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Liturgists and dance in the twelfth century: the witness of John Beleth and Sicard of Cremona.

DANCING is not often associated with Christian liturgy, at least in modern experience. Yet according to the Mitralis de Officio of Sicard, bishop of Cremona (1185-1215), composed about 1200, the circular dance (chorea) provides a key metaphor for understanding the liturgy of Easter. (2) Sicard here draws together two earlier discussions of the subject, both from the twelfth century and of enormously wide influence, manifesting a more positive attitude toward dance than found in many early medieval commentators on the liturgy: the Gemma animae (Jewel of the soul) of Honorius Augustodunensis, composed for a monastic audience in the early twelfth century, probably in Germany, and the De ecclesiasticis officiis of John Beleth, a secular cleric writing probably in Paris circa 1150-1160. (3) While many scholars have observed the renewal of interest in the pagan authors within a literary context in the twelfth century, the witness of liturgical commentaries from the period has been little noticed. Sicard implies that the festivities of the pagan Saturnalia and its associated freedom of expression (the so-called "December freedom") can legitimately be used to explain the festivities that take place at Easter:
 All Christians ought to come together freely at the above mentioned
 daily offices to celebrate the glory of the resurrection, which
 will be revealed in us. This solemnity is therefore the jubilee of
 Christians, when quarrels are settled, offenses forgiven. Let those
 who had sinned be reconciled, let debts be canceled. Let work
 places not be opened, merchandise not displayed for sale except for
 those things without which a meal cannot take place. Let prisoners
 be freed, shepherds and servants not forced to service so that they
 are able to enjoy freedom and to delight in the festivity of future
 joy. Thus it is that in the cloisters of certain churches even
 bishops enjoy the December freedom with their clerics, even to
 descending to the game of the circular dance or ball (ludum choreae
 vel pilae) although it seems more praiseworthy not to play; this
 "December freedom" is so called in that in the month of December,
 shepherds, servants, and maidservants were governed among the
 gentiles with a kind of freedom by their masters, so that they
 could celebrate with them after the harvest was collected. And note
 that the gentiles established circular dances to honor idols, so
 that they might praise their gods by voice and serve them with
 their whole body, wanting to foreshadow in them in their own way
 something of the mystery. For through the circling, they understood
 the revolution of the firmament; through the joining of hands, the
 interconnection of the elements, through the gestures of bodies,
 the motions of the signs or planets; through the melodies of
 singers, the harmonies of the planets; through the clapping of
 hands and the stamping of feet, the sounding of thunder; but what
 those people showed to their idols, the worshipers of the one God
 converted to his praise. For the people who crossed from the Red
 Sea are said to have led a circular dance, Mary is reported to have
 sung with the tambourine; and David danced before the ark with all
 his strength and composed psalms with his harp, and Solomon placed
 singers around the altar, who are said to have created sound with
 voice, trumpet, cymbals, organs, and other musical instruments. (4)

That circular dances were practiced throughout the medieval period, indeed in a wide variety of cultures, is amply attested through the testimony collected by Curt Sachs in his influential history of dance, first published in 1937. His focus, like that of many subsequent dance scholars, was on dance as a manifestation of popular culture, rather than on what clerical commentators had to say on the subject. (5) Other scholars have provided further testimony relating to the practice of dance within a Christian and even clerical context. (6) Little attention, however, has been given to the contribution of liturgical commentators like Sicard of Cremona and his two major sources of inspiration, Honorius Augustudonensis and John Beleth. While there are subtle differences among these three writers, they share a common desire to appropriate the imagery of pagan culture for explaining Christian ritual and the festivities associated with it at major points in the year. This study focuses on how Beleth and Sicard, developing a precedent established by Honorius, shifted away from the more negative attitudes of patristic and early medieval writers, as well as on the way their comments were attenuated in the thirteenth century, when a more hostile official attitude to popular Christian culture re-asserted itself in official edicts of the Church.


The discussion by Sicard of Cremona of the game of ball (pila) that he says was played in certain churches at Easter provides a good illustration of the fine line between ritual dance and clerical entertainment. He reports that "in the cloisters of certain churches even bishops play with their clerics, so that they even descend to the game of the circular dance or the pila." Sicard adds the term circular dance (chorea) to Beleth's statement that they descend "to the game of the pila." Sicard also abbreviated Beleth's rather negative comment that "although great churches, like that of Reims, keep this custom of playing, yet it seems more praiseworthy not to play." (7) In a separate passage, Beleth voices disfavor toward what he sees as a game (ludum) rather than a chorea, in ruling that if a cleric should die suddenly while playing a game such as the pila, he should be buried in the cemetery, but without the normal obsequies. (8) While Sicard repeats Beleth's comment that it would be better not to play this game, he gives a distinctly more positive explanation of what is going on, not found in Beleth, in clarifying that the game of the pila is in fact a chorea or circular dance. Sicard draws on Honorius's explanation that chorus derives from chorea or circular dance, and that the Christian choir is simply putting to good use a pagan dance that celebrates the cosmic dance (chorea, according to Calcidius's translation of Plato's Timaeus).

Sicard follows Beleth in explaining this apparent departure from convention as a "December freedom" celebrated at Easter, an allusion to Horace, Carmina 2.7 (age, libertate decembri, /quando ita maiores voluerunt, utere) in which the poet recalls the ancient Roman practice of a slave being permitted to speak his mind during the Saturnalia (December 17-19). Festivities that in the Roman period had been understood as recalling a mythical age of Saturn were thought to be legitimately applied to those that took place at Easter. (9) John of Salisbury had employed the phrase in the mid-twelfth century to assert the value of proclaiming one's opinion. (10) Here, however, Beleth quotes the phrase without any sense of awkwardness to justify the practice of a senior ecclesiastic engaging in entertainment with his fellow clergy.

These commentaries of Beleth and Sicard on the game of the pila provide further nuance to the analysis offered by Craig Wright of the role of the maze or labyrinth found in many great medieval cathedrals in the archdioceses of Reims and Sens. In Wright's perspective, the fusion of pagan and Christian liturgical practice is a phenomenon of medieval culture as a whole. He argues that the maze, called the Daedalum after the builder of the maze in Crete and remembered by Isidore of Seville (560-636) as the place into which no one could enter to fight the Minotaur without a ball of thread, may have provided the original location of a clerical dance celebrated at Easter. (11) According to Plutarch, Theseus's rescuing of his companions from the Minotaur was still celebrated in his own day by the citizens of Delos. Marius Victorinus passed on this information, including detail about the dances supposedly established by Theseus, as well as the view that these dances imitated the movement of the universe--a notion that loosely echoes that of Honorius in the twelfth century. (12) Isidore also transmitted the belief that Daedalus had invented walls and roofs in buildings, having been instructed in this by Minerva. (13) The maze may thus have been seen as the floor of the universe. The four-square maze, sometimes with an image of Theseus and the Minotaur at its center, was often found on the floors of wealthy ancient Roman houses and burial vaults, based on a design that went back to an image used in the pottery and seals of Minoan civilization. (14)

The practice of integrating pagan imagery of the maze into Christian architecture may go back at least to the ninth century. Wright identifies the earliest known design of a circular maze in a manuscript from about 900, presumably by a scholar engaged in a conscious fascination with Roman mythology and architectural design. As Prudentius and Gregory the Great had used the image of Christ penetrating the labyrinth to conquer the devil, there may have been a continuity between late antique and Carolingian design that cannot easily be identified. Most surviving floor mazes at the base of French cathedrals are from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries but seem to have been introduced in a smaller size into churches in northern Italy in the twelfth century. Antiquarian drawings reveal that there was often an image of Theseus and the Minotaur at the center of the maze, signifying Christ and the Devil (as for example at Chartres). Few of these images have survived, except when recorded in manuscript. While we know that there was an octagonal maze at the great Gothic cathedral at Reims, constructed between 1211 to about 1290, such a maze also could have existed in the earlier Romanesque building. (15)

Although Wright implies that the fusion of pagan and Christian culture evident in the game of the pila and the dance around the maze was characteristic of the medieval period as a whole, the account of the game offered in the late thirteenth century by William Durand (1237-1296), canon of Narbonne and bishop of Mende, suggests that already there was unease about the practice being performed in the church. In his Rationale divinorum officiorum, written in the late thirteenth century, Durand significantly abbreviates the account of Sicard and modifies small details. (16) He describes the pila not as a dance, but as a game played by prelates and within their episcopal houses--repeating the observation made by Beleth and Sicard about their observing "the December freedom." He repeats Beleth's observation that someone killed playing the game of pila could be buried in a cemetery, but without the normal obsequies. (17) Importantly, however, he omits Sicard's discussion of pagan and scriptural precedent for dancing, itself culled from the Gemma animae of Honorius Augustodunensis. Durand's unwillingness to identify pagan inspiration for ritual dance suggests a shift in official attitude away from the relative openness evident in Honorius, Beleth, and Sicard.

That the game of pila continued to be practiced in some places within the cathedral itself is evident from an account, preserved in Latin and probably from the sixteenth century, found by the abbe Lebeuf in the archives of Auxerre and published in 1726. It recalls the ritual described by Beleth in the mid-twelfth century as taking place in great churches, like that of Reims, at Easter.
 Having received the pilota [a leather ball] from the newest canon,
 the dean, or someone in his place, in former times wearing an amice
 on his head and the other clergy likewise, began antiphonally the
 sequence appropriate for the feast of Easter, Victimae paschali
 laudes. Then taking the ball in his left hand, he danced to the
 meter of the sequence as it was sung, while the others linked hand
 in hand did the dance around the maze (circa Daedalum). And all the
 while the pilota was delivered or thrown by the ringed dean
 alternately to each and every one of the dancers whenever they
 whirled into view. There was sport, and the meter of the dance was
 set by the organ. Following this dance, the singing of the sequence
 and the jumping having concluded, the chorus proceeded to a meal.
 There all of the canons of the chapter, the chaplains and officers,
 as well as certain of the noble citizens of the town, sat on
 benches in a circle (in corona). To each of them was served sweets,
 fruit tarts, and game of all sorts: boar, venison, and rabbit; and
 white and red wine was offered in moderation, each cup being
 refilled no more than one or two times. During this an appropriate
 sermon was read from the bishop's seat or the pulpit. Thereafter,
 following [he ringing of the larger bells from the towers, they
 proceeded to Vespers. (18)

This eye-witness account helps fill out the ritual described over three centuries earlier by Durand, Sicard, and Beleth. Wright interprets the passage as implying that the canons danced in a chain line through the maze, led by the dean, throwing the ball to one another as they created swirling circular patterns. (19) Yet if we take the report literally, it seems that the dean or his substitute (originally the bishop or archbishop, according to Beleth) himself danced to the center of the maze, carrying the ball in his left hand, but would then throw it in turn to each of the canons dancing around the maze, as they sang Victimae paschali laudes. By the later Middle Ages, the practice had become a serious burden on cathedral clergy. A statute of 1398 explains that new canons should use their first month's stipend for making the pila, resulting in efforts by a series of canons to reduce this financial burden. A statute of 1412 declared that it should be of a smaller size than usual, but able to be held or caught only with the left hand. (20) Further complaints were apparently raised by a canon in 1471, resulting in a court case in 1531 that condemned the practice. This was upheld by four counselors of the French Parlement, four canons of Notre-Dame, and four doctors of the Sorbonne in 1535. Lebeuf recorded evidence for a similar ritual with the pila at Narbonne, although it took place not on the maze but on Easter Monday in the bishop's palace--precisely the detail added to Sicard's Mitralis by Durand, himself a canon at Narbonne. According to a thirteenth-century record at Narbonne cathedral, a feast took place, involving pigmentum and wine with many dishes, after which the archbishop had to throw the pilota, a task that would be undertaken by the prefect of the city, if the archbishop was not present. (21) Clearly, the ritual of the pila could easily degenerate into a game, accompanied by an extravagant feast, especially once it had been removed from the sacred context of the maze within the cathedral.

Wright argues that there was a serious side to what might look like a game. He suggests that it was a Christianized version of a ritual dance in which the leader of the assembly descended into the labyrinth to confront Satan, in the same way Theseus rescued his companions from the Minotaur (as reported by Marius Victorinus). He explains that the dance was a type of liturgical procession by which clerics, led by the bishop, would move from the east end or choir of the church, representing paradise, down through the maze toward the west, representing hell. The confrontation with Satan was marked by a great cacophony before the procession returned out of the maze, back to paradise. (22) At a profound level, the maze at the center of a cathedral floor visualized a path down to the underworld, where the bishop, representing Christ, overcame Satan at Easter. According to the Auxerre account, the chant Victimae paschali laudes was sung to a circular dance or chorea (carole, to use the medieval French word, from which the modern "carol" derives).

The bishop and his clerics were effectively reenacting at Easter the clause in the Apostles' Creed about Christ's descent into hell by moving from the sanctuary through to the center of the labyrinth. (23) The Auxerre account supports what Sicard has to say about the game of the pila (or pilota in the sixteenth-century record) as a sacred dance that symbolized the restoration of cosmic harmony at the most solemn moment of the liturgical year. It recalled Christ's descent to the underworld and his conquest over Satan, and then the resurrection and restoration of humanity. Wright suggests various interpretations of the pila: that it was a ball of pitch stuffed into the mouth of the Minotaur, that it was the rising sun or, his preferred solution, that it was a symbol of cosmic harmony in a dance, echoing the dance of the firmament. (24) Another possibility is raised by Isidore of Seville's comment that no one could enter the labyrinth of Daedalus without a ball of thread, interpreted by Martianus Capella as a ball of string held by the creator in the left hand, from which the stars in their movements would be constructed. (25) The dance could have originated as a symbolic reenactment of creation. It became a game involving the leader of the assembly entering the maze with a specially made ball, engaging in a confrontation with Satan, and then passing the ball in turn to each of the canons as they danced around the maze, re-creating as it were the rotation of the firmament.

