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Today at Going Medieval HQ we are excited to have a guest blog by kick-ass art historian working on medieval medical visual culture, and the other half of Medieval Dick Twitter, Dr Sara Öberg Strådal. Follow her on Twitter for excellent meme action, updates about growing your own medieval pigment garden, and generally correct opinions.

 本日、Going Medieval本部では、中世の医療用視覚文化を研究している美術史家であり、Medieval Dick TwitterのメンバーでもあるSara Öberg Strådal博士をゲストにお迎えしています。 彼女のTwitterをフォローすると、素晴らしいミームアクションや、中世の顔料庭園を育てるための最新情報、そして一般的に正しい意見を得ることができます。



If you’re blessed enough to not have heard about QAnon. Congratulations. You should leave this post right now and go and do something nice for yourself.


QAnon is a super strange radical internet cult that believes that Donald Trump is a divine saviour who is working against the Deep State to save America. Every other day there is a new coded message, a so-called “Q Drop”, predicting mass arrests and explaining that MS13 are bad because they are funded and run by Democrats. IDK. At best it is borderline incomprehensible, and at worst it is also super racist. Followers of Q will interpret any aspect of Trump’s presentation and twitter presence (his back-combed hair signified coming mass arrests) and personal biography (see the fairly fringe belief that Trump can time travel and did so to get his uncle to write some shitty children’s books to predict his rise to power).





Don’t worry though, the movement is also imbued with the weirdo apocalypticism and eschatological thinking that permeates American evangelical Christianity. They believe that Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Jay-Z, and Marina Abramovic take part in the trafficking and torture of children to consume their adrenochrome (a chemical compound that exists) to maintain their youthful appearance (a result of adrenochrome which does not). This obviously very closely echoes the blood libel allegations, which this blog has talked about before, that would precede persecution, murder and expulsion of Jewish people from European towns and regions throughout the later medieval period. (The TL/DR of blood libel is that if a gentile kid went missing, medieval people would accuse the local Jewish population of killing said child in an unholy mass and consuming its flesh and blood. As you do.) This form of anti-Semitism is one of the most persistent Western cultural phenomena, so I am not surprised that it pops up here as well (just disappointed). 

 この運動には、アメリカの福音主義キリスト教に浸透している奇妙な黙示録主義と終末論的思考も染み込んでいますが、そこはご心配なく。彼らは、ヒラリー・クリントンナンシー・ペロシ、ジェイ・Z、マリーナ・アブラモヴィッチが、 (存在する化合物である) アドレノクロムを摂取し、 (存在しないアドレノクロムの結果である) 彼らの若々しさを維持するために、子供たちの人身売買と拷問に参加していると信じている。これは明らかに、以前このブログでも紹介した、中世後期にヨーロッパの町や地域でユダヤ人が迫害され、殺害され、追放される前に行われていた「血の名誉毀損」の主張と非常によく似ています。(「血の名誉毀損」の「TL/DR(訳注:スラングで「Too Long; Didn't Read(長すぎて読んでない)」のことか?)」は、異邦人の子供が行方不明になった場合、中世の人々は地元のユダヤ人がその子供を穢れた集団で殺し、その肉と血を食べたと非難した。あなたのようにね。)この反ユダヤ主義の形態は、最も根強い西洋の文化現象の一つなので、私はそれがここにも出現しても驚かない。(ただ、ちょっとガッカリはしましたけどね)




But there is another way in which QAnon has taken a very medieval concept and ran with it in the dumbest possible way.


Medieval conceptions of knowledge are different from our modern ones (obvs). Medieval thinkers and scientists operated under a different system and with a different set of intellectual dogma. I could list all the things that were understood or invented during this one-thousand-year period (Earth was round! ‘Retrograde’ motion of Mercury was observed! Surgeons could cure cataracts!) but I’m not going to because this is about a medieval concept that has been overhauled and largely forgotten in modern discourse.

 中世の知の概念は、現代のそれとは異なります(当たり前ですが)。中世の思想家や科学者は、異なるシステムのもとで、異なる知的ドグマを持って活動していました。この1,000年の間に理解されたこと、発明されたことを挙げればきりがありません(地球は丸い。水星の「逆行」が観測された。地球が丸くなった! 水星の「逆行」運動が観測された! 外科医が白内障を治せるようになった!)しかし、ここでは、現代の言説では見直され、ほとんど忘れ去られてしまった中世の概念の話をするので、これ以上はやめておきます。


※ こんにちは、私は聖オーガスティンです。あなたが私をこのような状況に引きずり込むなんて信じられません。

Medieval people believed that the world was divinely ordered. Thus, through the close study of nature, it was possible to begin to comprehend The Divine. St Augustine, Church father and man-crush of pretty much every medieval thinker, calls Nature a ‘handmaiden’ for divine contemplation. Therefore, the study of numbers, also known as Numerology was A Big Deal. Often drawing of Pythagorean or pseudo-Pythagorean (e.g. when medieval or classical authors would pretend they were Pythagoras to give their ideas more authority) writings, medieval scholars would extrapolate on the importance of different numbers and their correlation with past and future events.

