Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts in Theatre in the University of Illinois at Urbana-‐Champaign, 2012.
The Ludus de Antichristo, composed c. 1157-1160 at the imperial monastery of Tegernsee, Bavaria is one of the most complete dramatic texts to have survived the Middle Ages. I use the term “complete” because it can be applied to both the fact that a complete copy, contemporary to the original text, has survived the centuries and the fact that this is a text composed for a performance whose stage is the known world with liturgical figures, kings, institutions, and entire nations as its players. It also includes some of the most complete staging directions (or didascalia) for twelfth-century play. But the Ludus represents more than an unique example of medieval dramatic literature tied to the early years of the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and his conflict with Pope Hadrian IV and, later, Alexander III. This play is functioning within a debate that began during the Investiture Controversy nearly a century before: the structure of power in Christian Europe and to whom temporal authority is given – the pope or the emperor. This study will examine the Ludus as document directly participating in this debate and how its connection to other polemical documents similar to it indicates the existence of a medieval public sphere. I intend to focus on historical context, structural relevancy, the appropriation of other documents, the representation of agency and emotion, and the use of the play beyond the years of Frederick’s relevancy in order to locate the Ludus and its specific functionality within the twelfth-century public sphere.