A great number of historical examples show how desperate people sought to obtain a glimpse of the future or explain certain incidents retrospectively through signs that had occurred in advance. In that sense, signs are always considered a portent of future events. In different societies, and at different times, the written or unwritten rules regarding their interpretation varied, although there was perhaps a common understanding of these processes.
This present volume collates essays from specialists in the field of prognostication in the European Middle Ages.
Contributors are Klaus Herbers, Wolfram Brandes, Zhao Lu, Rolf Scheuermann, Thomas Krümpel, Bernardo Bertholin Kerr, Gaelle Bosseman, Julia Eva Wannenmacher (†), Matthias Kaup, Vincent Gossaert, Jürgen Gebhardt, Matthias Gebauer, Richard Landes.
Dr Hans-Christian Lehner (1982) is research fellow of Medieval History at the University Erlangen-Nuernberg. His monograph Prophetie zwischen Eschatologie und Politik(Franz Steiner Verlag, 2015) was focusing on prognostics as outlined in medieval historiography. He edited, translated, and annotated the 12th century Visio Tnugdali (with Maximilian Nix, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2018) and is the editor of a fair number of volumes, e.g. The End(s) of Time(s) (Brill, 2021) and Prognostication in the Middle Ages – A Handbook (with Matthias Heiduk and Klaus Herbers, De Gruyter, 2021).
Klaus Herbers, Dr. phil. (1984), University of Berlin, is Senior Professor of Medieval Histor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He has published monographs, edited volumes and many articles on European Medieval Historia (Hagiography, Iberian Historia, papal History), including works on medieval prognostication.
Figures and Tables
Introduction: Signs of the Future Klaus Herbers and Hans-Christian Lehner
Part 1 Signs and Dreams
1 Dreams, Visions, and Politics in Carolingian Europe Klaus Herbers
2 Dum illum utero gestaret: The premonitory Dreams of Saints’ Mothers in Latin Hagiography Patrick Henriet
3 Sepe verum somniant, qui presunt populis: The Dubious Veracity of Dreams Albert Schirrmeister
Part 2 Signs and Nature
4 The Emblematic Birth of a Monster in the High Middle Ages Hans-Christian Lehner
5 Strange Events and Shaky Ground: On Earthquakes, Matthew Paris and ‘Solid Facts’ Manuel Kamenzin
6 Between Astrological Divination, Local Knowledge and Political Intentions: Prognostics and “Epignostics” Related to Natural Disasters in the Middle Ages Christian Rohr
Part 3 Practices and Experts
7 Analogy at Work in Western Medieval Divination Stefano Rapisarda
8 Hohe Prälaten der römischen Kurie beim Wahrsager (XIII. Jahrhundert) Agostino Paravicini Bagliani
9 Signs from the Afterlife: Consulting the Dead about the Future in Medieval Times Matthias Heiduk
10 Alternative Losentscheidungsverfahren oder imitationes sortium in Byzanz Michael Grünbart
11 Al-Ashraf ˁUmar’s Tabṣira: Chapter xxxiv: Rainbows, Shooting Stars, and Haloes as Signs of the Future Petra G. Schmidl
All interested in the history of the interpretation of signs in the European Middle Ages.