Chapter

“Satan's Bonds Are Extremely Loose”: Apocalyptic Expectation in Anglo-Saxon England during the Millennial Era

William Prideaux-Collins

in The Apocalyptic Year 1000

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780195161625
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849666 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161625.003.0015
“Satan's Bonds Are Extremely Loose”: Apocalyptic Expectation in Anglo-Saxon England during the Millennial Era

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The year 1000 holds a particular place in the historiography of medieval apocalypticism. Romantic historians of the 19th century spoke of the “terrors of the year 1000” and painted a lurid portrait of a Europe gripped by widespread panic as the millennium neared. Later scholars, reacting against the obvious exaggerations of this interpretation, dismissed it as a “myth” based upon insufficient evidence. In the opinion of these “anti-Terrors” scholars, the approach of the year 1000 troubled neither the clergy nor the general populace, apart from a handful of fanatics. This counterargument in support of a non-apocalyptic millennium remains the reigning consensus. Like their Continental peers, scholars of Anglo-Saxon England have also proceeded from the premise that an apocalyptic year 1000 was a myth.

Keywords: year 1000; historiography; apocalypticism; millennium; myth; Anglo-Saxon; England

Chapter.  11358 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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