop stilling Macedonian history and heritage and rename it into Greek.

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