A lacuna is [amongst other things] a gap or unfilled space.
1. An unfilled space; a gap:
Lacunar Amnesia is a type of amnesia that leaves a lacuna in the memory.
Lacunar amnesia is the loss of memory about one specific event. It is a type of amnesia that leaves a lacuna (a gap) in the record of memory.
Daniel Goleman, in his book Vital Lies, Simple Truths, defines a lacuna as:
… lacuna, from the Latin for gap or hole, to refer to the sort of mental apparatus that diversionary schemas represent.
A lacuna is, then, the attentional mechanism that creates a defensive gap in awareness.
Lacunas, in short, create blind spots
Academics selectively suffer from Lacunar Amnesia when they encounter an inconvenient gap in the evidence [or their knowledge] that undermines [or falsifies] their academic narrative.
Lacunar Amnesia runs rampant in Archaeology, Geology, History and the Earth Science.
The scope of Lacunar Amnesia in Academia can be observed [by omission] in Wikipedia where a whole host of academic disciplines have forgotten to mention lacunas or define how they handle lacunas.
The scope of Lacunar Amnesia in Academia can also be observed in the trusty Oxford University Press online dictionary where it forgets to explicitly state [aka diversionary scheme] that lacuna derives from the Latin lacūna meaning: “ditch, pit, hole, gap, deficiency”.
mid 17th century: from Latin, ‘pool’, from lacus ‘lake’.
Latin lacūna ditch, pit, hole, gap, deficiency, akin to lacus vat, lake. Cf. lagoon
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Academia gladly admits that lacunae [academic plural] appear in source documents.
Academia really enjoys second guessing the odd missing word [or two].
A famous Old English example of a lacuna is in the manuscript British Library MS Cotton Vitellius A. xv, the poem Beowulf:
hyrde ich thæt [… …On]elan cwen. (Fitt 1, line 62)
This particular lacuna is always reproduced in editions of the text, but many people have attempted to fill it, notably editors Wyatt-Chambers and Dobbie, among others, who accept the verb “waes” (was).
Malone (1929) proposed the name Yrse for the unnamed queen, as that would alliterate with Onela.
This is still hotly debated amongst editors, though.
However, academia becomes hesitant when it comes to openly discussing the lacunae that appear in the historical record.
The authoritative mainstream narrative of the Late Roman Army is a classic example.
In modern scholarship, the “Late” period of the Roman army begins with the accession of the Emperor Diocletian in 284, and ends in 476 with the deposition of Romulus Augustulus.
During the period 395–476, the army of the Roman Empire’s western half progressively disintegrated, while its counterpart in the East, known as the East Roman army (or early Byzantine army) remained largely intact in size and structure until the reign of Justinian I (ended 565).
The Imperial Roman army of the Principate (30 BC – AD 284) underwent a significant transformation as a result of the chaotic 3rd century.
Unlike the army of the Principate, the army of the 4th century was heavily dependent on conscription and its soldiers were paid much less than in the 2nd century.
Barbarians from outside the empire probably supplied a much larger proportion of the late army’s recruits than in the army of the 1st and 2nd centuries, but there is little evidence that this adversely affected the army’s performance.
This reassuringly fact filled introduction to the Late Roman Army is complemented by “scholarly estimates” based upon “fragmentary evidence”.
Scholarly estimates of the size of the 4th-century army diverge widely, ranging from ca. 400,000 to over one million effectives (i.e. from roughly the same size as the 2nd-century army to 2 or 3 times larger).
This is due to fragmentary evidence, unlike the much better-documented 2nd-century army.
However, what is not made clear is that the whole narrative of the Late Roman Army is based upon dubious and fragmentary evidence.
The “central source on the late Army’s structure” is a “single document” called the Notitia Dignitatum because there is a “dearth of other evidence”.
Much of our evidence for 4th century army unit deployments is contained in a single document, the Notitia Dignitatum, compiled c. 395–420, a manual of all late Roman public offices, military and civil.
The main deficiency with the Notitia is that it lacks any personnel figures so as to render estimates of army size impossible.
Also, it was compiled at the very end of the 4th century; it is thus difficult to reconstruct the position earlier.
However, the Notitia remains the central source on the late Army’s structure due to the dearth of other evidence.
The Notitia also suffers from significant lacunae and numerous errors accumulated from centuries of copying.
The Notitia Dignitatum is a “unique” and truly remarkable “central source” document because “no absolute date can be given, and there are omissions and problems”.
The Notitia Dignitatum is a unique document of the Roman imperial diplomatic missions.
One of the very few surviving documents of Roman government, it details the administrative organisation of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires, listing several thousand offices from the imperial court down to the provincial level.
It is usually considered to be up to date for the Western Roman Empire in the 420s and for the Eastern or Byzantine Empire in the 390s.
However, no absolute date can be given, and there are omissions and problems.
The Notitia Dignitatum is also a “unique” and truly extraordinary “central source” document because it “contains the earliest known depictions of the diagram which later came to be known as yin and yang symbol” which “predate the earliest Taoist versions by almost seven hundred years”.
The Notitia Dignitatum is also a “unique” and truly miraculous “central source” document because there are only “fifteenth and sixteenth-century copies” of this document which were derived [directly or indirectly] from the late lamented Codex Spirensis which was carelessly ”lost” sometime between 1542 and 1672.