Even if the ritual originally developed as a conscious attempt to fuse pagan and Christian tradition at Easter, Beleth's reserved attitude suggests that the dance was already degenerating into a game in the twelfth century. Durand implies that, by the thirteenth century, the dance was sometimes transferred away from the church to the adjoining cloister of the canons or even to the house of the bishop, reinforcing its secular character. During the fourteenth century, the vernacular drama of the harrowing of hell may have developed from a ritual originally enacted within the church. (26) While it seems that the liturgical dance associated with the maze had stopped at most cathedrals by the sixteenth century, individuals were still privately walking the maze (the more pious shuffled on their knees, reciting the rosary). (27) The octagonal maze at Reims was removed in 1778 by a canon of the cathedral, who was frustrated by the way children would play the game of skipping through the maze while the canons celebrated the divine office. (28)

Wright also comments on fascinating evidence for the survival of the ritual in southern France in the early nineteenth century. In "the Cretan dance of the Greeks," which took place on feast days and Mardi Gras, a young man called Theseus, with fife and drum, held a ribbon in his left hand, the other end of which was held by a young woman. Theseus then led a dance in the form of a circular labyrinth. At a certain moment, the dancers would raise their arms, creating a labyrinth with the ribbon, through which the young man would weave until he had escaped the labyrinth into the arms of the person holding the chain. (29) This account may record a secular equivalent to the dance of the pila, of comparable antiquity, but performed in a non-clerical milieu. Which of these two versions of the dance is older is difficult to say.


Sicard's comments about how the gentiles invented circular dances (choreas) to honor the gods, adapted from a remark of Honorius that the word chorus derived from chorea or dance, were not without foundation. Lucian of Samosata (ca. 125-ca. 191) had defended dance against its critics by arguing that it was an essential feature of pagan worship. (30) According to Livy, a solemn three-step tripudia was practiced by Salian priests in Rome quite different from the more extravagant tripudia with yelling, practiced in Spain. (31) Honorius and Sicard of Cremona both referred back to the frequent allusions to dance in the Old Testament. (32) Although Jerome uses the word tripudium just once in his translation of the Bible, with reference to the rejoicing of the Jews (Esther 8.16), he uses it regularly in his scriptural commentaries to refer to those who dance (saltantes) with physical energy or to general exultation. His Vulgate translation of the Bible frequently employs in choro to refer to both dancing and singing, an ambiguity implicit within classical usage. (33)

The early Church Fathers were ambivalent, however, about ritual practices they considered too popular or physical in nature, and insufficiently focused on the spiritual. (34) Christian development of antiphonal singing, reportedly instituted by Ignatius of Antioch after he had heard angels sing in this way, may have been a conscious attempt to counter the use of ecstatic dance in pagan practice. (35) Beleth and Sicard recalled that certain Fathers (Flavianus and Diodorus, according to Honorius) were responsible for changing the choir from a circle (chorea) to two straight lines, as the original pattern was too confused. (36) The willingness of Honorius and Sicard to argue that the circular dance (chorea) expresses the joy of Easter itself draws on a certain thread of patristic tradition that invoked imagery of dancing in a positive vein. Chrysostom condemned secular dance but held that worthy dance should imitate that of the angels. (37) Ambrose similarly employs tripudium and the related verb tripudiare (from which derives the English verb, to trip in the sense of dance) in commentary on Luke 7:32: "There is indeed a certain proper clapping of good actions and deeds, whose sound goes out into the world and results in the glory of good deeds, there is honest leaping by which the spirit dances, and the body rises with good works, when we hang our instruments on the willows." (38) Ambrose regularly contrasts indecent dancing with the morally correct use of the body when approaching baptism. (39)

The discussions of Honorius and Sicard stand in sharp contrast, however, with the attitudes of Augustine, who was distinctly more cautious in his attitude toward dance. (40) Augustine interpreted the Psalmist's injunction to celebrate in choro as about singing in choir, not as about dancing. (41) Augustine uses saltatio in a consistently pejorative sense as concerning worldly dancing, and tripudium only when referring to Julian of Eclanum "dancing over" a particular issue. (42) In two sermons, he refers to the practice of dancing at the tomb of St. Cyprian but explains that this is a practice that had ceased within his own lifetime. (43) Augustine implies that such ritual dancing was tinged with a spirit of revolt. (44) He alludes again to this custom in sermon 326, saying there should be praying rather than dancing at the tomb of the martyrs. (45) His comments reflected a broader official trend in the early fifth century away from spurning death toward meditating on the terrors of the life to come. The custom of dancing to recall the death of the saint and his entry into paradise expressed an earlier Christian confidence in the victory of life over death. (46)

The willingness of Honorius and Sicard to invoke imagery of dance also stands in sharp contrast to the complaints of early medieval authors like Caesarius of Aries (ca. 469-542), who berated Christians for performing dances (ballationes et saltationes) outside the churches of the saints "in a diabolic manner," a practice that he blames on lingering pagan observance. (47) His remarks are reproduced in a decretal attributed to Pope Eugenius (but perhaps from Eugenius, archbishop of Toledo) within an eleventh-century collection, with fascinating additional comment, that it was particularly women who "led and held these dances," and that in doing so they were imitating pagan custom. (48) In this particular decretal collection, it is preceded by a canon from a Council of Toledo complaining about the same practice as taking place on saints' feasts throughout Spain. Such condemnations of dancing outside the church on the occasion of feast days, as well as at weddings, were often repeated in the eighth and ninth centuries. (49) There was also persistent condemnation of dancing at funerals, blamed on pagan practice inspired by the devil. (50)

Caesarius of Arles also was troubled by the practice of celebrating the New Year with drunkenness and feasting. (51) That this was indeed a legacy of pagan culture is attested by Isidore of Seville, who describes the dancing held on that occasion as bacchanalian in nature. Christians would dress up as wild animals and even adopt an effeminate appearance. (52) The Church never fully succeeded in establishing Easter as a more important feast than the New Year. (53) In the eleventh century, New Year festivities were condemned by Peter Damian (1007-1072), who reports that a certain priest, guilty of sexual promiscuity with another man's wife, insisted on "leading dances" as boys sang, even on the kalends of January, when he was due to take vows as a monk. (54) A prohibition by Pope Zachary 1 (741-752) on those who led singers and dancing at festivities celebrating the New Year was reiterated by Gratian in the mid-twelfth century. (55) Such practices were impossible to eliminate.

By the early twelfth century, however, liturgical commentators were increasingly recognizing that pagan imagery could be used to explain Christian practice. Although Honorius Augustodunensis repeats traditional denunciations of pagan behavior in his Gemma animae, written in about 1106, he is more adept than Isidore in identifying rational reasons for ritual, as is evident in his account of how choir (chorus) derives from chorea, dancing that originally signified the dance of the heavens but was converted by the faithful Jews to the service of God. (56) This notion of the celestial chorea could be derived from its use in the translation of Plato's Timaeus by Chalcidius. (57) This was part of a broader project of Honorius, well described by Donnalee Dox, to draw on pagan learning to elucidate Christian liturgy as part of his pastoral concern. (58) Yet Honorius never describes any tripudium or chorea as part of the liturgy of the Christian community. He makes the briefest allusion to the feast of St. John the Evangelist (December 27) being devoted particularly to priests, and their putting a certain "brigand" (latronem) over them. (59) Honorius gives only the slightest recognition here to pagan festivities that had in practice already become part of the Christian calendar.


John Beleth, writing in France some fifty years later, went much further than Honorius in explaining the liturgy through pagan as well as scriptural imagery. (60) Beleth was one of a number of intellectuals active during the episcopacy of Maurice de Sully (1160-1196), a bishop who had risen to prominence from modest social origins and was widely remembered for his concern for the poor. Like Maurice, Beleth was committed to explaining Christian faith and ritual to a wider public. (61) His willingness to interpret the game of pila as an example of "the December freedom" shows how he was willing--within limits--to invoke the festivities of the pagan Saturnalia to justify the celebrations associated with Easter. Whereas preachers from Caesarius of Arles to Peter Damian had bemoaned the practice of Christians continuing to celebrate the New Year in riotous fashion, Beleth acknowledged that one could find both scriptural and pagan authority to support popular celebrations that in fact Christians had been engaged in for centuries. He was interested in showing how such rituals could become part of a Christian liturgy. While cautious about abuses, he did not condemn outright the festivities that took place either over the Christmas and New Year season or at Easter.

Beleth also was influenced by his own teacher, Gilbert of Poitiers (ca. 1075-1154), whose opinions on the reasoning behind liturgical practices he frequently cites. (62) Beleth was educated at the Benedictine abbey of Tiron in the diocese of Chartres, and thus may have been exposed to the broader climate of enthusiasm for pagan culture associated with its school in the first half of the twelfth century. Beleth could have studied under Gilbert either at Chartres or at Paris, where Gilbert taught in the 1130s, prior to becoming bishop of Poitiers in 1142. (63) As Beleth sometimes uses the present tense to say "master Gilbert proves ..." rather than "master Gilbert used to say," he may have composed the original version of his Summa de ecclesiasticis officiis before Gilbert's death in 1154. (64) Because Beleth mentions in its third recension opinions of bishop Maurice de Sully, consecrated in 1160, and of Elisabeth of Schonau (d. June 18, 1164), "a most religious woman still alive in Saxony," he must have completed this version between 1160 and 1164. (65) Beleth was inspired by a generation of reform-minded teachers to explain Christian ritual in ways that were accessible to his audience.

From the outset of his treatise, Beleth's stated goal was to remedy what he considered to be widespread ignorance about the meaning of the liturgy:
 In the primitive Church it was forbidden for anyone to speak in
 tongues unless there was someone who could interpret. For what use
 was it to speak, unless there was understanding? Thus was implanted
 the praiseworthy custom in the Church in certain regions that once
 the gospel was declaimed literally, it was immediately expounded
 among the common people. But what is to be done in our times when
 never or rarely is found someone who understands as he reads and
 listens, who notices as he sees and acts. Already what is said by
 the prophet seems to be fulfilled: "And he will be one priest as if
 from the people" [cf. Isaiah 24.2: "and the priest will be like the
 people ..."]. It therefore seems that there should rather be
 silence than psalmody, rather silence than dancing (tripudiandum).
 But, lest the mouths of the singers be closed "to you, Lord, my
 God" [Ps. 24.1], let us apply, with God's help, the remedy of a
 three-fold reading against this injury and speak firstly about
 ecclesiastical institutions, secondly about the explanations of
 different words, thirdly about the reasons for days. (66)

Beleth was here defending his exposition of the liturgy by alluding to a famous phrase of Augustine, "for what use is the integrity of speech which the understanding of the listener does not follow," quoted by Abelard in his Theologia and Sic et Non to defend rational inquiry into Christian doctrines (67) Better than not singing psalms or dancing at all was giving rational explanations so that people would know what they were hearing, reading, seeing, singing, and doing.

Beleth does not repeat Isidore's complaint about pagan drunken festivities at the New Year but explains that dances (tripudia) take place on four feasts between Christmas and Epiphany, performed on each occasion by a different grade of cleric. By tripudio, it seems that he is here referring to a specific dance, although the word can be used simply as a metaphor, to mean "with joy":

a) What follows relates to feasts that follow the Nativity. At vespers of Christmas, there ought to be a celebration for everyone together, then the deacons assemble in tripudio and they sing the Magnificat with the antiphon of Saint Stephen, and the priest says the collect. The deacons themselves celebrate the night office, because Stephen was a deacon, and they will give blessings over the readings. The daily priest will celebrate the Mass.

b) One collect can suffice for matins and for the Mass and for vespers.

c) Thus let the priests do likewise on the feast of St. John [December 27], because John was a priest, and the boys on the feast of the Innocents [December 28]. (68)

After describing the feast of the Circumcision (the octave after Christmas), he then comments on "the feast of subdeacons" or "On the feast of fools":

a) The feast of subdeacons, which we call "of fools," is celebrated by some at Circumcision, by some at Epiphany or in the octave of Epiphany.

b) There are four tripudia after the birth of the Lord in the Church: of levites, priests, boys, that is of lesser age and rank, and of subdeacons, a rank that is uncertain. So sometimes it is counted among holy orders, sometimes it is not counted, expressed by the fact that it does not have a fixed day and is celebrated with a confused office. (69)

Beleth does not criticize these festivities, other than to comment on the "confused office" of the tripudia celebrated by the subdeacons. A number of Parisian manuscripts of the Summa include the detail that the Feast of Fools was celebrated at the Circumcision (January 1) in Paris. (70) These various days of the Christmas season provided an occasion for each of the four major grades of cleric to celebrate the season in their own way. This was the context for those various aspects of the "December freedom" introduced at the outset of this essay, such as the game of ball that bishops and archbishops could play in the cloister. (71) Just as he recognized that pagan practice could be appropriated to Christian worship at Easter, so he acknowledged that the festivities associated with pagan celebration of the New Year had become an acknowledged part of the liturgical cycle. While Beleth did not fully approve of all these practices, he recognized that they all had their place.


Beleth's willingness to recognize the validity of pagan dance within a Christian framework is also evident in his account of the tripudia in relation to the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist (June 24), a feast that he explains is still called a vigil, even though a fast had been instituted in its place. Unlike the tripudia of the Christmas season, those associated with the summer solstice seem to have been more popular in nature. Beleth reports that it used to be the custom that men would come to the church for the vigils of St. John with their wives and daughters carrying lighted candles, but as it frequently happened that girls who were virgins would be violated and that there was much opportunity for evildoing, the vigils were turned to fasts. (72) Although Beleth speaks about sexual promiscuity at the vigil of St. John the Baptist as happening in the past, continuing legislation against these practices shows that he was speaking about an ongoing situation.

