Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

Literature and Art. 
if the amphitheatre itfelf continued to be ufed (which was perhaps the 
cafe in fome parts of weftern Europe), and they gave place to the more 
harmlefs exhibitions of dancing bears and other tamed animals)? for 
deliberate cruelty was not a characteriftic of the Teutonic race. But the 
mimi, the performers who fung fongs and told ttories, accompanied with 
dancing and mufic, furvived the fall of the empire, and continued to be 
as popular as ever. St. Auguitine, in the fourth century, calls thefe 
things nqfaria, detefiable things,iand fays that they were performed at 
nightfr We trace in the capitularies the continuous exittence of thefe 
performances during the ages which followed the empire, and, as in the 
time of St. Auguttine, they Hill formed the amufement of nocturnal 
affemblies. The capitulary of Childebert profcribes thofe who pafled 
their nights with drunkennefs, jetting, and fongs.I The council of 
Narbonne, in the year 589, forbade people to fpend their nights " with 
dancings and filthy fongs." 5 The council of Mayence, in 813, calls thefe 
{bugs "filthy and licentious " (turpia atgue luxuriqfa); and that of Paris 
{peaks of them as "obfcene and filthy" (objcwna et turpia); while in 
another they are called "frivolous and diabolic." From the bitternefs 
with which the eccletialiical ordinances are expretfed, it is probable 
that thefe performances continued to preferve much of their old 
paganifm; yet it is curious that they are fpoken of in thefe capitularies 
and acts of the councils as being {till practifed in the religious feftivals, 
and even in the churches, fo tenacioufly did the old fentiments of the 
race keep their polfetlion of the minds of the populace, long after they 
had embraced Chriftianity. Thefe "fongs," as they are called, continued 
alfo to confilt not only of general, but of perfonal fatire, and contained 
' On this subject, see my "History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments," 
p. 65. The dancing-bear appears to have been a favourite performer among the 
Germans at a very early period. 
1- Per motam noctem cantabantur hic nefaria er a czmtaroribus salrabatur.  
Augustini Serm. 311, part v.  
I Noctes pervigiles cum ebrietate, scurrilitate, vel canticis. See the Capitulary 
in Labbei Com-il., vol. v. 
Q Ur populi- . . . . saltationibus et tnrpibus invigilant canticis. 


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