- mystery plays
A type religious drama which developed among Christian nations at the end of the Middle Ages. The origin of the medieval drama was in religion. On solemn feasts such as Easter and Christmas, the office was interrupted and the priests represented the religious event being celebrated. At first the text was in prose and in Latin; by degrees versification crept in and soon pervaded the entire drama; prose became the exception and the vernacular was employed as well as Latin. When the vernacular had completely supplanted the Latin, and individual inventiveness had asserted itself, the drama left the precincts of the Church and ceased to be liturgical, without however losing its religious character. The mysteries may be grouped under three cycles:
- that of the Old Testament
- that of the New Testament
- that of the saints
Sometimes they represented matters which were not religious.