Lübeck's Dance of Death

Dødedantz (1634), Part 2

In this book is contained/
First a Prologue to the Reader about
Four kinds of Death.
Thereupon Death speaks to the Persons/
and answers them all finally.

Death speaks to

The Congregation. The Pope.
The Emperor. The Empress.
The King. The Duke.
The Cardinal. The Bishop.
The Abbot. Master of German Order.
The doctor of medical art.
The Canon. The Vicar.
The Monk. The Knight.
The Official. The Hermit.
The Mayor. The Nun.
The Merchant. The Nobleman.
The Maiden. The Beguine.
The Citizen. The Craftsman.
The Fool. The Peasant.
The Student. The Nurse.
The Rider. The Journeyman.

Thereupon a final Summary
and Admonition.


Dødedantz, Herald

The Prologue.

My dear friends, I'm learning/
Which I'm about to tell you/
That the world is totally infested with sin/
This has now been forgotten for a long time.

Dødedantz, Part 2
Dødedantz, Part 2, click to see the page
Allegiance to King Solomon, 1585
Salomons hylding

Dødedantz starts with a table of contents - the order of appearance, however, isn't quite right. Click the small picture to see the original page. To read a transcription click the red and white flag in the top right corner to get the Danish version of this page.

It was typical for medieval plays to begin with a herald or a "prologus" who would introduce the play and request the audience to remain quiet and listen. Notice his coat of arms: A skull and an hourglass.

Then follows the text (without illustrations) from Copenhagen's Dance of Death with a few variations due to the almost 100 years separating the two publications. The text from Copenhagen's Dance of Death is placed here.

The woodcut had earlier been used for the penultimate page of the playact "Kong Salomons Hylding" (Allegiance to King Solomon) from 1585 (picture to the right). In this case the herald was "Epilogus" i.e. the person who wraps up the play at the end.

Elder Danish Theatre Sometimes the world is surprisingly small. The book "Ældre Dansk Teater" (Elder Danish Theatre) from 1940 reused the woodcut from "Kong Salomons Hylding" (picture to the left).

This book is one of the few books to mention Copenhagen's Dance of Death (because it's conceived as a theater play). In the clear light of hindsight, it's a surprising coincidence that a book dealing with Copenhagen's Dance of Death used the same illustration as Dødedantz, even though the book was published in 1940 when Dødedantz was unknown.