De tragoediis and the Redemption of Classical Theater Academic Article uri icon


  • Honorius Augustodunensis is known for linking medieval liturgy with classical theatre in De fragoediis, one of 243 entries in the first book of his liturgical treatise Gemma animae (1100). Honorius suggests that the celebrant "represents by his gestures the fight of Christ in the theater of the church" in the manner of an ancient tragedian. Honorius's analogy between the mass and classical theater remains intriguing interpretive territory as methods of analysis change. The question persists as to why Honorius used theater as a reference point for explaining the liturgy. Two themes in the Gemma animae throw light on Honorius's analogy: the mass as a kind of artifice, and the importance of labor and material objects as a means of knowing God. This paper argues that Honorius treats classical theater as artifice, on the order of painting, which is in the intellectual spirit of Hugh of St. Victor's Didascalicon (1125).

published proceedings

  • Viator

author list (cited authors)

  • Dox, D.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Dox, Donnalee

publication date

  • January 2002