Tower of Lies: Buildings That Are Younger Than You Think

Written by Redfern on 18/10/2012. Posted Under: Rantings.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a huuuuuge history nerd – some people even gave me a place to study it for 8 years, throughout which they kept giving me pieces of paper whilst making me wear increasingly weird robes and hats (I think it was a cult). Still, even though I am an Expert on Everything, some parts of history surprise even me.

Take wonders of the world – they”re all really old, right? The Great Wall of China, the Tower of London, Babel – all of them ancient, probably built right after we crawled out of the sea and started living in caves (anthropology!). But no – some of these historic landmarks are barely older than McDonald’s, and lie about their age more often than teenagers with fake IDs. For example…

 

STRUCTURE OF LIES # 1: THE TOWER OF BABEL

Yes, the Tower of Babel is from an obscure religious text (‘the Bible’) – but the tower itself is based on a real-world ziggurat which was located in Iraq – the Etemenaki. In the Bible Yahweh (aka ‘Jesus God’) destroys the tower as the cocky humans are getting too close to heaven, which is located in The Sky (quite low down apparently, as the Etemenaki was actually 7 stories tall).

The story must be ancient though – it’s back in the times of Angry Christgod, before he calmed down and became the hippy from the New Testament. That must be thousands of years ol… wait, nope, it as built in 560BC, and then destroyed by Alexander the Great in 323BC. It’s younger than Plato and Aristotle. It’s younger than democracy.

 

STRUCTURE OF LIES # 2: THE TOWER OF LONDON

The Tower of London has been there forever – it’s even mentioned in ‘The Mabinogion, the collection of ancient Celtic stories that predate Christianity. The Tower isn’t as old as that lying harlot, the Tower of Babel, but it’s got to have at least been built before England became Christian. It was even said that the head of Welsh god/hero Bran the Blessed was buried under the tower, and that the ravens there protect England from invasion. Hell, that legend is so old and well-established that Winston Churchill even ordered more ravens to be sent there during WW2.

(Canoes were WAY spikier and emptier back then)

 

But apparently all towers are pathological liars, as the tower is not only newer than Christian England – it’s even newer than the Battle of 1066 and the Norman conquest – in fact, it was built by William the Conqueror in 1078.  Oh, and the raven thing? Made up by the Victorians, those scamps.

 

STRUCTURE OF LIES # 3: TEMPLO MAYOR, TENOCHTITLAN

The Templo Mayor was the largest of the huge pyramid temples in the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. We primarily know it as the place where people had their hearts ripped out as human sacrifice (1000 hearts a day were needed to ensure the continual rising of the sun). Obviously this one is old – the Aztecs had been performing sacrifices atop their largest temple for centuries before the Spanish came and stopped the killing with yet more killing. Right?

Actually, the huge, iconic temple was completed in 1428 – only 64 years before that moron Columbus arrived in the Americas, and only 94 years before the Spanish tore it down. That’s barely enough time for the blood to dry.

 

STRUCTURE OF LIES # 4: THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

When people think of iconic ancient wonders, the Great Wall of China is one of the first that springs to mind (as well as the colossal lie that it can be seen from space). That thing was probably built pretty quickly – in the game Civilization 4, the whole thing springs up from the ground in one go. It’s one of the largest, most impressive, and certainly oldest wonders of the world.

Except not. Though small walls were built from the 7th century BC, the wall we now and love today wasn’t completed until 1644. 1644 AD. It’s younger than flushing toilets.  Still, at least this has the most impressive construction timespan of any structure I’ve ever heard of – at 2300 years in the making, I’d let this one slide.

 

STRUCTURE OF LIES # 5: THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

Good old Westminster. Home of the British parliament, Big Ben, and spectacular levels of corruption. Now this one is old – British democracy dates back to the days of King John and the Magna Carta in 1215, and the first English parliament was formed in 1295. The parliament building is actually the Palace of Westminster, built by the next-to-last Saxon king, Edward the Confessor almost a thousand years ago.

Almost. Though the original palace was built around 1050AD, it burned down in 1834. The Victorians then took their damned time, because the current building was actually completed in  1870. Which makes it newer than the White House. Almost 100 years newer. And they still didn’t make it big enough to fit all the MPs.

Right! Everyone onto each other’s laps!

 

So there you have it. Almost all of history is a lie, a deliberate lie to trick you and make you look stupid. The only reasonable course of action left is to burn every history book you find and torch a museum. Do it for justice. Do it for TRUTH.*

– Redfern

*You probably shouldn’t burn down a museum.