1. Outside the special case of the Herculaneum library, there is not a single surviving autograph by a known ancient writer, or even a second or third generation manuscript.
2. The article says the text is written on parchment that can be dated to the first century. The photograph, however, is plainly of wooden writing tablets – you can see the holes by which they were tied together. It is unlikely that a member of the Roman elite would have used these for writing or dictation. It is very unlikely that the text of an elite writer would have beencopied onto wood. Such tablets were for ephemeral use only.
3. How do we know the text is by Marcus Velleius Paterculus? I can’t see the words, but there is nothing here that suggests a heading. There is no evidence that he went on a diplomatic mission to Parthia in or around 31AD. Indeed, it is generally supposed that he was put to death in that year on account of his association with Sejanus.
4. What is the provenance of the text? The Papal archives began to fill up around the fifth century. How did a first century autograph survive on wood long enough to get there? Why did no one notice its significance at the time? Why has no one else noticed it in the past fifteen hundred years?
I say this is a fake.
PS I’ve just had another look at the article. The claimed description of Christ as “Iēsous de Nazarenus” is no kind of Latin. The whole thing really is a fake. Why are so many people falling for it?
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