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Lambert of Saint-Omer and the Apocalyptic First Crusade

Around the year 1112 [Figure 1] Lambert, a canon of the church of Saint-Omer, began an eight-year process of writing everything that he had ever learned into a book. He called it the Liber floridus, the Flowering Book, to indicate the diversity and beauty of its contents, gathered, he says, “from the heavenly meadow.”1 The autograph copy survives in the collections at the University of Ghent, MS 92. To give you some sense of the its visual and intellectual richness, Lambert tells his readers about, among other things [Figures 2a-g], crocodiles, lions, and pigs, about the stars, the earth, and perhaps more than anything else, about trees: good trees, bad trees, normal everyday trees, heavenly trees, and one mystical palm tree—all of which served to illustrate God’s plan, His presence and His purpose in Creation. The work is accessible today through a facsimile edition and through the commentaries by Albert Derolez, but the variety of the contents and the derivative character of its texts have combined to discourage significant new research. It is a beautiful and self-evidently important book. Its interpretation, however, remains nonetheless elusive.2 The autograph manuscript, as it exists today, contains 287 folios. Originally it was longer still, but several quires have gone missing. We can reconstruct many of these “lost materials” in part through Lambert’s table of contents, in part through setting his autograph manuscript alongside the nine surviving copies. No single version is perfect.

2 But on points of illustration, the later manuscripts can be surprisingly faithful. [Figure 3a] Consider this picture of heaven from the twelfth-century Wolfenbüttel Liber floridus, the earliest surviving copy (though it is, in fact, at least one step removed from Lambert’s autograph) and now look at the original drawing. [Figure 3b] Later scribes might tamper with the texts. They might change the order of the book’s contents. But they had the sense to stick as closely as possible to the original drawings and diagrams, which seemed to convey truths perhaps beyond what Lambert himself had imagined or intended. Of the many truths and theories which Lambert wished to communicate, one seems to recur more frequently than any other: the First Crusade and the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099.3 He mentions it, for example, in the captions for his illustration of that mystical Palm Tree. He discusses it in several short chronicles, including his own original work, titled, “The Years of Our Lord, the Sixth Age.” He sacralized the campaign in his liturgical calendar, where he lists amongst saints’ days the anniversaries of key crusader battles. And one of the longest texts in the Liber floridus is an abridged version of the “Jerusalem History” by Fulcher of Chartres, a participant in the crusade and eventually chaplain to King Baldwin I of Jerusalem.4 In the midst of that same chronicle Lambert added a map of Jerusalem as well as a portrait of the Holy Sepulchre, the originals lost, their likenesses preserved in one thirteenth-century copy.5 It is not difficult to guess the reasons for Lambert’s fascination with the crusade. Contemporaries recognized it as an event of unusual, even unprecedented, historical significance, and they wrote about it often. By the time Lambert had finished his Liber floridus he could have chosen from any of ten different narratives devoted exclusively to the topic, with another two shortly to appear. In a book about everything, in the early

to overthrow the Emperor Alexius and to replace him on the throne of Constantinople with Bohemond himself. Lambert. for Lambert. It was a wildly ambitious scheme and it met with predictable failure. The distinction between them is a fine one. In brief. too. Like all crusade writers Lambert attempted to draw lessons from Jerusalem’s conquest. I hope to have demonstrated that. not just to write about the crusade. Robert of Flanders. “eschatology” refers to a concern with the Last . But above all—and this event is another one that Lambert makes sacred in his liturgical calendar—in 1106. But Lambert had more personal reasons. intended both to shore up the victories of the First Crusade and. there was little difference between those two concepts: the First Crusade and everything. drew inspiration from Bohemond. During that time Bohemond married Constance. The sermon occurred as part of the Italian-Norman mercenary’s recruitment tour in northern France. too. had been one of the heroes of the crusade and had died in 1111. in the church of Saint-Omer. but to write about everything else. just one year before Lambert began work on the Liber floridus.” or “apocalyptic. the First Crusade was bound to claim an important position. His count. but not all. sister of King Louis the Fat. And like many of them he found it to be a fundamentally “eschatological. along the way. Lambert had heard Bohemond of Taranto.3 twelfth century. hero of the First Crusade and Duke of Antioch.” story—two words in common use among some. But during the preparations this charismatic Norman managed to fire the imaginatiosn of at least three French monks (Guibert of Nogent. too. Baudry of Bourgueil. preach a new crusade. if possible. By the time I am done today. and Robert of Reims) to write new books about the crusade based on the anonymous Gesta Francorum. medievalists. and he managed to raise a new army.

according to many followers of Joachim of Fiore. such as. For now. particularly in connection with the First Crusade. 1260. and with Christ’s return to judge the earth. “Is the world about to end?” He wondered instead. first. I will explain what they are and what they mean later. and they inspired him to fill up a book with everything in the world around him. The two subjects—crusade and the apocalypse—have usually not sat comfortably together. with the final confrontation with Antichrist. But for Lambert the two themes were inseparable. less “apocalyptic. debates about apocalypticism within medieval history. the year 1000. Apocalypticism indicates that Christ is indeed about to return. often on a fixed date. I believe. But for the moment I must set aside Lambert to discuss instead. “Has the Apocalypse actually started?” Or even. has been to “normalize” the movement—that is to say. let me just say that the first time that I saw this one [Figure 4] was the moment when I realized. somewhat to my chagrin. or in the thirteenth century. speaking as broadly as possible. The dominant trend in crusade studies today. apocalyptic fervor. let me say that the solution lies in this picture [Figure 4] and in this one [Figure 5]. Through the work of the English . without necessarily implying that that return is imminent. famously.4 Days. He did not fix a specific date. but that fact does not make his thought any less radical. even as he believed that world to have entered its death throes. to see the crusades as outgrowths of intellectual and spiritual currents fundamental to medieval society rather than as the spawn of an ill-defined. that I was going to have to start taking apocalyptic thought seriously. popular. “Has the world already ended?” At the risk of giving away the answer here at the beginning of my talk. and second. Lambert. the general shape of crusade of historiography. saw the crusade in similar terms.” For Lambert seems not to have asked.

