Ars Moriendi (The Art Of Dying) are two Latin texts that advise the reader on how to die well. This is according to the Middle Ages and under a Christian view point. These texts date back to around 1415-1450.These texts were written on the contexts of the black death (plague that hit Europe and caused the deaths of approx. 75 to 200 million people) as well as the social upheavals of the 15th century (religious upheavals, famine, etc.)
There are two versions of the Ars Moriendi. There is a long version and a short one.
The long version was composed in 1415 by a friar. This version was translated into most European languages and was especially popular in England. The Ars Moriendi consisted of six chapters:
(1) Chapter one consoles the dying person that death is a good thing
(2) Chapter two talks about the 5 temptations of a dying man and how to avoid them. The 5 temptations are: (1) lack of faith, (2) impatience, (3) despair, (4) spiritual pride, and (5) avarice.
(3) Chapter three lists the 7 questions to ask a dying man and how to console him
(4) Chapter 4 is about the need to copy Christ's life
(5) Chapter 5 is about rules for the family and friends. How to behave at the deathbed.
(6) Chapter 6 recommends prayers for the dying man
The short version was carved out of wood and had pictures. These came around 1460. The images were seen as angels and demons contemplating the fate of the dying man. Common illustrations were skeletons, corpses, The Last Judgement, good and evil forces fighting over the fate of souls.
I like to think I am done (for now) on danse macabre and articles relating to it. Thank you all for reading and I hope you found it as interesting as I did! We will be back to our regular scheduled program shortly!