Johannes Stoeffler, German astrologer, 16th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving of Johannes Stoeffler, mathematician and astrologer, who predicted that there would be a second Biblical Flood on 20 February 1524. Astrology was very popular in 16th century Europe and in a climate of religious turmoil, Stoeffler's prediction, based upon his reading of planetary alignments, was taken very seriously. Over a hundred books and pamphlets were produced announcing the prophecy, and thousands of people acros Europe abandoned their homes. This doomsday date was also promoted by Nicolaus Peranzonus de Monte Sancte Maria.