Eleventh-century popes struck increasingly close relationship with soldiers and in the process sacralized warfare. a holy war fought for explicitly spiritual causes under the guidance and inspiration of Pope Urban II himself. called out of a sense that the Last Days might be near and that. demonstrated how the crusade represented the culmination of papal reform policy. advanced largely by French historians who see the First Crusade equally as an eschatological movement. In advancing these arguments. by fighting an unbelieving enemy for control of Jerusalem—the center of the earth. who. modern historians are building upon the even earlier work of certain German historians. The reasons why the former . More recently Jean Flori has written a series of challenging books and articles which attempt to restore apocalypticism as a serious topic for discussion in crusade studies. notably Carl Erdmann.5 historian Jonathan Riley-Smith and of his many students. The foundational work for these arguments was carried out by Paul Alphandéry in the book (completed by Alphonse Dupront) La Chrétienté et l’Idée de Croisade. we have learned see the First Crusade in particular as an expression of the most traditional aspects of medieval piety: a love of pilgrimage and a desperate need to perform penance for sin accrued in the midst of military activity. and the site of humanity’s redemption— they were actively helping to bring those days about. in his book Die Enstehung des Kreuzzugsgedankens. There has been an alternative school of thought. But despite the seriousness and erudition of this scholarship. crusade historians and historians of eschatological thought have resisted it. and more recently in his remarkable survey of the connections between Islam and apocalypticism in Western thought: L’Islam et la Fin des Temps. The end result was the crusade. including his biography Pierre l’Ermite et la Première Croisade.

according to the most common systems of chronology.6 group. I think. St. apocalyptic enthusiasms went into abeyance.D. the crusade historians. when Urban II preached the crusade. the First Crusade does not fit comfortably into the established narrative of apocalyptic thought. The apocalyptic First . At the risk of oversimplifying. but the condemnation was only marginally more effective than his denunciation of astrology. stems from two causes. with the sixth and final age beginning at the birth of Christ—the end would likely come in the year 1000 A. medieval chronographers continued nervously to calculate the number of years with an anxious eye towards 6000. there were expectations that the apocalypse would occur in the six-thousandth year of Creation. That is to say. According to the “Six Ages” model of history—that history fell into six roughly equivalent chapters which paralleled the Six Days of Creation. The skepticism of the latter group. the thousand-year anniversary of the Crucifixion. How to calculate the year 6000 was a thorny problem. like the millennium of Christ’s birth. inaugurating the second great era of prophetic thought. and most directly. the year 6000. Augustine of Hippo famously renounced this sort of calculation. it was fundamentally millenarian and centered on problems of chronography. however. By the year 1096. not to be revived until the late twelfth century through the brilliant and visionary Abbot Joachim of Fiore. would oppose an apocalyptic First Crusade are obvious enough. had. and more subtly. First. We are then to believe that. medieval apocalypticism falls into two categories. after 1033. the eschatological historians. already passed. they have found convincing the antiapocalyptic arguments of crusade historians. In the early Middle Ages. As my American colleague Richard Landes his amply demonstrated. But second.

among the First Crusaders. and then. Let me begin. the Second Age from Noah to Abraham and the Hebrew Covenant. Lambert has divided the circle into six roughly equal semi-circles. each representing an age of history and each listing the key events and personalities from that age. The First Age runs from Adam to Noah and the Flood. based on the previously-mentioned “Six Ages” model.7 Crusade. became. at the earliest. This diagram. the sense that the Last Days were underway. dates from. in many intellectual. As is readily apparent. with one general observation: To understand the message of this diagram we must set aside certain stereotypes about the Apocalypse and its adherents: above all. though. the speculation about how Christ would appear more detailed and ever more refined. for example. The divisions which Lambert uses are conventional. 1099. On the contrary. only more acute. for the remainder of my time. I was one of these skeptics when I began my research. He gives us here the product of those reflections. eschatological hopes and fears would have given way to disappointment and disillusionment after July 15. sword in hand. political. at that point. when Jerusalem was conquered and when Christ failed to appear in the clouds. and popular circles. 1112. What I would like to do now is to explain it in some detail. the . falling as it does between these two great movements. walk you through the steps I have followed while trying to make sense of it and of the Liber floridus. the sense of anticipation. until. and probably a little later—maybe 1115—long after Lambert had had time to ponder the reality of a Christian Jerusalem. a distillation of world history. I stumbled across this diagram. has found few champions. as noted. with Jerusalem in hand. the notion that. with an infidel enemy from a city called Babylon turned back in an epic battle.

but rather with an event that was by this time about fifteen years in the past. “In the Sixth Age. I have summarized the diagram in the following outline. for example. Lambert treated them as authoritative throughout the Liber floridus. In the year of the Lord 1099.” The chronological calculation in the ribbon reads.”7 It raises an . a point to which I shall return. martyrs. one from the other.D. 1099 years. also known as “the Jerusalemite. setting aside for the moment the big picture. to stop the summary of history not with current events (if he were writing in 1112.8 Third from Abraham to David’s coronation as King of Jerusalem. delineating them. evangelists. the Fourth from David to the Babylonian Captivity. in the year 783 A. But. in the seventh indiction. Christ.6 The sources for the next three ages are less obvious. Duke Godfrey took Jerusalem. and the Fifth from the Babylonian Captivity to Christ.” might have been a viable point to end on).—because Lambert makes a similar statement in the blanks space just above the diagram. Whatever their origin. You will also note as well a sort of ribbon running around the various sections. [Figure 6] It is unclear where Lambert found these numbers. The first two are fairly authoritative. [Figure 4] what makes the diagram so unusual and what connects it directly to the First Crusade is its title: “The Ages of the World Until King Godfrey. based on the figures given here. apostles. virgins. the year 1111 and the death of Count Robert of Flanders. confessors. To quote the entire summary of the Sixth Age: “Augustus. to the capture of Jerusalem. I have included the note about the sixth millennium—that the 6000th year of Creation would have passed. Within each part of the ribbon there is a brief statement of how long the age described beneath it lasted. with most early universal histories agreeing on them.” It is a surprising decision.

