The final countdown: Mapping apocalyptic thought in the early Middle Ages
Apocalyptic fear was, supposedly, an integral part of medieval society. Plagues, wars, celestial phenomena (solar eclipses, comets), or bad government were all considered portents of the coming of Judgment Day. But was this end of times fixed, could it be calculated? This talk focuses on a genre of texts that does just this, counting down to AD 800, believed to mark the end of the sixth millennium (and, incidentally, the year of Charlemagne’s coronation as Emperor). As all of these texts can be geographically placed and dated precisely, this leads to the question of whether it is possible to map apocalyptic thought in the early Middle Ages.