Age of the World

At dinner tonight, my son brought up millenarian thinking, and we got onto the topic of 801 CE, which was thought (before it arrived) to be the likely date of the parousia, or beginning of the Seventh Age, or Second Coming of Christ. The author of that reckoning was of course Eusebius of Caesarea, who calculated the Incarnation as having occurred 5,199 years after the creation of the world. Eusebius disapproved of millenarians, but millenarians were happy to make use of Eusebius. Mediated through the Jerome of Stridon translation in Latin, that calculation seems to have been reproduced in Spain in the Ordo Annorum Mundi, which in its turn was reproduced in the very millenarian Apocalypse Commentary of Beatus of Liebana.

Something that has been dawning on me only this week is that the Ordo Annorum Mundi may not only have been a kind of cheat-sheet to read the Great Stemma with, but that sections of it have actually been interpolated into the Great Stemma. I had not paid much mind to this before. My Ordo Annorum Mundi page lists all the relevant text fragments. On the face of it, this may be rather dry, but it's rather like tracing Facebook likes. When you see where this reckoning shows up, you have a way of tracking what people like Beatus had been reading.

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