the Age which will usher in the end of human history and begin the eternal rest in heaven of the saints—did that Seventh Age begin in 1099 with Godfrey’s coronation in Jerusalem? Any twelfth-century reader would have sensed this question. implies: that after the first two ages. a Christian monarchy. each historical era opens with a new dynasty or empire. Unlike the other empires. by turning forward one page. The First Age he simply calls “the time before the flood. Might the kingdom of Jerusalem be a new empire? Lambert does not say as much. to the very center of the earth. we have the ascendancy of the Assyrian kings. the Persian kings and then finally. does say so. when God rested. in the Sixth Age. did the Seventh Age—the Age which parallels the seventh day of creation. a reader would see that something similar had happened at the possible end of the Sixth Age. ended? Put another way. makes clear what the other one.” With the Third Age. But Guibert of Nogent. and in a poem: This city. “The Order of the Chief Ruling Kingdoms. And then. [Figure 7] labeled. in fact. had appeared in 1099. This diagram.9 obvious question: Has the Sixth Age. An entirely new monarchy.”8 Again Lambert has divided his circle into six sections. often made plunder to kings. whose authority had gradually shifted to the west.” and with labels for each age running around the circle’s outer edge. and in Jerusalem no less. in the direction of the setting sun. about Godfrey. the Fifth Age. where this diagram appears. in his 1108 crusade chronicle. with a circular spot in the middle labeled “Ages of the World. Roman kings ruled the world. this time slicing it up like a pie.” The Second was “a time of labor after the flood. followed in the Fourth by the Medean kings. the new kings had returned east. in other words. especially if he turned one page back in the manuscript. .

9 Lambert’s diagrams also express this thought: that Godfrey’s elevation represented an epochal—indeed a millennial—moment in human history: a new empire. the codification of both divine and human law. the discovery of the True Cross. Augustine’s City of God: “Cain. the creation of written language. and the establishment of the kingdom of the Franks and the county of Flanders. the first son of Adam. as their mother. You deservedly ought to rule. of the crusade as capstone to human history. which he called Effrem. Then Robert. the fourteenth count of Flanders. with Adam and Eve but. rather. You should draw to you Christian kingdoms. Lambert does not begin. And then. the construction of the temple at Jerusalem. at the very end of the list. Ceasar’s declaration of empire. as you would expect. where we find a breath-taking overview of human events. founded a city. conquered Jerusalem in the year of our Lord 1099. And you will see the glories of this world come here And give thanks to you.10 Had known complete and utter destruction. the original avatar of the . established Godfrey as King of Jerusalem. son of Count Eustace of Boulogne. The same idea. O. city.”11 Thus for Lambert we begin our pilgrimage at the city built by Cain. with the incident that provided structure to St. To take only a few examples.”10 From there Lambert revisits events both historical and mythic. he notes (without providing specific years) the invention of music and astronomy. he writes two lines: “Godfrey. appears on the very first page of the Liber floridus. and a new era. as Augustine would have it. by this blessed conquest.

then the sum of the years from the first Five Ages of history should be 5258. separated from one another by somewhere between forty and forty-two years. Christ was born.”14 The calculation of the world’s age has thus led Lambert to. were the six-thousandth year of creation. [Figure 6] He presents this figure directly just a few pages later on fol. two different totals.”12 The anomaly grows out of this total. For at a later date. But there is one troublesome ambiguity about this diagram [Figure 4]. but it is one that Lambert himself confronts directly. If the year 742 A.”13 Simply put.11 City of Man. Lambert added some additional commentary. “The sum of years from Adam to Christ is 5257. He writes. But. If we return to folio 32v. It may sound like a minor ambiguity. we see that. but ultimately revealing of the direction of Lambert’s thought and of his methods as a historian. We can easily add up the five totals he gives for each age of history and arrive at the figure of 5217. immediately after announcing that there were 5217 years until the Incarnation. alongside an anti-millenarian thought from Isidore of Seville. or an exaggerated problem. using a darker ink and writing in a somewhat finer. that the year 6000 has in fact already passed. which is to say Jerusalem. and second. essentially. This discrepancy does not result from contradictory sources. for while his sources . 32v: “In the year 5217 of the world’s foundation. the numbers are not correct. “We say ‘six ages’ in place of ‘six millennia. as noted. [Figure 4] It is a note intended to assure readers that. they are 5217. and he concludes it with the arrival of the Frankish pilgrimage at the usual earthly representation of the City of God. Lambert puts no credence in the notion of an apocalyptic year 6000. Augustus reigned. narrower script.’ whose end was reached in the year of the Lord 742. first. he has written another very short chronicle that concludes. seemingly inconsequential.D.

and she wished to learn from Adso as much as possible about the figure of Antichrist. The discrepancy also has nothing to do with neuroses about millennial years. surviving in around onehundred-seventy manuscripts. To understand why we must set aside conventional history and turn instead to prophecy.) The background of Adso’s treatise is fairly well-known. riding a dragon. specifically to the Life of Antichrist. both about the political turmoil in the late Carolingian court and about the rapidly approaching millennium. wife of Louis IV of France and sister to Otto I of Germany. but its core message remained consistent: that Antichrist would not appear as long as the Frankish monarchy survived.12 (mainly the seventh-century encyclopedist Isidore of Seville and the fifth-century historian Orosius) do contradict one another. . to thoughts of its destruction. the study of the natural world leading directly. In response Adso wrote a short and remarkably successful book. apparently. Lambert also inserted a picture of Antichrist himself. in the midst of a copy of Isidore of Seville’s bestiary. though he attributes erroneously to the fourth-century church prophet Methodius. curiously. the treatise written around the year 950 by the cleric Adso of Montier-en-Der at the request of Queen Gerberga. But if the forty-year miscalculation has nothing to do with the millennium. they do not do so in a way that would lead to this mathematical impasse. Both 1000 and the various readings of anno mundi 6000 had long passed. Later scribes would alter its contents freely. it has everything to do with the Apocalypse. [Figure 8]. and a text which Lambert includes in the Liber floridus. Gerberga seems to have been worried. (About forty manuscript pages before Adso’s treatise. He places it.

