I'm analyzing this Greek prophecy which is contested to be from 1053 or 1753. I've seen claims that it uses Greek words anachronistic to 1053:

Now over the years I began to doubt if the dating of the prophecy to 1053 AD, just one year after the Great Schism, was accurate, as there is some language there on the names of nations that did not even exist at that time, like Germany and Austria, that would date the prophecy much later than the year 1053 AD. The short name for “Austria” was not used into the 12th Century. The word “German” was not even used before the year 1520.

As well as this:

Talks about Orthodox faith a year before the Schism (which was not considered permanent at the time), talks about Helenes ( which was not how they called themselves) and about Russia and Austria which of course did not exist back then.

The text uses the following relevant terms:

  • Γερμανίας and Γερμανών for Germany and Germans respectively.
  • Ρωσσίας for Russia.
  • Αὐστρίας for Austria.
  • Αγαρ for Hagar, which might be in reference to Turkey but I'm not sure.
  • Ελλήνων for Greeks.
  • Ορθοδόξων for Orthodox.

My question is: when were these words first used in Greek? Are any anachronistic to 1053 and/or 1753? Where can I look this kind of thing up? I need to source this for my analysis.

Here is my best effort at transcribing the full original text if it's relevant:

Μέγας Εὐρωπαϊκός πόλεμος. 'Ηττα τῆς Γερμανίας καί καταστροφή Ρωσσίας καί Αὐστρίας. 'Ηττα Αγαρ ὑπό Ελλήνων. Ἑνίσχυσις ̓Αγαρ ὑπό Δυτικῶν λαῶν καί ἧττα τῶν Ἑλλήνων ὑπό Αγαρ. Σφαγή 'Ορθοδόξων λαῶν kαί μεγάλη ἀνησυχία 'Ορθοδόξων λαῶν. Εἰσβολή ξένων στρατευμάτων ἐξ ̓Αδριατικού πελάγους. Οὐαί εἰς τούς κατοικοῦντας ἐπί τῆς γῆς, ὁ ἅδης ἔτοιμος. Προς στιγμήν Αγαρ μέγας. Νέος ευρωπαϊκός πόλεμος. "Ενωσις 'Ορθοδόξων λαῶν μετά τῆς Γερμανίας. 'Ηττα Γάλλων ὑπό Γερμανών. Ἐπανάστασις τῶν Ἰνδιῶν καί χωρισμός αὐτῶν ἀπό τῆς ̓Αγγλίας. ̓Αγγλία εἰς μόνους Σάξωνας. Νίκη 'Ορθοδόξων. Ηττα Αγαρ καί γενική σφαγή Αγαρ ὑπό Ορθοδόξων λαῶν. ̓Ανησυχία κόσμου καί Γενική ἀπελπισία ἐπί τῆς γῆς. Μάχη ἑπτά κρατῶν εἰς Κωνσταντινούπολιν. Τρία ἡμερονύκτια σφαγή καί nίκη τοῦ μεγαλυτέρου κράτους κατά τῶν ἕξ κρατῶν. Συμμαχία ἓξ κρατῶν κατὰ τοῦ ἑβδόμου κράτους, τρία ἡμερονύκτια σφαγή. Παῦσις πολέμου ὑπό ἀγγέλου καί παράδοσις πόλεως τοῖς Ελλησι. 'Υπόκυψις Λατίνων εἰς ἀλάνθαστον Πίστιν Ορθοδόξων. Ἐξωθήσεται Ορθόδοξος Πίστις από ̓Ανατολῶν μέχρι Δυσμῶν. Φόβος καί τρόμος βαρβάρων ὑπ' αὐτῆς. Παῦσις τοῦ Πάπα καὶ κήρυξις ἑνός Πατριάρχου δι ̓ ὅλην τήν Εὐρώπην. Ἐν πέντε καί πεντήκοντα ἔτη τό τέλος τῶν θλίψεων· τήν δέ ἑβδόμην οὐκ ἔστι ταλαίπωρος, οὐκ ἔστι ἐξόριστος. ἐπανερχόμενος εἰς τάς ἀγκάλας τῆς Μητρός ἀγαλλομένης Οὕτως ἔσται καί οὕτω γένοιτο.

