Annio da Viterbo

Annius of Viterbo (Latin: Joannes Annius Viterb(i)ensis; c. 1432 – 13 November 1502) was an Italian Dominican friar, scholar, and historian, born Giovanni Nanni (Nenni) in Viterbo. He is now remembered for his fabrications.

He entered the Dominican Order early in life. He obtained the degree of Master of Theology from the studium generale at Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the forerunner of the College of Saint Thomas and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum. He served as lector at the studium sometime before 1466.[1]

He was highly esteemed by Sixtus IV and Alexander VI; the latter made him Master of the Sacred Palace in 1499.

As a linguist, he spuriously claimed to be skilled in the Oriental languages. Walter Stephens[2] says: "His expertise in Semitic philology, once celebrated even by otherwise sober ecclesiastical historians, was entirely fictive." Annius also claimed to be able to read Etruscan.

In perhaps his most elaborate pseudo-archeological charade, in the autumn of 1493 he undertook a well-publicized dig at Viterbo, during which marble statues of some of the most dramatic of the mythical figures associated with the city's legendarium appeared to be unearthed; they had all been "salted" in the site beforehand.[3]


He is best known for his Antiquitatum Variarum, originally titled the Commentaria super opera diversorum auctorum de antiquitatibus loquentium[4] (Commentaries on the Works of Various Authors Discussing Antiquity) and often known as the Antiquities of Annius. In this work, he published alleged writings and fragments of several pre-Christian Greek and Latin profane authors, destined to throw an entirely new light on ancient history. He claimed to have discovered them at Mantua.

Among his numerous other writings were De futuris Christianorum triumphis in Turcos et Saracenos (Future Triumphs of the Christians over the Turks and the Saracens), a commentary on the Apocalypse, dedicated to Sixtus IV, to Christian kings, princes, and governments,[5] and Tractatus de imperio Turcorum[6] (The Empire of the Turks). The author claims that Mohammad is the Antichrist, and that the end of the world will take place when the Christians will have overcome the Jews and the Muslims, an event which did not appear to him to be far distant.

One influential suggestion he made -- in his commentary on the Breviarium de Temporibus of Pseudo-Philo the Jew -- was that the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke traced the lineage through the father of Mary.[7]

The more important of his unpublished works are:

  • Volumen libris septuaginta distinctum de antiquitatibus et gestis Etruscorum;
  • De correctione typographica chronicorum;
  • De dignitate officii Magistri Sacri Palatii (On the Esteem of the Office of the Master of the Sacred Palace); and lastly,
  • The Chronologia Nova, in which he undertakes to correct the anachronisms in the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea.

He was notorious for his text depicting the history and topography of ancient Rome from the "most ancient" authors. His Auctores vetustissimi printed at Rome, 1498, was an anthology of seventeen purportedly classical texts, all of which he had written himself, with which he embarks in the gigantic attempt to write a universal history of the post-diluvian West civilization, where the Etruscan people and the town of Viterbo/Etruria, custodian of the original knowledge of divine nature, takes on the leading role in the march of Man towards the future. Annio's map of Rome as founded by Romulus is a loose interpretation of one of his own forgeries. It prominently features Vicus Tuscus, the home of the Etruscans, whom Annio and his fellow Viterbans claimed as their ancestors. Part of the forgeries were motivated by a desire to prove that Viterbo was the site of the Etruscan Fanum Voltumnae.

In a defense of the papal lending institution, the Monte di Pietà, published c. 1495 under the title Pro Monte Pietatis, Annio contributed the essay Questiones due disputate super mutuo iudaico & ciuili & diuino, arguing against the usury of the Jews.[8]

Detection of his forgeries

The Antiquities met at once both with believers and with severe critics who accused him of willful interpolation, or even fabrication. The content was falsely attributed to Berosus, Fabius Pictor, Cato, Manetho and others. The spurious character of these "historians" of Annio, which he published both with and without commentaries, has long been admitted.[9] The demolition of the forgeries owed much to Joseph Justus Scaliger.