The head was of gold. and the Iron. What interpreters of Daniel. a stone not cut by human hands struck the statue’s vulnerable and unsteady feet. a representation of “what will happen in the Last Days.”15 The golden head was Nebuchadnezzar himself. but the last kingdom. as intriguing to Christian thinkers as the sixfold model based on the days of creation and the six millennia. the stomach and thighs of bronze. Each state. particularly St. the silver. whose authority. composed of four different types of metal. bringing the entire monstrous figure crashing to the ground. Jerome. Antichrist would not appear as long as the power of the Roman Empire endured in the West. like iron. would be strong and able to crush all in its path. Only the prophet Daniel could explain the dream. Indeed. the Medeans. where King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon dreamed of a great statue. fundamentally. As Nebuchadnezzar watched. of silver. we have already seen Lambert attempt to combine these two programs in his circular diagram illustrating the “Orders of Kingdoms. The statue’s feet were partly of iron and partly of clay. But even this seemingly indestructible kingdom would grow divided. the golden head would be the Assyrians. according to Adso. on the Biblical book of Daniel.13 To be precise. never to end. The remaining metals were successor states. the bronze. lingered in the government of the Franks.16 Mixing Jerome and Daniel. and the legs of iron. the most splendid ruler the world had seen. and God himself would strike it down and replace it with his own empire. like each metal. whose weak-footed . the Persians. drew from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was a fourfold model of history. bronze. was inferior in beauty to the one that had preceded it. the chest and arms of silver. Rome.” [Figure 7] where the last four ages history bore the names of four separate dynasties. as symbolized by its clay and iron feet. The model rests. and iron.

according to both tradition and accepted history. First. But there are two obvious objections to viewing Godfrey as king of the Last Days.” but preferred instead to be known by the more modest title. would have seemed unusually appropriate for this prophecy.17 Adso thought the same thing in the tenth. as our initial diagram boldly pronounces. While not himself a Frankish king. As the authority of the Roman Empire waned—or perhaps it had disappeared altogether by 1099—a Frankish monarch. “Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre. for centuries locked away by Alexander the Great. And so for Lambert the signs had begun to coalesce around the Crusade.14 demise Jerome believed himself to be living through in the fourth century. Godfrey was for him. Godfrey never accepted the office of “King of Jerusalem. giving him as strong an argument as any ruler to the mantle of Roman legitimacy.” The other objection is that. we need only observe that Lambert never acknowledges it. If one follows the earlier prophecies of Pseudo-Methodius. his claims to Carolingian ancestry were well-known.” Setting aside the veracity of this story (and I do have doubts about it).20 [Figure 2d] and then reign in Jerusalem for seven years. the Emperor would arrive at Jerusalem and lay down his crown on the . which Lambert would insert much later into the compilation of the Liber floridus19—the king of the Last Days would defeat Gog and Magog. “King. the prison’s location carefully marked on Lambert’s world map. The figure of Godfrey. and Lambert conjectured that his own twelfth-century world—with Salian imperial claimants at war against Roman popes—had stumbled still further from the old imperial grandeur.”18 would travel to the East and engage in combat around Jerusalem. according to Adso “the greatest and the last of all the kings. according to Adso. who had defeated Turkish invaders and the kingdom of New Babylon.

Rather. in effect. laboriously demonstrating in the diagram that they contained 5217 years. Did Lambert believe this king of the Last Days to be a crusader king. We don’t know if Lambert was responsible for the editorial work. since he placed them one after the other in his book. the Liber floridus makes fundamental changes to Adso’s prophecy. Godfrey. Instead he will accept a crown and prepare for battle.15 Mount of Olives. At some point. or if he had simply inherited a new tradition. Why did Lambert. But as noted. he made a deliberate decision to begin the Sixth Age not with the birth of Christ but with the rise of Augustus. He at least saw the prophecy and the story of the crusade as directly connected. the abbreviated version of Fulcher of Chartres following directly upon Adso’s Life of Antichrist. but according to his version of the text. Unexpectedly. this model of historical-prophetic thought also provides the explanation for the forty-one year discrepancy which we noted earlier in connection with Lambert’s diagram of world history. For in yet another of his summaries of world history—this one occupying folios 136v-139r— between the summaries of the . he added 41 years to the Sixth Age. and then arguing in a later marginal note that they necessarily contained 5258? The answer is that he did not change the duration of any of the first five ages. by contrast. the latter finishing on the recto side of folio 110 and the former beginning on the verso.”21 The king will not give up his crown in Jerusalem. decide to make the first five Ages of history 41 years longer. received royal authority only upon reaching Jerusalem. He illustrates this concept in spectacular fashion. a descendant of Godfrey? Almost certainly he did. he will finally come to Jerusalem and on the Mount Olives will receive a scepter and a crown and rule of the Christians. after the ruler “has successfully governed his realm.

