Prognostication, Apocalypse, Eschatology: the Last Future Times envisaged in the Middle Ages, in a historical and intercultural perspective

Titolo in italiano: Previsione del futuro, Apocalisse, Escatologia: la concezione medievale degli ultimi tempi, in prospettiva storica e interculturale

1 Research Collaborator position
(Deadline February 9th, 2024 13:00 )


Medieval History; Eschatology; Apocalypticism; Prophecy



The future and its prognostication were a paramount concern to medieval people. Different models of the future coexisted in the medieval world: besides a mundane middle- and short-term future, and a cyclical future linked to religious rituals, the distant eschatological future, revealed through prophetic predictions, underlying the plan of history, and expected to mark the end of history as an apocalyptic outcome, got highest importance. In this context, the concern with the eschatological future, foreknown by means of prophecy and imagined according to apocalyptic traits, produced conceptual frames and practical attitudes deeply intertwined with social demands, religious beliefs, and political processes, as part of a multicultural process that saw different traditions (ancient, Christian, Arabo-Islamic, Jewish, Persian) interact. The present scholarship is meant to explore a set of cases representative of the ways of predicting the future in this historical and intercultural medieval perspective, with special attention to the connection of prophecy with political events, the eschatological conception of history, and apocalyptic expectations. In this regard, special attention will be devoted to the back-ground of medieval apocalyptic motives in Biblical prophecy, and to the depiction and function of religious otherness in Christian and Muslim eschatological narratives.



The contract holder will be responsible for examining relevant examples of the transmission of motifs stemming from late antique and medieval apocalyptic tradition, beginning with the Book of Daniel in the Bible and moving forward with the rich textual corpus of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish apocalypses and related texts, with a particular focus on the textual tradition of early medieval Southern Italy. Key questions which will lead this exploration concern the representation of believers, unbelievers, and the ‘Other’, as refracted through the lenses offered by the apocalyptic tradition; the identification of examples of reception, re-interpretation, and re-use of apocalyptic and eschatological motifs and topoi belonging to the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic/Persian traditions into the Southern Italian textual corpus; the role apocalyptic motifs played in the framework of strategies for coping with, and understanding, uncertainties and crises, with a specific focus on their influence in structuring, or re-structuring, models of political power and hierarchy, and the expectations of their efficacy. Special attention will be devoted to texts of the apocalyptic tradition of Southern Italy, like the Expositio in Apocalypsim of Autpert Ambrose, which will be compared with other fundamental texts of the same genre like the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius, on the Byzantine side, and The A'maq Cycle, on the Muslim side, and properly contextualized in terms of sources, places of production, and areas of dissemination. It is expected and planned for the research results to be published in article format in specialized journals.

Formal requirements


  • PhD in History  or equivalent degree in Humanities;
  • The contract holder should possess documented competence in medieval history, with a particular expertise in the political effects of religious and cultural trends and motives;
  • Fluency English


Gross amount

€ 19.450,00


12 months, renewable





PRIN 2022 PNRR “Social, Political, and Religious Prognostication and its Roots: Philosophical Strategies for Coping with Uncertainties and Planning the Future” (codice UGOV: P0314; Codice MUR: P2022BMJ5A; CUP: D53D23019610001)

PRIN 2022 “Itineraries of Philosophy and Science from Baghdad to Florence: Albert the Great, his Sources and his Legacies” (codice UGOV: P0298; Codice MUR: 20225LFCMZ; CUP: D53D23014840006)

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  • University degree and ongoing PhD (compulsory)


  • Your CV in English (compulsory)