In this chaotic and divisive world it's comforting that history as we know it happened pretty much like historians say it did and that the year is 2018.

Do you think so? You might be shocked and outraged to learn that the history books you read are a bunch of fibs.

According to German historian Heribert Illig, the year is actually 1720, the Gregorian calendar is a lie, and a chunk of Middle Ages were completely made up.

In 1991, Illig proposed his theory, aptly called the Phantom Time Hypothesis. He claims there was conspiracy entered into back in 1000 AD to change the dating system by three world rulers.

Allegedly,Pope Sylvester II, Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, and Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII all got together and changed the calendar to make it seem as if Otto had begun his reign in the millennial year of 1000 AD, rather than 996. The reason being that 1000 is a nice round number and ties Otto's reign to the birth of Christ a millenium previously.

The trio altered existing documents, and created fraudulent historical events and people in order to back themselves up. He claims that Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne was not in fact a real ruler, but simply a King Arthur-type legend, and through all of this tampering and forgery, an extra 297 years were added to history.

Fact: the years prior to 614 were full of historically exciting events, as were the years after 911. The intervening years - the dark ages, however, were significantly dull.

One supporter of Illig's hypothesis, Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz, published a paper in 1995 titled “Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist?” in which he claims they did not.

Niemitz purported that “Between Antiquity (1 AD) and the Renaissance (1500 AD) historians count approximately 300 years too many in their chronology

Some of Niemitz’s claims echoed Illig’s, such has the discrepancies between the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the lack of reliable historical sources.

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