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Constans, and its dream, which later on exercised so much influence, that after ruling over the whole world he would go to Jerusalem and lay down his crown upon Golgotha. To the 4th century also perhaps belongs a series of apocalyptic pieces and homilies which have been handed down under the name of Ephraem. At the beginning of the Mahommedan period, then, we meet with the most influential and the most curious of these prophetic books, the Pseudo-Methodius,[1] which prophesied of the emperor who would awake from his sleep and conquer Islam. From the Pseudo-Methodius are derived innumerable Byzantine prophecies (cf. especially Vassiliev, Anecdota Graeco-Byzantina) which follow the fortunes of the Byzantine emperors and their governments. A prophecy in verse, adorned with pictures, which is ascribed to Leo VI. the Philosopher (Migne, Patr. Gracca, cvii. p. 1121 &c.), tells of the downfall of the house of the Comneni and sings of the emperor of the future who would one day awake from death and go forth from the cave in which he had lain. Thus the prophecy of the sleeping emperor of the future is very closely connected with the Antichrist tradition. There is extant a Daniel prophecy which, in the time of the Latin empire, foretells the restoration of the Greek rule.[2] In the East, too, Antichrist prophecies were extraordinarily flourishing during the period of the rise of Islam and of the Crusades. To these belong the apocalypses in Arabic, Ethiopian and perhaps also in Syrian, preserved in the so-called Liber Clementis discipuli S. Petri (Petri apostoli apocalypsis per Clementem), the late Syrian apocalypse of Ezra (Bousset, Antichrist, 45 &c.), the Coptic (14th) vision of Daniel (in the appendix to Woide’s edition of the Codex Alexandrinus; Oxford, 1799), the Ethiopian Wisdom of the Sibyl, which is closely related to the Tiburtine Sibyl (see Basset, Apocryphes éthiopiennes, x.); in the last mentioned of these sources long series of Islamic rulers are foretold before the final time of Antichrist. Jewish apocalypse also awakes to fresh developments in the Mahommedan period, and shows a close relationship with the Christian Antichrist literature. One of the most interesting apocalypses is the Jewish History of Daniel, handed down in Persian.[3]

This whole type of prophecy reached the West above all through the Pseudo-Methodius, which was soon translated into Latin. Especially influential, too, in this respect was the letter which the monk Adso in 954 wrote to Queen Gerberga, De ortu et tempore Antichristi. The old Tiburtine Sibylla went through edition after edition, in each case being altered so as to apply to the government of the monarch who happened to be ruling at the time. Then in the West the period arrived in which eschatology, and above all the expectation of the coming of Antichrist, exercised a great influence on the world’s history. This period, as is well known, was inaugurated, at the end of the 12th century, by the apocalyptic writings of the abbot Joachim of Floris. Soon the word Antichrist re-echoed from all sides in the embittered controversies of the West. The pope bestowed this title upon the emperor, the emperor upon the pope, the Guelphs on the Ghibellines and the Ghibellines on the Guelphs. In the contests between the rival powers and courts of the period, the prophecy of Antichrist played a political part. It gave motives to art, to lyrical, epic and dramatic poetry.[4] Among the visionary Franciscans, enthusiastic adherents of Joachim’s prophecies, arose above all the conviction that the pope was Antichrist, or at least his precursor. From the Franciscans, influenced by Abbot Joachim, the lines of connexion are clearly traceable with Milič of Kremsier (Libellus de Antichristo) and Matthias of Janow. For Wycliffe and his adherent John Purvey (probably the author of the Commentarius in Apocalypsin ante centum annos editus, edited in 1528 by Luther), as on the other hand for Hus, the conviction that the papacy is essentially Antichrist is absolute. Finally, if Luther advanced in his contest with the papacy with greater and greater energy, he did so because he was borne on by the conviction that the pope in Rome was Antichrist. And if in the Augustana. the expression of this conviction was suppressed for political reasons, in the Articles of Schmalkalden, drawn up by him, Luther propounded it in the most uncompromising fashion. This sentence was for him an articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae. To write the history of the idea of Antichrist in the last centuries of the middle ages, would be almost to write that of the middle ages themselves.