Annio's forgeries began to unravel by the mid-16th century. In 1565–66, the humanist Girolamo Mei was engaged in a historiographical argument with Vincenzo Borghini, who presented a claim, for the occasion of the marriage of Francesco I de' Medici and Giovanna of Austria, that Florence was founded by Augustus. He based his claim on inscriptions reported by Annio da Viterbo. Mei, no friend to the Medici, challenged this opinion and questioned the authenticity of Annio's materials, in a brief Latin treatise (De origine urbis Florentiae).

Viterbiae historiae epitoma

The volume Annio da Viterbo, Documenti e ricerche (Rome: Multigrafica Editrice for CNR, 1981) presents an unpublished work written by Annio: the Viterbiae historiae epitoma in the critical text edited by Giovanni Baffioni. The text is based on the manuscript Codex Vaticanus Latinus 6263 and represents the seventh and only extant book of the former work of Annius' Viterbia Historia, composed of seven books in which the viterbian theologian writes the history of his municipal town ranging from its mythological origins (newly reinvented by Annius himself) until the times of pope Innocent VIII. The second part of the book, edited by Paola Mattiangeli, deals with his influence on High Renaissance myth and allegory. In particular, it refers to Annio's esoteric interests and his influence over a number of painted frescoes in the city of Viterbo characterized by Egyptian imagery.

See also


  1. ^ Riccardo Fubini, NANNI, Giovanni Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 77 (2012)
  2. ^ in Giants in Those Days (1989), p. 131.
  3. ^ Roberto Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity (1969:114).
  4. ^ First published in Rome: Eucharius Silber, 1498. The pages of this edition can be accessed in the Biblioteca Virtual de Andalucía.
  5. ^ Genoa, 1480
  6. ^ Published in Genoa, 1480
  7. ^
  8. ^ dated from Viterbo, 8 May 1492 (Rhodes)
  9. ^ Colbert left to the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris a manuscript of the thirteenth century, supposed to contain fragments of the writings of two of these writers, i.e. Berosus and Megasthenes.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSchroeder, Jos. (1913). "Annius of Viterbo" . In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

External links


Year 1502 (MDII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Annius may refer to:

any Roman man of the gens Annia (see for list)

the Latin name of Annio da Viterbo, a fifteenth-century Dominican friar, scholar, and historian, remembered chiefly for his fabrications.

Antonio del Massaro

Antonio del Massaro da Viterbo, or Antonio da Viterbo, nicknamed il Pastura (c. 1450–1516) was an Italian painter.


Ashkenaz (Hebrew: אַשְׁכְּנָז) in the Hebrew Bible is one of the descendants of Noah.

Ashkenaz is the first son of Gomer, and a Japhetic patriarch in the Table of Nations. In rabbinic literature, the kingdom of Ashkenaz was first associated with the Scythian region, then later with the Slavic territories, and, from the 11th century onwards, with Germany and northern Europe.

His name is related to the Assyrian Aškūza (Aškuzai, Iškuzai), a people who expelled the Cimmerians from the Armenian area of the Upper Euphrates.Medieval Jews associated the term with the geographical area centered on the Rhineland of Western Germany. As a result, the Jewish culture that developed in that area came to be called Ashkenazi, the only form of the term in use today.


Cortona is a town and comune in the province of Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy. It is the main cultural and artistic center of the Val di Chiana after Arezzo.

Fanum Voltumnae

The Fanum Voltumnae (‘shrine of Voltumna’) was the chief sanctuary of the Etruscans; fanum means a sacred place, a much broader notion than a single temple. Numerous sources refer to a league of the “Twelve Peoples” (lucumonies) of Etruria, formed for religious purposes but evidently having some political functions. The Etruscan league of twelve city-states met annually at the Fanum, located in a place chosen as omphalos (sacred navel), the geographical and spiritual centre of the whole Etruscan nation. Each spring political and religious leaders from the cities would meet to discuss military campaigns and civic affairs and pray to their common gods. Chief amongst these was Voltumna (or Veltha), possibly state god of the Etruria.

