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Sacred FollyA New History of the Feast of Fools$
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Max Harris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449567

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449567.001.0001

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Roman Games

Roman Games

(p.32) Chapter 3 Roman Games
Sacred Folly

Max Harris

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines various Kalends activities that were performed in Rome in the early twelfth century. Sometime between 1140 and 1143, Benedict, a canon of Saint Peter's basilica in Rome, compiled his Liber politicus, a miscellaneous collection of materials containing an ordinal. One of the appendices to the ordinal gives an account of several outdoor ceremonies in which either the pope or members of the papal Schola Cantorum took part: the laudes of the Feast of the Horns, the Roman games that are common at the Kalends masquerades, the first known record of a “Carnival game,” and “the laudes of the boys.” Together these ceremonies offer a fascinating glimpse into the kind of entertaining and even comic rites that were sanctioned by the church in papal Rome less than two decades before the first references to the Feast of Fools appear in northern France. This chapter discusses these ceremonies in more detail based on Benedict's account.

Keywords:   outdoor ceremonies, Kalends masquerades, Rome, Benedict, Liber politicus, laudes, Feast of the Horns, Roman games, Feast of Fools

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