Despite being dismissed as 'drivel' by fellow academics, Damian Thompson considers why so many are ready to accept Gavin Menzies's version of history. China is thrilled with the public relations triumph of the Beijing Olympics, and not remotely embarrassed by revelations of computer-assisted fireworks and other trickery. That is the way the Chinese brand management works — and how it will work in the future. Closer to home, China is enjoying another PR success. Every bookshop in Britain is presenting a book called by Gavin Menzies as a major history title.
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But his research has led him to astonishing new discoveries that Chinese influence on Western culture didn't stop there. Until now, scholars have considered that the Italian Renaissance - the basis of our modern Western world - came about as a result of a re-examining the ideas of classical Greece and Rome. A stunning reappraisal of history is about to be published. Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that a sophisticated Chinese delegation visited Italy in , sparked the Renaissance, and forever changed the course of Western civilization.
After that date the authority of Aristotle and Ptolemy was overturned and artistic conventions challenged, as was Arabic astronomy and cartography. Florence and Venice of the 15th century attracted traders from across the world. Menzies presents astonishing evidence that a large Chinese fleet, official ambassadors of the Emperor, arrived in Tuscany in where they met with Pope Eugenius IV in Florence.
A mass of information was given by the Chinese delegation to the Pope and his entourage - concerning world maps which Menzies argues were later given to Columbus , astronomy, mathematics, art, printing, architecture, steel manufacture, civil engineering, military machines, surveying, cartography, genetics, and more. It was this gift of knowledge that sparked the inventiveness of the Renaissance - Da Vinci's inventions, the Copernican revolution, Galileo, etc.
Following , Europeans embraced Chinese intellectual ideas, discoveries, and inventions, which formed the basis of European civilization just as much as Greek thought and Roman law. In short, China provided the spark that set the Renaissance ablaze. He joined the Royal Navy in and served in submarines from to Since leaving the Royal Navy, he has returned to China and the Far East many times and in the course of researching he has visited countries, over museums and libraries and every major sea port of the late Middle Ages.
Menzies is married with two daughters and lives in North London. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.
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This site is a legacy site for Gavin Menzies. In , Gavin Menzies offers a stunning reappraisal of history, presenting compelling new evidence on the European Renaissance, tracing its roots to China. In this provocative, highly readable history, Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that China provided the spark that set the Renaissance ablaze. Based on years of research, this marvellous history argues that a Chinese fleet, official ambassadors of the emperor, arrived in Tuscany in , where they met with Pope Eugenius IV in Florence.
First 1421, now 1434: Gavin Menzies and historical revisionism
Rowan Gavin Paton Menzies 14 August — 12 April    was a British author and retired submarine lieutenant-commander who has written books promoting claims that the Chinese sailed to America before Columbus. Historians have rejected Menzies' theories and assertions      and have categorised his work as pseudohistory. He was best known for his controversial book The Year China Discovered the World , in which he asserts that the fleets of Chinese Admiral Zheng He visited the Americas prior to European explorer Christopher Columbus in , and that the same fleet circumnavigated the globe a century before the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan. In his third book, The Lost Empire of Atlantis , Menzies claims that Atlantis did exist, in the form of the Minoan Civilization , and that it maintained a global seaborne empire extending to the shores of America and India, millennia before actual contact in the Age of Discovery.
1434 : The Year a Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance
1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance
By Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews. Where Menzies departs from academic orthodoxy is in his claim that the fleet went on from the Indian Ocean to discover Australia in the east, Antarctica in the south, the Americas in the west and circumnavigate Greenland in the north. These are astonishing claims and must surely be backed up by good, contemporary evidence. Alas, no. The best Menzies can do is throw in the usual European maps that Bad Archaeologists are so fond of, some inscribed stones without reproducing the inscriptions , the odd mystery building such as the Newport Tower, a seventeenth-century windmill! All his claims have been effectively debunked. Perhaps more than anything else, the failure of the Chinese fleet to reach Europe, where it would have been documented by the literate late medieval societies flourishing throughout the continent, should raise eyebrows.