Notes page relating to the 1260 days
Events marking the beginning of the long period
    We noted that the pope was taken prisoner in 1798 re1305b near the end of the French Revolution. It was a time of struggle for freedom from oppression by the monarchy and by the church which worked to support it. This clear low point marks the end of more than a thousand years of church dominance. Recalling that the 1260 prophetic days represent 1260 literal years, we ask more about what event(s) in 538 started that period.
   The siege of Rome began in 537. The Gothic army which surrounded the city cut aqueducts among other things. Food was scarce for both those inside the city and those outside. To draw the Goths away from Rome, an army was sent to the Gothic capital and took it. The Goths retreated. "Thus the siege of Rome, which had lasted for a year and nine days, came to an end about the middle of March, A.D. 538." J.B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, vol. 2, p. 194.
   Before the fall, Silverius had been chosen as pope. "Owing to the pressure exerted by the Byzantine commander, Vigilius was elected pope in place of Silverius and consecrated and enthroned on 29 March, 537. Vigilius brought it about that the unjustly deposed Silverius was put into his keeping where the late pope soon died from the harsh treatment he received. After the death of this predecessor Vigilius was recognized as pope by all the Roman clergy." Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914, article, "Pope Vigilius." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/.
    The most significant point in the power shift giving the church greater control was the end of the siege of Rome. We should add that Vigilius did not have a peaceful reign as pope and for much of the time was in the city.
    To see the developing power of the papacy, we note that Pope Gregory I (the Great) who had been a monk took office in 590. "As pope Gregory still lived with monastic simplicity. One of his first acts was to banish all the lay attendants, pages, etc., from the Lateran palace, and substitute clerics in their place. There was now no magister militum living in Rome, so the control even of military matters fell to the pope." Catholic Encyclopedia, ibid,  article, "Pope St. Gregory I ('the Great')." Although 538 is a significant and appropriate starting time for the 1260 years, we note that the change in the dominance of the papacy was spread over a number of years. Justinian, the last powerful emperor, reigned not many years before that time and Gregory, the first powerful pope, reigned not long after then. In fact a graph of the power of the church would rise somewhat abruptly then more slowly, then flat for several hundred years in the middle while the church held fairly universal power, then it would decline in a similar way until the pope was taken from his post in Rome in 1798.
    The 1260 years of papal supremacy has another interesting parallel (mentioned elsewhere). The law code of Justinian was established shortly before 538 and ended not long after 1798 when it was replaced by the code of Napoleon.
    For a better understanding, see the page in Revelation 13 and see on the two witnesses from Revelation 11, both linked below.
Revelation 13:3-5
Revelation 11 home