Authorities.—See, for the progress of the idea in Jewish and New Testament times, the modern commentaries on Revelation and the 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians; Bousset, Antichrist (1895), and the article “Antichrist” in the Encyclop. Biblica; R. H. Charles, Ascension of Isaiah, Introduction, li.-lxxiii. For the history of the legend of Nero, see J. Geffcken, Nachrichten der Göttinger Gesellschaft der Wissenschaft (1899), p. 446 &c.; Th. Zahn, Zeitschrift für kirchliche Wissenschaft und kirchliches Leben (1886), p. 337 &c.; Bousset, Kritisch-exegetisches Kommentar zur Offenbarung Johannis, cap. 17, and the article “Sibyllen” in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie für Theologie und Kirche (3rd ed.), xviii. 265 &c.; Nordmeyer, Der Tod Neros in der Legende, a Festschrift of the Gymnasium of Moos. For the later history of the legend, see Bousset, Antichrist, where will be found a more detailed discussion of nearly all the sources named; Bousset, “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Eschatologie,” in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, xx. 2, and especially xx. 3, on the later Byzantine prophecies; Vassiliev, Anecdota Graeco-Byzantina, i. (Moscow, 1893), which gives the texts of a series of Byzantine prophecies; E. Sackur, Sibyllinische Texte und Forschungen (1898), containing (1) Pseudo-Methodius, Latin text, (2) Epistola Adsonis, (3) the Tiburtine Sibylla; V. Istrin, The Apocalypse of Methodius of Patara and the Apocryphal Visions of Daniel in Byzantine and Slavo-Russian Literature, Russian (Moscow, 1897); J. Kampers, Die deutsche Kaiseridee in Prophetie und Sage (Munich, 1896), and “Alexander der Grosse und die Idee des Weltimperiums,” in H. Grauert’s Studien und Darstellungen aus dem Gebiet der Geschichte, vol. i. 2-3 (Freiburg, 1901); E. Wadstein, Die eschatologische Ideengruppe, Antichrist, Weltsabbat, Weltende und Welgericht (Leipzig, 1896), which contains excellent material for the history of the idea in the West during the middle ages; W. Meyer, “Ludus de Antichristo,” in Sitzbericht der Münchener Akad. (Phil. hist. Klasse 1882, H. i.); Kropatschek, Das Schriftprincip der lutherischen Kirche, i. 247 &c. (Leipzig, 1904); H. Preuss, Die Vorstellungen vom Antichrist im späteren Mittelalter, bei Luther u. i. d. Konfessionellen Polemik (Leipzig, 1906). (W. Bo.) 

ANTICLIMAX (i.e. the opposite to “climax”), in rhetoric, an abrupt declension (either deliberate or unintended) on the part of a speaker or writer from the dignity of idea which he appeared to be aiming at; as in the following well-known distich:—

“The great Dalhousie, he, the god of war,
Lieutenant-colonel to the earl of Mar.”

An anticlimax can be intentionally employed only for a jocular or satiric purpose. It frequently partakes of the nature of antithesis, as—

“Die and endow a college or a cat.”

It is often difficult to distinguish between “anticlimax” and “bathos”; but the former is more decidedly a relative term. A whole speech may never rise above the level of bathos; but a climax of greater or less elevation is the necessary antecedent of an anticlimax.

ANTICOSTI, an island of the province of Quebec, Canada, situated in the Gulf of St Lawrence, between 49° and 50° N., and between 61° 40′ and 64° 30′ W., with a length of 135 m. and a breadth of 30 m. Population 250, consisting chiefly of the keepers of the numerous lighthouses erected by the Canadian government. The coast is dangerous, and the only two harbours, Ellis Bay and Fox Bay, are very indifferent. Anticosti was sighted by Jacques Cartier in 1534, and named Assomption. In 1763 it was ceded by France to Britain, and in 1774 became part of Canada. Wild animals, especially bears, are numerous, but prior to 1896 the fish and game had been almost exterminated by indiscriminate slaughter. In that year Anticosti and the shore fisheries were leased to M. Menier, the French chocolate manufacturer, who converted the island into a game preserve, and attempted to develop its resources of lumber, peat and minerals.

See Logan, Geological Survey of Canada, Report of Progress from its Commencement to 1863 (Montreal, 1863–1865); E. Billings, Geological Survey of Canada: Catalogue of the Silurian Fossils of Anticosti (Montreal, 1866); J. Schmitt, Anticosti (Paris, 1904).

  1. Latin text by Sackur, cf. op. cit. 1 &c.; Greek text by V. Istrin.
  2. See Bousset, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, xx. p. 289 &c.
  3. Published in Merx, Archiv zur Erforschung des Alten Testament.
  4. See especially the Ludus de Antichristo, ed. W. Meyer.