The Return of the King: Messianic Expectations in Iberian and Slavonic Cultures


Both the Iberian and the Slavonic cultures belong to the Judeo-Christian tradition. And as heirs of the latter, they share many elements despite their geographical location on the opposite borders of Europe. Like this, one of the main features in common is the figure of the king that will come in the End Times in order to reunite all the Christians and defeat the infidels, the Muslims. This eschatological character has its origin in the figure of Christ and his Parousia, that is, his Second Coming as it was prophesized in the Gospels. This way, the messianic expectations of the Second Coming is reflected by several apocryphal works such as the Pseudo-Methodius, that was translated and became widespread across the Iberian and Slavic lands, especially in times of troubles and threats, like the invasion of different foreign peoples during the Middle Ages. Besides, the messianic expectations reappeared both in the Iberian and the Slavonic countries in modern times, in periods of crisis and political or dynastic changes, linked with historical figures who died in tragic, even heroic, and mysterious circumstances, that gave rise to legends and hopes in their second coming. That is the case of the Tsarevich Dmitri Ivanovich, the youngest son of Tsar Ivan IV “the Terrible” in Russia, the king Sebastian I of Portugal, or the stillborn baby of the prince John, the only son of the Spanish Catholic Kings, who died prematurely. All of them were impersonated by impostors coinciding with times of troubles.


Enrique Santos Marinas
Associate Professor, Department of German Philology and Slavic Philology, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Svetlana Maliavina
Complutense University of Madrid, Spain


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Religious Foundations


Church Slavonic and Iberian Literatures, History of the Iberian and the Slavic Cultures, Apocalyptic Literature, Messianism, Eschatology

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