There is no new episode of Ancient Aliens tonight due to the History Channel’s car-focused programming week. (What, no “Aliens and Automobiles” episode?) So, it looks like I get the night off! That would be great, except that I am bombarded with work today. Therefore, I’m going to keep today’s posting short.
I read yesterday about a bizarre pseudohistorical fantasy that has developed a small but influential group of followers in Poland. It is so transparently a Polish nationalist myth that I am amazed anyone could take it seriously. According to historian Mateusz Fafinski, a group of pseudoscholars known as the Turboslavs (an apparently mocking term favored by their opponents) have developed a myth based on a forged “ancient” text that describes the “true” history of the Poles. According to this myth, the Polish nation emerged 70,000 years ago from a wandering tribe of Aryan supermen who once ruled all of the Slavic lands from the Danube through to the Urals. As Aryan believers in the One True Faith of Arianism, they ruled supreme and withstood all attacks until the first king of Poland, Mieszko I, came to the throne in the 900s CE. By converting to Christianity, he corrupted the Aryan purity of the Lechia Empire, resulting in the subjugation of the Poles to the Germans when Mieszko made Poland a vassal of the Holy Roman Empire.
The believers in this myth lay their faith in the Slavic-Sarmatian Chronicle of Prokosz, a forgery written the 1700s by Przybysław Dyjamentowski and printed in 1825. Although recognized as a hoax from 1826 on, the believers claim the document to be real. As Fafinski notes, the proponents of this myth are following a familiar narrative common to most fringe historians, but one that is also present in the nationalist versions of history promulgated by nationalist governments: “Everything is framed as ‘uncovering the truth’ and, if I may be allowed a literal translation, ‘de-lying’ history. For history, you must know, has been stolen from Polish people. Historiography is just another tool through which enemies oppress Poland by stealing its history from it (a note very much present in the current government’s narration).”
I will recommend Fafinski’s entire article to you, as it is an excellent examination of an unusual historical fabrication in a part of the world where language barriers often prevent us from seeing as clearly as some other nations’ pseudohistorical absurdities. I’ll close this section with this paragraph that sums up Fafinski’s analysis of why Aryan narratives appeal to Poles, the victims of the last round of Aryan supremacist ideology in Europe:
In this mindset Poles and Poland fulfill a divine historical mission (it is almost funny how close this right-wing fantasy comes to historical determinism) that is constantly foiled by Germany and Russia (and their previous incarnations). Turboslavism is just an iteration of that myth, with greater emphasis put on Germany as the enemy. It is also easier to believe and more difficult to disprove because it mostly happens in the distant past. That myth is also subtly racist - Poles are better, have almost divine origins, are “the martyrs of the world” and suffer for other nations. In the Turboslav ideology it is expressed by being descendants of Aryans (it is hard to ignore subtle Nazi parallels here…)
As Fafinski notes, the Turboslav myth is closely associated with rightwing politics, and as such, I would say that it bears some resemblance to the way the so-called alt-right uses Solutreans, hyperdiffusionism, and lost white races to create a mythical history for America that places white Europeans at the origin of every facet of North American life.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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