Roman historian Titus Livius mentioned the Fanum Voltumnae five times in his works and indicated "...apud Volsinios..." as the place where the shrine was located. Modern historians have been looking for the Fanum since at least the 15th century but the exact location of the shrine is still unknown, though it may have been in an area near modern Orvieto, believed by many to be the ancient Volsinii. Livy describes the meetings that took place at the Fanum between Etruscan leaders. Livy refers in particular to a meeting in which two groups applied to assist the city of Veii in a war it was waging. The council's answer was no, because Veii had declared war without first notifying it. Livy also says that Roman merchants who travelled to a huge fair attached to the meeting acted as spies, reporting back on Etruscan affairs to authorities in the city-state of Rome. Livy was alone in mentioning the god Voltumna, whereas Marcus Terentius Varro indicated a god-prince of Etruria. The Latin elegiac poet Propertius writes of an Etruscan god taken to Rome from Velzna (the town of Orvieto).

That the Fanum was somewhere in central Italy in the area between Orvieto and Viterbo is probable enough, but as Livy gave no clue to its locality, and as no inscriptions have thrown light on the subject, at the current time it can be but pure conjecture to assign to it this or that particular site.


Francus is an invention of Merovingian scholars which referred to a legendary eponymous king of the Franks, a descendant of the Trojans, founder of the Merovingian dynasty and forefather of Charlemagne. In the Renaissance, Francus was generally considered to be another name for the Trojan Astyanax (son of Hector) saved from the destruction of Troy. He is not considered to be historical, but in fact an attempt by medieval and Renaissance chroniclers to model the founding of France upon the same illustrious tradition as that used by Virgil in his Aeneid (which had Rome founded by the Trojan Aeneas).The 7th century Chronicle of Fredegar contains the oldest mention of a medieval legend thus linking the Franks to the Trojans. The Carolingian Liber historiae Francorum elaborates new details, and the tradition continued to be elaborated throughout the Middle Ages, when it was taken seriously as genealogy and became a "veritable form of ethnic consciousness".The 8th century Nennius' Historia Brittonum makes mention of Francus as one of the four sons of Hisicion (Francus, Romanus, Alamanus, and Brutus), grandsons of Alanus, the first man to live in Europe.The Grandes Chroniques de France (13th - 15th centuries), a vast compilation of historic material, make reference of the Trojan origins of the French dynasty.Johannes Trithemius' De origine gentis Francorum compendium (1514) describes the Franks as originally Trojans (called "Sicambers" or "Sicambrians") after the fall of Troy who came into Gaul after being forced out of the area around the mouth of the Danube by the Goths in 439 B.C. (section 1, p, 33). He also details the reigns of each of these kings—including Francus (section 43, p. 76) from whom the Franks are named—and their battles with the Gauls, Goths, Saxons, etc.Annio da Viterbo also describes the arrival of Trojans into Gaul.Based on the medieval legend, Jean Lemaire de Belges's Illustrations de Gaule et Singularités de Troie (1510–12) has Astyanax survive the fall of Troy and arrive in Western Europe. He changes his name to Francus and becomes king of Celtic Gaul (while, at the same time, Bavo, cousin of Priam, comes to the city of Trier) and founds the dynasty leading to Pepin and Charlemagne. He is said to have founded and named the city of Paris in honor of his uncle Paris.

Gilles Corrozet's La Fleur des antiquitez... de Paris (1532) describes Francis I as the 64th descendant of Hector of Troy.Lemaire de Belges' work inspired Pierre de Ronsard's epic poem La Franciade (1572). In this poem, Jupiter saves Astyanax (renamed Francus). The young hero arrives in Crete and falls in love with the princess Hyanthe with whom he is destined to found the royal dynasty of France.


Gambrinus ( gam-BRY-nəs) is a legendary European culture hero celebrated as an icon of beer, brewing, joviality, and joie de vivre. Traditional songs, poems, and stories describe him as a king, duke, or count of Flanders and Brabant. Typical representations in the visual arts depict him as a rotund, bearded duke or king, holding a tankard or mug, and sometimes with a keg nearby.

