MLN, Vol. 91, No. 3, German Issue, (Apr., 1976), Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 424-436


The Ludus de Antichristo is the oldest and perhaps the most impressive mystery play written in Germany during the Middle Ages. It is preserved in a Latin manuscript from the Monastery of Tegernsee, in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich (Clm 19411).

The play dramatizes a portion of  the Christian escathology. It consists of two parts, each one being introduced by a sequence of hymns. Both parts deal with particular events from the escathological complex; part one, the unification of Christianity under the rule of the last (German) Emperor and his voluntary abdication before God, part two, the rise and fall of the Antichrist; Christ Second Coming and the Last Judgement, usually the concluding elements in the escathological drama, are omitted. The Ludus de Antichristo is, thus, a play about the Empire and Antichrist and may strike modern readers, accustomed to the generally theological orientation of medieval drama, as eminently political and rather modern in its outlook.

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