Ever attentive to the reasons behind liturgical practice, Beleth devotes a lengthy discussion (ch. 136) to why the birth of John the Baptist should be celebrated rather than his death. Was there not an apparent contradiction between "being born in sin" and so filled with the Holy Spirit that he could preach the Savior? Beleth concludes that his birth was celebrated both historically and allegorically. Both pagans and Christians rejoice in his birth, which looks forward to the coming of grace. In the first two recensions of chapter 137 (De tripudiis), Beleth explains the lighting of torches during these tripudia as originally a practical response from philosophers to a health problem in mid-summer:

Aa) Now let us speak about the tripudia that customarily occur on this feast, of which there are three kinds. On the vigil of St. John the boys in certain regions collect bones and certain other impure things and burn them together, and thus smoke is produced in the air. They also make torches and go around the fields with torches. A third relates to a wheel that they make turn.

Ab) That they bum impure things, they have this from the heathen. For in antiquity dragons would be excited to lust in this season because of the heat and frequently, flying through the air, would emit sperm in wells and fountains, resulting in the waters being infected, and then there was a lethal year because whoever drank from them either died or suffered a serious illness. Considering this, the philosophers ordered a fire to be made frequently and impure things and whatever gave out impure smoke to be burned far and wide around the wells and fountains. For they knew dragons can be put to flight through such smoke, just as elephants are driven away through their grunting. Alexander knew this well. For when he wanted to fight against Porus king of the Indians, who had led many elephants and put towers and fortresses on them from where the soldiers might fight, Alexander brought forward a multitude of pigs so that he could bring down those devices. And then he seized one piglet and made him scream loudly; hearing this, the swine began to grunt and they put to flight the elephants, once they had heard the grunting of the swine, and they destroyed whatever had been placed on top of them. And thus Alexander obtained victory.

Ac) Or this can be referred to the New Testament. For the boys throw away and burn old things, so that through this it can be signified that the customs of the old Law ought to cease with the coming of the new Law. For it is said in the Law: "You shall eat the old things of the elders and you shall throw out the old for the new that is coming in" (Lev. 26.10).

Ad) The torches or flares signify John, who was the light and lamp and precursor of the true light, who illuminates every man coming into this world (John 1.8-9). As it is said: He was a burning and shining lantern before the Lord, etc. (Is. 5.36).

Ae) The wheel is turned to signify that the sun then climbs to the height of its circle and immediately returns. To suggest this, a wheel is turned. (73)

Although Beleth is not clear about this wheel, he does refer to a kind of tripudium, presumably performed by people dancing in a wheel. The two other kinds of tripudia involved the burning of bones by the pueri and a procession of torch bearers around fields.

In the third recension of the Summa de ecclesiasticis oJficiis, written between 1160 and 1164, Beleth revises this long account of the pagan roots of these rituals. He does not mention the tripudium that involved torchlight processions around the fields. He is also more scriptural in his explanation of other customs. While retaining a shortened account of the dangers presented by dragons, he relates them to scripture and deletes his earlier comment that the instruction to light flares came from philosophers:

Ba) Bones of dead animals are burned in observances of ancient institution. For there are animals who are called dragons. As in the Psalm: "Praise the Lord from the earth, dragons" (Ps. 148.7), not tracones as certain liars say, namely earthquakes.

Bb) And these animals fly in the air, swim in water, walk on earth, and sometimes are incited to lust in the air. So they often would emit sperm in wells and fluvial waters, and then a lethal year would follow. A remedy was therefore found against this, so that a funeral pyre was made from bones and thus the smoke might drive away animals of this kind. And because this happened a lot in this season, it is also done now by people.

Bc) There is another reason why the bones of animals are burned, because the bones of St. John were burned in the city of Sebaste by the heathen.

Bd) Burning faggots are also carried because John was a burning lamp.

Be) And a wheel is turned because the sun then tums in a circle and because one finds: "It suits me to be less, but for him to grow" [John 3.30]. They say: "This is said about him because the days then begin to shorten and they grow with the nativity." But we say that sometimes they shorten before the feast of St. John and they increase before the birth of the Lord. But it is to be understood about the nativity in the mother, when each is conceived, namely Christ and John. John is conceived in the shortening days as in September, and Jesus in the lengthening days, as in April. (74)

This issue of whether John the Baptist had been sanctified in the womb, like Jeremiah, was one Beleth had included in his third recension of the previous chapter. In this version, he modifies his explanation of the tripudium involving a turning wheel by developing a parallel between the conception of Christ and John the Baptist and the spring and autumn equinoxes. He observes that a few days do shorten before the vigil of St. John the Baptist, and lengthen before the birth of Christ. Consistent with the more scripturally based tone of this version, he also adds rnore detail about John the Baptist as mediating between the Old and New Testaments.

Beleth was here developing Honorius's idea that the conception of John and of Christ corresponded to the seasons of spring and autumn, and of their birth to summer and winter. Honorius had observed that it was appropriate to fast at all of these seasons, because spring was the time of sowing seed, summer of harvesting seed, and autumn of collecting wine and oil and sowing seed again, while winter was for concentrating on gardens and buildings. (75) Unlike Honorius, however, Beleth explains the fire rituals associated with the tripudia of the feast of John the Baptist as solstice rituals, without any polemic against popular superstition. His explanation that the torches were originally a form of health control is consistent with his general desire to explain rationally existing rituals. He knows for example that the heathen and their philosophers gave different reasons for the names they applied to the days of the week. The heathen identified them after the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jove, Venus, and Saturn, thinking them to be gods, while philosophers understood them to be named after planets, from whose motion and nature all things obtained their growth. Beleth recognizes that people still use these pagan names in vernacular speech, even though scripture does not use these names, and while the liturgy identifies them as secunda feria, tertia feria, etc. (76) He observes that pagan practice was often converted into Christian use: "And this is the changing of the right hand of the most High" (Ps. 76.11). He explains the division between laity and ecclesiastics in terms of a distinction already present in pagan antiquity:
 In the rite of the temples there were archiflamines, flamines,
 priests of both sexes. For among the heathens, just as there is
 now with us, there were religious communities of women and men.
 Among the poets, there were judges of songs, comedians, tragedians,
 and historians. (77)

Bishops, abbots, chancellors, archdeacons, deacons, and archpriests all took their ranks from heathen equivalents. Commenting on why the Feast of the Purification (February 2) is called candelaria, Beleth repeats the observation of Honorius that this practice was taken over from heathen custom. He mentions that it used to be the custom at Rome to walk around the city in procession with lighted candles, and that this practice was then taken over by Christians in honor of Mary. (78) He is not alarmed by the pagan roots of such practices.

Beleth is relatively restrained in his comments about rituals that lead to disorder. He repeats in his own way the observation of Honorius that the people used to celebrate vigils of the saints by coming to the church to sing praises during the night but subsequently celebrated them "with foul songs and dancing, drinking, and fornication." (79)
 It used to be the practice for our fathers to keep these vigils
 on the vigils of feasts of this kind and for young men and girls,
 to assemble in churches, singers, and mockers, as still happens
 in several regions as in Poitiers and particularly on feasts of
 the patrons of churches. But since many inconvenient things followed
 it was established that fasts take the place of vigils so that
 excessive feasting and drunkenness would thus cease, which used
 to happen frequently there. And thus in this case the church made a
 dispensation. If anyone fasts and keeps vigils honestly, however,
 he does completely well. For a double good is a good. (80)

His comment that such great feasts and drunken orgies still take place in Poitiers is of particular interest given that his teacher was Gilbert of Poitiers, from whom the information may have come.

Beleth's treatise continued to be copied in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. His relative openness to pagan tradition was very different from the effort of early medieval liturgists to distinguish Christian ritual from pagan practice. Subtle variations in the manuscript tradition provide rich insight into the way particular scribes sought to acknowledge local tradition. In using pagan practice to explain Christian civic ritual, Beleth was extending a technique developed earlier that century by Honorius Augustodunensis within a monastic context. He also prompted Sicard of Cremona to produce his own account of the meaning of ecclesiastical architecture, ceremony, and ritual. While Sicard gave less attention than Beleth to the phenomenon of dancing at the vigil of St. John the Baptist or other occasions, we cannot presume that such practices were not part of his experience, only that he did not seek to justify them, as he did for the feast of Easter.


Beleth's relative openness toward ancient ritual practice was already coming into question by the late twelfth century. Some insight into shifting attitudes toward ritual dance can be glimpsed in a letter from Pope Alexander III to Peter abbot of Saint-Remy, Reims, and to Fulco, his dean, issued November 8, 1170-1172. It seems that students at Reims had been provoked to laughter by the priest leading a chorea, in turn making the priest so angry that he broke down the door and windows of the students' house and tried to excommunicate them:
 We have heard from a request of certain students who live in the
 suburb of Saint-Remy that when J., a priest of the suburb of
 Saint-Remy, put aside clerical modesty and led a circular dance
 on a Sunday in the presence of clerics and laypeople, those students
 mocked and laughed at said priest; the same priest, encouraged by
 certain people, broke down the door and windows of the students
 with bold brashness, and put violent hands on some of those
 students; not content with these injuries, without the awareness
 of our venerable brother Henry archbishop of Reims and of his
 officials, he pronounced a sentence of excommunication on them the
 following day, without summons or confession, which the said
 archbishop had relaxed, as he ought. [The students claim their
 freedom has been injured.] ... and if you find the said priest
 leading dances in the sight of clerics and laypeople and bringing
 a great injury for such a reason on the above-mentioned students,
 or subjecting them incautiously to anathema, punish him hard and
 roughly by our authority for such lightness,
 presumption, and audacity, taking away the remedy of appeal. (81)

The pope acted against the priest not for leading the dance, but for using excessive force against the students, who were able to gain papal protection for their freedom from excommunication. The students in Reims were provoked to laughter by a ritual dance that apparently involved "putting clerical modesty aside," but to which the students clearly felt no commitment. The papal reaction suggests that on this occasion, the authorities were more on the side of the students than of a priest, keen to conduct what had become a very traditional practice.

Within the diocese of Paris, attitudes were also changing. The death in 1196 of Maurice de Sully, and the election of Eudes de Sully (1165-1208; no relation of Maurice) as bishop of Paris signaled a pronounced shift in official policy. Eudes, related to the royal houses of both France and England, earned little respect from the historian Rigord. (82) According to Peter of Blois, Eudes shone more in piety than in erudition. After studying in Paris he lived with his brother, Henry, archbishop of Bourges, and traveled to Rome in 1187. (83) In 1197, only a year after his installation as bishop, Eudes acted on complaints that had been made by the papal legate:
 We have heard by the trustworthy report of several people, that on
 the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord so many enormities and
 wicked acts are accustomed to be committed in the same Church that
 the holy place, in which the glorious Virgin chose a pleasing house
 for herself, ends up being greatly polluted not only by foulness of
 words, but also by the pouring of blood; and consequently the
 practice of such pernicious audacity has grown so strong that the
 most holy day in which the Redeemer of the world wished to be
 circumcised is generally called, not undeservedly, the Feast of
 Fools. (84)

Eudes quoted this edict from the papal legate, ordering any cleric guilty of improper action to be suspended from the choir and chapter. The liturgy of the feast of the circumcision (January 1) had to be observed with decorum and dignity. These reforms were doubtless related to the imminent completion of the nave of Notre-Dame. In a separate document, Eudes explained that he would rectify similar disorder during the feast of Stephen, the protomartyr (December 26), but arranged to pay compensation to the clerics involved in singing the Allelulia in three or four parts. (85)

The process of reform may also have involved creation of new ritual. In a careful study of the Play of Daniel from Beauvais cathedral, preserved along with the Office of the Circumcision, Margot Fassler has suggested that its dramatic account of how Daniel stood firm against the rioting and feasting in the court of Balthasar was deliberately intended to provide edification at a time of role reversal during the Christmas season. (86) The play was written for the Feast of Fools and presented the theological significance to the celebrations that were under way. This was the dramatic equivalent of what Beleth himself was seeking to achieve, explanation of the deeper significance of ritual practice.

That the papal legate had only limited success in eliminating perceived aberrations in local practice is evident from the Rationale divinorum officium produced in the late thirteenth century by William Durand. Quoting selectively from Beleth's treatise, Durand explains that, in certain churches, the deacons come together in tripudio while singing the antiphon in honor of St. Stephen, the first deacon, after Christmas Day vespers, and do the readings of the night office and blessings after the Gospel (which they would not normally do), while priests performed the tripudium similarly on the vespers of the feast itself, in honor of St. John, patron of priests; the choirboys (pueri) did so on the feast of blessed John, in honor of the holy Innocents. Durand repeats Beleth's comment about subdeacons celebrating the feast of fools, in some churches on the feast of the Circumcision, in others on the Epiphany or the octave of Epiphany, but comments on its confused character: "Because the authority of the practice is not certain, as in the ancient canons it is sometimes called sacred, sometimes not, therefore the subdeacons do not have a fixed day for their celebration, and their feast is celebrated in a confused way." (87) Durand's comment, derived from Beleth, reflects his disapproval of the practice.

