Friday, December 21, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 56)

I’ve spent most of this week catching up on this semester’s sleep. But, since it’s the winter solace and the supposed Mayan Apocalypse, here are some other dates of the end of the world:

1. 634 BC: Many early Romans feared a prediction of Rome’s destruction would occur in the city’s 120th year. The legend said that twelve eagles had revealed to Romulus the life of Rome, with each eagle representing ten years. 

2. 1000: As Christianity completed its first millennium, many Christians believed the end of the world was close, sparking riots throughout Europe.  Recalling the 1999-2000 year change, I must imagine that the move to four digits must have included some crazy partying along with the crazies. 

3. 1524: An unusual planetary alignment in Pieces sparked end of the world predictions from astrologers in Germany and England. People believed a large flood would destroy the world. Clearly, they forgot the whole rainbow part of Noah’s story.

4. 1806: In Leeds, a hen began hatching eggs with the phrase “Christ is coming” written on them.  People interpreted it as a sign of impending doom, creating a local panic. It was later revealed that the hen’s owner had etched on the eggs and inserted them into the hen. 

5. 1843: The Millerites, a sect born out of the Second Great Awakening, believed that the Bible predicted the end of the world occurred in April of 1843. Many gave up all their property and belongings in anticipation of the Apocalypse. When April passed (dubbed the Great Disappointment), the date was moved to December, and then early 1844. The Adventist movement that grew out of this continues to predict end times from the Bible. 

6. Y2K: Similar to 1000, many Christians viewed the end of the millennium as a sign of the Apocalypse. There was also the widespread belief that all the computers would be unable to read the year 2000, revert of 1900, and crash. Fortunately, computer programmers were wise enough to not destroy the world over two digits.

7. Obligatory R.E.M. reference:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." Matthew 24: 35-36
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