Joachim of Fiore, also known as Joachim of Flora and in Italian Gioacchino da Fiore (c. 1135 – 30 March 1202), was an Italian theologian and the founder of the monastic order of San Giovanni in Fiore. Later followers, inspired by his works in eschatology and historicist theories, are called Joachimites.
Born in the small village of Celico near Cosenza, in Calabria (at the time part of the Kingdom of Sicily), Joachim was the son of Mauro, a well-placed notary, and of Gemma, his wife. He was educated at Cosenza, where he became first a clerk in the courts, and then a notary himself. In 1166–1167 he worked for Stephen du Perche, archbishop of Palermo (c. 1167–1168) and counsellor of Margaret of Navarre, regent for the young William II of Sicily.
About 1159 he went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, an episode about which very little is known, save that he underwent a spiritual crisis and conversion in Jerusalem that turned him away from a worldly life. When he returned, he lived as a hermit for several years, wandering and preaching before joining the Cistercian abbey of Sambucina near Luzzi in Calabria, as a lay brother, where he devoted his time to lay preaching. Under pressure from the ecclesiastical authorities, he joined the monks of the Abbey of Corazzo, and was ordained a priest, apparently in 1168. He applied himself entirely to Biblical study, with a special view to uncovering the arcane meanings he thought were concealed in the Scriptures, especially in the apostle John's Revelation. To his dismay, the monks of Corazzo proclaimed him their abbot (c. 1177). He then attempted to join the monastery to the Cistercian Order, but was refused because of the community's poverty. In the winter of 1178 he appealed in person to William II, who granted the monks some lands.
In 1182 Joachim appealed to Pope Lucius III, who relieved him of the temporal care of his abbey, and warmly approved of his work, bidding him continue it in whatever monastery he thought best. Joachim spent the following year and a half at the Cistercian Abbey of Casamari, where he engaged in writing his three great books, his dictations keeping three scribes busy night and day; there the young monk, Lucas (afterwards Archbishop of Cosenza), who acted as his secretary, was amazed to see so famous and eloquent a man wearing such rags, and the wonderful devotion with which he preached and said Mass.
In 1184 he was in Rome, interpreting an obscure prophecy found among the papers of Cardinal Matthew of Angers, and was encouraged by Pope Lucius III. Succeeding popes confirmed the papal approbation, though his manuscripts had not begun to circulate. Joachim retired first to the hermitage of Pietralata, writing all the while, and then founded the Abbey of Fiore (Flora) in the mountains of Calabria. He refused the request of King Tancred of Sicily (r. 1189–1194) to move his new religious foundation to the existing Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria della Matina.
On Good Friday in 1196, Empress Constance, also Queen of Sicily, summoned Joachim of Fiore to Palermo to hear her confession in the Palatine Chapel. Initially the empress sat on a raised chair, but when Joachim told her that as they were at the places of Christ and Mary Magdalene, she needed to lower herself, she sat on the ground.
Fiore became the center of a new and stricter branch of the Cistercian order, approved by Celestine III in 1198.
In 1200 Joachim publicly submitted all his writings to the examination of Innocent III, but died in 1202 before any judgment was passed. The holiness of his life was widely known: Dante affirmed that miracles were said to have been wrought at his tomb, and, though never officially beatified, he is still venerated as a beatus on May 29.
He theorized the dawn of a new age, based on his interpretation of verses in the Book of Revelation, in which the Church would be unnecessary and in which infidels would unite with Christians. Members of the spiritual wing of the Franciscan order acclaimed him as a prophet.
His famous Trinitarian "IEUE" interlaced-circles diagram was influenced by the different 3-circles Tetragrammaton-Trinity diagram of Petrus Alphonsi, and in turn led to the use of the Borromean rings as a symbol of the Christian Trinity (and possibly also influenced the development of the Shield of the Trinity diagram).
The mystical basis of his teaching is his doctrine of the "eternal gospel", founded on an interpretation of Revelation 14:6 (Rev 14:6, "Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people." NRSV translation.).
According to Joachim, only in this third Age it will be possible to really understand the words of God in their deepest meanings, and not merely literally. In this period, instead of the parousia (second Advent of Christ), a new Epoch of peace and concord would begin; also, a new religious "order" of spiritual men will arise, thus making the present hierarchy of the Church almost unnecessary.
Joachim distinguished between the "reign of justice" or of "law", in an imperfect society, and the "reign of freedom" in a perfect society.
