So, I might have mentioned Annius of Viterbo to dolique
in an IM. But Annius of Viterbo's crazy cannot be fully divulged in a single line. In fact, in Giants in Those Days, Walter Stephens takes about a hundred pages to do it.
Anyway, as the most-knowing Wiki tells us, Annius of Viterbo forged a lot of things. That's mainly boring - lots of people forge things. Perhaps not on the level of forging multiple texts from multiple cultures, but it's still boring. In any case, Annius had reasons
for forging things.
Those reasons involved Giants. Lots of Giants. There were also valid historical reasons - to disassociate Italy from the Greeks, who had just fallen under Turkish rule, and were classified as heretics because of the Great Schism anyway, and to diss the French. But those reasons are much less interesting than Giants.
Noah, for example, was a Giant. After the Flood, he landed in Italy and founded an empire whose capital city was... Viterbo, of course. His successors included Osiris and Hercules of Libya. Isis is also in there somewhere. Also the Etruscans, who had an empire before the Romans, that was purely Italian and didn't fall under the sway of Greek culture.
He also includes some... interesting etymologies of "Gallus" from Hebrew and Latin. Sadly, the only one I remember is the Latin "Hen's Husband." And one other, that will be mentioned later.
However, Stephens doesn't mention whether or not people believed him. I don't imagine he was a popular figure around the monastery. The scene is in a Dominican monastery in Viterbo in the late 15th century. Brother Sextus is walking peacefully in the garden. Suddenly he sees Brother Annius, and, knowing his theories and his fondness for recounting them, tries to hide. He is unsuccessful.
Annius: Brother Sextus! Good morning.
Sextus: Good morning, Annius. Oh, no, he's going to tell me about the giants, isn't he?
Annius: Have I told you about my theories?
Sextus: Has he forgotten? I should humor him. What if he turns violent?
No, you haven't.
: Well, you see...
Sextus, during this
: Should I tell Father Abbot? Has he told Father Abbot? What if he wants him here to keep him away from the general population? What if he hasn't told Father Abbot, and he thinks I'm crazy? OH GOD GET ME OUT OF HERE.
Anyway, people did take him seriously, and some French scholars didn't approve of his anti-French slant. So they - and by they I mean Jean Lemaire - retconned everything. Stephens says that "The great Hercules of Libya, twelfth king of Gaul" is his stock phrase. Hercules of Libya, by the way, was also a Giant. The Greek Hercules took glory from his predecessor. The French were also, of course, descended from the Trojans. His
etymology of "Gallus" is from the Greek meaning "milk-white." Which is also very logical and not made up on the spot at all.
In conclusion, if Annius weren't a monk and we had invented time travel, I'd go back to the 15th century and propose to him right now.