The contrast in the way Beleth and Durand present the feast of John the Baptist is particularly pronounced. Durand leaves out altogether Beleth's detailed explanation of why torches were lit during outdoor processions on the eve of that feast. Instead he emphasizes that there should be a three-week fast prior to the feast of John the Baptist, in which there should be fasting and no weddings should be celebrated, indeed (quoting Isidore), "women, while they are being married, should be veiled, so that they may know they are always subject to men and because Rebecca, having seen Isaac, veiled herself." (88) His only reference to these festivities is a single comment, abbreviated from Beleth, about how the night office is celebrated in summer, "sometimes rather stormily, which they call Vigils from the old name, and specially on the feasts of John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, and the Assumption, which are the special feasts of the season, and they begin to do this at the twilight on the feast of blessed John, in that he was himself the end of the old Testament and the beginning of the New." (89) Durand omits Beleth's much fuller explanation of why the night office is now celebrated at dawn, namely that originally ministers and married people, men and women, used to rise to celebrate the night office, but they became carried away by nocturnal pleasures, so that only religious celebrate the night office. Durand also leaves out Beleth's eloquent lament that in many churches, "boys rise before ministers of the church, sparrows sing before priests," and that many are too lazy to arise at dawn, and in fact spurn the daily office.

Durand describes what should happen at the vigils of John the Baptist rather than what actually took place, as we find in the treatise of Beleth. Durand repeats Beleth's remarks about the game of the pila celebrated during "the December freedom," mentioning that prelates may even indulge in dancing or singing with clerics in episcopal houses. (90) This is not his own comment, however, but derives from a much fuller account by Sicard of Cremona. He also expands on Beleth's comment about women and men being able to beat one another in the second and third days respectively after Easter, with an additional remark that women should not lead dances in this period. (91)


The Rationale of Durand implemented a reforming program that was suspicious of dance that can be traced back to the beginning of the thirteenth century but would continue to be re-asserted at various moments in the later Middle Ages. The more positive attitudes toward dance manifested by Honorius, Beleth, and Sicard would gradually be overshadowed by another approach. At the same time as Eudes de Sully set about constructing a new facade to the cathedral of Notre-Dame (not completed until 1245), the bishop of Paris endeavored to establish his authority in the diocese through a series of statutes, "prohibitions and precepts to be observed by all priests." (92) These statutes, issued in 1203 in response to a request by Pope Innocent III for a general reform of the clergy of the archdiocese of Sens, differ from those issued in the twelfth century by provincial synods in issuing from the bishop himself, rather than from a collective assembly. The statutes relate to the behavior of priests and their liturgical duties, as essentially superior to those of any other cleric. No priest or chaplain was to keep in his house any woman other than his mother or sister.
 It is completely forbidden for all priests to play with dice or
 attend spectacles or be present at dances or enter taverns in
 order to drink, or to enter strange houses without an amice
 [ecclesiastical garb] and in company with a cleric or layperson
 or to wander through streams and squares; it is completely forbidden
 for them to wear winged capes [with wide sleeves] and unusual
 clothes. (93)

Even if the dances (choreae) referred to here seem to be secular in nature, there is another ruling included among liturgical matters:
 It is forbidden for priests to allow dances (choreae)
 particularly in three places: in churches, cemeteries,
 and processions. (94)

The prohibition seems to relate to circular dances taking place in liturgical contexts. While they are unlikely to be the tripudia referred to by John Beleth and Durand, these choreae may be more informal circular dances that involve mixing both clergy and people, as implied by the pope's letter to the abbot of Reims.

Other statutes relate to a perceived risk of challenge and pollution to the priestly rank. Priests are not allowed to let any unknown person, educated or not, preach, even outside the church or in the streets. The faithful are urged to contribute to the cathedral and to arm themselves against the Albigensians. Priests must only give blessed bread to women who come for purification after childbirth, and they must not be given the Eucharist unless they have expressly asked for it and they have confessed beforehand. (95) Women in childbirth, Jews, and heretics are projected as representing that which is potentially polluting to the right order of society.

These edicts were of immense influence in diocesan legislation elsewhere in France as in England. The prohibitions against dances in churches, cemeteries, and processions are repeated in statutes issued at Angers in 1219-1220 and widely disseminated in the West of France, with more elaborate detail:
 Priests must forbid under pain of excommunication dances being
 conducted in the cemetery or in churches. Let them warn that they
 should not be elsewhere because, as blessed Augustine says, "it is
 better to dig and plough on feast days than to conduct dances."
 What a serious sin it is to conduct dances and farandoles
 (ballationes) in a holy place can be judged by the penance
 enjoined according to the rigor of the canons: "if anyone makes
 or conducts farandoles before the churches of the saints, let him do
 penance for three years, having promised to make amends." (96)

Augustine had uttered that grim warning against dancing, with reference not to feast days, but to commentary on Ps. 32.2, "Confess to the Lord on the harp," in relation to the sabbath. (97) The reference to farandoles (ballationes) was lifted verbatim from the polemic of Caesarius of Arles in the fifth century.

Another statute (c.31) repeated a prohibition of the IV Lateran Council (c. 16) on clerics exercising business activities and watching mimes, actors, or jugglers, as well as avoiding taverns (unless obliged by necessity to stop there). They were not to gamble, and had to have a suitable haircut and tonsure. Clerics in holy orders had to have clothes that were neither too long nor too short. There was also more detailed instruction about the fasts that should be observed at Lent and at the vigils of Christmas, Assumption, eight other feasts (including St. John the Baptist), and the feast of St. Mark (April 25) and Rogation days. (98) These rulings, including those against dances in cemeteries and churches, are repeated by Henry, bishop of Sisteron in 1249 and the bishop of Nimes in 1252. In the latter statutes there is a prohibition against declaiming cantilenae as well as against performing choreae. (99) Given that Beleth's Summa was still being widely copied in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it could well be that many local churches were still clinging to liturgical practices that had been sanctioned by Beleth in the twelfth but now were disapproved of by Durand in the thirteenth.

Statutes of the Faculty of Arts in 1252 (repeated in 1280) instruct that at the death of a student, a fellow student should be present with his nation (if it is a feast day, or otherwise if he has been summoned), but he is not to allow choreas to be held outside his house (college), and that he should read the Psalter when a regent master died. (100) In 1276, however, the papal legate complained that on the particular feast days celebrated by a student nation, which should be celebrated with due solemnity, prayer, and works of mercy, students were engaging in feasting, drinking, and other loose behavior, including dances (choreas) and other activities, including taking arms and disturbing the community at large. (101) Those held responsible for such behavior would incur excommunication. Whether these were simply dissolute versions of a ritual dance, or purely secular dances, is not fully clear.

Nonetheless, there is ample evidence that dancing continued to be performed in religious communities, even in the face of repeated attempts by episcopal authorities to crack down on excessively dissolute behavior. In the twelfth century, Gerald of Wales recorded a circular dance that took place in Wales on the feast of St. Aelivedha (Almedda) more with amazement than hostility. "Men or girls, now in the cemetery, now in a circular dance that is led round the cemetery with a song, suddenly fall on the ground as in a trance, initially as if led in ecstasy, then jumping up, as if seized by frenzy, they represent with their hands and feet, before the people, whatever work they have unlawfully done on feast days." (102) Gerald then describes how they reenacted various trades, concluding: "On being brought into the church and led up to the altar with their oblations, you will be astonished to see them suddenly awakened and coming to themselves. Thus, by the divine mercy, which rejoices in the conversion, not in the death, of sinners, many persons from the conviction of their senses, are on these feast days corrected and mended." (103) The mimetic actions of the dance served to celebrate the redeeming power of a saint.

Such behavior was seen as a natural extension of liturgy. A passion play from St. Gall, recorded about 1300, reports that the person playing Mary Magdalene "should dance with one girl and two young men." The association of dancing and music with Mary Magdalene would be a normative feature of music and art until the sixteenth century. (104) In the mid-thirteenth century, Eudes de Rigaud, archbishop of Rouen, recorded with distaste the activity of both nuns and clerics in Normandy during major feasts, such as of St. Nicholas, the Holy Innocents or of Mary Magdalene, in dancing with laypeople or singing scurrilous songs. (105) Even in the late fifteenth century, such processions were still being practiced. The nuns of the Paraclete, for example, went in procession some distance from the abbey with the inhabitants of all the neighboring villages to a particular cross, called Crobc du Maftre, during Rogationtide and at Ascension. After certain Latin responses were sung before the Cross, believed to have been established by Abelard himself, the nuns began to dance and sing vernacular songs, according to an edict of bishop Jacques Raguier issued August 4, 1499. The nuns had apparently resisted ecclesiastical complaints, claiming ancient authority for the practice and maintaining that they would make a gift to each of the young girls presented there. The bishop was unmoved by their petition. (106) Not only were nuns seen by a local rural community to be particularly efficacious, but also they provided an opportunity for the status of young girls to be officially recognized by the community as a whole.

The practices still observed by the nuns of the Paraclete in the late fifteenth century had persisted despite three centuries of episcopal condemnations. At the Council of Vienne (1311-1312) the authorities complained that clerics and laypeople were still performing dissolute circular dances (choreas) and singing cantilenas in cemeteries when they should be in the church in prayer, and separately warned again nuns engaging in such dances. (107) More detail is given in a similar ruling of the Council of Basel (1431-1436) about various festivities and entertainments that occur on certain fixed feast days. Choreae and tripudia are used here to refer to two distinct activities:
 This holy synod detests that foul abuse practiced in certain
 churches in which on several fixed feasts of the year they bless
 with a pontifical mitre, staff, and vestments in the manner of
 bishops, some clothed like kings and princes, called in some
 regions the feast of fools or of innocents or of boys; some perform
 masks and humorous theater, others circular dances (choreas) and
 dancing (tripudia) of men and women, others move people to spectacle
 and laughter, others prepare feasts and banquets in that very place;
 it [the synod] decides and orders as much ordinary clergy as deans
 and rectors, under pain of suspension of all ecclesiastical income
 for a space of three months, that they no longer permit transgressors
 to exercise these or similar entertainments nor any commerce or
 affairs of business in the Church, which ought to be a house of
 prayer, or in the cemetery, and not neglect other remedies of the law
 in punishing them through ecclesiastical censure. (108)

The attempts of authorities, from Eudes de Sully to the assembled prelates at the Council of Basel, to impose order on ecclesiastical festivities were never wholly successful. Ancient traditions of festivity, especially those that marked important saints' days and both the winter and summer solstice, were always celebrated with dancing, as they seem to have been even in late antiquity.

The tripudia to which Beleth refers were ritual dances long integrated into the liturgy in certain churches. A statute of the cathedral of St. Stephen, Sens, laid down that "on these two feasts [of St. Stephen and St. Lupus], the precentor should engage in dance, wearing gloves and rings, with a rod, and not more often." (109) The meaning of these instructions is clarified by an early fourteenth-century liturgical manuscript from the cathedral of Sens (Sens, Bibl. Mun. 6) that contains an extended wordless neuma, to be sung at the end of antiphons on the feasts of St. Stephen and of St. Lupus. The markings on the music are argued by Jacques Chailley to refer specifically to the dance undertaken during the singing of the plainchant. (110) It is quite possible, as Yvonne Rokseth has suggested, that religious songs sometimes record circular dances (choreas) in relation to major feasts, like Easter or particular saints' days. (111) The term may also be rendered as "carol," describing a particular kind of dance, performed to the ductia, "rapid in its ascent and descent" according to Johannes de Grocheio, writing in the late thirteenth century. Carols performed at Christmas and Easter are a residual legacy of these choreae. (112)

By the sixteenth century, the ritual dances described by Honorius, Beleth, Sicard and, in more muted form, by William Durand, were viewed by the authorities as the unwanted legacy of pagan tradition. Only in isolated places did these traditions persist, as at Besancon (the bergerette) and at Limoges in the seventeenth century. (113) Liturgical dance still survives in Spain on the feasts of Corpus Christi and the Immaculate Conception, despite attempts by the Church in the seventeenth century to condemn the practice. (114) An annual dance of pilgrims celebrated on the feast of St. Willibrord at Echternach in Luxemburg is first documented in 1603, when the abbot reprimanded clerics who wished to avoid engaging in the practice, and would survive attempts to have it stopped by the archbishop of Trier in 1777 and later. (115) Traditionally the dance or tripudium was restricted to men, and involved a row of dancers making three steps forward and one back (or sometimes five forward and two back), and then processing to behind the main altar, where a metal corona, carrying images of the apostles, was lowered over the dancers. (116) Such survivals attest to a much larger range of practices that--like the game of pila--were considered an acceptable part of Christian ritual by liturgists like Beleth and Sicard of Cremona in the twelfth century, but which subsequently incurred official opposition from the Church. While the twentieth century has witnessed occasional moves to revive the tradition of liturgical dance, such experiments are far removed from the dancing at the tombs of the saints against which Caesarius of Aries and Isidore of Seville fulminated so strongly in early Middle Ages.


The complaints of early medieval moralists indirectly attest to the long and difficult process by which the Christian Church was obliged to come to terms with the way in which Christian liturgy had to co-exist with much older ritual practices--often involving dancing--associated with the New Year and other feasts of the agricultural calendar. By the twelfth century, however, liturgists like John Beleth and Sicard of Cremona were more positive in their use of pagan imagery to justify ritual practice, including dance. While Honorius Augustodunensis had initiated the application of classical learning to expounding the liturgy, the process was taken much further in the mid-twelfth century by John Beleth. A student of Gilbert of Poitiers and clearly oriented to a more secular milieu than Honorius, Beleth offered explanations not just for clerical rituals but for celebrations pursued outside the confines of the church, such as on the vigils of St. John the Baptist. He was interested in providing rational explanations for tripudia, ritual dances, performed to plainchant on particular feasts of the Church's year. In the later twelfth century, Sicard drew on both Honorius and Beleth to describe the game of ball known as the pila, as a kind of dance, celebrated at Easter. Sicard turned to the testimony of the ancients to justify the use of dance at such a major feast.

