The Phantom Time interval closely approximates the Tang Dynasty of China, a high point of Chinese culture and political power. So there's a neat conspiratorial interpretation. The Tang Dynasty is an invention, a classic "golden age" myth. The only thing lacking is some explanation of how someone from medieval Europe convinced the Chinese to create a fake dynasty complete with bogus archives.
Phantom Time is also borne out by Jewish history, which “totally disappeared together with the breakdown of the Roman Empire”, not resurfacing in evidence until the Carolingian period.
It had long been known that the old Julian calendar had a defect – the Julian year being roughly 11 minutes too long – and the new calendar was designed to correct this discrepancy, to the tune of making up for 10 days that gradually slipped during the years between AD 1 and AD 1582. But Illig alleged that the Julian calendar should have produced a discrepancy of not 10 but 13 days over the period in question, and concluded that roughly three centuries had been added to the calendar that had never existed. His response was to run with the notion of calendar “slack” and look for corroborative evidence.
Illig zeroes in on the polymath qualities of Charlemagne as recorded in various texts which make him an architect, astronomer, educator, philologist, folklorist, lawmaker and more. For Illig, “the conclusion is simple: far too much is ascribed to this one person.”
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