George Salmanazar ( born George Psalmanazar ; circa 1679 - May 3 , 1763 ; the old version of the translation of the name “Psalmanazar” does not comply with the rules of English phonetics ) is the pseudonym of an adventurer , posing as a native of Formosa . Original name and origin unknown.
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It is assumed that a person who went down in history under the name George Salmanazar was born somewhere in France , at least they tried to conclude based on the peculiarities of his pronunciation, which reminded many of the "Gascon" , others, however, found in him a " Dutch accent ". In his memoirs, published already posthumously, Salmanazar confirmed that his family lived in the south of France ( French Midi de la France ). However, it remains unknown how honest the adventurer was this time. On guesses the assumption was also built that he was born in a Catholic family, between 1679 and 1684 .  Perhaps he attended a Jesuit college in his youth, but dropped out of school, not finding a common language with the holy fathers. This is confirmed by the fact that he later felt a strong disgust for the Jesuits and in his fictional story assigned them the most unsightly role.
At some point, Salmanazar, he said, decided to run away from home, for some reason he stole a pilgrim cloak and staff from the nearest church and, having obtained a fake passport somewhere, began to impersonate an Irish pilgrim who went on a pilgrimage to Rome . However, the young man quickly realized that he was seriously risking using this image, since among the pilgrims there could be a real Irishman or a person who has heard about life on the island and knows the local language.
“I have never met a single person who at least one iota came close to a clue where I come from. Why meet there, I didn’t even hear about such a lucky person. ”
- J. Salmanazar 
Therefore, soon Salmanazar refuses to travel to Italy , and at the same time attempts to impersonate a European. Like Princess Karabu a century later, it occurred to him to become a native of Asia , at that time completely unexplored, which significantly reduced the risk of being caught in a lie.
Unfortunately, Salmanazar does not mention dates in his memoirs, it is not known what happened afterwards, and whether there was any gap between the events he told and what turned out to be strictly documented.
One way or another, it is thoroughly known that he appears in 1702 in Germany , as an ordinary of one of the regiments of the Dutch army. Here he impersonates a Japanese who speaks fluent Latin . Salmanazar fundamentally "does not understand other European languages" and does not want to study them.
In the service, he manifests himself as a brave and skillful soldier, is soon noticed, and makes acquaintances in the officer circle and among the local "golden youth".
During the stay of his regiment in Sluis , in the Netherlands South, on the lively "Japanese" the chaplain of the nearby Scottish regiment, Rev. Alexander Innes, draws attention. The reverend allegedly managed to expose the game when he invited Salmanazar to translate a passage from Cicero into Japanese (as a result of receiving a portion of gibberish) and then after a while a similar passage - the version received this time was very different from the previous one. At the same time, evaluating the mind and resourcefulness of the impostor , Innes, according to legend, persuades him to change his “nationality” and impersonate a native of Formosa, as already mentioned, in Europe, almost unknown, and therefore exotic and mysterious 
“Upon arrival in England, I added a couple extra letters to my new name.”
There is no evidence for this, it is only known for certain that Alexander Innes baptizes the “native of Formosa” according to the Anglican rite and gives him the name George Salmanazar, “in honor of” the Assyrian king Salmanasar mentioned in the Bible .
Innes also brings him with him to Rotterdam , and then in 1703 to England , where Salmanazar attracts general attention as a native of an exotic island.
Recognition and Glory
Of course, never having been to Formosa, and not being familiar with any of the travelers, George Salmanazar was forced to fully rely on his own imagination.
According to the memoirs of his contemporaries - he did not just talk about Formosa - he literally turned into a resident of the island he himself invented. He ate raw meat, flavored with an incredible amount of spices , because it is so customary on Formosa, and slept sitting on a chair with a lamp burning next to him, so that the neighbors, without understanding, let out a rumor that he never sleeps and writes at night - but such, again, was the Formosan custom.
According to the story of Salmanazar, the Jesuits took him out of the island by deceit, and forcibly brought him to France, tried to christen him into the Catholic faith - however, the resistance of the formosan upset all their plans. Curses against the Jesuits, so generously used by the impostor, found the most benevolent response in the Protestant milieu. “What evidence was still needed?” Jack Lynch says ironically. 
“I have come to the conclusion of one rule, which I kept rigorously in the future (...): with very few exceptions, people believe in deception as readily as it seems ridiculous and rude.”