For Augustus to close the doors therefore. a point which Orosius draws explicitly: “And so at that time. The turbulence of the civil wars came to an end and was Christ born.”24 Augustus reigned. in the Ancient World almost never happened. “An edict went forth from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be registered. and Lambert himself was probably never comfortable with it. Below. so near to the time of Christ’s birth. In a way more fundamental than millenarianism it contradicted the intent of Augustinian historiography.16 Fifth and the Sixth Ages of history. was to proclaim a worldwide peace. Lambert would have learned from Isidore and others. But he was . and to do so at the apogee of Rome’s conquests. on January 4. It was not an entirely anodyne concept. Lambert has placed this famous diagram of the emperor Augustus. Christ was born. that is to say the year in which Caesar by the mandate of God established peace securely and truly. the doors of the Temple of Janus in Rome were closed only during times of peace. whose arrival that peace did serve. Perhaps for this reason more than any other Lambert keeps circling back to the topic of chronology and to summaries of world history. are the words. After forty-one years.” The verse refers to the census which led to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem—from a Christian perspective the pivotal event of Augustus’s reign. Christ sanctioned the Augustinian Peace. which sought to separate the destiny of Rome from the story of man’s salvation. fifty-six years. which.22 Lambert has surrounded the emperor with a passage from the gospel. But Christ did not choose to appear until the forty-second year of his rule. to link the Sixth Age of history so directly to a political figure rather than to Christ. written across the lower frame. [Figure 9] seated on a throne and literally holding the world in his hand. “On eight ides January he closed the doors of Janus.”23 As Lambert would have known from Orosius.

for a time. Nebuchadnezzar’s rule would be brought to an end. a heavenly watchman (here a Christ figure with unsheathed sword in the upper right-hand corner) ordered the tree. The youthful sleeper is Nebuchadnezzar. The first dream. In that vision. combining the two dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. bronze. we have already discussed. leaving only a stump surrounded by an iron ring. bearded. And. it is out of this stew of ideas that Lambert concocts his grandest and most original statement of world history. a plurality of the surviving manuscripts put the dividing line at Augustus rather than with Christ. and current events. the dream of the statue. Growing out of the young king’s groin—bizarrely mimicking the iconography of the “Root of Jesse”—is a tree. In a . [Figure 7] What characterizes particular ages is not just biblical personalities but rather the conjunctions between Scriptural events and the movements of World Empire. and iron statue embodies a new world empire. is that statue. silver. the subject of the king’s second dream. It is exactly the sort of thinking that underlies Lambert’s “Order of Kingdoms” diagram which we noted earlier. to be cut down. [Figure 5] What we are seeing is an illustration inspired by the book of Daniel. all coming together to inspire this arresting and even dazzling image. wrinkled with age. where each part of the golden. since it is with Caesar that the Roman Empire proper begins.17 not alone in his embrace of this model. history. The crowned. a symbol of pride. standing figure. Regardless of what Isidore of Seville himself may have believed about when to begin the Sixth Age (if he thought about it at all: some of the earliest manuscripts of his Chronicon do not even mention the Ages of History). And it is a model that Scripture embraces through the vision of Nebuchadnezzar. with Julius Caesar. Some place the transition slightly earlier still. finally. combining his thought on chronology with Scripture. Thus.

18 move absolutely unjustified by Scripture. Nebuchadnezzar’s own rule.” as it . his chest silver. indeed. The enforcer of justice in this picture. the “agent for change. it is the embodiment of all human history. and the beginning and the end of that age—for example. or “the world. puzzlingly. which is to say. and then. bizarrely. the accompanying element. his thighs iron. It will be recalled that the statue symbolizes. The axman’s head is golden. “Age One. including. It is “what Daniel interpreted from the statue and the tree during the Babylonian Captivity at the end of the Fourth Age. Lambert. Medean. but it also makes an argument about history.” “Mundus in the first age has a golden head.” To the right of the statue Lambert lists each age. is the embodiment of secular might. therefore. Not just the four great kingdoms. Lambert has turned the statue into an axman. the one who acts on behalf of Christ. His feet Lambert simply labels “mud. his legs are made of lead. from Adam to Noah. he gives the figure a name: mundus. his stomach bronze. he tries to make six equal four. First of all. To do so he makes a bizarre decision to revise Scripture and says that the statue is of composed of six elements. In doing so.”25 This vision thus encompasses all of history. through its various parts. Lambert has labeled the axe—the central element in the picture. But the statue in Lambert’s hands becomes a more sweeping symbol still. Persian. uses it to attempt the impossible: he tries to reconcile within this image the model of the six ages of history with the model of the four kingdoms.”26 To emphasize the point. all earthly kingdoms: Assyrian. Golden.” To the left of the statue Lambert again lists the elements and the ages. and Roman. specifically about the Fourth Age. the dream is a product of the end of the Fourth Age. connecting them directly to the statue’s body.

”28 [Figure 10] These numbers are not entirely new. That is why Lambert needed to label the Fourth Age. just below the tree’s lowest branches. There Lambert has written an entirely new scheme for calculating the chronology of history. That is 5258 years. It survived 1164 years. however. Setting aside the six ages and the four kingdoms. “At one and the same time Babylon fell. were the people of iron. as he writes on the right-hand side of the page. is the moment when Rome replaced Babylon on the historical stage. 3342 years. the tree.19 were—with three words running just above the handle. and in doing so he has changed both Jerome and the Bible. he adopts a three-tiered model: “From Adam to the founding of Old Babylon. “Fourth Age. and we can be fairly precise as to how Lambert arrived at them. in the year before the coming of the Lord 752. trying to reconcile two chronological systems—the loosely Isidorean system he had created in his earlier diagram and the chronology developed by Orosius in his Seven Books of History Against the Pagans. which is in Persia. It also is showing us the Sixth. it was 752 years to Christ. . the statue will. then. From there. But to get to this point he has had to reconfigure the composition of the statue. strike down the tree and bring an end to the golden era of Nebuchadnezzar. and the axe. and Rome rose. Lambert. as “iron”—because he would have known from Jerome that the Romans. and Nebuchadnezzar himself all to the First Crusade. The clue which leads to this interpretation appears in the upper right-hand corner. paradoxically both the first kingdom and the ruler of the Fourth Age. Rather.”27 What we are seeing. with its iron axe. and then Rome began. thus connecting the statue. and the Franks after them. again. And the picture is not just about the Fourth Age.” Bending chronology back on itself. He is. is not overtly interested in Medeans and Persians. Iron.

