Saturday, April 30, 2011

The last last last emperor

Some intensive searching in VD16/VD17 turned up something interesting this week: the prophecy of Wilhelm Friess published five times between 1686 and 1690 as a "wonderful prophecy concerning the years 1686 to 1691 in which great changes are discovered by a highly learned man well known to the world" (VD17 1:063073H, 1:088281P, 3:600599Z, 12:121140B, and 32:648152). Except the unnamed learned man wasn't well known; the source was a version of a prophecy last published 120 years earlier. The surprising thing is that the few changes in the text don't have anything to do with the Last Emperor or Angelic Pope, figures from the medieval Christian apocalyptic narrative who show up to set Christendom aright at the end of time. Andreas Schoppe had rejected as a clear sign of devilish influence the idea of a Last Emperor already in 1597, so it's surprising to see the idea return unchanged in 1686. Fortunately I'm not giving a paper in two weeks about the last appearance of the Last Emperor in 1558.

Oh, wait...

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