Disprove A Historical Character

Aug 2019
16
Universe, Milky way, Sol System, Easrt
In the vein of the now popular trend of trying to disprove that Jesus ever existed and that Christianity was some 100s - 300s invention, i was wondering what it would take to claim a historical character never existed from Hannibal to Cleopatra, Ceaser to the Buddha, Charlemagne to George Washington etc

Extra points if you as a modern Historian or hypothetical future historian tries to disprove a very recent figure like Hitler or Obama
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,756
In the vein of the now popular trend of trying to disprove that Jesus ever existed and that Christianity was some 100s - 300s invention, i was wondering what it would take to claim a historical character never existed from Hannibal to Cleopatra, Ceaser to the Buddha, Charlemagne to George Washington etc

Extra points if you as a modern Historian or hypothetical future historian tries to disprove a very recent figure like Hitler or Obama
It;s basic misunderstanding it not that soem figure did not exists it;s just the version written day in the gospels was quite some time later and the writers were writing with a political/religious purpose.
Christianity WAS a 100-300 invention or re-invention. And it's been subsequently revineted since then.

There is plenty of evidence that Socrates existsed and he was a philospher. What he said/beleived is extremely hard to to determine.
 
Jul 2019
809
New Jersey
There is plenty of evidence that Socrates existsed and he was a philospher. What he said/beleived is extremely hard to to determine.
Is there? Other than Plato, Aristophanes, and Xenophon, who else mentions Socrates within a century of his life?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,726
Dispargum
To prove that a historical person existed we should prefer multiple independent, unbiased, credible sources that record a more or less consistent story about that person. To disprove the existence of a historical person we need the opposite. We can question the existence of Jesus because there is only one source, that source is biased because it was written by people who wished to believe the story and who wished others to believe it, and the Bible is also incredible because it makes numerous supernatural claims about various miracles, etc.

If there were no doubts about history, it would be a boring field. The meat of history is the gathering and the analysis of evidence. History spends little time on what is easily proven, and it also spends little time on what is so thinly supported. If there is little or no evidence, history has nothing to analyze or assess. The difference between history and religion is the difference between knowing and believing. If you can prove your faith, it's not really faith. You're not going to find the answers to religious questions in history. I discourage anyone from trying.
 
Jul 2019
809
New Jersey
Isocrates, Aeschines for starters And much more than mere mentions.
I was being sarcastic, by mentioning three separate sources that talk of Socrates. I was parodying the more radical revisionists. Looking back, though, I see that I left no indication that I was actually being sarcastic.
 
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Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,391
here
To prove that a historical person existed we should prefer multiple independent, unbiased, credible sources that record a more or less consistent story about that person. To disprove the existence of a historical person we need the opposite. We can question the existence of Jesus because there is only one source, that source is biased because it was written by people who wished to believe the story and who wished others to believe it, and the Bible is also incredible because it makes numerous supernatural claims about various miracles, etc.

If there were no doubts about history, it would be a boring field. The meat of history is the gathering and the analysis of evidence. History spends little time on what is easily proven, and it also spends little time on what is so thinly supported. If there is little or no evidence, history has nothing to analyze or assess. The difference between history and religion is the difference between knowing and believing. If you can prove your faith, it's not really faith. You're not going to find the answers to religious questions in history. I discourage anyone from trying.
Not to nitpick, but regarding sources for Jesus, Josephus is one non biblical source, no? And I’ve always wondered if it was fair to say that the Bible is just “one” source, after all, it’s multiple authors, so I think it counts as multiple sources.
 
Feb 2017
328
Latin America
To prove that a historical person existed we should prefer multiple independent, unbiased, credible sources that record a more or less consistent story about that person. To disprove the existence of a historical person we need the opposite. We can question the existence of Jesus because there is only one source, that source is biased because it was written by people who wished to believe the story and who wished others to believe it, and the Bible is also incredible because it makes numerous supernatural claims about various miracles, etc.

