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The Apocalyptic Year 1000Religious Expectation and Social Change, 950-1050$
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Richard Landes, Andrew Gow, and David C. Van Meter

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195161625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161625.001.0001

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The Astronomical Situation around the Year 1000

The Astronomical Situation around the Year 1000

(p.329) 16 The Astronomical Situation around the Year 1000
The Apocalyptic Year 1000

Bradldy E. SchaeFer

Oxford University Press

Humanity has a long record of reacting strongly to heavenly spectacles. Celestial events can be regarded as omens for many reasons. Eclipses and meteor showers impress any observer with the awesome nature of the spectacle itself. Astrological theory can attach importance to certain specific planetary configurations. Tradition associates both comets and meteors with death. The Christian Bible and the Islamic Koran associate solar and lunar eclipses with Judgment Day. Judgment Day is fundamental to Christian theology, and there are some biblical grounds for anticipating its imminent arrival. It is natural to think that such a momentous event will be heralded in the skies. For a variety of reasons, medieval Europeans were expecting Judgment Day to arrive around the end of the first Christian millennium. Hence, any study of the apocalyptic year 1000 should include a survey of the astronomical situation during that period.

Keywords:   celestial events, omens, meteor showers, death, Bible, Koran, eclipses, Judgment Day, millennium, year 1000

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