  中世の人々は「世界は神によって秩序づけられている」と信じていました。そのため「自然をよく研究することで、神を理解することができる」と考えていたのです。 中世の思想家の憧れの的である聖アウグスティヌスは、自然を神の思索のための「召使」と呼んでいます。そのため、数の研究(数秘術)は大きな意味を持っていました。中世の学者たちは、ピタゴラス派や偽ピタゴラス派(中世や古典派の作家が、自分の考えに権威を与えるために、自分をピタゴラスだと偽っていた場合など)の著作を参考にして、さまざまな数字の重要性や、過去や未来の出来事との相関関係を推測していました。




For medieval people, all numbers were imbued with meaning and significance. For example, the number three stood for the Holy Trinity; four was the cardinal directions and the elements; and nine is the number of heavenly choirs. These are just a few examples – many different numbers were important to medieval scholars, because they provided clues to the true nature and will of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. For medieval thinkers, the world was a system where all information and facts originated from the same divine source and striving for knowledge was understood as recovery of knowledge lost after the fall of man, so this system makes sense. That is why the greatest thinkers of these periods relied so heavily on the scholars that went before them, on the received knowledge handed down from earlier generations. Scientific exploration served to uncover the mysteries of God and to reconnect humans with the divine knowledge they had lost after being kicked TF out of Eden.


Because God was in everything, and the world was ordered according to his wishes and demands, focusing intently on Scripture and on the texts produced by Church Fathers makes a lot of sense. QAnon, on the other hand, is the absolute dumbest people alive trying to apply this way of thinking to memes.


Let me give you some examples. Apologies in advance, you will feel more stupid having read this.



In this tweet for example, the astute QAnon commentator is ‘demonstrating’ that the Q Drop on the right (arguing that Barack Obama’s parents studied Russian because they were Soviet Agents during the Cold War) has been confirmed in a tweet by Trump about Meghan Markle because he used the word ‘Cold’ and posted it at 8:44.

 例えばこのツイートでは、鋭いQAnonのコメンテーターが、右の「Q Dropバラク・オバマの両親がロシア語を勉強したのは、冷戦時代にソ連のエージェントだったからだと主張する)」が、トランプがメーガン・マークルについてのツイートで確認されたことを、「Cold」という言葉を使って8:44に投稿したことで「実証」している。


Irenaeus, the second century Greek Bishop, calculated the Number of the Beast based on the Greek word Lateinos. By adding all the numerical values attached to each letter he got the number 666.




This is the calculation: “L” being 30 + “a” being 1 + “t” being 300 + “e” being 5 + “i” being 10 + “n” being 50 + “o” being 70 + “s” being 200 = 666 

計算内容はこうなります:"L "が30+"a "が1+"t "が300+"e "が5+"i "が10+"n "が50+"o "が70+"s "が200=666

In his text, Against Heresies, where this calculation occurs he also backs this claim up with references to scripture and other ancient sources!


Similarly, this intrepid QAnon interpreter wants us to remember that Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet, so Julian Assange being indicted on 17 counts is a significant message?


Another example of the fucking batshit crazy nonsense these people get up to can be seen in the QClock:



This is some Nostradamus-type bullshit where avid Q-followers look at this graphic-design-is-my-passion-jpg, and then mine Trump’s twitter to find evidence that all Things That Happen are part of a complex battle against the Deep State and that a fragile 71-year old woman is literally eating children.


In this one regard, QAnon, the weakest minds of a generation, are operating within the same closed intellectual ecosystem as medieval numerologists, they believe that the truth can be found in a particular text filled with clues to be uncovered. But, whereas medieval thinkers were using logic and laying the groundwork for modern scientific inquiry, QAnon followers believe that they are finding the hidden meanings behind the nonsense tweets randomly generated by a very angry racist and a confusing infographic.


All of this is, of course, a bunch of disturbing nonsense, but it’s also interesting because the QAnon fools are proving both modern conceptions of knowledge, wherein we are “discovering” and learning more as a group, and medieval people, who think we are recovering knowledge to get back to a divine whole at the same time. No one is learning anything from this at all, except maybe that there are limits to your family’s patience. Good luck to all involved.






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