There are several extant fifteenth and sixteenth-century copies (plus a color-illuminated 1542 version).
All the known and extant copies of this late Roman document are derived, either directly or indirectly, from Codex Spirensis, which is known to have existed in the library of the cathedral chapter at Speyer in 1542 but which was lost before 1672 and cannot now be located.
That book contained a collection of documents (of which the Notitia was the last and largest document, occupying 164 pages) that brought together several previous documents of which one was of the 9th century.
The heraldry in illuminated manuscripts of Notitiae is thought to copy or imitate no other examples than those from the lost Codex Spirensis.
The 1542 copy, made for Otto Henry, Elector Palatine, was revised with “illustrations more faithful to the originals added at a later date,” and is held by the Bavarian State Library.
The most important copy of the Codex is that made for Pietro Donato (1436), illuminated by Peronet Lamy.
The Notitia Dignitatum is also a “unique” and truly reliable “central source” document because it contains many problems that result in academic conjecture, estimates and guesswork.
The Notitia presents four main problems, as regards the study of the Empire’s military establishment:
The Notitia depicts the Roman army at the end of the 4th century.
Therefore its development from the structure of the Principate is largely conjectural, owing to the lack of other evidence.
It was compiled at two different times.
The Eastern section apparently dates from c. 395 AD; the Western from c. 420 AD. Furthermore, each section is probably not a contemporaneous “snapshot”, but relies on data stretching back as far as twenty years.
The Eastern section may contain data from as early as 379, the start of the rule of Theodosius I.
The Western section contains data from as early as c400: for example, it shows units deployed in Britain, which must date from before 410, when Roman officialdom lost control in the island.
In consequence, there is substantial duplication, with the same unit often listed under different commands.
It is impossible to ascertain whether these were detachments of the same unit in different places at the same time, or the same whole unit at different times. Also, it is likely that some units only existed on paper or contained just a skeleton personnel.
The Notitia has many sections missing and lacunae (gaps) within sections. This is doubtless due to accumulated text losses and copying errors as it was repeatedly copied over the centuries: the earliest manuscript we possess today dates from the 15th century.
The Notitia cannot therefore provide a comprehensive listing of all units in existence.
The Notitia does not contain any personnel figures.
Therefore, the size of individual units, and of the various commands, cannot be ascertained, as we have little other evidence of unit sizes at this time.
In turn, this makes it impossible to assess accurately the overall size of the army.
Depending on the strength of units, the late 4th century army may, at one extreme, have equalled the size of the 2nd century force (i.e. over 400,000 men); at the other extreme, it may have been far smaller. For example, the forces deployed in Britain c. 400 may have been just 18,000 against c. 55,000 in the 2nd century.
Therefore, in summary, the Notitia Dignitatum is a mainstream “central source” that:
1) Provides “no absolute date”.
2) Contains Taoist symbolism which “predate the earliest Taoist versions” by almost 700 years.
3) Contains “omissions”, “problems”, “substantial duplication” and “lacunae”.
4) All extant examples are fifteenth and sixteenth-century copies derived from a “lost” source.
Obviously, the current generation of academics supporting this mainstream narrative aren’t keen readers of Dorothy L. Sayers or [even] Agatha Christie.
A second source for the authoritative mainstream narrative of the Late Roman Army are the Res Gestae (History) of Ammianus Marcellinus books which have “suffered terribly” and the “sole surviving manuscript” is [unsurprisingly] a ninth century copy.
The main literary sources for the 4th-century army are the Res Gestae (History) of Ammianus Marcellinus, whose surviving books cover the period 353 to 378.
But he largely fails to remedy the deficiencies of the Notitia as regards army and unit strength or units in existence, as he is rarely specific about either.
His work has suffered terribly from the manuscript transmission.
Aside from the loss of the first thirteen books, the remaining eighteen are in many places corrupt and lacunose.
The sole surviving manuscript from which almost every other is derived is a ninth-century Carolingian text, Vatican lat. 1873 (V), produced in Fulda from an insular exemplar.
The fundamental problem with the mainstream narrative for the first millennium is that all of the source manuscripts are second millennium prose.
The composers of this millennium-long story line have left us the texts that Palmer regards as ”sources from the fourth to the ninth centuries,” although for none of them do we have manuscripts preceding the 11th c. CE.
I am with Palmer as long as we refer to unquestionable substance in the texts (like rulers with coin evidence etc.).
Yet, I cannot turn such compositions into original 1st millennium sources when we only have versions that have been edited and chronology-fitted during the early 2nd millennium.
I am simply in no position to promote 2nd millennium prose into prime first millennium originals.
Rome’s Imperial Stratigraphy Belongs to the 8th-10th Century Period:
My Answer to Trevor Palmer’s ”Challenge” – Gunnar Heinsohn – 2014
Sadly, academia will continue to produce their fictional first millennium narratives until they recognise the lacuna in their source material that stretches over [about] 700 years.
Strangely enough, this lacuna of about 700 years mirrors the “almost 700 years” by which the Taoist symbolism in the Notitia Dignitatum “predate the earliest Taoist versions”.
However, the incidence of Lacunar Amnesia in academia means that any clues left by the second millennium copyists will remain unrecognised because of their lacuna blind spot.