Thomas Aquinas confuted his theories in his Summa Theologica, but in the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri placed him in paradise. Among the Spirituals, the stricter branch of the Franciscans, a Joachite group arose, many of whom saw Antichrist already in the world in the person of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (who died in 1250).
As the appointed year approached, spurious works began to circulate under Joachim's name: De Oneribus Prophetarum, an Expositio Sybillae et Merlini ("Exposition of the Sibyl and Merlin") and commentaries on the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah. The Fourth Council of the Lateran, in 1215, condemned some of his ideas about the nature of the Trinity. In 1263, the archbishop Fiorenzo enhanced the condemnation of his writings and those of his follower Gerardo of Borgo San Donnino, joining a commission in the Synod of Arles, in which Joachim's theories were declared heretical. The accusation was of having an unorthodox view of the Holy Trinity.
Of importance is the fact that Joachim himself was never condemned as a heretic by the Church; rather, the ideas and movement surrounding him were condemned. Joachim the man was held in high regard during his lifetime.
Joachim is mentioned in Umberto Eco's medieval mystery The Name of the Rose. His influence on the Franciscan Spirituals and the rediscovery of his books foreseeing the advent of a new age are part of the book's background story in which an inquisitorial debate is held in a remote monastery where a number of murders take place.
The sprawling conspiracy leg-pull entitled the Illuminatus! trilogy of novels by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea also reference Joachim of Fiore repeatedly. His writings fit well with the eschatological tone of the story. The authors attempt to confuse matters and give an air of authenticity to the madness of the various plotlines by including references to real people and events.
A hoax circulated that Barack Obama referred to Joachim's third age three times in his campaign speeches during the 2008 presidential election. He is said to have spoken of him as a master of contemporary civilization who had sought to create a better world, but there is no evidence Obama ever quoted or mentioned Joachim.
Lesser works include:
Year 1132 (MCXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.1135
Year 1135 (MCXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.1260
Year 1260 (MCCLX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.1263
Year 1263 (MCCLXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.Abraham von Franckenberg
Abraham von Franckenberg (24 June 1593 – 25 June 1652) was a German mystic, author, poet and hymn-writer.August Cieszkowski
Count August Dołęga Cieszkowski (; 12 September 1814 – 12 March 1894) was a Polish philosopher, economist and social and political activist. His Hegelian philosophy influenced the young Karl Marx and action theorists.Book of Prophecies
See Book of prophecies for the literary genre.The Book of Prophecies (in Spanish, El Libro de las Profecías) is a compilation of apocalyptical religious revelations written by Christopher Columbus towards the end of his life, probably with the assistance of his friend, the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio. It was written between September 1501 and March 1502, with additions until about 1505.This journal of sorts conveys the medieval notion that in order for the end of the world or the second coming of Jesus Christ to occur, certain events must first be enacted:
1. Christianity must be spread throughout the world.
2. The Garden of Eden must be found - It was the common belief in the Middle Ages that the biblical Garden of Eden must have been on the top of a crag or mountaintop so that it would not have been affected by the first destruction of the world by flood. Upon arriving in Venezuela in 1498, Columbus may have thought that the verdant crags of Venezuela bore the garden of the Old Testament of the Bible.3. A Last Crusade must take back the Holy Land from the Muslims, and that when Christ comes, he will come back in the place he lived and died: Jerusalem.
4. A Last World Emperor must be chosen - Columbus had chosen, at least in his mind, that the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, would fulfill this position due to the vast imperial power and religious conviction the Spanish monarchs claimed. A last world emperor would be necessary to lead the aforementioned crusade against the Muslims and to greet Christ at Jerusalem once the previous steps had been completed.
Such notions were not new to the period in which Columbus lived. Medieval monastic writers, such as Joachim of Fiore, had made similar claims, which strongly influenced Columbus' apocalyptic writings and beliefs.
The manuscript was written by Columbus following his third voyage to the New World. The original manuscript is mostly in Spanish with some Latin. The manuscript was translated into English with commentary by Delno C. West and August Kling and published by the University of Florida Press, Gainesville, in 1991.Celico
Celico (Greek: Kylikos) is a town and comune in the province of Cosenza in the Calabria region of southern Italy.Eugenius of Palermo
Eugenius of Palermo (also Eugene) (Latin: Eugenius Siculus, Greek: Εὐγενἠς Εὐγένιος ὁ τῆς Πανόρμου, Italian: Eugenio da Palermo; c. 1130 – 1202) was an amiratus (admiral) of the Kingdom of Sicily in the late twelfth century.
