The Lost Millennium

History's Timetables Under Siege

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Have you ever wondered how we really know what year it is? Part detective story, part conspiracy theory, part scientific history, The Lost Millennium explores the astonishing possibility that our calendar is out by a thousand years.

A chance conversation at a conference in Mexico started mathematician Florin Diacu on an amazing journey to make sense of one of the strangest — and if true, most revolutionary — theories you’ll ever encounter. To understand how scientists could be sceptical about what year it is, Florin Diacu explores the fascinating history of chronology — from Egyptian horoscopes to the work of Isaac Newton, with cameos by Voltaire and Edmund Halley — making the startling discovery that our calendar is far from ironclad. It all depends, rather, on the dating of ancient events — about which there is real controversy.

At once accessible and profound, The Lost Millennium examines the arguments of present-day chronological revisionists such as the Russian scholar Anatoli Fomenko, who claims that our system of dating is horribly askew. Fomenko cites evidence from ancient astronomy, linguistics and cartography, and a crucial manuscript by Ptolemy, staking his scientific prestige on a theory so controversial that it will change the way you think about time, history and the calendar on your wall. The field has also inspired its share of now-discredited cranks, such as Immanuel Velikovsky, a media celebrity of the 1950s. His notorious book Worlds in Collision argued that biblical events are incorrectly dated.

Beautifully written and peopled with fascinating characters from past and present, The Lost Millennium is essential reading for anyone who believes they’re living in the year 2005.

From the Hardcover edition.



Where Did the Time Go?

Those whose chronology is confused cannot give a true account of history.

Mexicans call Cuernavaca “the city of the eternal spring.” In the Tepozteco Valley, where the city rests, the mornings are clear, the afternoons...
Read More


“Diacu gives both sides of the argument fairly but the mere idea that the calendar may be out by as much as 1,000 years is staggering.”
The London Free Press

“A stimulating new book…. [Diacu has] a gift for framing complex ideas in ways anyone can understand.”
Toronto Star

“Intriguing…. [Diacu] set out to explore this controversy with an open mind…. His account is at its best when he wrestles with the many contradictions of both the accepted and revisionist chronologies…. He wades into celestial mechanics with a dizzying discussion of eclipses, astronomical calculations and algebraic formulas.”
The Globe and Mail

“[Diacu explores] the ideas of a maverick Russian mathematician named Anatoli Fomenko … [who] argues that time is out of joint…. It’s an understatement to call this idea revolutionary.” —Maclean’s

“Technical chronology — the art of dating the past — is an amazing field: it's the spot where the tectonic plates of exact science and humanistic scholarship intersect. Over the centuries, astronomers, mathematicians and historians have battled to find fixed points, usually in the movements of the stars and planets, by which they could date the great events of history precisely. It's very hard to do this, and most of those who tried have been more ingenious in their own right than tolerant of criticism. The ensuing struggles have enlisted both great minds, like Isaac Newton, and wild speculators, like Immanuel Velikovsky. Florin Diacu, a polyglot and erudite mathematician, lays out old and recent debates with great clarity, and offers the first detailed account for non-specialists of the radical revisionist theories of Anatoli Fomenko and his colleagues. His book — like most of those he describes — will certainly become a flash point in its own right. For the general reader, it offers a fascinating look at an unknown world.”
—Anthony Grafton, Professor of European History, Princeton University

"Diacu takes the position of high-sceptic in the middle of an epic, unfriendly disagreement between the conventions of western history and a renegade group of Russian mathematicians arguing that the Middle Ages never happened. But even with the understood history of civilization at issue, Diacu believes nothing at face value and questions everything on both sides. A fascinating read."
—Timothy Taylor

"What makes this book so remarkable is Diacu’s unstinting commitment to uncovering the truth. It is a superb exemplar of open, rigorous, yet eminently readable inquiry. It will fascinate anyone with an interest in how science is done or how history is constructed."
—Jan Zwicky