1434: The Year A Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed To Italy And Ignited The Renaissance - Gavin Menzies

CrusaderFrank

Diamond Member
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
116,431
Reaction score
29,635
Points
2,220
Location
Location, location
Pretty much everything you were taught about history was wrong. I'm about 4 chapters in and the section on Chinese Astronomy is staggering, startling, breathtaking! If you know ANYTHING about astronomy, what Chinese astronomers KNEW for certain in the year 1280, yes 1280! will knock your socks off! Their knowledge of the Earth, Moon and Sun was vastly superior to anything the Europeans knew. The Chinese had the Moon phases accurate to 2 seconds, they knew the Moon orbited the Earth and that both orbited the Sun in an ellipse.

The Chinese fleet, like I suspect Solomon's fleet millennium prior, used the stars to ascertain longitude to within 30 miles.

I highly recommend this book!
 

Tom Paine 1949

Diamond Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
2,064
Reaction score
1,681
Points
1,908
Unfortunately, Gavin Menzies’ 2008 book, 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance is simply not historically accurate. There is NO evidence supporting Menzies claims that in 1434 a major Chinese delegation (let alone a “Magnificent Fleet”) sailed to Italy and brought books and globes that launched the Renaissance.

Gavin Menzies is a very successful writer of popular pseudo-history. His earlier and more famous work, 1421: The Year China Discovered The World, kick-started his career. It claimed that ships belonging to Chinese admiral Zheng He’s famous fleet circumnavigated the globe. I myself am sort of an amateur student of Chinese history, and also a fan of historical fiction, but I must report that Menzies has passed off historical fiction for real history. His sensationalism and obvious distortions only fool those without serious historical knowledge. Here’s an excerpt on Menzies from Wikipedia:


Mainstream Sinologists and professional historians have universally rejected 1421 and the alternative history of Chinese exploration described in it as pseudohistory. A particular point of objection is Menzies' use of maps to argue that the Chinese mapped both the Eastern and Western hemispheres as they circumnavigated the world in the 15th century. The widely respected British historian of exploration Felipe Fernández-Armesto dismissed Menzies as "either a charlatan or a cretin".... On 21 July 2004, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) broadcast a two-hour-long documentary debunking all of Menzies's major claims, featuring professional Chinese historians. In 2004, historian Robert Finlay severely criticized Menzies in the Journal of World History for his "reckless manner of dealing with evidence" that led him to propose hypotheses "without a shred of proof"....

Menzies has created a website for his readers to send him any information they can find that might support his hypothesis.... Academics have emphatically rejected all of this "evidence" as worthless and have criticized what American history professor Ronald H. Fritze calls the "almost cult-like" manner in which Menzies continues to drum up support for his hypothesis. In reaction to this criticism, Menzies has dismissed the experts' opinions as irrelevant, stating, "The public are on my side, and they are the people who count."

I should point out that Menzies neither speaks nor reads Chinese. He received no academic training as an historian, nor ever attended college. His career was serving in the Royal Navy, which he left after being involved in a minor way in a serious collision between two ships. His interest in Zheng He’s famous naval expeditions is genuine. This was evidently prompted by his (and his father’s) own naval experiences, and by the happenstance that he was born in China. Yet even naval historians, map historians and Chinese experts on Zheng He (always happy to extol the extent of the great Chinese admiral’s voyages) ... generally disparage his work as entertaining fiction. Finally, it must be added that Menzies has made a great deal more money publishing his books than most real historians.
 
Last edited:
OP
CrusaderFrank

CrusaderFrank

Diamond Member
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
116,431
Reaction score
29,635
Points
2,220
Location
Location, location
Unfortunately, Gavin Menzies’ 2008 book, 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance is simply not historically accurate. There is NO evidence supporting Menzies claims that in 1434 a major Chinese delegation (let alone a “Magnificent Fleet”) sailed to Italy and brought books and globes that launched the Renaissance.

Gavin Menzies is a very successful writer of popular pseudo-history. His earlier and more famous work, 1421: The Year China Discovered The World, kick-started his career. It claimed that ships belonging to Chinese admiral Zheng He’s famous fleet circumnavigated the globe. I myself am sort of an amateur student of Chinese history, and also a fan of historical fiction, but I must report that Menzies has passed off historical fiction for real history. His sensationalism and obvious distortions only fool those without serious historical knowledge. Here’s an excerpt on Menzies from Wikipedia:


Mainstream Sinologists and professional historians have universally rejected 1421 and the alternative history of Chinese exploration described in it as pseudohistory. A particular point of objection is Menzies' use of maps to argue that the Chinese mapped both the Eastern and Western hemispheres as they circumnavigated the world in the 15th century. The widely respected British historian of exploration Felipe Fernández-Armesto dismissed Menzies as "either a charlatan or a cretin".... On 21 July 2004, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) broadcast a two-hour-long documentary debunking all of Menzies's major claims, featuring professional Chinese historians. In 2004, historian Robert Finlay severely criticized Menzies in the Journal of World History for his "reckless manner of dealing with evidence" that led him to propose hypotheses "without a shred of proof"....

Menzies has created a website for his readers to send him any information they can find that might support his hypothesis.... Academics have emphatically rejected all of this "evidence" as worthless and have criticized what American history professor Ronald H. Fritze calls the "almost cult-like" manner in which Menzies continues to drum up support for his hypothesis. In reaction to this criticism, Menzies has dismissed the experts' opinions as irrelevant, stating, "The public are on my side, and they are the people who count."

I should point out that Menzies neither speaks nor reads Chinese. He received no academic training as an historian, nor ever attended college. His career was serving in the Royal Navy, which he left after being involved in a minor way in a serious collision between two ships. His interest in Zheng He’s famous naval expeditions is genuine. This was evidently prompted by his (and his father’s) own naval experiences, and by the happenstance that he was born in China. Yet even naval historians, map historians and Chinese experts on Zheng He (always happy to extol the extent of the great Chinese admiral’s voyages) ... generally disparage his work as entertaining fiction. Finally, it must be added that Menzies has made a great deal more money publishing his books than most real historians.
You didn't read 1421, didja?
 

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Forum List

Top