Gambrinus is sometimes erroneously called a patron saint, but he is neither a saint nor a tutelary deity. It is possible his persona was conflated with traditional medieval saints associated with beermaking, like Arnold of Soissons. In one legendary tradition, he is beer's inventor or envoy. Although legend attributes to him no special powers to bless brews or to make crops grow, tellers of old tall tales are happy to adapt them to fit Gambrinus. Gambrinus stories use folklore motifs common to European folktales, such as the trial by ordeal. Some imagine Gambrinus as a man who has an enormous capacity for drinking beer.Among the personages theorised to be the basis for the Gambrinus character are the ancient king Gampar (aka Gambrivius), John the Fearless (1371–1419) and John I, Duke of Brabant (c. 1252–1294).

Generations of Noah

The Generations of Noah or Table of Nations (Genesis 10 of the Hebrew Bible) is a genealogy of the sons of Noah and their dispersion into many lands after the Flood, focusing on the major known societies. The term nations to describe the descendants is a standard English translation of the Hebrew word "goy", following the c. 400 CE Latin Vulgate's "nationes", and does not have the same political connotations that the word entails today.The list of 70 names introduces for the first time a number of well known ethnonyms and toponyms important to biblical geography such as Noah's three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, from which were derived Semites, Hamites and Japhetites, certain of Noah's grandsons including Elam, Ashur, Aram, Cush, and Canaan, from which the Elamites, Assyrians, Arameans, Cushites and Canaanites, as well as further descendants including Eber (from which "Hebrews"), the hunter-king Nimrod, the Philistines and the sons of Canaan including Heth, Jebus and Amorus, from which Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites.

As Christianity took over the Roman world, it adopted the idea that all the world's peoples were descended from Noah. But the tradition of Hellenistic Jewish identifications of the ancestry of various peoples, which concentrates very much on the East Mediterranean and the Near East and is described below, became stretched and its historicity questioned. Not all Near Eastern people were covered, and northern peoples important to the Late Roman and medieval world, such as the Celtic, Slavic, Germanic and Nordic peoples were not covered, nor were others of the world's peoples, such as sub-Saharan Africans, Native Americans and peoples of Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Far East and Australasia. A variety of arrangements were devised by scholars in order to make the table fit, with for example the Scythians, who do feature in the tradition, being claimed as the ancestors of much of northern Europe.According to Joseph Blenkinsopp, the 70 names in the list express symbolically the unity of humanity, corresponding to the 70 descendants of Israel who go down into Egypt with Jacob at Genesis 46:27 and the 70 elders of Israel who visit God with Moses at the covenant ceremony in Exodus 24:1–9.

Giambattista Gelli

Giambattista Gelli (1498–1563) was a Florentine man of letters, from an artisan background. He is known for his works of the 1540s, Capricci del bottaio and La Circe, which are ethical and philosophical dialogues. Other works were the plays La sporta (1543) and L'errore (1556).

In his historical writings, Gelli was influenced by the late 15th-century forgeries of Annio da Viterbo, which purported to provide evidence from ancient texts to show that Tuscany had been founded by Noah and his descendants after the Deluge.

Giovanni Nanni

Giovanni Nanni may refer to:

Annio da Viterbo, Dominican friar and forger of documents

Giovanni da Udine, painter


Gomer is the name of two people in the Hebrew Bible:

Gomer (גֹּמֶר, Standard Hebrew Gómer, Tiberian Hebrew Gōmer, pronounced [ˈɡomeʁ]; Greek: Γαμὲρ, translit. Gamér) was the eldest son of Japheth (and of the Japhetic line), and father of Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah, according to the "Table of Nations" in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 10).

Gomer was also the wife of the prophet Hosea, and the daughter of Diblaim: mentioned in the Book of Hosea.

Hosea 1:2 refers to her alternatively as a "promiscuous woman" (NIV), a "harlot" (NASB), and a "whore" (KJV) but Hosea is told to marry her according to Divine appointment.

For more information see: Gomer (wife of Hosea).

The eponymous Gomer, "standing for the whole family," as the compilers of the Jewish Encyclopedia expressed it, is also mentioned in Book of Ezekiel 38:6 as the ally of Gog, the chief of the land of Magog.

