City culture of medieval Europe

City culture of medieval Europe

In medieval cities, a democratic secular culture was born and formed, closely related to folk art. Most brightly it manifested itself in the urban literature created by the national language, not Latin.

From time immemorial, amusing entertaining stories, fables, parables were popular among the people, which were literally processed during the heyday of the cities. Thus appeared the most popular genre of urban literature – a small story of comical or satirical content, first – in verse, then – in prose, which in France was called Fablia, and in Germany – Schwank. The main hero of this work was a cheerful, sharp-witted person who always “left the dry of the water.” For example, in the fabulous “Doctor Involuntarily” it is told how one

peasant was ordered to cure a royal daughter who was choked with a bone. The peasant managed to make the princess laugh, and a bone jumped out of her throat. The sick of the whole city decided that the peasant possessed the gift of healing and began to demand that he cure them. To get rid of the medical practice that fell on the head, the wise peasant offered the most feeble to sacrifice himself: he will be thrown into the fire, and everyone will be healed by his ashes. Hearing this, all the patients said that they are perfectly healthy.

Other genres developed in the urban literature: a satirical epic, an allegorical epic, moral didactic poetry, etc.

Urban literature is also referred to as the poetry of the Vagant. It was created by wandering schoolboys, monks who violated the Pale of Settlement and priests without paraphilias. They wrote their poems in Latin. The subjects of the works were wide enough: satirical mockery of bribery and immorality of the clergy, chanting fun entertainment, love, laudatory poems to order, etc. Vagant traditions were continued by the extremely talented poet Francois Villon, who lived in the XV century. Sometimes he is called “the last vagant,” although he did not write Latin, but in French.

Poetry of Villon is contradictory, it reflects the decline of the Middle Ages and the

beginning of the Renaissance.

The lyrical hero of his works seeks to understand himself – and can not, seeks ways – and does not find.

I’m dying of thirst over the stream.
I laugh through tears and work hard.
Wherever I go, my home is everywhere.
A stranger to me is my native land…

The spirit of novelty pervades the work of another outstanding creator – the English writer Jeffrey Chaucer. He owns the “Canterbury Tales”, where the life of then-England was reconstructed deeply and truthfully.

Townsmen were very fond of different theatrical performances: grandiose mysteries, which lasted for several days; instructive miracles and morality, which first arose as an addition to church services; funny farces with disguises, fights, quarrels.

A great role in the development of theatrical art was played by wandering actors – the Jugglers. They were mostly poor, homeless people who, on foot or on carts, roamed the roads of medieval Europe. They combined the craft of the singer-musician and actor. The jugglers performed at the crossroads of large roads, in towns and villages, and were invariable participants in fairs, folk and religious festivals.

XIII century. The teachings of a medieval troubadour juggler

You have to play on different instruments, rotate the balls on two knives, swing them from one blade to the other: show puppets; jump through four hoops; buy yourself a red-haired beard and a suit to… scare the fools; teach the dog to stand on its hind legs; know the art of the leader of monkeys; To cause laughter in the audience by witty ridicule of human vices; run and jump on the rope stretched from one tower to another.

The creative achievements of the brilliant poet and thinker Dante Alighieri crown the cultural achievements of the Middle Ages. The world-famous Florentine is considered the creator of the Italian literary language. Glory and immortality brought Dante a philosophical poem “Divine Comedy”, where the author tries to comprehend a person as part of the universe.


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City culture of medieval Europe