He was of Greek origin, but born in Palermo, and had an educated background, for he was "most learned in Greek and Arabic, and not unskilled in Latin." By the time of his admiralcy, the educated, multilingual Greek or Arab administrator was becoming rare in Sicily.
Eugenius' family had been important in the Hauteville administration for generations before him. He was a son of Admiral John and grandson of another Admiral Eugenius. He served under William II before being raised to the rank of admiral in 1190. His first duties were as an officer of the diwan (Latinised duana or dohana). He bore the title magister duane baronum in September 1174, when he was sent by the king to Salerno to check the accounts of the bailiffs and to authorise the sale of property on behalf of the stratigotus, so he could pay off a loan. Though his official duties as magister are unknown, he was also in charge of publishing and disseminating a signaculum of William's whereby all tolls at bridges, roadways, and riverways in the royal demesne were lifted (April 1187). Eugenius determined the boundaries of the lands of the church of Santa Sofia of Benevento in 1175 and he arbitrated a boundary dispute between Ravello and Amalfi at Nocera in 1178 and at Minori later that year in September. There he was styled magister regie dohane baronum et de secretis. At this time, he appears to have worked under Walter de Moac.He loyally served Tancred before transitioning to a role in the Hohenstaufen government of Constance and the Emperor Henry VI. He was falsely accused of conspiring against Henry and was briefly held captive in Germany.
Eugenius was an accomplished translator and poet and has even been suggested as the person behind the nom de plume "Hugo Falcandus", a chronicler who wrote a record of events at Palermo from 1154 to 1169. Eugenius was certainly well-placed for such a chronicle. Around 1154, he made a translation from Arabic to Latin of Ptolemy's Optics, which survives in twenty manuscripts. He also translated the Sibylline Erythraeon from Greek into Latin, but the only manuscripts of this which survive are thirteenth-century copies based on the prophecies of Joachim of Fiore. He wrote Greek poetry, of which twenty-four verses survive in a fourteenth-century manuscript. They were of mediocre quality and written in the style then prevalent at Constantinople. The poems give insight to his life and times: he was an intimate of King William I and an associate of the Greek religious communities in Brindisi and Messina. He wrote one poem lamenting his imprisonment (in Germany), blaming it on the evil state of the world, but taking a philosophical approach to his troubles.Joachimites
The Joachimites, also known as Joachites, a millenarian group, arose from the Franciscans in the thirteenth century. They based their ideas on the prior works of Joachim of Fiore (c. 1135 – 1202), though rejecting the Church of their day more strongly than he had.La Sila
La Sila, also simply Sila, is the name of the mountainous plateau and historic region located in Calabria, southern Italy.Marjorie Reeves
Marjorie Ethel Reeves, (17 July 1905 – 27 November 2003) was a British historian and educationalist. She served on several national committees and was a major contributor to the education of history in Britain. She helped create St Anne's College as part of Oxford University in 1952, and she led a revival of interest in the work of Joachim of Fiore.Mirabilis Liber
The Mirabilis liber (Mirabilis liber qui prophetias revelationesque, necnon res mirandas, preteritas, presentes et futuras, aperte demonstrat...) is an anonymous and formerly very popular compilation of predictions by various Christian saints and divines that was partially written in the Middle Ages, arount the year 1000, received additions and first printed in France in 1522 (though purportedly published in Rome in 1524, probably because it was the date of an important and long-anticipated planetary alignment) and reprinted several times thereafter. It is not to be confused with the almost contemporary Liber mirabilis. Its unwitting contributors include:
Bishop Bemechobus (misprint for Pseudo-Methodius – Syrian, 7th century)
The Tiburtine Sibyl (Syrian, 9th century)
‘St Augustine of Hippo’ (actually by the 10th-century monk Adso of Montier-en-Der)
‘St Severus’ (in fact a 15th-century composition)
Johann Lichtenberger (an anthology of various named sources, first printed in 1488)
A set of papal prophecies (14th century)
Telesphorus of Cosenza (14th century)
Another anthology including St Brigid of Sweden, St Hildegard of Bingen, the Cretan Sibyl, the Hermit Reynard, St Cyril and the celebrated Abbot Joachim of Fiore
Joannes de Vatiguerro (16th century)
Joachim of Fiore himself (12th century)
‘St Vincent’ (actually a 16th-century compilation based on St Thomas Aquinas and others)
St. Catald of Taranto (actually a 16th-century text)
Jerome of Ferrara (Savonarola – late 15th century)
Fra Bonaventura (16th century)
Johannes de Rupescissa (Jean de la Roquetaillade – 15th century)
St Bridget of Sweden (14th century)plus, in French, an anonymous anthology including a collection of late 13th-century prophecies elsewhere attributed to ‘Merlin’.