By the turn of the thirteenth century, a more centralized ecclesiastical authority was starting to assert itself against manifestations of popular culture in various forms of tripudia and circular dances (chorea). In the late thirteenth century, the Rationale divinorum officiorum of William Durand modified much of what he found in Beleth, especially relating to pagan precedent for Christian liturgy. Durand was similarly sparing in what he took from Sicard of Cremona. The failure of subsequent ecclesiastical councils to abolish these practices over the next three centuries is itself testimony to the refusal to disappear of so many of the popular traditions described by Beleth, traditions that may themselves once have had a pagan origin, but which had long since mutated within a Christian context. Whether such practices were indeed Christian would always be a point of contention.

(1) I am indebted to Dawn McGann for originally awakening nay interest in liturgical dance, and am grateful to Donnalee Dox, Bruce Holsinger, and many others for discussing issues and translations in this paper.

(2) Sicard of Cremona, Mitralis de Officiis 6.15, ed. Gabor Sarbak and Lorenz Weinrich, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaeualis (CCCM) 228 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008), 545-546; PL 213: 351D-352B. Augustine Thompson draws extensively on the testimony of Sicard, including his comments about Easter, in Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), 335. Lorenz Weinrich suggests that the Mitralis, not widely circulated outside northern Italy, was written over several years, between 1191 and 1205: "Die Handschriften des 'Mitralis de officiis' des Sicard von Cremona," in Franz J. Felten and Nikolas Jaspert, eds., Vita Religiosa im Mittelalter: Festschrift fur Kaspar Elm zum 70. Geburtstag (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1999), 865-876.

(3) Honorius Augustodunensis, Gemma animae, PL 172: 541D-738B; Valerie I. J. Flint lists more than fifty surviving manuscripts in Honorius Augustodunensis, Authors of the Middle Ages (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 1995), 164. John Beleth, Summa de ecclesiasticis officiis, ed. Heribert Douteil, CCCM 41-41A (Turnhout: Brepols, 1976); Douteil describes over one hundred and eighty surviving manuscripts, CCCM 41:75*-271*, assigning most of the ones he uses to the thirteenth century (CCCM 41: 13*).

(4) Sicard of Cremona, Mitralis 6.15, CCCM 228: 545-546. The editors note that lines 472-486 are copied from Beleth, Summa de ecclesiasticis officiis 117a, 117d, 120a, ed. Douteil, CCCM 41, 219, 223, but not the dependence of lines 486-499 on Honorius, Gemma animae 139, PL 172: 587CD; in both cases copied phrases are cited in italics, here and in further notes: "Ad supradicta hodierna officia omnes Christiani debent libere conuenire ad applaudendum gloriae resurrectionis quae reuelabitur in nobis. Haec solempnitas igitur est iubilaeus Christianomm, in qua discordes pacificentur, offensae remittantur. Qui deliquerant, reconcilientur, debita non exigantur. Ergasteria non aperiantur; uenalia non exponantur, exceptis illis sine quibus caena duci non potest. Captiui relaxentur; pastores et serui ad seruitia non artentur, ut libertate ualeant perfrui et in festiuitate futurae laetitiae delectari. Inde est quod in claustris quarundam ecclesiarum etiam episcopi [Beleth adds: uel archiepiscopi] cum suis clericis decembrica libertate utuntur, descendentes etiam ad ludum choreae uel pilae, quamuis non ludere laudabilius sit [Beleth: Licet autem magne ecclesie ut Remensis hanc ludendi consuetudinem teneant, tamen non ludere laudabilius esse uidetur] et dieitur haee decembrica libertas, eo quod mense decembris pastores, servi et ancillae quadam libertate apud gentiles a dominis dominarentur [Beleth: festa agentes conuiuia post collectas messes], et collectis messibus cure eis conuiuarentur. Et attende, quod gentilitas ad plausum idolomm choreas instituit, ut dens suns, et uoce laudarent, et eis toto corppore seruirent, uolentes etiam in eis aliquid more sun figurare misterii; nam per eireuitionem [Honorius: per choreas autem] intelligebant firmamenti reuolutionem, per manuum complexionem elementorum connexionem, per melodias cantantium harmonias planetarum: per corporum gesticulationes [Honorius: per corporis gesticulationem], signorum uel planetarum motiones [Honorius: motionem]: per plausum manuum et strepitum pedum crepitationes tonitruorum. Sed quod illi suis idolis exhibuerunt, cultores unius Dei ad ipsius praeconia conuerterunt [Honorius: Quod fideles imitati sunt, et in servitium veri Dei converterunt]. Nam populus de mari Rubro egressus, choream duxisse, et Maria cure timpano legitur praecinuisse, et David ante arcam totis uiribus saltauit et cure cithara psalmos cecinit, et Salomon circa altare cantores instituit, qui uoce, tuba, cimbalis, organis et aliis musicis instrumentis cantica personuisse leguntur."

(5) Curt Sachs, World History of the Dance, trans. Bessis Schonberg (New York: Norton, 1965).

(6) G. R. S. Mead, "'Ceremonial Game Playing and Dancing in Mediaeval Churches," in The Quest: A Quarterly Review (October 1912), reprinted in The Sacred Dance in Christendom, The Quest Reprint Series 2 (London: John M. Watkins, 1926), 91-110, alongside two other essays on sacred dance, originally published in The Quest: A Quarterly Review: "The Sacred Dance of Jesus" [October 1910]; "Ceremonial Dances and Symbolic Banquets in Mediaeval Churches" [January 1913]; H. Gougaud in his entry, "Danse," in the Dietionnaire d'archeologie chretienne et liturgique [DACL] 4. 1 (Paris: Letouzey 1920), cols. 248-258, summarizing his earlier study, "La danse dans les Eglises,'" Revue d'histoire ecclesiastique 15 (1914): 1-22, 229-245. There is a rich summary in Yvonne Rokseth, "Danses clericales du XIIIe siecle," Melanges 1945 des Publications de la Faculte des Lettres de Strasbourg, 3. Etudes historiques (Paris, 1947), 93 126. See also Renee Foatelli, Les Danses religieuses dans le Christianisme (Paris: Editions Spes, 1947); E. Louis Backman, Religious Dances in the Christian Church and in Popular Medicine (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1952): Marilyn Daniel, The Dance in Christianity: A History of Religious Dance through the Ages (New York: Paulist Press, 1981). J. G. Davies, Liturgical Dance: An Historical, Theological. and Practical Handbook (London: SCM, 1984) is noteworthy for his scholarly caution, although there is very little account of the medieval literature, apart from a list of references to condemnation of dances (49-53). Jean-Claude Schmitt comments on the importance of dance in scripture, as well as in medieval tradition, in La raison des gestes (Paris: Gallimard, 1990), 86-92.

(7) Sicard, Mitralis 6.15, CCCM 228: 546; PL 213: 352A preserves only the final phrase of Beleth, De eccl. off. 120a, CCCM 41A: 223: "Licet autem magne ecclesie ut Remensis hanc ludendi consuetudinem teneant, tamen non ludere laudabilius esse uidetur."

(8) Beleth, De eccl. off. 159r, CCCM 41A: 308.

(9) For a thoughtful analysis of Horace's use of the December freedom image within Satumalian convention, see Michael Andre Bernstein, "'O Totiens Servus': Saturnalia and Servitude in Augustan Rome," Critical Inquiry 13:3 (Spring 1987), 450-474, developed within Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992). Bernstein, "'O Totiens Servus,'" reports the widespread phenomenon of such a ritual practice, such as occurs once a year in the Ashanti tribe of northern Ghana (454).

(10) John of Salisbury, Policraticus, Prol. 1.89, ed. K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, CCCM 118 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1993), 24, and Policraticus 7.225, ed. C. C. J. Webb, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1909), 2: 224-225.

(11) Craig Wright, The Maze and the Warriors Symbols in Architecture, Theology, and Music" (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001), 129 158, especially 139-151 on the dance at Auxerre, Sens, and Chartres, and 317 n. 35. See also Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1990).

(12) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 9, 29-37; cf. Isidore, Etymologiae 15.2.36, ed. W. M. Lindsay (Oxford: Clarendon, 1912): "Labyrinthus est perplexis parietibus aedificium, qualis est apud Cretam a Daedalo factus, ubi fuit Minotaurus inclusus; in quo si quis introierit sine glomere lini, exitum inuenire non ualet. Cuius aedificii tails est situs ut aperientibus fores tonitruum intus terribile audiatur: descenditur centenis ultra gradibus; intus simulacra et monstrificae effigies, in partes diuersas transitus innumeri per tenebras, et cetera ad errorem ingredientium facta, ita ut de tenebris eius ad lucern uenire inpossibile uideatur." Plutarch, in his Life of Theseus, reports that the inhabitants of Delos celebrated a dance, celebrating how Theseus danced with other youth of his company who had been rescued from the Minotaur. The passage is alluded to by Marius Victorinus, Ars grammatica, in Grammatici latini, vol. 6, ed. Heinrich Keil (Hildesheim, 1960) 60: "'Hoc genus in sacris cantilenis ferunt quidam instituisse Theseum, qui occiso Minotauro cure apud Delum solveret vota, imitatus intortum et flexuosum iter labyrinthi cum pueris virginibusque, cure quis evaserat, cantus edebat, primo in circuitu, dehinc in recursu, id est strophe et antistropho. Alii tradunt hoc sacrorum cantu concentum mundi cursumque ab hominibus imitari."

(13) Ibid., 19.8.1: "In fabricis parietum atque tectorum Graeci inuentorem Daedalum adserunt; iste enim primus didicisse fabricam a Minerua dicitur."

(14) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 13-16, 41-43.

(15) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 50-59.

(16) William Durandus, Rationale diuinorum officiorum I-VIII, ed. A. Davril, T. M. Thibodeau, B. G. Guyot, CCCM 140-140B (Turnhout: Brepols, 1995-2000).

(17) Durandus, Rationale, diuinorum officiorum 1.5.14. CCCM 140: 62: "Si uero quis subito moriatur in ludis consuetis, ut in ludo pile, sepeliri potest in cimiterio quia nemini nocere intendebat; sed quia mundialibus occupabatur aiunt quidam quod sepeliri debet sine psalmis et sine ceteris mortuorum obsequiis" [words from Beleth italicized].

(18) This translation is that of Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 139-140, given without reference to the original Latin, supplied by Jean Lebeuf within his study, "Remarques sur les anciennes Rejouissances Ecclesiastiques," Mercure de France, May 1726, 911-925, esp. 921-922: "Accepta pilota a proselyto seu tirone Canonico, Decanus, aut alter pro eo olim gestans in capite almutiam ceterique pariter, aptam diei Festo Paschae Prosam antiphonabat quae incipit Victimae Paschali laudes: tum laeva pilotam apprehendens, ad Prosae decantatatae numerosos sonos tripudium agebat, ceteris manu prehensis choream circa daedalum ducentibus, dum interim per alternas vices pilota singulis aut pluribus ex choribaudis a Decano serti in speciam tradebatur aut jaciebatur. Lusus erat et organi ad choreae numeros. Prosa ac saltatione finitis chorus post choream ad merendam properabat. Ibi omnes de Capitulo, sed et capellani atque Officiarii, cure quibusque nobilioribus oppidanis in corona sedebant in subselliis seu orchestra; quibus singulis nebulae oblatae, bellariola, fructeta, et cetera hujusmodi cum apri, cervi aut leporis conditorum frustulo offerebantur, vinumque candidum ac rubrum modeste ac moderate una scilicet aut altera vice propinabatur, lectore interim e cathedra aut pulpito Homiliam festivam concinente. Mox signis majoribus ex turri ad Vesperas, etc." Lebeuf's article was reproduced anonymously in Constant Leber, Collection des meilleures Dissertations, Notices et Traites particuliers, relatifs a l'Histoire de France (Paris, 1826), 9:391-401, under the title "Lettre curieuse sur le jeu de la pelote et la danse des chanoines du chapitre d'Auxerre." Wright does not mention that the letter had been quoted and discussed by Mead, "'Ceremonial Game Playing and Dancing in Mediaeval Churches," in The Quest: A Quarterly Review (October 1912), reprinted in The Sacred Dance in Christendom, 91-110, esp. 96-98 (see n. 6 above). The Auxerre letter was also mentioned by Heers, Fetes des fous et carnavals (Paris: Fayard, 1983), 92-95. See too Penelope Reed Doob, "The Auxerre Labyrinth Dance," Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Conference of the Society of Dance History Scholars, 15-17 February 1985 (Riverside, Calif.: Dance History Scholars, 1985), 132-142.

(19) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 140; Mead, "Ceremonial Game Playing," 99-100, gently mocks the interpretation offered by Lebeuf that "the dean would catch hold of one of the canons by the hand and begin a dance, which was followed by the dancing of the other canons in a circle or in another mode, and of the ball being passed by the president to the players, and them passing it back to the president." Mead writes that Lebeuf "proceeds to draw a comic picture of the grave church dignitaries breathlessly waltzing, with their violet cassocks tucked up to their waists and the ends of their amices fluttering in violent agitation behind them. He starts with a false notion of a jeu de paume, a secular merry game and dance at best, and then falls into quite unnecessary difficulties and contradictions" (100).

(20) Lebeuf, Mercure, 915-916, and Charles Du Fresne Du Cange, Glossarium Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis, 10 vols. (Niort: 1883-1887), 6:253 under pelota; see also documents identified by Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 321 n. 35.

(21) Mead, "Ceremonial Game Playing," 101, and with further discussion of the feast at both Auxerre (where it was called grolia or & grolee) in "Ceremonial Dances and Symbolic Banquets," 259-262 (n. 5 above),

(22) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 80-86.

