Waiting for the End of the World

European Dimensions, 950–1200

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The French president Charles de Gaulle spoke of a Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. Europe was spatially formed with these topographic parameters from the late 10th century onwards, with the massive Christianization of its inhabitants. At that time, however, all three monotheistic religions already had a steady presence there. Could such a macro-space be thought-and-narrated from a macro-perspective, in view of its medieval past? This has already been done through common ʻdenominatorsʻ such as the Migration Period, wars, trade, spread of Christianity. Could it also be seen through a common religious-philosophical and spiritual phenomenon – the Anticipation of the End of the world among Christians, Muslims, and Jews? This book gives a positive answer to the last question.

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Biographical Note

Tsvetelin Stepanov, D.Sc. (2015), St Kliment Ohridski University, is Professor in Medieval History and Culture. He has published monographs and articles on Bulgaria, the ‘Steppe Empire’, and Byzantium, including The Bulgars and the Steppe Empire in the Early Middle Ages (Brill, 2010).

Table of contents

CONTENTS Acknowledgements ...........................................................i
List of Illustrations ........................................................... iv
Preface: How the Idea for This Book Came About ........................................................... v
Introduction ...........................................................1
Chapter I. European Dimensions of the Anticipation of the End of Times:
Texts. Contexts. Real Places and Symbolic Topoi..............................................................15
I.1. Expectations for the End of Times in the Jewish Milieu, 10th–12th Centuries...........................................................16
I.2. Expectations for the End of Times in Western Europe...........................................................27
I.2.1. Calming of Fears in the 10th–11th Centuries: Adso of Montier-en-Der, Thietland, Raoul Glaber..................................27
I.2.2. The Peace of God Movement and the Year 1000 ...........................................................37
I.2.3. The Year 1000 and the Victory of the Cross in the North and the Center of Europe....................................41
I.2.4. On the Threshold between the 10th and 11th Centuries: The Ottonians – Symbolic Acts and Symbolic Topoi...........................................................44
I.2.5. A Look at the Cult of St. Michael the Archangel from the Holy Roman Empire ............................................................57
I.2.6. The Twelfth Century in the West. New Trajectories and Loci/Topoi of the 'Salvational' Expectations....................................61
I.2.6.a. Millenarian Explorations during the 12th Century: The Interpretations and the Promise of Joachim of Fiore...........................................................61
I.2.6.b. The West Looks to the Far East, or on the Kingdom of Prester John before the Earthly Paradise ..............................65
I.3. Expectations for the End of Times in Byzantium................................................ 72
I.3.1. The 'Scythian' Threat from the North before 1092 ...........................................................75
I.3.1.a. Signs, Horoscopes, and the Attacks of the Rus' ............................................75
I.3.1.b. The Pechenegs and the Other Steppe Nomads .............................................. 77
I.3.2. The Norman Threat from the West before and after 1092...........................................................84
I.3.3. Symbolic Acts in Constantinople before 1200...........................................................87
I.3.4. Testimonies of the End in Byzantine Art...........................................................87
I.4. Expectations for the End of Times in Kievan Rus'...........................................................90
I.4.1. The Rus': the New 'Chosen People' of God.....................................91
I.4.2. The Capital City of Kiev (Late 10th–12th Centuries): Imitating Jerusalem and Constantinople..........................98
I.4.3. And All of Rus' is under God's Protection.....................................101
Chapter II. Topography of the Evil Forces before the End of Times: European Dimensions....................................106
II.1. The Question of the Sources...........................................................116
II.2. Genealogy of Some of the Topoi ...........................................................117
II.2.1. The 'People (of) Gog and Magog' in the Old Testament...........................................................117
II.2.2. The Revelation of St. John the Apostle and the 'People of the Evil Forces' in the New Testament..................................118
II.2.3. The Wall/Gate of Alexander the Great ...........................................................120
II.2.3.a. In the Jewish Milieu before the Birth of Christ ......................................... 120
II.2.3.b. In the World of Christendom ..................................................................... 120
II.2.3.c. In the Muslim World before the 10th Century .............................................. 122
II.2.4. Notions of Constantinople as the 'New Jerusalem' and of the Heavenly Jerusalem—as a Heavenly Constantinople .................................125
II.3. Later Development of the Topos of the Direction of the Evil Forces' Invasions in the 10th–12th Centuries ............................ 130
II.3.1. The Byzantine Case ...........................................................131
II.3.2. Western European Cases ...........................................................140
II.3.3. The Case of Kievan Rus' ...........................................................157
II.3.4. In the Islamic World (the Case of Volga Bulgaria) ...........................................................162
II.3.5. In the Jewish Diaspora, 10th–12th Centuries ...........................................................165
Chapter III. Bulgarian Dimensions of the Anticipation of the End of Times:
Texts. Contexts. Real Places and Symbolic Topoi...........................................................175
III.1. Danube Bulgaria: 'Texts' of Word and Image ............................................................175
III.2. Topography and Names of Evil Forces before the End of Times in the Notions of the Danube Bulgarians ...........................................................193
III.3. Beginning and End of Tsardom: Bulgarian 'Responses' to the Expectation of the End of Times ...........................................................210
III.3.1. The Topos of the 'First Tsar': 'Tsar Slav' and/or 'Ispor Tsar', or on the Legitimization of the Beginning of the Bulgarian Tsardom...........................................................210
III.3.2. The 'Last Tsar': The 'Revival' of Two Traditional Images in Bulgaria around 1092, or on the Legitimization of the End of the Bulgarian Tsardom ...........................................................223
III.3.2.a.'The Chosen' Bulgarian Tsars Michael and Petur: The Power of the 'Salvational' Naming.....................................239
III.3.3. The Well, or about the Path to and the Place of Paradise (and Hell?): Bulgarian Visions about the Topography of Salvation...........................................................246
III.3.4. The Giants: Once Again about the Beginning and the End (of Space and Time, and of Tsardom as well)...........................................................261
III.3.4.a. The Bulgarian Christian Case from the End of the 11th–Beginning of the 12th Century...........................................................263
III.3.4.b. Specific Features of the Bulgarian Islamic Case ........................................ 265
III.3.4.c. Specific Features of the Scandinavian Case ............................................... 266
Conclusion ............................................................273
Bibliography ...........................................................279
Appendix/Illustrations Section...........................................................324

Readership

All interested in the issues surrounding the anticipation of the End of Times in a pan-European perspective, and anyone seeking a better understanding of them in 950–1200, in particular.

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