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Fiery ShapesCelestial Portents and Astrology in Ireland and Wales 700–1700$
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Mark Williams

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571840.001.0001

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Celestial portents and apocalypticism in medieval Ireland

Celestial portents and apocalypticism in medieval Ireland

(p.1) 1 Celestial portents and apocalypticism in medieval Ireland
Fiery Shapes

Mark Williams (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with Ireland from the 7th to the 12th centuries, which represents the oldest literary material from the medieval Celtic world. It shows that a conspicuously biblical paradigm for celestial portents held in the period. Churchmen recorded astronomical events throughout the early Middle Ages in the voluminous Irish annals, but their descriptions are coloured by the lurid apocalypticism characteristic of the early medieval Church. Thus comets and eclipses, for example, are transformed into ominous portents of Doomsday. The chapter then shows that this apocalyptic framework lies behind the depiction of heavenly portents in secular literature.

Keywords:   Irish annals, comets, eclipses, portents, Doomsday, apocalypticism

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