(23) On this element of the Apostles' Creed (known from the fourth century) and liturgical reenactment of the theme of Christ's descent in the second- or third-century Gospel of Nicodemus, see Wright, The Mace and the Warrior, 80-81, quoting a significant part of The Gospel of Nicodemus. On the medieval transmission and development of this text, see two works by Zbigniew Izydorczyk, Manuscripts of the Evangelium Nicodemi: A Census (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1993) and The Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts in Western Europe (Tempe, Ariz.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1997).

(24) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 142.

(25) See n. 12; Martianus Capella recalls that the "labyrinthine Daedalus" was believed to have created a woman of outstanding beauty, holding in her left hand a solid ball of clothing, from which the entire universe would be created, De nuptiis philologiae et Mercurii: 6.579, ed. J. Willis (Leipzig: Teubner, 1974), 204: "'Nimimm' inquam 'ista, quae veniet, Apellen Polyclitumque transcendit; ita quippe memoratur posse omnia effigiare, ut labyrintheus Daedalus earn credendus sit genuisse." Et cum dicto prospicio quandam feminam luculentam radium dextera, altera sphaeram solidam gestitantem amictamque laevorsum peplo, in quo siderum magnitudines et meatus, circulorum mensurae conexionesque vel formae, umbra etiam telluris in caelum quoque perveniens vel lunae orbes ac soils auratos caliganti murice decolorans inter sidera videbatur."

(26) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 84, referring to earlier studies, notably Ann Faulkner, "The Harrowing of Hell at Barking Abbey and in Modern Production," in The Iconography of Hell, ed. Clifford Davidson and Thomas H. Seiler (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute, 1992), 141-157. See also Karl Young, The Drama of the Medieval Church, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1933).

(27) Wright provides an image of what he calls "fashionable citizens of Chartres enjoying the pleasures of the maze, from an engraving of 1696," in The Maze and the Warrior, 214, though he comments on an eighteenth-century reference to the maze at Sens taking two thousand steps (presumably on one's knees) to accomplish (47). In his article of 1912, "'Ceremonial Game Playing," 99 n. 2 (n. 6 above), Mead comments that pilgrims to Chartres were still practicing the devotion of the rosary when moving through the labyrinth.

(28) Wright, Tire Maze and the Warrior, 51-52.

(29) Wright, The Maze and the Warrior, 156-157 and 324 n. 100-101, quoting an anonymous report, "La Danse candiote,'" Magazin pittoresque 6 (1838): 216.

(30) Lucian of Samosata, The Dance, in Lucian with an English Translation [no. 45], ed. and trans. A. M. Harmon, vol. 5 (London: Heinemann, 1936), 209-289.

(31) For example, Livy, Ab urbe condita 1.20.4 (Leipzig: Teubner, 1982): carmina cure tripudiis sollemnique saltatu; 10.40.5: tripudium solistimum; 21.42.4: cum sui moris tripudiis; 23.26.9: tripudiantes more suo; 25.17.5: cure tripudiis Hispanorum; 38.17.4: et uhdatus et tripudia. Hubert Petersmann argues that the Romans were less involved in sacred dancing than the Greeks, "Springende und tanzende Gotter beim antiken Fest," reprinted in his collected papers, Lingua et Religio: ausgewahlte kleine Schriften zur antiken Religionsgeschichte auf sprachwissenschatflicher Grundlage, ed. Bernd Hessen, Hypomnemata: Supplement-Reihe 1 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 2002), 89-104. He identifies the ancient tripudium as metrically equivalent to a short, followed by two longs. Isidore defines chorea as referring either to songs or leaping, Etymologiae 6.19.6, ed. W. M. Lindsay (Oxford: Clarendon, 1912).

(32) Sicard alludes to Exodus 15.19: "sumpsit ergo Maria prophetis soror Aaron tympanum in manu egressaeque sunt omnes mulieres post earn cum tympanis et choris"; II Sam. 6.5, 16: "David autem et onmis Israhel ludebant coram Domino ... Michol filia Saul prospiciens per fenestram vidit regem David subsilientem atque saltantem coram Deo"; 1 Par. [=I Chronicles] 13.8; 15.29: "porro David et universus Israhel ludebant coram Deo omni virtute in canticis et in citharis et lyris et tympanis et sistris et cymbalis ... Michol filia Saul prospiciens per fenestram vidit regem David saltantem atque ludentem et despexit eum in corde suo." II Par. [-Il Chronicles] 5.12 etc.

(33) Jerome, Commentarii in prophetas minores, In Abacuc 2.3.10, ed. Marc Adriaen, CCSL 76A (Turnhout: Brepols, 1970), 634: "tunc etiam superi, id est angeli in plausum suis manibus concreparunt, ut uictorem ueluti gestu quodam et tripudio eleuatarum manuum demonstrarent." In Zachariam 2.8.5, CCSL 76A: 809: "gaudete, iterum dico gaudete, mentis laetitiam gestu corporis indicabunt, et tripudiante saltatu, dicent cure Dauid: saltabo et ludam in conspectu domini." In Zachariam 3.12.10, CCCSL 76A: 868: "haec et alia illudentes, et quodam amentiae tripudio saltantes loquebantur." Commentarii in iv epistulas Paulinas, Ad Ephesios 3, PL 26: 559: "certe tunc in populo dicta placuerunt, et quodam plausu ac tripudio sunt excepta." Epist. 23.3, ed. I. Hilberg, CSEL 54 (Vienna, 1910), 213: "ille, quem ante paucos dies dignitatum omnmm culmina praecedebant, qui, quasi de subjectis hostibus triumpharet, capitolinas ascendit arces, quem plausu quodam et tripudio populus romanus excepit, ad cuius interitum urbs uniuersa commota est." Epist. 130.6, ed. I. Hilberg, CSEL 56 (Vienna, 1918), 181: "parum loquor: cunctae per africam ecclesiae quodam exultauere tripudio.'"

(34) The patristic debt to pagan debate about dance is usefully covered by Davies, Liturgical Dance (n. 6 above).

(35) "Cassiodorus," Historia tripertita 10.9.1, ed. W. Jacob and R. Hanslik, CSEL 71 (Vienna, 1952), 696; PL 69: 1171D, quoting Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica 6.8. Cf. Ignatius, Epistolae ad Ephesios 4, PG 5: 648B; Ad Romanos 2.2, PG 5: 688B.

(36) Honorius, Gemma animae 140, PL 172: 62lAB: expanding on Cassiodorus, Historia ecclesiastica 8.5, ed. Jacob-Hanslik, CSEL 71: 473-476. Sicard, Mitralis 5 Prol. CCCM 228: 292, repeating Beleth, De eccl. off. 58d, CCCM 41A: 106, but adding that antiphons were like a dance: "Legitur enim in Tripertita historia, quod beatus Ignatius patriarcha Antiochenus audiuit angelos cantantes antiphonatim super montem quendam et exinde instituit antiphonas in ecclesia cantari et psalmos secundum antiphonas centonizari [Sicard: cum psalmis in choro, quasi chorea cantari]. Vnde dicuntur antiphone in respectu ad psalmodiam, sicut responsoria ad hystoriam. Et cum prius confuse et quasi in chorea cantarentur psalmi et antiphone, statutum est a patribus, ut seorsum chorus sederet et alternatim psalleret, id est una pars chori cantaret unum uersum psalmi et reliqua alium." This goes back to Cassiodorus (in fact a translation of Greek church historians, commissioned by Cassiodorus), Historia ecclesiastica 10.9.1.

(37) Chrysostom, Homiliae in Matthaeum 48, PG 58: 492: "'For where there is a dance, there also is the Devil. For God has not given us our feet to use in a shameful way but in order that we may walk in decency, not that we should dance like camels (for even dancing camels make an unpleasant spectacle much more than women), but in order to dance ring-dances with the angels. For if it is shameful for the body to behave thus, the more so is it for the spirit to do so. Thus dance the demons and thus dance the servants of the demons": cited by E. Louis Backman, Religious Dances, 32.

(38) Ambrose, Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam 6, cd. Marc Adriaen, CCSL 14 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1957), 177: "'Docuit nos scriptura cantare grauiter, psallere spiritaliter; docuit etiam saltare sapienter dicente domino ad Ezechihel: plaude manu et percute pede; neque enim histrionicos fluxi corporis morns deus momm censor exigeret aut indecoros crepitus uiris plaususque femineos imperaret, ut tanmm prophetam deduceret ad ludibria scaenicorum et mollia feminamm. Non congruunt resurrectionis reuelata mysteria et obprobria saltationis exacta. Est sane, est quidam proprius bonorum actuum factorumque plausus, cuius sonus in orbem exeat et bene gestorum resultet gloria, est honesta saltatio, qua tripudiat animus, et bonis corpus operibus eleuatur, quando in salicibus organa nostra suspendimus."

(39) Ambrose, Depaenitentia 2.6, ed. Roger Gryson, Sources chretiennes 179 (Paris: Cerf, 1971), 160-162: "Et ideo cavendum ne qui vulgari quadam sennonis huius deceptus interpretatione putet nobis saltationis lubricae histrionicos motus et scenae deliramenta mandari; haec etiam in adulescentula aerate vitiosa sunt. Sed saltationem earn mandavit quam saltavit David ante arcam domini. Totum enim decet quidquid defertur religioni, ut nulhun obsequium quod proficiat ad cultum et observantiam Christi, embescamus. Non ergo ilia deliciarum comes atque luxuriae saltatio praedicatur, sed qua unusquisque corpus adtollat inpigrum, nec humi pigra iacere membra vel tardis sinat torpere vestigiis. Saltabat spiritaliter Paulus cure se pro nobis extenderet et posteriora obliviscens, priora adpetens contenderet ad bravium Christi. Tu quoque, cum ad baptismum venis, manus elevate, pedes, quibus ad aeterna conscendas, velociores habere admoneris. Haec est sahatio fidei socia, gratiae comes." Backman observes the ambiguity of these texts of Ambrose, Religious Dances, 28-30; Davies argues that they cannot be used as evidence of actual dance, Liturgical Dance, 36-43, observing comments of Greek authors in the fourth century B.C.E. that there was by then little or no dancing in Greek tragic choruses. The evidence of Lucian's dialogue on dance (n. 30 above), however, suggests that dancing was still an integral feature of theatrical performance in the second century C.E.

(40) Augustine, De libero arbitrio 2.16.166, ed. W. M. Green, CCSL 29 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1970), 266; De musica I, 6, PL 32: 1099, 1175, 1177: De ordine 2.11.34, ed. Green, CCSL 29: 126.

(41) Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos Ps. 149.7, CCSL 40:2183 "Et chorus quid significat? Multi nouerunt chorum; et quia in ciuitate loquimur, prope omnes norunt. Chorus est consensio cantantimn. Si in choro cantamus, concorditer cantemus.'"

(42) Ambrose, De patriarchis 10.44, ed. C. Shenkl, CSEL 32.2 (Vienna, 1897), 149: "exibunt et tripudiabunt sicut uituli resoluti uinculis"; De fuga saeculi 4.20, ed. Shenkl, CSEL 32.2: 180: "Qui enim delectatur hoc mundo et tripudiat in uoluptatibus corporis obnoxius est sensuum passionibus atque in his habitat et deuersatur." Explanatio psalmorum xii 79.3, ed. M. Petschenig, CSEL 62 (Vienna, 1919), 134: "quasi interesset ipsis Christi et ecclesiae nuptialis copulae sacramentis, ita tripudiat et gaudet." Cf. Augustine, Contra Iudianum 5, PL 44: 800--801, alluding to Julian of Eclanum, Libri iv ad Turbantium 3, ed. L. De Coninck, CCSL 88 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1977), 377.

(43) Sermo 311, PL 38: 1415: "Numquidnam in hoc loco, etsi Psalmus cantandus est, ab aliquo saltandum est? Aliquando ante annos non valde multos etiam istum locum invaserat petulantia saltatorum. Istum tam sanctum locum, ubi jacet tam sancti Martyris corpus, sicut meminerunt multi qui habent aetatem; Iocum, inquam, tam sanctum invaserat pestilentia et petulantia saltatomm. Per totam noctem cantabantur hic nefaria, et cantantibus saltabatur. Quando voluit Dominus per sanctum fratrem nostrum episcopum vestrum, ex quo hic coeperunt sanctae vigiliae celebrari, ilia pestis aliquantulum reluctata, postea cessit diligentiae, erubuit sapientiae."

(44) Augustine, Senno 305A, Sancti Augustini sermoaes post Maurinos reperti, ed. G. Morin, in Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. I (Rome, 1930), 58: "Qui erant, et quorum filii erant, quorum saltatione recenti ct prope hesterna memoria de loco sancti martyris Cypriani prohibitae sunt? Certe saltabant ibi, et gaudebant ibi; et sollemnitatem ipsam, quasi gauderent, magnis uotis expectabant, et ad eum diem semper uenire cupiebant. Inter quos numerandi sunt? Inter persecutores martyrum, an inter filios martymm?"

(45) Sermo 326, PL 38: 1449; Backman, 34.

(46) Eric Rebillard, In hora morris: evolution de la pastorale chretienne de la mort aux IVe et Ve, siecles dans l'Occident latin (Rome: Ecole francaise de Rome, 1994); see also Victor Saxer, Morts, martyrs, reliques. en Afrique chretienne aux premiers siecles: les temoignages de Tertullien, Cyprien et Augustin a la lumiere de l 'archeologie africaine (Paris: Beauchesne, 1980).

(47) Caesarius of Aries, Sermo 13.4, ed. G. Morin, CCSL 103 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1953), 67.

