The little horn arises among the ten horns. The ten horns are the divisions of western Europe, so the little horn must arise in western Europe (Daniel 7:8). Notice that these first two characteristics restrict the geographical location of the little horn to western Europe.
That the little horn was to rise up among ten future kings was understood by the early church fathers. They saw and understood that what Paul meant when he said….
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
….Was the Roman power. They understood that when the Roman power was taken out of the way, the antichrist would appear among the ten kings, and would subdue 3 of them.
First, let us read what the well known Catholic historian Cardinal Manning had to say:
“Now the abandonment of Rome was the liberation of the pontiffs. Whatsoever claims to obedience the emperors may have made, and whatsoever compliance the Pontiff may have yielded, the whole previous relation, anomalous, and annulled again and again by the vices and outrages of the emperors, was finally dissolved by a higher power. The providence of God permitted a succession of irruptions, Gothic, Lombard, and Hungarian, to desolate Italy, and to efface from it every remnant of the empire The pontiffs found themselves alone, the sole fountains of order, peace, law, and safety. And from the hour of this providential liberation, when, by a divine intervention, the chains fell off from the hands of the successor of St. Peter, as once before from his own, no sovereign has ever reigned in Rome except the Vicar of Jesus Christ.”
(Henry Edward Manning, The Temporal Power of The Vicar of Jesus Christ, Preface, pp. xxviii, xxix. London: Burns and Lambert, 1862).
According to Manning, there was a restraint that inhibited the Bishops of Rome from exercising full authority as the temporal and spiritual leaders they believed was their destiny.That restraint was the pagan Roman power.
Now let us see what some of the early church fathers believed would take place soon according to their understanding of the prophecies.
“‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now hinders must hinder, until he be taken out of the way.’ What obstacle is there but the Roman state, the falling away of which, by being scattered into ten kingdoms, shall introduce Antichrist upon (its own ruins)? ‘And then shall be revealed the wicked one.”
“On the Resurrection of the Flesh,” chapter 24; Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. III, p. 563
“The very end of all things threatening dreadful woes is only retarded by the continued existence of the Roman Empire.”
(“Apology,” chapter 32; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III, p. 43).
Lactantius (early fourth century):
“The subject itself declares that the fall and ruin of the world will shortly take place; except that while the city of Rome remains, it appears that nothing of this kind is to be feared. But when that capital of the world shall have fallen, and shall have begun to be a street, which the Sibyls say shall come to pass, who can doubt that the end has now arrived to the affairs of men and the whole world? It is that city, that only, which still sustains all things.”
(“The Divine Institutes,” book 7, chapter 25; Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. VII, p. 220).
Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386 A. D.):
“But this aforesaid Antichrist is to come when the times of the Roman Empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is drawing near. There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time; and after those an eleventh, the Antichrist, who by his magical craft shall seize upon the Roman power; and of the kings who reigned before him, ‘three he shall humble,’ and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself.”
(Catechetical Lectures,” section 15, on II Thessalonians 2:4; Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. VII, p. 108
Ambrose (died in 398):
“After the falling or decay of the Roman Empire, Antichrist shall appear.”
(Quoted in, Bishop Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, p. 463)
Chrysostom (died in 407):
“When the Roman Empire is taken out of the way, then he [the Antichrist] shall come. And naturally. For as long as the fear of this empire lasts, no one will willingly exalt himself, but when that is dissolved, he will attack the anarchy, and endeavor to seize upon the government both of man and of God.”
“Homily IV on 2 Thessalonians 2:6-9,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. XIII, p. 389
So after the restraint of Rome was removed, first ten kings arose from within, and the empire was divided between them.
From the historian Barnes we read the following very interesting remark regarding other historians.
“Even the Romanists themselves admit that the Roman Empire was, by means of the incursions of the northern nations, dismembered into ten kingdoms (Calmet on Revelation 13:1; and he refers likewise to Berangaud, Bossuet, and DuPin. See Newton, p. 209); and Machiavelli (‘History of Florence,’ 1.i) with no design of furnishing an illustration of this prophecy, and probably with no recollection of it, has mentioned these names: 1. The Ostrogoths in Moesia; 2. The Visigoths in Pannonia; 3. The Sueves and Alans in Gascoign and Spain; 4. The Vandals in Africa; 5. The Franks in France; 6. The Burgundians in Burgundy; 7. The Heruli and Turingi in Italy; 8. The Saxons and Angles in Britain; 9. The Huns in Hungary; 10. The Lombards at first upon the Danube, afterwards in Italy.”
(Albert Barnes, Notes on the Book of Daniel, p. 322.)
“Antichrist, then (as the Fathers delight to call him), or the little horn, is to be sought among the ten kingdoms of the western Roman Empire. I say of the western Roman Empire, because that was properly the body of the fourth beast; Greece, and the countries which lay eastward of Italy belonged to the third beast; for the former beasts were still subsisting, though their dominion was taken away.
‘As concerning the rest of the beasts,’ saith Daniel, ‘they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.’ Daniel 7:12.
‘And therefore,’ as Sir Isaac Newton rightly infers, ‘all four beasts are still alive, though the dominion of the three first be taken away. The nations of Chaldea and Assyria are still the first beast. Those of Media and Persia are still the second beast. Those of Macedon, Greece and Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, are still the third. And those of Europe, on this side of Greece, are still the fourth. Seeing therefore the body of the third beast is confined to the nations on this side the river Euphrates, and the body of the fourth beast is confined to the nations on this side of Greece; we are to look for all the four heads of the third beast among the nations on this side the river Euphrates; and for all the eleven horns of the fourth beast, among the nations on this side of Greece.”
(Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, pp. 239, 240).
The above quote is also very pertinent to Revelation 13 and the beast that arises from the sea having all the composite parts of the beasts of Daniel. All four beasts are still alive in composite form of the Revelation beast, the antichrist. Notice also the steady progression in a westerly direction of each power. First Babylon, then Media/Persia, then Greece, then Rome and Europe. In Revelation 13 the beast of the sea being composite of all these, is followed by a new beast that rises from out of the earth. There are many who believe this power that rises chronologically after the European composite, is that power which lies further westward, namely America. But that subject is for another day.