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#1
Old 07-24-2003, 06:45 PM
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How and when did Pestilence become a Horseman of the Apocalypse?

When reading the Book of Revelation, a question occurred to me (I mean, besides: "What was John smoking and where can I get some?"): Where the hell is Pestilence? According to popular opinion and Terry Pratchett, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are Death, Famine, War and Pestilence. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but my King James Bible seems to think that the Four Horsemen are, in that order, Conquest, War, Famine and Death. (Rev 6, 1-8).
So here's my question: When and why did Pestilence take Conquest's place?
#2
Old 07-24-2003, 06:46 PM
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Probably when someone realized that 'Conquest' is just a facet of 'War'.
#3
Old 07-24-2003, 06:51 PM
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I'll bet the change happened around the 14th century, when one third of the population of Europe died from the black plague. Pestilence is disease.
#4
Old 07-24-2003, 07:25 PM
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Not that this helps much, but I believe the idea is that the fourth horseman is Pestilence, due to the "pale horse" thing. It is sometimes given as "pale green horse" or "pale sickly horse", presumably due to translation issues from the Greek (or whatever language the original was in).

OTOH, this is the only one that is actually named (as "Death"), so this seems a bit iffy to me.
#5
Old 07-24-2003, 08:20 PM
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I think the relavent passage is Revelation 6:7:
Quote:
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
It looks like war, famine and pestilence were always Death's henchmen, though why the "wild beasts of the earth" are left out of the four horseman imagery is unknown, other than the image of wild beasts riding horses might be too hard to believe (!).
#6
Old 07-24-2003, 09:00 PM
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Actually, I think you need to quote the whole passage to get the full effect and question:

Quote:
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" 8I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
The horsemen other than Death are not named, but you do have their methods in that passage. Famine and War are very clearly defined as such even if they are not named. That first horseman however does not say that he is actually conquoring but rather that he "he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest".

The bow is an image that's been associated with disease at least as far back Homer (and I'm sure someone is going to pop in with an earlier reference) and the other two unnamed horsemen have much more clearly defined roles. It seems a reasonable jump to mark him as Plague.
#7
Old 07-25-2003, 01:32 PM
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Oddly enough, I can see the rider on the black horse representing "avarice" or "Enron" as easily as it could represent "famine". The means of the common men (wheat and barley as wages) suffer but the means of the wealthy (oil and wine) do not.
#8
Old 07-25-2003, 01:44 PM
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By the way, the book is Revelations, not Revelation.







heh heh heh... I get such a kick out of saying that
#9
Old 07-25-2003, 01:55 PM
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Am I being whooshed, or is Bryan Ekers just being contrary? The book in question is properly called the Revelation of John.
#10
Old 07-25-2003, 02:39 PM
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Did you know the word "gullible" doesn't appear in the Bible?
#11
Old 07-25-2003, 03:29 PM
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Quick question - Could someone describe why a Bow would be a image of disease?
#12
Old 07-25-2003, 03:30 PM
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It strikes down from a distance.
#13
Old 07-25-2003, 03:44 PM
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Just a nit pick but in the Terry Pratchet book Good Omens the 4th rider is now Pollution not Pestilence
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#14
Old 07-25-2003, 04:30 PM
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I always thought pestilence meant hordes of rats and locusts and other vermin.
#15
Old 07-25-2003, 05:14 PM
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The Greek god Apollo was the god of both healing and disease; the arrows he shot from his bow infected the victim with plague.

http://geocities.com/zozergames/delphi-apollo.html
#16
Old 07-25-2003, 05:15 PM
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http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=pestilence

pestilence

\Pes"ti*lence\, n. [F. pestilence, L. pestilentia. See Pestilent.] 1. Specifically, the disease known as the plague; hence, any contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating.

The pestilence That walketh in darkness. --Ps. xci. 6.

2. Fig.: That which is pestilent, noxious, or pernicious to the moral character of great numbers.

I'll pour this pestilence into his ear. --Shak.

Pestilence weed (Bot.), the butterbur coltsfoot (Petasites vulgaris), so called because formerly considered a remedy for the plague. --Dr. Prior.


Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
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#17
Old 07-25-2003, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fear Itself
Am I being whooshed, or is Bryan Ekers just being contrary? The book in question is properly called the Revelation of John.
Actually it's called "The revelation of Jesus Christ ". John is the guy is was revealed to.
#18
Old 07-25-2003, 05:33 PM
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Actually, my KJV labels it "The Revelation To John" - 1:1 starts with "The revelation of Jesus Christ..."
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