(48) Caesarius of Aries, Sermo 55.2. ed. Morin. CCSL 103:241-244; 242: "Sunt et alii, qui pro hoc solo desiderant ad natalicia martyrum convenire, ut inebriando, ballando, verba turpia decantando, choros ducendo et diabolico more saltando, et se subvertant, et alios perdant; et qui deberent exercere opus Christi, ministerium conantur implere diaboli." There is very similar wording, with extra comment about women, in Collectio canonum in V libris 3.60, ed. M. Fomasari, CCCM 6 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1970), 342: "Sunt quidam et maxime mulieres quae festi ad sacris diebus atque sanctorum nataliciis non pro eorum quibus debent delectantur desideriis aduenire, sed ballando, uerba turpia decantando, choros tenendo ac ducendo, similitudinem paganomm aduenire curant."

(49) Translations of a number of such texts are included in Medieval Handbooks of Penance, trans. John T. McNeill and Helena M. Garner (New York: Columbia University Press, 1938), 273 (ballare vel saltare during any festival, in ludicium Clementis, ed. Wasserschleben. Die latinischen Poenitentialbucher der Angelsachsen, 176ff), and 289 (ballare vel saltare in relation to marriages, Penitential of Silos. Burchard of Reims, Decretum 134, PL 140, 648B: Presbyteri, diaconi, subdiaconi, vel deinceps quibus ducendi uxores non est licitum, etiam alienarum nuptiarum evitent convivia, neque his coetibus admisceantur, ubi amatoria cantantur et turpia, aut obscoeni motus corporum choris et saltationibus efferuntur).

(50) Medieval Handbooks of Penance, 333, quoting Burchard, Decretum 9.5 (PL 140, 963C): "Observasti excubias funefis, id est interfuisti vigiliis cadaverum mormorum ubi Christianorum corpora rim paganomm custodiebantur, et cantasti ibi diabolica carmina, et fecisti ibi saltationes quas pagani diabolo docente adinvenemnt; et ibi bibisti, et cachinnis ora dissolvisti, et, omni pietate et affectu charitatis postposito, quasi de fratema morte exsultare visus es?" 10. 34 (838A) [from Council of Arles]: "Laici qui excubias funeris observant, cum timore et tremore et reverentia hoc faciant. Nullus ibi praesumat diabolica carmina cantare, non joca et saltationes facere, quae pagani diabolo docente adinvenemnt."

(51) Sermo 192.4, CCSL 104: 782.

(52) Isidore of Seville, De ecclesiasticis officiis 1.41 CCSL 113, ed. C. W. Lawson (Turnhout: Brepols, 1987), 46-47: "Ieiuniurn kalendarum ianuariamm propter errorem gentilitatis instituit ecclesia, lanus enim quidam princeps paganorum fuit a quo nomen mensis ianuarii nuncupatur. Quem inperiti homines ueluti deum colentes in religione honoris posteris tradiderunt, diemque ipsum scenis et luxoriae sacrauerunt. Tunc enim miscri homines et, quod peius est, etiam fideles sumentes species monstmosas in ferarum habitu transformantur alii femineo gestu demutati uirilem uultum effeminant; nonnulli etiam de fanatica adhuc consuetudine quibusdam ipso die obseruationum auguriis profanantur: perstrepunt omnia saltantium pedibus, tripudiantium plausibus; quod que his turpius nefas, nexis inter se utriusque sexus choris, inops animi, furens uino, turba miscitur."

(53) In the sixth century, Martin of Braga reports the continuing struggle over enforcement of the Kalends of April [25 March] over the Kalends of January as the beginning of the new year, in On the Castigation of Rustics (c. 574), translated within Christianity and Paganism, 350750: The Conversion of Western Europe, ed. J. N. Hillgarth (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), 57.

(54) Peter Damian, Epist. 80, ed. Kurt Reindel. Die Briefe des" Petrus Damiani, MGH, Briefe, 4 vols. (Munich, 1983--1989), 2: 413.

(55) Gratian, Concordantia discordantium canonum 2.26.7, ed. E. Friedberg (1879), 1045.

(56) Gemma animae 1.140, PL 172: 587D 588A. Quoted within n. 4.

(57) Plato, Timaeus, Chalcidio interprete, ed. J. H. Waszink (London, 1975), 31, 33.

(58) Donnalee Dox, The Idea of the Theater in Latin Christian Thought: Augustine to the Fourteenth Century (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004), esp. 74 85 on Honorius.

(59) Gemma animae 3.11 14, PL 172:646B 647A.

(60) See above n. 4.

(61) Pierre Michaud-Quentin, "'Les eveques de Paris dans la seconde moitie du XIIe siecle," in Huitieme centenaire de Notre-Dame de Paris, ed. Gabriel Le Bras (Paris: Vrin, 1967), 26-30.

(62) De eccl. off. c. 54Ag, 54Bi, CCCM 41A: 95, 96, c. 110 (CCCM 41: 92), c. 130d (CCCM 41A: 246), c. 138 g (CCCM 41A: 272 273).

(63) The limited evidence relating to Beleth's life is assembled by Douteil, CCCM 41:29*-31*.

(64) De eccl. off 54Ag, 54Bi, CCCM 41A: 95, 96: uoluit dici ...; 110zb, CCCM 41: 92: dicebat ... ; 130 zd, CCCM 41A: 246: probat ...; 138 g, CCCM 41A: 272: respondet ...; 138ga, CCCM 41: 129: dicebat ...; 147d, CCCM 41A: 287: ut magistro Gilleberto placuit.

(65) Douteil (CCCM 41.30*-31*), commenting on references to bishop Maurice in c. 134 Bs and Bu (CCCM 41A: 258, 260) and Elisabeth of Schonau in c. 146 (CCCM 41A: 282).

(66) De eccl. off. Prologus, CCCM 41A : 1-2: "In primitiua ecclesia prohibitum erat, ne quis Ioqueretur linguis, nisi esset qui interpretaretur. Quid enim prodesset Ioqui, nisi intelligeretur? Inde etiam inoleuit laudabilis consuetudo in ecclesia in quibusdam partibus, ut pronuntiato litteraliter euangelio statim in uulgari populo exponeretur. Quid autem in temporibus nostris est agendum, ubi nullus uel rarus inuenitur legens uel audiens qui intelligat, uidens uel agens qui animaduertat? Iam uidetur essc conpletum, quod a propheta dicitur: Et Erit sacerdos quasi e populo unus [cf. Is. 24.2: et erit sicut populus sic sacerdos]. Videtur ergo potius esse tacendum quam psallendum, potius silendum quam tripudiandum. Sed ne claudantur ora canentium: Ad te, Domine, Deus meus, Deo auxiliante contra hoc dampnum triplicis lectionis adhibeamus remedium et primo dicamus de ecclesiasticis institutionibus, secundo de expositionibus diuersorum sermonum, tertio de rationibus dierum."

(67) De doctrina christiana 4.10,1.18, ed. J. Martin CCSL 32 (1962), quoted by Abelard, Theologia "Scholarium " 2.35, ed. Eligius-Marie Buytaert and Constant J. Mews, CCCM 13 (1987), 424; Peter Abailard. Sic et Non Prol. II. 37-40, ed. Blanche Boyer and Richard McKeon (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 90.

(68) De eccl. off. 69, CCCM 41A: 130-131: "'a) Sequitur de festiuitatibus sequentibus natiuitatem. Vespere natalis debent primo celebrari tote, postea conueniunt diaconi in tripudio et cantant Magnificat cum antiphona de sancto Stephano, et sacerdos dicit collectam. Noctumos et officium crastinum celebrant ipsi diaconi, quia Stephanus diaconus fuit, et benedictiones super lectiones dabunt. Missam celebrabit ebdomarius, b) Vna autem collecta potest sufficere ad matutinas et ad missam et ad uesperas, c) Sic et diem modo facient sacerdotes de festo beati lohannis, quia sacerdos fuit Iohannes, et pueri de festo Innocentum."

(69) De eccl. off. 72, CCCM 41A: 133-134: "De festo subdiaconorum. Festum subdiaconorum, quod uocamus stultorum, a quibusdam fit in circumcisione [Parisian MSS add: ut in Parisiensi ecclesia], a quibusdam in Epiphania uel in octauis Epiphanie. Fiunt autem quatuor tripudia post natiuitatem Domini in ecclesia: leuitarum, sacerdotum, puerorum, id est minorum etate et ordine, et subdiaconorum, qui ordo incertus est. Vnde quandoque adnumeratur inter sacros ordines, quandoque non adnumeratur, quod exprimitur in eo, quod certum diem non habet et officio celebratur confuso."

(70) J. Heers writes on the Feast of Fools, but with little detail about the period before the later Middle Ages, Fetes des fous el carnavals (Paris: Fayard, 1983), 105-189.

(71) De eccl. officiis 120a, CCCM 41A: 223.

(72) De eccl. officiis 136a, CCCM 41A: 262: "Mos enim erat, ut in festiuitatibus uenirent homines cum uxoribus et filiabus suis ad ecclesiam et ibi cure cereis et luminaribus uigilarent. Sed frequenter contingebat in hiis uigilis puellas uirgines corrumpi et ad maleficia explenda maiorem opportunitatem haberi. Propterea factum est, ut uigilie in ieiunia conuerterentur."

(73) De eccl. off; 137, CCCM 41 A: 267-269: "Aa) Nunc dicamus de tripudiis, que in hoc festo fieri solent, quorum sunt tria genera, In uigilia enim beati lohannis colligunt pueri in quibusdan regionibus ossa et quedam alia inmunda et insimul cremant, et exinde producitur fumus in aere, Faciunt etiam brandas et circumeunt arua cum brandis. Tertium est de rota, quam faciunt uolui. Ab) Quod autem inmunda cremant, hoc habent ex gentilibus. Antiquitus enim dracones in hoc tempore excitabantur ad libidinem propter calorem et uolando per aera frequenter spermatizabant puteos et tbntes, ex quo inficebantur aeque, et tunc erat annus letalis, quia quicumque inde bibebant, aut moriebantur aut grauem morbus patiebantur. Quod attendentes philosophi iusserunt fieri ignem frequenter et passim circa puteos et fontes et inmunda ibi cremari et quecumque inmundum redderent fumum. Nam per talem fumum scibant fugari posse dracones, sicut elefantes per grunitum suum fugantur. Quod bene nouit Alexander. Nam cum pugnare uellet contra Porum regem lndomm, qui elefantes plures adduxerat et desuper turres et propugnacula fecerat, unde milites bellarent, ut ilia machinamenta obrueret, Alexander multitudinem adduxit porcorum. Et tunc cepit unum procellulum et eum fnrtiter fecit eiulare, quod audientes sues grunnire ceperunt, et audito grunnitu suum elefantes fugerunt et, quecumque sibi superposita fuerant, diruerunt. Et ita uictoriam obtinuit Alexander. Ac) Vel potest hoc referri ad nouum testamentum. Abiciunt enim pueri uetera et combumnt, ut per hoc significetur, quod adueniente noua lete ueteris ritus debent cessare. Dictum est enim in lege: Vetera ueterum comedetis et superuenientibus nouis uetera proicietis. Ad) Brande siue laces significant lohannem, qui fuit lumen et lucema et precursor uere lucis, que illuminat omnem hominem uenientem in hunc mundum. Vnde illud: Erat lucerna ardens et lucens ante Dominum et cetera. Ae) Rota uoluitur ad significandum, quod sol tunc ascendit ad altiora sui circuli et satire regreditur. Ad quod innuendum uoluitur rota."

(74) De eccl. off. 137, CCCM 41A: 267: "Ba) Comburuntur ossa mortuomm animalium in antique institutionis obseruantia. Sunt enim animalia que dracones dicuntur. Vnde in psalmo: Laudate Dominum de terra, dracones, non tracones, ut quidam mendosi dicunt, scilicet meatus terre. Bb) Et ista animalia in aere uolant, in aquis natant, per terrain ambulant et quandoque in aere concitabantur ad libidinem. Vnde sepe spermatizabant in puteis et in aquis fluuialibus, et inde sequebatur letalis annus. Contra hoc ergo inuentum est remedium, ut de ossibus fieret rogus et ita fumus fugaret animalia huiusmodi. Et quia hoc tempore maxime fiebat istud, modo etiam fit ab hominibus. Be) Est et alia causa, quare conburunter ossa animalium, quia ossa sancti lohannis in Sebaste ciuitate a gentilibus conbusta fuere. Bd) Feruntur etiam facule ardentes, quia lohannes fuit lucerna ardens. Be) Et rota vertitur, quia tunc sol descendit in circulo et quia inuenitur: Me oportet minui, ilium autem crescere. Dicunt: Eo, quia tunc incipiunt dies decrescere, in natiuitate crescere, ideo dictum est. Sed dicimus, quod quandoque ante festum sancti Iohannis decrescunt et ante natale Domini crescunt, Sed intelligendum est de natiuitate in matte, quando scilicet conceptus et uterque, scilicet Christus et Iohannes. Conceptus est lohannes in decrescentibus diebus ut in Septembri, et lhesus in crescentibus ut in Aprili."

(75) Honorius, Gemma animae 3.4 I. PL 172: 685B. On the shortening of the days, see his Speculum ecelesiae, Sermo de sancto lohanne Baptista, PL 172: 968B.

(76) De eccl. off. 3, CCCM 41A: 8-9.

(77) Ibid. 12, CCCM 41A:31: "In ritu templorum erant archiflamines, flamines, sacerdotes in utroque sexu. Namque apud gentiles, sicuti modo apud nos est, erant et mulierum et uirorum religiosi conuentus. Inter poetas erant carminum iudices, comedi, tragedi, historiographi."

(78) De eccl. officiis 149b, CCCM 41A: 149; cf. Honorius, Gemma animae 3 24, Sacramentarium 94, PL 172: 649B, 798A.

(79) Gemma animae 3.6, PL 172: 644CD; see Gratian, Decretum 3.3.2, ed. Friedberg 1:1353. Theodulf of Orleans repeats this in relation to fasts established to reduce drunkenness at vigils of great feasts like Christmas, c. 45, PL 105: 205CD; PL 138:231-236, 243-245.

