Millennium Count Down of 999
Naturally, no moment in history experienced as much millenarian fervor as 999. The tribes of Europe had been preached to by wandering monks long enough for their pessimistic messages to sink into the public consciousness. The apocalypse was a rumor that was so strong not even the Catholic Church could deny its existence. The impending millennium lent a sense of urgency to the utopian myth of the end times. Many people feared the worst. Pilgrims went to the Holy Land and skeptics bought their land at low prices. Debts were forgiven and people stopped working. Fields went fallow and livestock were allowed to roam free. By December, the “ungodly” or simply unpopular were executed. The Pope, Sylvester II, (pictured) was accused of having studied the black arts when he was in Spain. The pope believed he was celebrating his “Last Mass” on December 31, 999 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It was a solemn requiem, barons and peasants, kneeling side by side in the pew, were equals in their fear and dread on that cold January morning in AD 1000.

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