In London, Salmanazar quickly attracted attention. Alexander Innes, who always accompanied him, introduced him to the bishop (who received the convert very hospitably), and then, as a native of an exotic island, aristocratic families began to invite him. Once, even Queen Anne became interested in him. The University of Oxford invited him to his house to translate doctrinal literature into the Formosan language. Salmanazar was also invited to deliver a series of lectures. The proposal was accepted, the adventurer crossed the whole country, speaking in cities and villages with stories about his native island, which gradually grew into more and more details. Moreover, on the advice of new friends, his memoirs were issued in the form of a book, which received, as was customary in those days, a long name: “The historical and geographical description of Formosa, an island under the auspices of the Japanese emperor, containing an outline of the religion, customs and traditions of his people inhabiting, as well as a story about what happened to the author during his travels and stay in different countries of Europe, in particular about his conversations with the Jesuits and others, as well as the history and reasons for his conversion to Christianity and his objections about ive of this religion (in defense of paganism) and the responses to them, from the pen of George Psalmanazar, a native of the said island, now living in London, "  .
The book was immediately translated from Latin (Salmanazar “did not understand other languages”) into English and withstood two editions, a French translation was published in Amsterdam in 1705, and a German translation in 1716 .
Formosa in the book of Salmanazar
Apparently, George Salmanazar was, among other things, an excellent psychologist and well knew his era, longing for the exotic and the extraordinary. His story, apparently, was based on "descriptions of distant lands", known from Herodotus , the stories of Marco Polo and the recollections of the Spaniards, participants in the Cortes campaign.
He assured that on Formosa men walk almost naked, only throwing a raincoat on top and covering their intimate places with gold and silver plates, and women opposite are wrapped in fabric. He told me that for riding, camels are used along with horses; that polygamy is widespread on the island, limited only by the financial capabilities of the groom; that the killers are hung upside down and turned into a target for arrows; that a husband has the right to eat his wives convicted of infidelity; that every year 20 thousand young boys are sacrificed to a certain deity and their hearts are burned on the altar (in the second edition of his book he adds additional details to this rather eerie description - the Formosa priests dismember the bodies of the sacrificed children and indulge in ritual cannibalism ); which is ten months in a year, and snake meat is the islanders' favorite food.
Salmanazar himself wrote this:
In addition to fruits and bread, which was already discussed, they "islanders" also eat meat, but not any, as mentioned above, the meat of some animals is prohibited. However, they are allowed to eat pork, and any game other than pigeons, you can also eat turtles and all forest herbivores, except for deer, and fish - sea and freshwater without exception. Sometimes they eat meat fried, sometimes boiled, but they do not know how to cook it over low heat and therefore never do so, although this is not prohibited. Usually they eat raw venison and game, and that seems strange to the British - they also eat snakes, which they consider very delicious. They bake snakes on hot coals. But before they are caught, they pay special attention to making the snake non-toxic and non-hazardous for consumption. For this purpose, they take a live snake and beat it with a stick until the snake becomes furious, because in this state all the poison contained in the body is poured to the head, which is then cut off, and the body that has become non-toxic can be eaten without any fear. They also feed on eggs of chickens, geese and other birds, and also eat all kinds of roots and herbs. J. Salmanazar "Description of Formosa ..." ch. 25 - About everyday food. [eight]
Prayer "Our Father" in the language of the island of Formosa.
Our Father, be thou in heaven, Hallowed be
your name, may your kingdom come
both in heaven and in earth. Our bread
daily give us this day and forgive us
our sins, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us
From the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and power
And glory forever and ever. Amen. 
Salmanazar’s stories about “his native island” could not but arouse doubts and perplexed questions among contemporaries, but his innate resourcefulness allowed the adventurer to get out of even the most difficult situations.
So once he was called to a dispute by a Jesuit father Fontane, who was visiting London at that time. Salmanazar accepted the challenge, and his well-aimed answers met with approval from the London public. So, according to the preserved documents, when Fontane's father, who once traveled to the countries of the Far East , inquired how a white-skinned Salmanazar could impersonate a native of an Asian country, he received a rebuke that swarthy and black-haired people are just commoners , as they spend days on end under scorching by the sun, it prefers to know cool underground dwellings.