and Empire was born in the West. Lambert did not engage in further historical research. of Babylon and Rome. Rather. the one fell and the other rose . Orosius notes first that in the year 752 after the founding of the city. “And so in one and the same concordance of time. for Orosius is quite blunt in stating that there were 3184 years between the creation of the world and the foundation of Babylon.29 Only a few lines earlier he had observed. it had enabled him to reconcile his two favorite sources for chronology. Like Isidore and like Lambert. but it accomplished what he had wanted. Isidore and Orosius. First. But in doing so. Augustine. neatly dividing books six and seven. that Christ was born that same year. therefore. saying that the Medeans plundered Babylon of its riches it deprived it of its king.32 Upon close inspection.20 written at the request of St. 1164 and 752. after it had stood for 1164 years. therefore. Lambert’s new calculus is nonsense. the Emperor Augustus closed the doors of the temple of Janus.”30 Later. Orosius was interested in problems of chronology and calculated most events according the founding of Rome. In order to obtain this new number. The first figure he presents near the beginning of the second book in his History. leaving him now with the first two Ages lasting 3342 years. . 3342. and subtracted from it the other two quantities that he had learned from Orosius (the number of years that Babylon had existed and the number of years between the founding of Rome and the birth of Christ). the total number of years between Creation and Christ.31 The number 3342 is Lambert’s own. On top of the six ages and the four . Lambert had created an entirely new system for interpreting history. come straight from Orosius. he simply did this equation posted behind me in reverse. and then in the next chapter. Empire died in the East. . He started with 5258. Two of the numbers Lambert uses in this diagram.

and the time of Rome. Lambert enables us to see this interpretation in one of the short texts inserted into the picture. Again. in the dream of the statue. and the end of the third stage of history. according to the Bible. Rome. What Lambert was specifically showing in his diagram of Nebuchadnezzar [Figure 5] was the moment of transition between the second and the third stage. It depicts the fall of Rome. which in the similarly complicated and interlocking temporal schemes of that book. in perfect harmony. too—the end of the second stage of history. from Babylon to Rome. he was not seeing his own personal last days but rather everyone’s Last Days. The cycle illustrations has long since disappeared from the original copy of the Liber floridus. but also Christ in Majesty. Babylon. So the statue and this illustration do not just tell us about the fate of a sleeping Babylonian king. seated upon his throne. presiding over newly resurrected souls. describes for the first time the fall of Babylon and the resurrection of the dead. fortunately.21 kingdoms he had imposed a threefold model: the time before kings. this one just above the axe and just below one of the tree branches: “Babylon the Great has fallen. and it is a scene that would have been depicted in the illustrated Apocalypse which Lambert had once placed at the beginning of his chronicle. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that. The present and the future do not simply reiterate the past. but about two-thirds of it survives. they are inseparable from it and they move with it. With sword in right hand. But prophets are never so myopic as to reveal only one specific incident. . which would end with the advent of Antichrist. As I mentioned. the time of Babylon. she with whom the kings of the earth have fornicated!”33 It is a condensation of Revelation 18:2-3. [Figure 11] We have in it a depiction of Revelation 11. and the picture shows us not just the collapse of the city. in the twelfth-century copy preserved in the library at Wolfenbüttel.

Rome and Babylon. the statue and the axman? [Figure 5] As a symbol for kingship. around which Lambert finally organizes his history. as the art historian Penelope Mayo has suggested. but nonetheless in tact. separate events which are.37 [Figure 12] The page . [Figure 8] They are both beardless. The young beardless king Lambert has depicted here as the ruler of Babylon does indeed bear a noticeable similarity to the enthroned Antichrist he had drawn earlier into his book. The picture [Figure 5] and the event are also. a crusader king. the Persian king who effectively brought Babylonian rule to an end.35 And if the sleeping figure is Nebuchadnezzar and Antichrist. For it is safe to say that this diagram put Lambert in mind of his original interpretation of Godfrey and the crusades. who is the standing figure. out of place. youthful men who wear similarly shaped crowns. “The Ages of the World Until King Godfrey. Mundus in the last throes of life. again. would have been a diagram making this connection more obvious still: “The Six Ages of the World Compared to Days. the calculus of the world’s age on this page overlaps perfectly with the later revisions Lambert made to his diagram. fundamentally the same: they are the two points. moreover. on an eschatological level.” with which we began this inquiry. Or it might be. necessarily. Christ the watchman provides over the simultaneous fall of two incarnations of the City of Man. It may be an aging world. With mathematical precision. Originally facing this page.34 In Lambert’s final prophetic vision. the fall of Nebuchadnezzar and the fall of Antichrist. but once more we are indebted to the Wolfenbüttel manuscript.22 Christ bears an obvious resemblance to the “holy watchman” on the Nebuchadnezzar page. which preserves them.”36 These pages. the power that shall replace Babylon. which are a single moment. It is perhaps also Cyrus. it is Rome. are missing.

20v. and he observes that the world had passed. as he tried to reconcile all of the visions into one. The lower circle also associates each section with one of the metals from the Dream of Nebuchadnezzar. But. By the latter stages of his book. his preferred total. It was perhaps at this point. For in the “Six Ages Compared to Days” chart. he kept working with these sums. he had decided. at that point. Stated more simply. he observes “5216 + 1”). clearly. he ends the Fifth Age not with Augustus but more conventionally with Christ. In four of the last five. in order to start the Sixth Age with Augustus. Lambert never stopped thinking about Jerusalem or its kings and what they were telling him about the course of world history. and the days of creation. he . all of the major symbolic elements from Lambert’s prophetic system and historical theories come into play here. the bottom one with a young man. that secular rulers were crucial to salvation history.23 contains two circles. that he realized he ought to add another 41 years to the sum total of God’s creation. 257v. not 742 as Lambert has written into the margins on fo. 5217 years (to be precise. as most of the manuscripts of Isidore dictated. The parallel sections of the two circles here describe briefly the ages of history. In the first model he reaches the original sum of 5217. That is the total we reached earlier. he sketches out no fewer than six different methods for calculating the world’s age. Whatever the case. fol. in the end. the top with an old man in its center. there are differences and tensions. One of the last pages in the Liber floridus. And in one of his final and most powerful images. in general and against Augustinian dictates. he settled upon variations of 5258. It leaves 783 years until the sixthousandth year of human history. the ages of man. when adding up all of the ages on the chart about Godfrey.38 In other words. as always with Lambert.

