We know what people in the 20th century thought the 21st century was going to be like, but do we have any sources or documentation or books that attempt to describe the future (preferably the one we're living in right now) by medieval writers?

  • I'm assuming you don't want what the 'prophets' have foretold as an answer here. – Twelfth Dec 6 '17 at 22:18
  • Haha, not really. – Madou Dec 6 '17 at 22:22
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    I'm not voting to close - yet - but this question is likely to get closed unless you are more specific and show us what you have found out so far (or at least what attempts you have made). The future covers ... well, everything, and 'everything' is far too broad. – Lars Bosteen Dec 6 '17 at 23:49
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    People in the European Middle Ages (at least those who actually believed Christian doctrine) didn't think that there was going to BE a distant future. (Just as there wasn't a distant past. The world was less than 6000 years old.) The Second Coming would happen in a few years/decades/centuries, and that would be that. – jamesqf Dec 7 '17 at 4:29
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    The idea of "progress" is relatively modern, from perhaps the 17th-18th centuries. Prior to that, people expected the future to look pretty much like the present. – Gort the Robot Dec 7 '17 at 16:49

No. Looking to the future only became interesting when science made that possible. So it possibly started when the early enlightenment took hold. Very likely much, much later, after the industrial revolution.

Medieval society wasn't static, but pretty close to it. Most certainly from our modern point of view. Looking to the future, I think, really took of when Jules Verne and other writers in the 20th century started to extrapolate science to the future.

Take for example fashion. That can change, now, pretty rapid. What was fashionable in the sixties looks pathetically old to us. In medieval society fashion changed too, but that took many decades. It wasn't unusual at all to inherit clothes from your grandfather which you could wear without any problem being out of fashion.

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    Maybe it looks pathetically old to the fashion conscious, but that's not everyone. Besides, apart from tech, fashions come and go, and come back again. – jamesqf Dec 7 '17 at 4:32
  • Beg to differ on the fashion. For instance in periods it was popular to have jingle bells on your clothes. It became so popular that a band was implemented and then they fashion probably died out to return again when the ban was lifted. Hairstyles could also change rapidly. – liftarn Dec 7 '17 at 9:32
  • Sources would improve this answer. I agree with you, but citations would make a good answer better. – Mark C. Wallace Dec 7 '17 at 9:53

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