Simonides passes away in 1890

Steven Avery

Here is some of the various documentation on the 1890 passing of Simonides.

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What year did Simonides die? 1867 or 1890?

1890 seems to be the case.

Here you can see the San Francisco obituary that came over from London:

San Francisco Call

SIMONIDES. A dispatch from London announces the death of the noted forger of Greek manuscripts, Simoniides, which took place in Albania. His operations in these manuscripts and in Syrian antiquities made a great noise in the world at the time. A few vears ago be swindled Ismail Pasha out of a large sum of money for forged manuscript copies of Aristotle's works.


What is really interesting is the report, from Tregelles, that Simonides was working in the Russian Historical Archives in St. Petersburg in the late 1860s.

St. Petersburg was where much of the Tischendorf Sinaiticus intrigue occurred.


Lectures on the Evidences of Revealed Religion (1890)
George Washington Dean

"Simonides was an accomplished calligraphist, and had been employed by Tischendorf, with whom he quarrelled. When Tischendorf, in 1860, issued his first facsimiles of the Sinaitic manuscript, Simonides boldly declared that he had himself written the whole of it, between November, 1839, and August, 1840, for his uncle Benedict, copying from a printed Moscow Bible, and imitating the antique style, as he well knew how."

Lots of possible interesting relationships between Tischendorf and Simonides.


There may also be some interesting material about the later years in an article in Russia recently, that was also used in an Italian article. Louis Canfora used research from Igor Medvedev:

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Steven Avery

Here is the much longer New York Sun article, printed in The Locomotive of Hartford, CT, in November 15, 1890:

New York Sun

p. 166
p. 170-172

The account of the proceedings of the Hon. Alcibiades Simonides, given on another page, is very suggestive. We know a certain number of the forgeries that were perpetrated by him, but what security have we that he may not have been still more successful in other ventures, producing and selling rare old manuscripts that have not yet been recognized as fraudulent ? And what security have we that there have not been other equally cunning rascals at work in the past, whose productions were less likely to be shown up in their true light, because scholars were less critical ?

The pic (see on Facebook for now) is the above, p. 166, for the main part to to the url above:


Also from the New York Sun, with blaring headlines:

An Erudite Rascal...


London Times, Oct 18, 1890.
Needs a free 7-day trial.


The Churchman - Vol 62


The Classical Review (2009)The Artemidorus Papyrus
Richard Janko review of Louis Canfora

In 1867 he faked his own death: the Times printed a report that he perished from leprosy in Alexandria on 19 October, but he was seen still alive years afterwards, both in Russia (Tregelles loc. cit.) and in Egypt, where he supposedly died in 1890 (Times, 18 October). But is there in fact reason to think that more of his work, hitherto unknown, has resurfaced?


Egypt may be a Canfora or Janko error, rather than Albania.
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Staff member
The bio from Lilia Diamantopoulou gives a couple of entries after the 1867 fake death and before the 1890 real death. It may not have the Tregelles reference to the siting in St. Petersburg. There is also Medvedev with a short bio in Russian, also done by Canfora in Italian.

This should be filled in later.

Steven Avery

Vienna Journalist

Die getäuschte Wissenschaft: Ein Genie betrügt Europa – Konstantinos Simonides (2015)
Simonides in England: A Forger's Progress
Pasquale Massimo Pinto

On October 27,1890, The Sun of New York published a long article retracing the career of Simonides, whom it curiously referred to as ‘Alcibiades Simonides’ (as did the other newspapers that republished the text). The article included also the alleged report by a Vienna Tageblatt correspondent who had met Simonides in Corfu and had listened to the story of his ‘first death’. These virtually unknown lines open a way for further exploration of the murky career of Simonides:

One of the last meetings of the learned doctor with a man of the world occurred in Corfu a few years ago. A correspondent of the Vienna Tageblatt returned to his room in the Hotel St. George one evening to find on his table a card bearing the words: ‘The deceased Dr. Alcibiades Simonides. Meet me on the Esplanade at midnight to learn of a matter of the greatest importance.’ At the midnight meeting Simonides explained that he called himself deceased, not only because he was dead to the world, but because in a recent illness he had been pronounced physically dead, had been put into his coffin and lowered into his grave, and had been aroused by the gravel falling on the lid just in time to secure his release by a tremendous knocking and groaning. The purpose of Simonides’ appointment, however, was to show a document apparently written by Leopold the Glorious, in which the Babenberger prince related in the form of a diary his experiences during the Crusades, including some highly interesting particulars of his meeting with Richard the Lion-hearted. Simonides described how he had picked up this work in Jerusalem, and had brought it away with the idea of selling it to the Vienna Academy of Sciences.


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