Friday, March 30, 2012

1570-80 and other year-list prophecies

The unnamed prophecy for 1570-80 that I mentioned here and here is interesting for its wide and durable circulation (here's a facsimile of a version printed in 1620), but it should probably be seen as just one instance of a particular type of prophecy. Other prophecies also take the format of a list of events associated with a succession of years.

The clearest example I know in print is the prognostication of "Theobertus von England" (ISTC it00142500), with predictions for 1470-78. Robert Lerner (Power of Prophecy 6 n. 10) mentions Latin versions of what appears to be the same prophecy in Latin, beginning Anno lxxo erunt tempora frigida... This prophecy for the years 1470-78 appears in three Munich manuscripts, cgm 754, clm 3586 (in German, according to the catalog), and clm 18770. Karin Schneider's manuscript catalog gives the years for the cgm 754 version as 1370-78, and it's not clear if the author "Theobertus Anglicus" is found in the manuscript. The Latin incipit in cgm 754 is similar to the ending of the first sentence of the German text (ouch wirt ein kaltes weter und schedlich uber den Sumer), but the correspondence of first to last parts of a sentence suggests that the text has undergone some modification. None of the manuscripts have been digitized yet, but someone should check the German broadside text against them.

The prognostications for particular years are different from those found in the 1570-80 prophecy, which makes the year-list prophecies for 1470-78 and 1570-80 an interesting case where one prophecy borrows the structure from another, but not the content. The influence of "Theobertus von England" lies not just in how it brought certain predictions into circulation, but also in how it served as a template for other prognostications.

No comments:

Post a Comment