Salmanazar acted for sure, in the science of that time there was still no consensus - whether the color of the skin and hair is inherited or appears from exposure to the sun and wind. The Jesuit did not have other arguments, he simply did not have enough knowledge about the real situation on Formosa to convict the impostor, and when the retinue tried to come to his aid, Salmanazar flatly refused to answer their questions, since they are Jesuits and therefore do not deserve trust. Again, this statement caused the full approval of the public.
Another attempt to expose the impostor was made by the famous astronomer Halley , who entered into a discussion with him in the Royal Geographical Society . Halley asked the adventurer if it so happened that the Sun on Formosa shone directly through the chimneys of houses? “No,” Salmanazar replied, making a mistake, because in the tropics where Formosa is located, the sun is standing right above his head at noon — and then, catching himself, he added that the pipes on Formosa are twisted and directed toward the ground.
Self-disclosure and later life
“Another rule was that having mentioned at least once, even in a narrow circle, a certain detail, no matter how ridiculous and rude it was, I had to strictly adhere to it in the future.”
Doubts and perplexed questions gradually accumulated, and Salmanazar, sensing the limits of his adventure, once realized that such a deception could not continue further. First, he discovered the truth (or part of it) to his closest friends, then in the encyclopedic article about Formosa (published without the author’s signature) he directly called his book “fake”. And the reader could learn all (or almost all) of the truth from the adventurer’s autobiography, entitled “Memoirs ****, known in society under the name George Salmanazar, the illustrious native of Formosa”, published a year after the author’s death. In this book, he directly calls "Description of Formosa" "a fake from beginning to end, owing its existence exclusively to me," "an open mockery of the" reading "public."
In the last decade of his life, Salmanazar changed many professions, and among other things turned out to be a prolific author. He learned the Hebrew language and readily wrote on biblical topics. His writings, such as On Miracles, On the Amazing Adventure of Valaam , On the Struggle of the Israeli Tribes Against the Veniaminov Tribe, etc. were preserved. He also was friends with Samuel Johnson , took part in the preparation of the monumental essay History of the Press and in the issue books on geography. Until his death, he received from his admirers a pension quite large for those times - 30 £ per annum.
George Salmanazar died in 1763, without revealing his true name.
Salmanazar and Science
The history of Salmanazar reflected both achievements and “white spots” in the science of that time. The 18th century is the time of Newton and Halley , the time of the Great French Encyclopedia , but with the intensive development of political and natural sciences, much remained unknown, and Salmanazar successfully used these gaps in scientific knowledge.
Due to the lack of a clear understanding among the British of East Asia, Salmanazar could successfully compose the customs of "his" island without any fear of being exposed.
Neither racial nor gene theory at that time existed even in its infancy, therefore Salmanazar was free to assert that the dark hair and dark-skinned skin of Asians was a consequence of exposure to the sun. Nobody could argue with him yet - more precisely, there were two opposing theories: the theory of heredity and the theory of acquisition. Adherents of the second of them, of course, provided the most ardent support to Salmanazar.
Of particular interest is the question of the Formosa language, personally invented by Salmanazar and described in chap. 27 of his books. It is worth analyzing it, comparing with the real state and determining whether it was possible to expose Salmanazar from the point of view of linguistics of that time.
