The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius, written in Syriac in Mesopotamia at the end of late antiquity, sought to make sense of history amidst the crumbling of Christian Roman power in the wake of the seventh-century Arab conquests. Building on ideas from earlier Syriac literature, the text argued that the Roman Empire must survive to the end of time to play the central role in bringing about events of the end times. The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius was soon translated into Greek, Latin, Coptic, Armenian, and Slavonic, and later into many European vernaculars. My project traces how this apocalypse introduced novel arguments—rooted in ideas from late antique Syriac literature—for the historical mission of Christian Empire to the wider Mediterranean and beyond, and so helped shape the political theology of medieval and early modern Europe.
In Rome, I will also begin a second project on the development and social function of eschatology and apocalyptic literature in the late antique Mediterranean.