Fake History: From Mozart’s Murder to Cleopatra’s Asp
As Napoleon himself once said, ‘History is a version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.’
Noted down in historical documents, copied and widely repeated, it doesn’t take long for a version of the truth to become accepted as fact. But who invents these false accounts in the first place, and why do they gain traction so quickly?
Far from concerning the obscure and insignificant parts of our history, these fundamental inaccuracies and downright lies colour the depiction of many of those pivotal characters and events we learnt about at school. Cleopatra, Marco Polo, Captain Cook, Joan of Arc; most of us could reel off a fact or two about each. But as this intriguing book reveals, a closer examination of these core parts of our social and political history shows that often all was not as it seemed, and that the agendas of those responsible for recording these events had a huge impact on what was reported and what was covered up.