|The statement of Salmanazar||Real state of things||The possibility of exposure|
|Formosa is similar to Japanese, with the exception of a few guttural sounds||Wrong. On the island of Formosa (now - Taiwan) they speak Chinese , as well as local languages that have nothing to do with Japanese||It is absent due to complete ignorance of the real situation by Europeans of that time.|
|Formosa use tone to express grammatical categories , in particular the tense of a verb .||Very approximately. Apparently, the author heard from the bottom of his ear that in Chinese the meaning depends on the tone . However, we are talking about semantic difference, grammar has nothing to do with it. [ten]||It is absent due to complete ignorance of the real situation by Europeans of that time.|
|Formosa use an auxiliary verb to express the verb tense||Right. However, Salmanazar's merit is not there, the auxiliary verb in one form or another is present in most languages. It can be assumed that in this case - an auxiliary verb in the future - Latin was taken as a “basis” ||Very low, Oriental languages were studied and described much later, with the exception of lengthy stories of different travelers who as a rule did not go deep into the study of foreign languages.|
|The system of times almost coincides with the Latin one.||An excellent demonstration of the fallacy of the time when Latin of the classical period was considered “the original, pure and unspoiled language”, and living languages as a barbaric distortion. Of course, his imaginary language, as closer to nature, Salmazar is trying to liken Latin. [eleven]||Missing, misconception was universal for Europeans.|
|The language has three genera - male, female, middle. Moreover, male and female are used for people and animals, the middle - for inanimate things.||This time, the New English language is taken as the “foundation”. At the same time, the tone is incompatible with generic concepts; there is no gender in any of the existing isolating languages . [ten]||It could alert the attentive reader - but, on the other hand, the comparative historical method in linguistics was born only in the 19th century and has come into full force in modern times. Once again, Salmanazar takes advantage of the gap in science. [eleven]|
|Language has two numbers - singular and plural; there is no dual form.||Strictly speaking, in Japanese, the number as such is completely absent, expressed as an external sign ("many", "ten", etc.) ||It is impossible without knowledge of oriental languages and a comparative historical method in linguistics.|
|The language has its own alphabet of 20 letters, which is also used by the Japanese.||The Japanese do not use the alphabet, but "kana" - a syllabic letter that was actually used in Taiwan , but at a much later time (1896-1945). Moreover, in a language using tone, the alphabet cannot develop, it comes only as a borrowing (such is the Chinese Latin)  .||Very low, the pattern was deduced and investigated only in the XX century , with the exception of the long stories of different travelers and people who lived in the border regions|
- “Formozets” appears in Nikolai Gumilyov ’s story “The Jolly Brothers”, where a participant in the common people’s forgers society tells:
- Where exactly. Copper money learned. Out of my head more. We know the language of that time, and the letter. As old paper as you like. Yes, only few people know her, history. All scientists work more on such documents, like ours.
- Really all? - doubted Mezentsov.
- Everything! There was one bookbinder in Paris, corresponded with cheerful brothers, so he handed over one hundred documents to the academy, he took huge money and got it later. Or Chatterton in England? A wonderful boy was. Yes, he was also unlucky, confused, confused, quarreled with ours and poisoned. And others come across on purpose. The Czech Ganka , which he wrote the Kraledvorsky manuscript , himself ascribed at the end in Latin “Ganka fecit”  , or Psalmanazar.
- And who is this? - asked Mitya with eager interest.
“And they told me that in France.” A man appeared in London, already middle-aged, and said that he had lived for twenty years in the middle of the ocean on the island of Formosa among the wild tribes there. He says that the people are kind and honest, only cannibals, because they are not baptized. They need missionaries. And the British love this. Now they have raised money, and this very one, who called himself the Psalmanazar, began to teach the Formosian missionaries the language. Teaches, teaches, everyone is dissatisfied with their successes. Grammar compiled, dictionary, difficult language, oh difficult. For a long time he was amusing himself so much, but when he died, they found a will on him that he didn’t go anywhere from England, but invented his own language.
- Dexterously, - Mitya laughed, - here he made friends.
- German National Library , Berlin State Library , Bavarian State Library , etc. Record # 119146088 // General regulatory control (GND)
- BNF ID : Open Data Platform
- National Library of Australia
- Famous Formosa native George Salmanazar
- Orientalism on display: the amazing story of George Salmanazar
- Jack Lynch. Orientalism on display: the amazing story of George Salmanazar (in English) 
- George Salmanazar. Description of Formosa ...  (in English)
- George Salmanazar Formosa Description
- K. Malmkjaer. Linguistic Encyclopedia. - Oxford: Routledge. - 274 p. - ISBN 0-415-12566-9 .
- N. A. Kondrashov History of Linguistic Doctrines, ISBN 5-484-00458-6 , 2006
- I. Friedrich History of Writing, ISBN 5-8360-0219-3 , 2001
- The version of Ganka’s copyright in the Kraledvorska manuscript appeared in 1899, but is currently refuted.
- The famous native of Formosa, George Salmanazar . Date of treatment April 7, 2008. Archived January 29, 2012.
- George Salmanazar at the Museum of Hoaxes and Practical Jokes (English) . Date of treatment April 7, 2008. Archived January 29, 2012.
- Jack, Lynch Orientalism on display: the amazing story of George Salmanazar . Date of treatment April 7, 2008. Archived January 29, 2012.
- George Salmanazar Formosa Description