Common Errors

Spijkers op laag water

Spijkers op laag water

In 2009, I published a little book (in Dutch) in which I discuss more than fifty common errors about ancient history, Spijkers op laag water. Below are some examples, a couple of which are absent from the book. The book ends with a postscript, in which I explain why the classics “attract” so many errors. I think this is the most important part of the book – read it.

  1. The cradles of religion and rationalism;
  2. The ancients believed that the Ark rested on a mountain named Ararat;
  3. The alphabet was invented by the Phoenicians;
  4. Those mysterious Etruscans;
  5. There were “hanging gardens” in Babylon;
  6. The Persians conquered Lydia in 547;
  7. Ancient sculpture was white;
  8. The Capitoline Wolf is an early Roman piece of art;
  9. Pythagoras’ Theorem;
  10. It’s 42 kilometer from Marathon to Athens;
  11. The Persian Wars and the Origins of Western Civilization;
  12. Herodotus visited Babylon;
  13. Aspasia was a prostitute;
  14. Pericles had prepared Athens for the Peloponnesian War;
  15. The Sicilian Expedition caused the Fall of Athens;
  16. Roman Chronology;
  17. Alexander destroyed Persepolis;
  18. Archimedes built a heat ray;
  19. Caesar defeated the Nervians on the banks of the Sambre;
  20. Caesar was defeated at Tongeren;
  21. Caesar’s last words were “Tu quoque, Brute?”
  22. Octavian called himself Octavian;
  23. Cleopatra was killed by a viper;
  24. Teutoburg Forest;
  25. The Eye of the Needle;
  26. Roman legionaries;
  27. Via Belgica;
  28. Pilate was procurator;
  29. IIII or IV?;
  30. Vespasian’s last words were that he feared becoming a god;
  31. The Roman Empire reached its greatest extent under Trajan;
  32. The Ninth Legion Hispana was destroyed in Scotland;
  33. In the Colosseum, Christians were killed;
  34. The conversion of Constantine;
  35. Christians destroyed the Gnostic Gospels;
  36. The Frisians lived in Friesland;
  37. The barbarians crossed a frozen Rhine;
  38. The Menorah is in the Vatican;
  39. Lead Poisoning caused the Fall of the Roman Empire;
  40. The ancients believed the earth was flat.

And some common methodological errors:

If you represent a publishing house and think that this book might be translated, you can contact me here.

2 Responses to Common Errors

  1. brink1948 says:

    Here is the reference to an earlier reply that you apparently erased in which I mentioned the experimental/scientific evidence
    The experimental proof is at the MIT (sic!) website

    http://web.mit.edu/2.009/www/experiments/deathray/10_Mythbusters.html

    See alsohttp://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2010/10/president-obama-challenges-mythbusters-crew-to-test-archimedes-legend.html

  2. i know some of those things to be errors ,but all of them´.. it would be interesting reading indeed. most of the worlds beliefs are just .if not all.

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