(80) c. 11, CCCM 41A: 25.

(81) PL 200: 746BC; Heinrich Denifle, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis (Paris, 1899; reprinted Brussels: Culture et Civilisation, 1964), no. 5, 1:5-6: "Audivimus ex transmissa conquestione quorumdam scholarium qui in burgo S. Remigii consistunt, quod cure I. presbyter de Burgo S. Remigii in die Dominico coram clericis et laicis, postposita modestia clericali, choreas duceret, scholaribus ipsis eumdem presbyterum exinde increpantibus et deridentibus, idem presbyter quorumdam favore cum furore et impetu ostium et fenestras scholarum ausu temerario fregit, et in quosdam ex ipsis scholaribus violentas manus injecit; et his injuriis non contentus, absque conscientia venerabilis fratris nostri Henrici Remensis archiepiscopi et officialium suorum, in ipsos non citatos nec confessos, proxime sequenti die excommunicationis sententiam promulgavit, quam idem archiepiscopus fecit, prout debuit, relaxari.... Et si inveneritis praedictum presbyterum choreas in conspectu clericorum et laicorum duxisse, et pro tall causa tantam praefatis scholaribus injuriam intulisse, aut ipsos ita incaute anathemati subjecisse, ipsum, auctoritate nostra, sublato appellationis remedio, de tanta levitate, praesumptione, et audacia dure et aspere puniatis."

(82) P. Michaud-Quentin, "Les eveques de Paris," 30 32. Oeuvres de Rigord. Guillaume le Breton, historiens de Philippe Auguste, ed. H. F. Delaborde, 2 vols. (Paris, 1882-1885), 1:137: "Huic successit Odo natione Soliacensis, frater Heinrici Bituricensis archiepiscopi, tonge a predecessore moribus et vita dissimilis."

(83) Peter of Blois, Epist. 126, PL 207: 375, reprinted Chartularium, ed. Denifle no. 3, 1:36: "Parisius, ubi magis unctione quam emditione magistra puer litteras rapiebat."

(84) PL 212:70D-71A: "Ex fideli relatione quamplurium didicimus quod in festo Circumcisionis Dominicae in eadem Ecclesia lot consuevemnt enormitates et opera flagitiosa committi, quod Iocum sanctum, in quo gloriosa Virgo gratam sin mansionem elegit, non solum foeditate verborum, verum etiam sanguinis effusione plerumque contingit inquinari; et eatenus adinventio tam pemiciosae temeritatis invaluit, ul sacratissima dies, in qua mundi Redemptur voluit circumcidi, festum Fatuorum nec immerito generaliter consueverit appellari."

(85) PL 212: 73AC.

(86) Margot Fassler, "The Feast of Fools and Danielis Ludus: Popular Tradition in a Medieval Cathedral Play," in Plainsong in the Age of Polyphony, ed. Thomas Forrest Kelly (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 65-99.

(87) Rationale diuinorum officiorum 7.42.15 (CCCM 140B: 112-113): "Illud autem sciendum est quod, in quibusdam ecclesiis, in die Natalis Domini dyaconi, uesperis finitis, in honorem beati Stephani qui eximius dyaconus fuit, in tripudio conuenientes cantant antiphonam de sancto Stephano et sacerdos dicit collectam. Nocturnos etiam et officium crastinum celebrant et etiam benedictiones super lectiones dant, quod tamen facere non deberent. Et eodem modo faciunt sacerdotes in festo beati Stephani in uesperis, in honorem beati Iohannis quia ipse sacerdos fuit; et pueri in festo sancti lohannis in honorem lnnocentum. Subdyaconi uero faciunt festum, in quibusdam ecclesiis, in festo Circumcisionis, ut ibi dictum est, in aliis in Epiphania, et in aliis in octauis Epiphanie quod uocant festum stultorum. Quia enim ordo ille antiquitus incertus erat, nam in canonibus antiquis quandoque uocatur sacer et quandoque non, ideo subdyaconi certain ad festandum non habent diem, et eorum festum officio celebratur confuso." See n. 74 above for a very similar passage in Beleth.

(88) Rationale diuinorum officiorum 1.9.8. CCCM 140:115: "Porro, secundum beatum Ysidorum, femine dum maritantur ideo uelantur ut nouerint se semper uiris suis subditas esse, et quia Rebecca uiso Ysaac se uelauit."

(89) Rationale diuinorum officiorum 5.3.6, CCCM 140A: 54 55: "Porto in memoriam illius laudabilis consuetudinis et deuotionis antiquorum, in tempore estiuali celebrat Ecclesia nocturnum officium in tempore prime nocturne, licet quandoque tempestiuius--quod quidam uigilias sub antiquo nomine uocant [omitting Beleth: Fit autem hoc duplici de causa ... quorum plurimi Jam radiante sole ad illud officium surgere pigritamur, ymo quod uerius est, ut noctumum preteream, diumum officium non curamus.]--et specialiter in festiuitatibus beatorum Iohannis Baptiste, Petri et Pauli, et Assumptionis beate Marie que sunt precipue illius temporis sollempnitates et hoc facere incipiunt in ipso festo beati Iohannis in crepusculo pro eo quod ipse fuit finis ueteris testamenti et initium noui." Abbreviated from Beleth, De eccl. off. 20e-f, CCCM 41A: 43-44.

(90) Rationale diuinorum qfficiorum 6.86.9, CCCM 140A: 445.

(91) Rationale diuinorum officiorum 6.86.10, CCCM 140: 445: "Hiis tribus primis diebus, sollempniter est feriandum; in sequentibus uero, licet uiris ruralia opera, que magis sunt necessaria, exercere; sed feminis non licet here, nunquam autern choreas ducere, quia, secundum Gregorium, melius est fodere et arare quam choreas ducere." This expands on Beleth, De eccl. off 120, CCCM 41A: 223.

(92) Les statuts synodaux francais du XIIIe siecle, ed. Odette Pontal, Collection de Documents inedits sur l'histoire de France 9, 4 vols. (Paris: Comites de travaux historiques et scientifiques, 1971-1995), 1: Les statuts de Paris et le Synodal de l'Ouest, 52.

(93) Les statuts synodaux, ed. Pontal, no. 64, 1:74.

(94) Les statuts svnodaux, ed. Pontal, no. 88, 1:86: "Prohibeant sacerdotes ne fiant choree maxime in tribus locis, in ecclesiis, in cimiteriis et processionibus."

(95) Les statuts svnodaux, ed. Pontal, nos. 82, 100-101, 1:87-89.

(96) Les statuts synodaux, ed. Pontal, no. 29, 1:156: "Prohibeant sacerdotes sub pena excommunicationis choreas duci in cimiterio vel in ecclesiis: monant etiam ne alibi fiant, qui ut dicit beams Augustinus, "melius est festivis diebus fodere et arare quam choreas ducere.' Quam grave peccatum sit in loco sacro choreas et balationes ducere, perpendi potest ex penitentia secundum rigorem canonum talibus injungenda: si quis balationes ante ecclesias sanctorum fecerit aut duxerit, emendatione pollicita, tribus annis peniteat."

(97) Enarrationes in Psalmos, Ps. 32.2, En. 2.1.6 1.13, ed. E. Dekkers and J. Fraipont, CCSL 38 (Tumhout: Brepols, 1956), 251.

(98) Les statuts synodaux, ed. Pontal, no. 60, 1 : 176.

(99) Les statuts synododaux, ed. Pontal, vol. 2. Les Smtuts de 1230 6 1260 Manuale Henrici 87, ed. Pontal (Paris, 1983), 223; Liber Synodalis of Nimes, Aries, Bezieres etc. No. 98, 2:346.

(100) Chartularium, ed. Denifle, no. 230, 1:230: "Ibit ad sepulturam scolarium diebus festivis, quando sciat, et feriatis diebus, quando fuerit citatus. Intererit omnibus congregationibus sue nascionis. Non sustinebit choreas duci in principio suo extra domum. Leget vel legi faciet psalterium magistro actu regente mortuo." The phrase Non sustinebit choreas ... domum is slightly misplaced from its original context when these statutes were repeated in 1280, no. 501, 1:586.

(101) Ibid., ed. Denifle, no. 470, 1:540: "choreasque et alia nephanda exercere ludibria nichilominus presumentes."

(102) Gerald of Wales, ltinerarum Kambriae 2, ed. James F. Dimock, Rolls Series, 21/6 (London: HMSO, 1868), 32: "Videns enim hic homines seu puellas, nunc in ecclesia, nunc in coemeterio, nunc in chorea que circa coemiterium cum cantilena circumfertur, subito in terram comere, et primo tanquam in extasim ductus et quieus, deinde tanquam in phrenesim raptus exsilientes, opera quecunque festis diebus illicite perpetrate consueverant, tam manibus quam pedibus coram populo repraesentantes." The passage is mentioned without a bibliographic reference by Sachs, World History of Dance, 252.

(103) Gerald of Wales. ltinerarum Kambriae 2, 33: "Demure vero intra ecclesiam cure oblationibus ad altare perductos, tanquam experrectos et ad se redeuntes obstupescas. Sic itaque divina miseratione, quae peccantium conversione magis gaudet quam eversione, multos, ultionem hujusmodi tam videndo quam senteniendo, festis de cetero feriando diebus, corrigi constat et emendari."

(104) H. Colin Slim, "Mary Magdalene, Musician and Dancer, Early Music 8:4 (October 1980): 460-473, quoting F. O. Knoll, Die Rolle der Maria Magdalena im geistlichen Spiel des Mittelalters (Berlin, 1934), 86; Eduard Hartl, Das Benedikbeurer Passionspiel. Das St Galler Passionspiel (Halle, 1952), 55.

(105) Pierre Aubry, La Musique et les musicians d'eglise en Normandie au XIIIe siecle d'apres le << Journal des visites pastorales >> d'Odon Rigaud (Paris, 1906; rep. Geneva: Minkoff; 1972), 24-25.

(106) Charlotte Chattier summarizes events, Heloise dans l'histoire et dans la legende (Paris: Champion, 1933), 308-309.

(107) Concilia Oecumenicorum Decreta, ed. Giuseppe Alberigo et al. Concilium Uiennense 22 (Bologna: Istituto delle scienze religiose, 1973), 373, 378. There is limited comment on these moralists in a study that focuses on sixteenth-century debate, by Alessandro Arcangeli: "Dance under Trial: The Moral Debate 1200-1600," Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research 12:2 (Autumn 1994): 127-155.

(108) Concilia Oecumenicorum Decreta, Concilium Basileense, sessio 21, ed. Alberigo, 492: "Turpem etiam ilium abusum in quibusdam frequentatum ecclesiis quo certis anni celebritatibus nonnullis cum mitra baculo ac vestibus pontificalibus more episcoporum benedicunt alii ut reges ac duces induti quod festum fatuorum vel innocentum seu puerorum in quibusdam regionibus nuncupatur alii larvales et theatrales iocos alii choreas et tripudia marium ac mulierum facientes homines ad spectacula et cachinnationes movent alii comessationes et convivia ibidem praeparant haec sancta synodus detestans statuit et iubet tam ordinariis quam ecclesiarum decanis et rectoribus sub poena suspensionis omnium proventuum ecclesiasticorum trium mensium spatio ne haec aut similia ludibria neque etiam mercantias seu negotiationes nundinamm in ecclesia quae domus orationis esse debet ac etiam coemeterio exerceri amplius permittant transgressores que per censuram ecclesiasticam alia que iuris remedia punire non negligant."

(109) "Dum cantatur in choro ... precentor in his duobus locis in chirotecis et annulis cure baculo debet ballare, et non plus per annum." Quoted by Jacques Chailley, "Un nouveau document sur la danse," Acta Musicologiea Acta Musicologica 21 (1949): 18-24, esp. 20; see too Ducange, "ballare.'"

(110) Chailley, "Un nouveau document," 21-24.

(111) Rokseth, see above, n. 6.

(112) Timothy McGee argues that a carol was the same as a ductia, Medieval Instrumental Dances (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 19-20. In the Ars musice, however, Johannes de Grocheio describes ductia as a kind of song, sung in choreis, namely in a carol or round dance, and as effective in leading the hearts of the young away from lovesickness, Die Quellenhandschriften zum Musiktraktat des Johannes de Grocheio. In Faksimile herausgegeben nebst Ubertragung des Textes und Ubersetzung in Deutsehe, dazu Bericht, Literatursehau, Tabellen und Indices (Leipzig: Deutscher Verlag fur Musik, 1972), 132: "Ductia vero est cantilena levis et velox et ascensu et descensu que in choreis a iuvenibus et puellis decantatur. sicut gallice. Chi encor querez amoretes. Hec enim ducit corda puellarum et iuvenum, eta vanitate removet, et contra passionem que dicitur amor hereos valere dicitur.'"

(113) See the anonymous essay from the Mercure de France (1742) reprinted by keber, "Lettre sur une danse ecclesiastique qui se faisait fi Besancon le jour de Paques; avec un supplement, par l'Editeur": Collection, 420-440.

(114) Lynn Matluck Brooks, The Dances of the Processions of Seville in Spain's Golden Age (Kassel: Edition Reichenberger, 1988).

(115) J. Morris, "Dancing in Churches," The Month (December 1892): 493-518, supplies a valuable description of the practice, supported by his summary of an account by Anton Joseph Binterim, De saltatoria quae Epternaci quotannis celebratur, supplicatione: cum praeviis in choreas sacras animadvowionibus (Dfisseldorf: Schaub, 1848).

(116) Morris, "Dancing in Churches," 503.

Constant J. Mews is professor of history and director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology at Monash University, Australia.
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Author:Mews, Constant J.
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Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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