The claim of existence of theatre in Western Europe during the Early Middle Ages is far from being uncontroversial. Not that
these remote centuries were void, inasmuch as we cannot imagine a version of humanity that would only pray, eat and work,
but would it be fair to call medieval performances "theatre"? This PhD tries to answer this question by addressing the problem
of the actor in the Early and High Middle Ages, and to prove three main ideas. [Chapter 1] First, that that the lexicon of
the ancient actor (histrio, mimus, scaenicus, etc.), which is used abundantly throughout the Middle Ages, refers to an actual
practice and is not a fossil of the ancient Patristics. [Chapter 2] Second, that these latin words refer all to a vague category
of entertainers practicing various arts, including dancing, singing, training animals or joking, but also simulating. [Chapter
3] Third, that this art of simulation includes the capacity of impersonation, that is to say the capacity of a man to simulate
another person’s identity by way of play. [Conclusion] At the end of this study, we cannot indisputably prove that the actor
existed in the Early Middle Ages and in the High Middle ages by using one piece of evidence, but the network which we have
slowly woven, by collecting various clues allow us to believe that a theatrical actor have existed at this period. And if
we reflect on our initial idea, which is that we can suggest the existence of theatre from the existence of the actor, we
can now deduce that theatre did exist in the Early and the High Middle Ages.
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