The Mystery Encyclopedia

Mystery of the Phantom Time Theory

According to Heribert Illig, a German writer and historical revisionist, nearly 300 years of time was invented in order to strengthen the emperor’s claim to the throne. Proponents of Phantom Time Theory suggest that the reign of Charlemagne was a made up period, and that the evidence exists to prove we are living in the year 1720. Additionally, the theory suggests Islam’s beginnings were fabricated, including Muhammad, and the period of Viking expansion from about 600 AD (C.E.) never happened.
Middle Ages Knight

Did Emperor Otto III Invent the Middle Ages?

Emperor Otto III

Did a group of world leaders conspire to write their own version of history?

According to Heribert Illig, a German writer and historical revisionist, nearly 300 years of time was invented in order to strengthen the emperor’s claim to the throne. Proponents of Phantom Time Theory suggest that the reign of Charlemagne was a made up period, and that the evidence exists to prove we are living in the year 1720. Additionally, the theory suggests Islam’s beginnings were fabricated, including Muhammad, and the period of Viking expansion from about 600 AD (C.E.) never happened.

But Why

Illig posits that Holy Roman Emperor Otto III and Pope Sylvester II conspired with Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII to shift the calendar so that Otto’s reign encompasses the year 1000. This year being important to Christian Millennialism as the year Jesus Christ would return.  Other theorists suggests Otto’s intention was to strengthen his position on the throne through lineage and therefore created the character Charles the Great, Charlemagne.

Illig’s Evidence

Heribert Illig correctly identifies that certain amounts of time have shifted. In fact, 1 day for every 128 years, accounting for 10 days, since the acceptance of the Julian Calendar, introduced by Julius Cesar. The shift came when the Gregorian calendar removed that 10 days to align with the Council of Nicea and the setting of Easter, which began in 325 AD (C.E.). Illig’s confusion, and quest to support this hypothesis, appears to come from  the Gregorian calendar shifting to align with the Council of Nicea (325 AD) and not the start of the Julian Calendar (45 BC). Illig incorrectly surmised that 280 years was missing from time.  Where he found the time is most troubling. He again posited that the time period 614-911 AD (C.E.) was a fabrication based on the existence of Roman architecture in Europe he believed should not be there if those periods existed. Further, he attempted to align the missing years with Christian Millennialism with Otto’s reign.

Eurocentric

Illig’s theory boldly leaves out Chinese dynasties, the Arab and Muslim conquests and the founding of Islam, Viking Age, and the Myan’s own writings and calendars. His ideas seek to fit solely into European history and this alone terminates his theory. Simply put, Emperor Otto III could not effect a global conspiracy to remove nearly 300 years from time much less remove the middle ages from Europe.

Why is this a Mystery

Over the centuries, our method of time keeping has left us shifting days into and out of our calendars. During the 18th century, the British uprising known as the English Calendar Riots of 1752, argued for the return of 11 days as the result of the shift to the Gregorian Calendar.  The passage of time is one constant we all share.  When time is changed we can experience confusion. What happens to those days when the calendar shifted back to 325 AD (C.E.) that simply never existed or were removed?

Heribert Illig isn’t wrong to question the actual date. Unfortunately, Illig failed to utilize all avenues of research, such as Astrology, which shows clearly the last several centuries of solar eclipses or even the histories of other countries such as the Mayans whose calendars confirmed many events based on historical astrology, when testing his hypothesis. The mystery develops from the interpretation of Illig’s motivation. Was Heribert Illig simply wrong but his intentions of merit? Or, has a global conspiracy set the stage to add 300 years to our modern calendars for a purely personal and selfish reason?

From the team at Half as Interesting. Watch a video about the theories discussed in this article.