If there were no doubts about history, it would be a boring field. The meat of history is the gathering and the analysis of evidence. History spends little time on what is easily proven, and it also spends little time on what is so thinly supported. If there is little or no evidence, history has nothing to analyze or assess. The difference between history and religion is the difference between knowing and believing. If you can prove your faith, it's not really faith. You're not going to find the answers to religious questions in history. I discourage anyone from trying.
For one, the New Testament is composed of many sources, it's not just one. For two, Jesus is mentioned by Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius in the span of less than a century (all of these authors in fact were born in the same century as Jesus). And since you mentioned "the Bible", Clement's letter and the Didache, also written in the first century, are not part of the New Testament, thus giving us yet other independent sources. Socrates, meanwhile, is only mentioned by Plato and Xenophon, and if we're generous, we can count Aristotle. Pythagoras's only near-contemporary mention is Herodotus. In fact, most philosophers' lives are known from Diogenes Laertius, who wrote several centuries to around a millennium after they lived.


This article is great:
To ask whether or not the great Carthaginian general Hannibal every actually existed might seem rather pointless. An exercise for a student learning about the nature of historical evidence perhaps but not something any serious scholar would waste time on. But maybe we should not be too hasty in acquiescing with the opinion of establishment historians (in other words, there's a plot by academics stifling debate).

In fact, although there is plenty of writing about Hannibal, none of it is contemporary and there is no archaeological evidence for him at all (not surprising given the Romans razed the city from whence he came). Furthermore he is not mentioned in any Carthaginian sources - incredible given he was supposed to be their greatest leader (there are no Carthaginian sources as the Romans burnt their city down)! We find when we actually try to pin him down he tends to recede further into the mists of time. His exploits, such as leading elephants over the Alps, are clearly legendary (the sceptic pretends to be incredulous but seems happy to buy his own amazing theory) and it is not hard to find a motive for the creation of this colourful character by Roman writers (as long we can invent a motive for fabrication we can assume that fabrication exists).

Rome and Carthage were great trading rivals in the Western Mediterranean and it did not take them long to come to blows. Rome signed a peace treaty but, under the leadership of the elder Cato desperately wanted to rid itself permanently of the competition. (this is actually true and so helps to hide when we slip into fantasy) They needed an excuse and the idea they came up with was brilliant. Like all ancient civilisations, the Romans rewrote history as it suited them to demonstrate their own prowess. (a useful and exaggerated generalisation) Consequently we should not be surprised to find that they invented a great enemy from Carthage to demonstrate the threat still existed and justify a further war to wipe them out.

The author of the fiction was Cato himself (we need someone to point the finger at and note how there is no distinction made between the background material above and theorising here) who we know wrote the earliest Roman History (true as well, actually). But it was intended simply as a justification for a further war with Carthage. It contained the details of Hannibal's alleged campaigns against the Romans including victories on Italian soil (it might well do but Cato's history has conveniently not survived). Cato brilliantly combined the truth with his own anti-Carthaginian propaganda with the intention of goading Rome into another wholly unjustified war with the old enemy (give the fabricator lots of credit for his invention). Once the war was over and Carthage razed to the ground, the Romans were able to ensure that only their version of history survived (this is important as it enables all other sources to be declared forgeries).

Therefore the myth of the great Carthaginian war leader became fact and later Roman historians like the notoriously unreliable Livy (we have to denigrate counter sources) simply assumed Cato's fabrications were true (because the ancients were stupid and simply could not do any research themselves).

Cleopatra
Since Cleopatra claimed to have been Isis, all references to her are religious, and as we know, all religious references are by God's Rule invalid. They can't never be valid under any circumstance.

As Caesar claimed to have been a descendant of gods like Venus, and moreover he was said to have been Pontifex Maximus, that makes him a religious figure, and again, every religious element is by its very nature invalid. Therefore Caesar has as much historical existence as Zeus or Hercules.


He is a religious figure. Of course he doesn't exist. All religious figures don't exist.


Charlemagne to George Washington etc

Extra points if you as a modern Historian or hypothetical future historian tries to disprove a very recent figure like Hitler or Obama
All of these figures are Christians, and that makes them religious figures. Ergo, being religious, they have no historical existence.
 
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