Danielis ludus: Transforming Clerics in the Twelfth Century


  • Nils Holger Petersen University of Copenhagen




liturgy, drama, the sacred, medieval clerics.


A twelfth-century so-called liturgical drama (preserved in a unique copy of the thirteenth century, preserved in British Library, London), the Danielis ludus (Play of Daniel), based mainly on chapters 5 and 6 from the Book of Daniel has been much discussed in scholarship. It has been seen by scholars, not least Margot Fassler, as a (music) drama intended to establish a role model for young clerics in connection with ecclesiastical attempts at reforming the celebrations for New Year's in Beauvais, the so-called Feast of Fools. In this article, with consideration also of a recent discussion of the New Year's liturgy, I suggest to understand the Danielis ludus as a liturgical ritual transforming the (corporate) identity of the young clerics who were, undoubtedly, involved in its performance.

On cover:
Monks singing the Office and decorated initial A[sperges me.]. Gradual Olivetan Master (Use of the Olivetan Benedictines), illuminated manuscript on parchment ca. 1430-1439. Italy, Monastero di Santa Maria di Baggio near Milan, Ca 1400-1775.
Beinecke Ms1184: The olivetan Gradual. Gradual. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.




How to Cite

Petersen, N. H. . (2019) “Danielis ludus: Transforming Clerics in the Twelfth Century”, Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia, 31(n.s.17), pp. 197–209. doi: 10.5617/acta.7807.