Ars moriendi
(1,033 words)

1. Concept

Intensive engagement with death was a characteristic of the late Middle Ages. Much death literature survives from the 15th century in which the ars moriendi (Latin, “art of dying [well]”) was propagated. Such books became the most important vehicles for ideas of the ‘ideal’ death, and they remained so through the centuries that followed. These books, with their instructions on how to die well, were among the most popular literary genres in the late Middle Ages [5]. Originally written in L…

Cite this page
Düselder, Heike, “Ars moriendi”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 23 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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