Chapter

The Astronomical Situation around the Year 1000

Bradldy E. SchaeFer

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/9780195161625.003.0017
The Astronomical Situation around the Year 1000

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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

Chapter.  3216 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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