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This groundbreaking study reveals the distinctive impact of apocalyptic ideas about time, evil and power on church and society in the Latin West, c.400–c.1050. Drawing on evidence from late antiquity, the Frankish kingdoms, Anglo-Saxon England, Spain and Byzantium and sociological models, James Palmer shows that apocalyptic thought was a more powerful part of mainstream political ideologies and religious reform than many historians believe. Moving beyond the standard 'Terrors of the Year 1000', The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages opens up broader perspectives on heresy, the Antichrist and Last World Emperor legends, chronography, and the relationship between eschatology and apocalypticism. In the process, it offers reassessments of the worlds of Augustine, Gregory of Tours, Bede, Charlemagne and the Ottonians, providing a wide-ranging and up-to-date survey of medieval apocalyptic thought. This is the first full-length English-language treatment of a fundamental and controversial part of medieval religion and society.Read more
- Proposes a new framework for understanding early medieval, apocalyptic thought
- Draws comparisons between different Western cultures and the East
- Explores the relationship between the development of ideas and the implementation of political and social change
Reviews & endorsements
"This is an exceptional book. Palmer offers a synthesis where none currently exists, moving the study of apocalypticism away from modern historiographical polemic and into a space that helps us understand the Early Middle Ages as a whole."
Matthew Gabriele, Virginia TechSee more reviews
"The topic is complicated and controversial; the author is learned, wide-ranging and open-minded. This combination has yielded a book that is both accessible and important."
Mayke De Jong, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
"James Palmer’s excellent new look at the idea of the imminent end of the world shows both how normal it was for most of the early middle ages and how it interleaved transactionally with political action. Anyone interested in the early middle ages, or in the interplay between theology and politics in any period, should read this book."
Chris Wickham, University of Oxford
'It has been said that only two things are necessary in life: paying taxes and dying. … Palmer has made a significant contribution to our understanding of early medieval Europe and the emergence of Christendom, one that should be seriously considered by all medievalists. … For scholars, the early Middle Ages will never look the same. For this, we owe Palmer our gratitude.' Eric Leland Saak, Augustiniana
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- Date Published: November 2014
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107449091
- length: 274 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 151 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.43kg
- contains: 7 b/w illus. 2 maps
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: how the world ends
1. The end of civilisation: c.AD 380–c.AD 575
2. The new urgency: c.AD 550–c.AD 604
3. The ends of time and space: c.AD 600–c.AD 735
4. Pseudo-Methodius and the problem of evil: c.AD 680–c.AD 800
5. Charlemagne, Pater Europae: c.AD 750–c.AD 820
6. A golden age in danger c.AD 820–c.AD 911
7. The year 1000 and other apocalypticisms: c.AD 911–c.AD 1033
The end: c.AD 400–c.AD 1033
Index of manuscript references
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