  • 1
    The term Ρωσσίας is definitely anachronistic for 1053. The term was introduced by Peter the Great in the 18th century.
    – Anixx
    Commented Mar 20 at 20:34
  • @Anixx thanks for the info! Do you have a source I could reference?
    – c0d3rman
    Commented Mar 20 at 23:16
  • @Anixx - Vasmer doesn't agree with you: ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/Россия#Этимология
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Mar 21 at 20:45
  • 1
    The double sigma seems anachronistic for the 1000s. Далее из русск.-цслав. Рѡсїа (впервые в выходной записи южного славянина митрополита Киприана в 1387 в сочетании всеѧ Рѡсїѧ, совр. русск.-цслав. Рѡссіа), из ср.-греч. Ῥωσία ‘страна росов; Русь; Русская митрополия’ (с X в., ср. нов.-гр. Ρωσία, Ρωσσία, Ρουσία, Ρουσσία ‘Россия’), от ср.-греч. Commented Mar 26 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


It is all egregiously anachronistic, beyond some stock ecclesiastical turns of phrase in the end, inevitable for somebody schooled in religion.

It is in (clumsy!) late 19th century journalese Greek (crude καθαρεύουσα, to be sure), and highly unlikely to be from even 1753. As several commenters already indicated, even at that late date (1753), calling Greeks Ἕλληνες in the 18th century is grossly anachronistic: it should be something like "Ἧττα ῞Αγαρ ὑπό ῾Ρωμαίων", the region being called "Ῥωμανία" at the time. (The Staatsräson for Ελλάς, among religiously-minded people is distinctly post Greek-Revolution, early 19th century. To be sure, enlightenment intellectuals such as Κοραής were pushing ῾Ελλάς, ῞Ελληνες, etc, in the late 18th century, but they were at odds with common talk and the religious establishment at the time.)

The clumsy/sleazy "Δυτικῶν λαῶν" for western Europeans is a real late (20th century, arguably) chunk of journalese; "Μέγας εὐρωπαϊκός πόλεμος" (replete with outcome) even suggests post WWI... Most likely a very late stretched transcription of St Kosmas' 18th century prophesies into late 19th century journalese. Historically, in both Byzantium and church circles well into the 20th century, Westerners were Λατίνοι. The name "Εὐρώπη" was not popular in religious circles until the 20th century.

Unfortunately, there is not enough picture detail in the manuscript and your transcription, to catch spelling mistakes in breathings, a good handle. St Kosmas was literate, but his acolytes, a century or two later, were worse.

In these mid 20th century transcriptions of St Kosmas' prophesies, specifically 1, 7, 8, 9, 41, 61, you see Ρωμαίϊκο.

Ἅγαρ is ancient and biblical, from the Hebrew, and, in a stretch, covering infidels; ἁγαρηνός is an Ottoman Moslem (Turk). Collectively, used for the Moslem Near East.

Αὐστρία was barely comprehensible in the 19th century. Most Greeks, in the 19th century, cf. fire-boat hero Canaris in his famous sabotage feat, used in ruse, pretending his party to be Austrians, the slavonic term for Germans, Νέμτσοι! (Niemcy, Němci, Nemci, Nemačke, Njemačke, немцы, німці)–speechless people, people of unintelligible speech. There was hardly a Germany at the time, of course, and the byzantines used Ἀλαμαννοί for, e.g., Bavarians in the Crusades, certainly not Γερμανοί.

  • 1. "Hellas" and "Hellenic" for Greece appear in Kosmas' prophecies 15, 18, 19, 81, 82, 114 of your link. 2. According to the site linked by the OP the prophecy in question was published in 1913. So unless you dispute this fact it's not possibly post-WWI.
    – b a
    Commented Apr 7 at 0:37
  • No, I was unaware of that fact. 20th century then. By that time, the country and its people would use these terms, especially after the national paroxysm of the Balkan wars. There is no ur-source of Kosmas’ prophesies to my knowledge. Commented Apr 7 at 1:46
  • Ι am not a specialist, but I fully concur with Cosmas Zachos. Except for the final sentence, all the rest sounds like late 19th or 20th-century καθαρεύουσα, not at all like Byzantine Greek. Commented Apr 7 at 20:04
  • Thank you very much for the insights! That seems to pretty conclusively disprove the claimed date then. Do you have any academic sources I could cite when writing this up?
    – c0d3rman
    Commented Apr 7 at 23:55
  • I wish I did. There are always this & this, but the rest must be recorded in articles, but I don't have chapter-and-verse attestations, beyond agreement with everything I know. Canaris' "Νέμτσοι! Νέμτσοι!" is in schoolbooks, but the assessment/recognition of the language involved is not something you have to read articles about... You might consult a professional... Commented Apr 8 at 0:48

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