Author: medapocalypse

Lecturer at the University of St Andrews

Apocalyse Cover!

The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages is fast nearing completion! Today Cambridge University Press sent me the front cover, which is nice and crisp, I think (image below). The page proofs arrive next week and the CUP website has moved the publication date forward to ‘November’.


Early Medieval Futures (from merovingianworld)

Anyone interested in medieval apocalyptic things might also be interested in this post, from last week over on merovingianworld:

It will be very interesting to see what Peter Brown actually makes of the Apocalypse Project!

New Articles on Medieval Apocalyptic Things

2014 looks like being a good year for scholarship on medieval apocalyptic themes. Already we’ve had Levi Roach‘s essay on ‘Otto III and the End of Time‘, which he wrote as the Alexander Prize Winner in 2013. That saw Dr Roach looking afresh at the Western emperor in the Year 1000 to conclude that there was probably more to the idea that he was interested in apocalyptic things than some – notably here Gerd Althoff – have thought. He has more on apocalypse around the Year 1000 forthcoming, notably an article in the journal English Studies.

In a different vein, Anke Holdenried has recently published an article in The Mediaeval Journal reassessing the Tiburtine Sibyl, a text she had already done good work with in her first book. ‘Many Hand Without Design‘ argues that we have multiple layers of composition in the text as it survives (from the 1040s), which means that it is difficult to reconstruct ‘what it meant’ because its meanings were multiple. (Note: although the linked text is behind a paywall, if you google it, you should find Dr Holdenried’s pre-publication version in Bristol’s Open Access archive).

For a broader perspective on medieval apocalyptic thought and its relatives, one might also note the Festschrift for Daniel Callahan, Where Heaven and Earth Meet, edited by Matt Gabriele, Michael Frassetto and John Hosler. Not all of the essay directly pertain to apocalyptic things, but it does include one by Callahan himself on Ademar of Chabannes (d. 1033/4) and Antichrist which the editors ‘rescued’ from oblivion.

‘The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages’ is apparently now due in December, according to CUP and Amazon.


Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages: The Book

It has taken a while but it is now agreed that my The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages is to published soon by Cambridge University Press. Happily, it seems that the book will come out simultaneously in paperback and hardback. The press have yet to set a release date – there’s some copy-editing needs doing first – but it’s all getting there.


To give a sense of the book’s coverage, here’s the running order:

Introduction: How the World Ends

Debating the Apocalyptic

A Question of Methodology


Chapter One: The End of Civilisation (c. AD 380 – c. AD 575)

The Eschatology of Empire

The Apocalyptic Other vs The Roman Empire

Millenarianism, AD 500, and the First ‘Crisis of the Year 6000’

The Coming Judgement


Chapter Two: The New Urgency (c. AD 550 – c. AD 604)

New Directions under Gregory the Great

Gregory of Tours’ Ecclesia Dei


Chapter Three: The Ends of Time and Space (c. AD 600 – c. AD 735)

Columbanus and the Ends of the Earth

Isidore’s Final Countdown and the Way Back to Millenarianism

The Heretical Bede


Chapter Four: Pseudo-Methodius and the Problem of Evil (c. AD 680 – c. AD 800)

A World Crisis and Pseudo-Methodius

The Early Reception of Petrus Monachus’ Translation

The Moral Use of Apocalypse

Chapter Five: Charlemagne, Pater Europae (c. AD 750 – c. 820)

The Rebirth of Empire

Counting to 6,000 Again

Heresy and the ‘Precursors of Antichrist’


Chapter Six: A Golden Age in Danger (c. AD 820 – c. AD 911)

Accumulated Apocalypticisms

The New Empire

Outsiders of the End Times


Chapter Seven: The Year 1000 and Other Apocalypticisms (c. AD 911 – c. AD 1033)

Counting to 1000

Adso and the Restabilisation of the West

The Rise of the Sibyls

Otto III and Imperial Spirituality

Wulfstan’s England in Crisis

Peace and Revolution in France


The End (c. AD 400-c. AD 1033)

What is the End?


Imperial Apocalyptic

Outsiders, Identity and Reform

Apocalypse and Authority in the Early Middle Ages

Cubitt RHistS Lecture on Y1K in England

Continuing the recent progress with studies of the apocalyptic in the early Middle Ages,

Prof Katy Cubitt from the University of York will be talking about “Apocalyptic Thinking in England around the Year 1000” at University College London, this coming Friday evening (details here).

I heard an early version of the paper before in Frankfurt and it certainly moves things forward, challenging the more cautious analyses of Keynes and Godden. It’s all more complicated than a simple ‘Fear of the Year 1000’ – there’s reform to be done, politics of penance to play out, the providential scourge of the vikings to consider, and lots of apocalyptic rhetoric.

Prof Katy Cubitt

Prof Katy Cubitt

It will be interesting to see how Prof Cubitt’s arguments sit with Dr Levi Roach‘s, as he has an article forthcoming in English Studies on a similar theme. Okay, I’ve seen a draft of this too – the two scholars are not so far away from each other, and both present a more nuanced picture of the role of apocalyptic thinking in late Anglo-Saxon politics and society than we’ve seen previously.


New book on Western Apocalyptic

One might as well have ‘news’ on a page like this. So: a new book! Coming out of the Abendländische Apokalyptik (‘Western Apocalyptic’) project at Vienna is a new volume of essays in English and German called Abendländische Apokalyptik: Kompendium zur Genealogie der Endzeit (details here).

In the spirit of genealogy it works backwards from modernity to Late Antiquity. Medieval apocalypse fans (?) will find new essays from me, Peter Darby, Debra Strickland, plus Vienna regulars Veronika Wieser, Clemens Gantner and Richard Corradini. Best of all, the essays collectively address the Big Questions about how apocalypse works as a social dynamic and discourse in ways which continue to open up apocalypse in ‘cultural history’.