The Hebrew name Gomer refers to the Cimmerians, who dwelt in what is now southern Russia, "beyond the Caucusus", and attacked Assyria in the late 7th century BC. The Assyrians called them Gimmerai; the Cimmerian king Teushpa was defeated by Assarhadon of Assyria sometime between 681 and 668 BC.

List of legendary kings of Britain

The following list of legendary kings of Britain derives predominantly from Geoffrey of Monmouth's circa 1136 work Historia Regum Britanniae ("the History of the Kings of Britain"). Geoffrey constructed a largely fictional history for the Britons (ancestors of the Welsh, the Cornish and the Bretons), partly based on the work of earlier medieval historians like Gildas, Nennius and Bede, partly from Welsh genealogies and saints' lives, partly from sources now lost and unidentifiable, and partly from his own imagination (see bibliography). Several of his kings are based on genuine historical figures, but appear in unhistorical narratives. A number of Middle Welsh versions of Geoffrey's Historia exist. All post-date Geoffrey's text, but may give us some insight into any native traditions Geoffrey may have drawn on.

Geoffrey's narrative begins with the exiled Trojan prince Brutus, after whom Britain is supposedly named, a tradition previously recorded in less elaborate form in the 9th century Historia Brittonum. Brutus is a descendant of Aeneas, the legendary Trojan ancestor of the founders of Rome, and his story is evidently related to Roman foundation legends.

The kings before Brutus come from a document purporting to trace the travels of Noah and his offspring in Europe, and once attributed to the Chaldean historian Berossus, but now considered to have been a fabrication by the 15th-century Italian monk Annio da Viterbo, who first published it. Renaissance historians like John Bale and Raphael Holinshed took the list of kings of "Celtica" given by pseudo-Berossus and made them into kings of Britain as well as Gaul. John Milton records these traditions in his History of Britain, although he gives them little credence.


In the Bible, Meshech or Mosoch (Hebrew: מֶ֫שֶׁך‎ Mešeḵ "price" or "precious") is named as a son of Japheth in Genesis 10:2 and 1 Chronicles 1:5.

Another Meshech is named as a son of Shem in 1 Chronicles 1:17 (corresponding to the form Mash in Genesis 10).

November 13

November 13 is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 48 days remaining until the end of the year.


In Greek mythology, Pandora (Greek: Πανδώρα, derived from πᾶν, pān, i.e. "all" and δῶρον, dōron, i.e. "gift", thus "the all-endowed", "all-gifted" or "all-giving") was the first human woman, created by Hephaestus on the instructions of Zeus. As Hesiod related it, each god co-operated by giving her unique gifts. Her other name—inscribed against her figure on a white-ground kylix in the British Museum—is Anesidora (Ancient Greek: Ἀνησιδώρα), "she who sends up gifts" (up implying "from below" within the earth).

The Pandora myth is a kind of theodicy, addressing the question of why there is evil in the world. According to this, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box", releasing all the evils of humanity. Hesiod's interpretation of Pandora's story, sometimes considered as misogynous, went on to influence both Jewish and Christian theology and so perpetuated her bad reputation into the Renaissance. Later poets, dramatists, painters and sculptors made her their subject and over the course of five centuries contributed new insights into her motives and significance.


Tubal, (Hebrew: תובל or תבל‎ [tuˈbal]) in Genesis 10 (the "Table of Nations"), was the name of a son of Japheth, son of Noah.


According to Tacitus's Germania (AD 98), Tuisto (or Tuisco) is the legendary divine ancestor of the Germanic peoples. The figure remains the subject of some scholarly discussion, largely focused upon etymological connections and comparisons to figures in later (particularly Norse) Germanic mythology.

Wives aboard Noah's Ark

The Wives aboard Noah's Ark were part of the family that survived the Deluge in the biblical Genesis flood narrative. They are the wife of Noah, and the wives of each of his three sons. Although the Bible only notes the existence of these women, there are extra-Biblical mentions regarding them and their names.

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