Lübeck's Dance of Death

Books

Death with arrow Death with spade Lübeck's dance of Death has inspired many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore. No less than four books are more or less loosely based on the text from the painting.

The books are illustrated with the same woodcuts. All the persons are standing in front of a wall with a hilly landscape in the background. Death appears in 4 flavours but the picture of Death with arrow must have disappeared in the process because it only appears in the first book.

The 4 books are:

These books are extremely rare: There's 3 copies of Des dodes dantz, 1 copy of Dodendantz (in Oxford), 1 defective copy of Copenhagen's Dance of Death and 1 copy of Dødedantz. This leaves room for lots of speculations, like is Dodendantz older than Des dodes dantz? how old is Copenhagen's Dance of Death? and what was the original title of Copenhagen's Dance of Death?

Lübeck/Tallinn Lübeck 1489 Lübeck 1520 Copenhagen 1550

Pope
Emperor
Empress
Cardinal
King
Bishop
Duke
Abbot
Knight
Carthusian (2)
Nobleman (2)
Canon (2)
Mayor (2)
Physician
Usurer
Curate
Merchant (2)
Parish clerk
Craftsman (2)
Hermit
Peasant
Youth
Maiden
Baby

Pope
Emperor
Empress
Cardinal
King
Bishop
Duke
Abbot
Knight Templar
Monk
Knight
Canon
Mayor
Physician
Nobleman
Hermit
Citizen
Student
Merchant
Nun
Craftsman
Church warden
Peasant
Beguine
Rider
Maiden
Journeyman
Nurse with child

Pope
Cardinal
Bishop
Emperor
Empress
King
Duke
Abbot
Crusader
Physician
Canon
Vicar
Monk
Knight
Official
Hermit
Mayor
Nun
Merchant
Nobleman
Maiden
Citizen
Beguine
Fool
Craftsman
Student
Peasant
Rider
Journeyman(3)
Nurse with child

Pope
Emperor
Empress
King
Duke
Cardinal
Bishop
Abbot
German Templar
Physician
Canon
Vicar
Monk
Knight
Official
Hermit
Mayor
Nun
Merchant
Young lord
Maid
Citizen
Beguine
Fool
Craftsman
Student
Peasant
Rider
Nurse with child(3)
Journeyman

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In this Section:

Outside this Section:

Death on a Lion Death with Scythe

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3)

This conclusion is taken from the book Totentänze by Brigitte Schulte.
The order on the painting in St. Mary's Church is made as we think it has been originally. See the footnotes for the relevant pages here and here.
The text in Dodendantz is so jumbled that it's sometimes hard to determine the order of dancers. Notice that the Danish translator thought that the nurse appeared before the journeyman. See the section How to Make Your Own Dance of Death to get part of the explanation.

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