1968).” in Use and Abuse of Eschatology in the Middle Ages. 1 2 “de celesti prato”. Liber Floridus: Codex Autographus Bibliotheca Universitatis Gandavensis. acting as the agent of Christ.” Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale et autres bibliothèques 38 (1906): 577-791. though the latter was too . the center of human history. Lambert. by A. and Daniel Verhhelst. and Andries Welkenhuysen. Story-Scientia. “Les textes eschatologiques dans le Liber floridus.24 showed how earthly kings. 299-305. ruling the world from Jerusalem. and Derolez. Godfrey had been dead nearly twenty years. The Autograph Manuscript of the Liber Floridus: a Key to the Encyclopedia of Lambert of Saint-Omer. Albert Derolez. ed. Strubbe (Ghent: E. Both essays make important points echoed in my own arguments. Corpus Christianorum Autographa Medii Aeui 4 (Turnhout: Brepols. and perhaps the Last Frankish King. The scholarship “interlocks” to such a degree that it is helpful as well to keep on-hand and open a copy of Leopold Delisle. Derolez and I. Lambert of St. By the time Lambert created these various diagrams. and with the inevitable onset of disillusionment and disappointment. would strike down Antichrist and usher in the Last Judgment. however. chanoine de Saint-Omer. It was an apocalypse that succeeded. Liber floridus. its wonders ceaselessly unfolding as rapidly as he could draw them into his book. His role. its godless enemies vanquished in a river of their own blood. by Werner Verbeke. and the center of the earth. 3v. Lambertus qui librum fecit. too. 1998)—among others. Mayo. Louvain: Leuven. Verhandelingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen Letteren en Schone Kunsten van Belgie 89 (Brussels: Paleis der Academiën. 1988. een codicologische Studie van de Liber Floridusautograaf. And for at least two decades an observer as talented and well-read as Lambert of Saint-Omer could imagine himself living not beneath the weight of endlessly postponed eschatological expectations but rather as a man walking amidst an apocalyptic reality. “The Crusaders under the Palm: Allegorical Plants and Cosmic Kingship in the Liber Floridus. Most apocalyptic movements end with a sudden rupture between expectations and reality. “Notice sur les manuscrits du Liber Floridus de Lambert. Omer. but not the First Crusade. Daniel Verhelst. p. 3 In connection with this paper’s topic: Penelope C. 1978). fol. might as easily fall to his successors.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 27 (1973): 31-67. ed. 8.

4. p. 19v. printed in PL 27. 12 “Anno orbis conditi V CCXVII Octavianus regnavit.” 14 “Summa annorum ab Adam usque ad Christum V CC LVII”. in RHC Oc. and. Christus. printed in PL 71./hac o beata captione civitas. upon further reflection. 13 The Latin reads. p. and two of the other numbers have ben tampered with as well. videbis orbis huc venire glorias/tibique matris exhibere gratias”. Godefridum Hierosolimis tunc regem constituit. “Sex etates pro sex milibus dicuntur. Liber floridus. which subsequently became authoritative. fol. Many of these figures would appear to go back to the Latin Eusebius.” 8 “Ordo regnorum principaliter regnantium”. p. decided that he needed to correct it so that it was the right discrepancy. Rotbertus quartus x comes Flandrie. 491-543. Lambert. In hoc anno Domini MXCIX Godefridus dux cepit Hierusalem indictione VII”. finem facientes in anno domini dccxlii. 675-698. pp. 289-90. “Octavianus. Lambert. Lambert. Liber floridus. This chart is also curious in that it ends the fourth age with Brutus. Liber floridus. Guibert. 66. fol. and Fifth ages—in an anonymous continuation of the chronicle of Fredegar./hinc promerens ut imperare debeas/ad teque regna christiana contrahas. Liber Floridus. instead of Lambert’s 973).” have been written over an erasure. Lambert. Lambert draws the name here from Pseudo Methodius. 66. if there were a discrepancy. It is possible that Lambert was working form memory and a set of incomplete notes to arrive at precisely this set of numbers. cols. 9 “Urbs ista. 8865./pessum dabatur obruenda funditus. Cain calls the city “Enoch” or “Henoch” in Gen. 87 years after the Babylonian captivity (the number 87 is one of the . 7. The final numerals in the total. do not quite match up. The continuation divides the Third Age into two halves: from Abraham to Moses. Bolonie anno domini m xc iiii: Ihlm cepit. 1v. however. p. Isidorus dicit. 217r. 505 years. cols. specifically at col 676. 14. 433. “VI etas usque ad captam Hierusalem annos MXCIX. 32v. condidit”.” Lambert. martyres. p. 5 BNF lat. confessores. In fact. and from Moses to Solomon 489 years (yielding a total of 994 years. evangeliste. Col. Lambert. esp. the first Roman consul. 6 One can find four of the five figures—for the First. Dei gesta. and between the rebuilding of the temple to the coming of Christ is 548 years.4. pp. Christus natus est”. 4:17.25 focused on texts and the former on a particular type of image (trees) to describe with precision the architecture of Lambert’s apocalyptic worldview. as recorded in the Liber floridus. It raises the possibility that originally there was no discrepancy here. 57-60. Second. 7 The Latin reads. apostoli. 11 “Godefriuds filius Eustachii comitis. 59 sets 548 as the number of years between the restoration of the temple and the preaching of Christ. fol. At the very least. 4 Usually attributed to Bartolph de Nangis: Gesta Francorum Iherusalem expugnantium. Liber floridus. virgines. Fourth. The period between Solomon and the rebuilding of the Temple is 512 years. Though it is apparent he has revised this section in order to reach this desired sum. sepe preda facta regibus. 10 “Caim filius Adam primus civitatem primam quam Effrem vocavit. fol. The demarcation points for the Fourth and Fifth Ages. 40. 32v. fol. “LVII. 3. p. 1v.

