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"Pagan" Ball Rites Observed in France in 1100s and 1200s

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Bans
City/State/Country: France

Henderson: "The testimony of Beleth and Durandus, both eminently qualified witnesses, clearly indicates that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the ball had found a place for itself in the Easter celebrations of the Church." In fact, Beleth and Durandus had both opposed the practice, seeing it as the intrusion of pagan rites into church rites. "There are some Churches in which it is customary for the Bishops and Archbishops to play in the monasteries with those under them, even to stoop to the game of ball" [Beleth, 1165]. "In certain places in our country, prelates play games with their own clerics on Easter in the cloisters, or in the Episcopal Palaces, even so far as to descend to the game of ball" [Durandus, 1286].

Note: This source appears to be Henderson, Robert W., Ball, Bat and Bishop: The Origins of Ball Games [Rockport Press, 1947], pp. 37-38. Page 37 refers to an 1165 prohibition and page 38 mentions 12th and 13th Century Easter rites. Henderson identifies two sources for the page 38 statement: Beleth, J., "Rationale Divinorum Officiorum," in Migne, J. P., Patrologiae Curius Completus, Ser 2, Vol. 106, pp. 575-591 [Paris, 1855], and Durandus, G., "Rationale Divinorum Officiorum," Book VI, Ch 86, Sect. 9 [Rome, 1473]...Henderson does not say that these rites involved the use of sticks.

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