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By Norman Cohn

The center a while inherited from Antiquity a practice of prophesy which foretold a brand new Paradise in the world. This certain e-book tells the tale of Millenarian fanaticisms of the center a while and issues to their patience this present day.

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Extra info for The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages

Sample text

But here too his ambition was not to become rich but to be worshipped. He distributed all the booty to those who had nothing - including, one may assume, his own followers. On the other hand, when the band came to a town, the inhabitants, including the bishop, would be threatened with death unless they worshipped him. It was at Le Puy that the messiah met his doom. When he arrived at this important episcopal city he quartered his 'army' as Gregory calls it - in the neighbouring basilicas, as though he were about to wage war against the bishop, Aurelius.

What stirred his profoundly Hellenic imagination was the prospect of spiritual progress begun in this world and continued in the next; and to this theme theologians were henceforth to give increasing attention. Such a shift in interest was indeed admirably suited to what was now an organized Church, enjoying almost uninterrupted peace and an acknowledged position in the world. When in the fourth century Christianity attained a position of supremacy in the Mediterranean world and became the official religion of the Empire, ecclesiastical disapproval of millenarianism became emphatic.

But ever since Alexander the Great the Graeco-Roman world had been accustomed to deify its monarchs. There had been Hellenistic kings who carried the title of' Saviour' and Roman Emperors who were accorded divine honours in their lifetime. It was therefore not surprising that, as soon as Christianity joined forces with the Empire, Christian Sibyllines should greet the Emperor Constantine as the messianic king. After Constantine's death the Sibyllines continued to attach an eschatological significance to the 30 figure of the Roman Emperor.

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