Sjef van Tilborg, «The Danger at Midday: Death Threats in the Apocalypse», Vol. 85 (2004) 1-23
This paper proposes a new suggestion in the discussion regarding possible death threats in the Apocalypse. It makes a comparison between relevant texts from the Apocalypse and what happens during festival days when rich civilians entertain their co-citizens with (gladiatorial) games. At the end of the morning and during the break special fights are organized. Condemned persons are forced to fight against wild animals or against each other to be killed by the animals or by fire. The paper shows that a number of texts from the Apocalypse are better understood, when they are read against this background.
12 Sjef van Tilborg
Because a really good intertextual reference is not possible,
everyone is rather perplexed. The ten days in the Apocalypse have
obviously nothing to do with the ten fingers of the hand or with the 10
days of fasting; and is â€˜10 daysâ€™ now a short (Aune) or a long
(Mounce) time? Apparently the text itself does not make this really
Still forgoing the aspect of the persecution â€” about which in a
little while â€”, I would like first to concentrate on the time indication
as such: ten days â€” it becomes suspenseful. I think namely that the
expression can be related to the number of days that the monomaciva
lasts. In the preceding I have already cited different inscriptions where
the number of days of the games had been reported. I am giving now
the fuller list:
â€“ 2 days in Antioch of Pisidia (31); Pergamum (32) and Smyrna (33);
â€“ 3 days in Thessalonica (34); in a first century inscription in
Magnesia-on-Meander (35); in Sardis (36); Smyrna (37) and Klaudiou-
â€“ 4 days in Gortyne (ROBERT, 63) and Sagalassos (ROBERT, 97);
â€“ 5 days in Miletus (SEG 1985 nr 1132) and in Ephesus (Inscr Eph
III-627; VII-1-3056; ROBERT, 198);
â€“ 6 days in Tomi (ROBERT, 43)
â€“ 8 days in Antioch of Pisidia (ROBERT, 92)
â€“ 12 days in Miletus (ROBERT, 192; in this same inscription it is
also said that the man has organized qewriai for 10 days).
â€“13 days in Ephesus (Inscr Eph VII-1-3070; 3071; ROBERT, 199,
The 10 days from the Apocalypse-text fit beautifully in the list.
Most exegetes also assume a connection with some kind of
persecution. That seems correct, because the text says:
(31) ROBERT, 94.
(32) Inscr Perg 523; ROBERT, 265.
(33) Inscr Smyrna 835, ROBERT, 234; I leave out ROBERT, 38 (Serdica) and 39
(Nikopolis), because the time determination is there only as corrections by Robert
(34) ROBERT, 11.
(35) Inscr Magn 163; ROBERT, 152.
(36) BUCKLER, Sardes 82; ROBERT, 138.
(37) Inscr Smyrna 863; ROBERT, 233.
(38) SEG 1989, nr 1339.
(39) The 51 days which are mentioned in an inscription from Ancyra (ROBERT,
87) are probably the totality of his whole carrier and not one single munus.