Muslim Monstrosity

  • Michael Uebel
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In 1190, as Roger of Howden recorded in his chronicle, Richard I stopped at Messina on his way to the Holy Land to visit a certain Cistercian abbot named Joachim, who was earning a reputation as a wise prophet, a gifted interpreter of the Book of Revelation.3 Richard and his retinue of churchmen “took great delight” in hearing a detailed, animated description of the seven-headed dragon of Antichrist waiting to devour the faithful, the offspring of the Holy Church. The seven heads, Joachim of Fiore explained, represented the seven persecutors of the Church, five of whom have passed, one of whom is, and one of whom will be. Among those who have passed was Muhammad, and “the one who is” was none other than Richard’s nemesis Saladin, over whom the prophet predicted Richard’s eventual victory. Though the bishops attending Richard would dispute Joachim’s general interpretation of Revelation, and even Roger himself would question it by following it in his chronicle with two different, more standard interpretations, one aspect would remain clear—the prophetic association of Muslims with the monstrous instruments of Antichrist.


Contact Zone Speech Community Twelfth Century Radical Alterity Roman History 
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