CCCM 45. that is. p.2. xlii. 190-91. having made peace with the Parthians. Orosius. 27 “Uno eodemque tempore Babylon cecidit et Roma surrexit. p. p. CCSL 75a (Turnhout: Brepols. 15 “quae ventura sunt in novissimis temporribus”. Dan. p. which was the forty-second year of the rule of Caesar. 149. Derolez. Rome incepta est. Mansitque annis M C LXIIII. fol. et bella toto orbe cessarunt” : “to Caesar Augustus. fols. fol. 25 The two quoted passages read.” 24 “Igitur eo tempore. “Etas.26 numbers to have been revised). 2:28. 23 “Exiit edictum a Cesare Augusto ut describeretur universus orbis”. LVIII”. Liber floridus. id est eo anno quo firmissimam verissimamque pacem ordinatione Dei Caesar composuit. natus est Christus. ab Adam usque ad Noe”. I. p. aurea. p. printed in Verhelst’s edition of De Antichristo. col. 28 “Ab Adam usque ad conditionem Babylonie veteris que est III. and “Mundus in prima etate habens caput aureum. Jani portae clausae sunt. Liber floridus. id est. cum. Like most modern historians. pp. Hoc sunt V C. He mentioned this theme for the first time in his introduction: “ad Caesarem Augustum.3135. ad ultimum Hierosolimam ueniet et in monte Oliueti sceptrum et coronam christianorumque obtinebit imperium”. 464. anno ante adventum Christo DCCLII”. 222. This is not an argument Lambert would choose to advance again. 793-95. 280. cujus adventui pax ista famulata est”. 17 Jerome Commentariorum in Danielem. n. and wars throughout the world ceased”. PL 31. 22 Lambert. Liber floridus. Inde ad Christum DCC LII. e statua et arbore in fine quarte etatis mundi”. when. p. 464. in Latin. 16 The diagram on fol. tunc. 20 Lambert. to the Birth of Christ. 109v. 19 Though he had the text to hand much earlier: the passages surrounding the figure of Antichrist are based on the Revelations of Pseudo-Methodius and not on Adso. 669. Liber floridus. saying that it was only the third time that they had been locked. 1964). fol.” 26 “interpretauit Daniel propheta dum esset in transmirgratione Babylonis. p. fol. 125-26 and 141-42. 20-27. pp. Daniel Verhelst. and “viii idus ianuarii clausit portas Iani. 21 “Qui. Also. and that under Augustus they stayed locked for twelve years. usque ad Nativatatem Christi. Orosius had just spoken of the closing of the temple doors in the previous lines. 25-26. facta pace cum Parthis. . et ccc. 464. The suggestion would have no impact on the substance of the current argument. 1058B. that Lambert originally intended to place the illustration elsewhere in the book. See Flori’s discussion of Daniel in L’Islam. the doors of Janus were closed. convincingly but no definitively. 26. Liber floridus. The statue is described at 2:31-35. described above. with Daniel’s interpretation at 2:37-44. ed. 1. 232v. 18 “ipse erit maximus et omnium regum ultimus”. Autograph manuscript. **. 232v. Liber floridus. Historiae adversum paganos. quae fuit anno imperii Caesaris quadragesimo secundo. Adso speaks in passing of this model when he speaks of the Romans as being clearly stronger than either the Greeks or the Persians. 232v. 19v. Adso. pp. Jerome sensed the imminent fall of Rome in the civil wars and foreign invasions of the late fourth and early fifth centuries. postquam regnum feliciter gubernavit. Derolez suggests. De Antichristo. 92v-93r. fol. De ortu. col. 138v. pp.

6. 11. iron. 2. 5r..015 years: Libri Septem. fol. 62v. and to a drawing of a lily. 747A. bronze (ereum). 35 Liber floridus. col. I say “almost miraculously” because the last third of the Wolfenbüttel manuscript is missing. haec tum primum etiam suorum aspernata fastidium: illa tunc quasi moriens. col. 34 Wolf. 1 Gud.. p. 2. col. Cod. Cod. this diagram was supposed in that section. col. Libri Septem. 1057C. copper (aeneum). Guelf. 31r.27 29 30 Orosius. 2. but for some reason it has been moved to an earlier point in the chronicle. The diagram of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar is clearly labeled 162. 31 Orosius. Libri Septem. 1 Gud. 3. p. 669B. fol. tunc se agnovit haeredem: tunc Orientis occidit. which I have not discussed here but to which Mayo devotes much analysis in her article. ista surrexit: illa tunc primum alienigenarum perpessa dominatum. and 7. et ortum est Occidentis imperium”. . “Siquidem sub una eademque convenientia temporum illa cecidit. 1059B. 232v. p. dimisit haereditatem: haec vero pubescens. 36 “CLXIII De mundi etatibus sex comparati diebus”. and mud. Liber floridus. It is possible that the copyist found objectionable Lambert’s revision of the Bible and tried to restore to this page something approaching spiritual accuracy. Libri Septem. We cannot say for certain because. Guelf. the Wolfenbüttel manuscript does not preserve a copy of the Nebuchadnezzar page. 14r. Liber floridus. 126. unfortunately. Lat. According to its table of contents. next to the drawing of the palm tree discussed in the previous chapter. 22. silver. fol. Orosius. has altered the six metals. 464. 747B. 1. Lat.*** 38 Though in fact either this scribe or else Lambert. They are here gold. fol. 37 Wolf. 33 “Cecidit Babilon illa magna cum qua fornicati sunt reges terre”. 32 Orosius also observes that from the time of Ninus and Abraham to the birth of Christ was 2. fol.