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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 21 Mead, “Ceremonial Game Playing,” 101, and with further discussion of the feast at both Auxerre (where it was called grolia or la grole´e) in “Ceremonial Dances and Symbolic Banquets,” 259– 262 (n.

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. 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. II. THE AMBIVALENT LEGACY OF SCRIPTURE AND LATE ANTIQUITY 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.

J. : 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*). Constant J. Mews is professor of history and director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology at Monash University, Australia. 512 LITURGISTS AND DANCE IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY 513 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.

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Church History Studies in Christianity and Culture 2009-3 by CUP

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