As the above indicates, the book—whose only known complete translation (by Edouard Bricon) was published in French in 1831—had two parts, the first in Latin and the second, shorter, in French. It contained prophecies of fire, plague, famine, floods, earthquakes, droughts, comets, brutal occupations and bloody oppressions. The Church would collapse, the Pope be forced to flee Rome. Such predictions made it extremely popular at the time of the French Revolution, when crowds besieged the French Bibliothèque Nationale to see it. Indeed, many nineteenth-century catalogues suggested that it had predicted the Revolution itself. But above all the book predicted a supposedly imminent Arab invasion of Europe, the advent of the Antichrist and the subsequent End of the World.
The Mirabilis liber seems to have served as a major source for the prophecies of Nostradamus, and was placed on the Lisbon version of the Church's Index of Forbidden Books in 1581.Robert of Uzès
Not to be confused with Robert I, Viscount of Uzès.Robert of Uzès or Robert d'Uzès was a medieval Dominican friar and author. A contemporary of Dante and Eckhart, in 1292 he wrote a Livre des Paroles, in which a dream is used as a political prophecy and to satirize the rich and powerful, particularly Pope Boniface VIII. It predicts great calamities and comes from the same milieu and perspective as Joachim of Fiore and the "spirituels".San Giovanni in Fiore
San Giovanni in Fiore (Italian pronunciation: [san dʒoˈvanni iɱ ˈfjoːre]; Calabrian: Sangiuvanni [sandʒuˈvanni]) is a town and comune in the province of Cosenza in the Calabria region of southern Italy.
The town originates from the Florense Abbey, built here by the Calabrian monk Joachim of Fiore in 1188.
Marjorie Reeves of Oxford University was made an honorary citizen of San Giovanni for reviving interest in Joachim of Fiore.Telesphorus of Cosenza
Telesphorus of Cosenza (or Theophorus, Theolophorus) was a name assumed by one of the pseudo-prophets during the time of the Western Schism. As an pseudonymous author of a Latin work Liber de magnis tribulationibus, the name was attached to a 1365 production of the Fraticelli. The Liber was updated (by 1386) to fit the situation in the Schism."Telesphorus" stated that he was born in Cosenza, Italy and lived as a hermit near the site of the ancient Thebes. His book of predictions on the Schism was the most popular of the prophetic treatises of the period. More than twenty manuscripts of it are extant, and it first appeared in print, with various interpolations, as Liber de magnis tribulationibus in proximo futuris (Venice, 1516).Three Eras
The Three Eras is a Judeo-Christian scheme of periods in historiography, called also Vaticinium Eliae (prophecy of Elijah or Elias). A three-period division of time appears in the Babylonian Talmud: the period before the giving of the law (Torah); the period subject to the law; and the period of the Messiah. This scheme was later adapted to Christian use, with three periods corresponding to the persons of the Trinity. In that form it was taken up by Joachim of Fiore; it had been held in a similar form a little earlier by the Amalricians.After the Protestant Reformation the scheme of the "prophecy of Elias" was popularised by Philip Melanchthon and his Lutheran collaborators, using Carion's Chronicle as a vehicle, heavily edited into due form. The three periods were 'without the law', 'under law', and 'under grace'. With each period attributed a length of two millennia, the scheme was applied to predict the end of time (or at least the commencement of a final seventh millennium). This was done by Johann Heinrich Alsted in the 17th century. The scheme was widely influential in its tripartite structure, seen also in the chronology of Achilles Pirmin Gasser.Vaticinia de Summis Pontificibus
A series of manuscript prophecies concerning the Papacy, under the title of Vaticinia de Summis Pontificibus, a Latin text which assembles portraits of popes and prophecies related to them, circulated from the late thirteenth-early fourteenth century, with prophecies concerning popes from Pope Nicholas III onwards.Warwick Gould
Warwick Leslie Gould, (born 7 April 1947) is an Australian literary scholar, specialising in the Irish Literary Revival, particularly W. B. Yeats, and the history of the book. Having studied at the University of Queensland, joined Royal Holloway and Bedford New College in 1973 as a lecturer in English language and literature. He went on to become Professor of English Literature at the University of London (1995–2013) and Director of the Institute of English Studies at its School of Advanced Study (1999–2013): he has been Professor Emeritus since his retirement in 2013.