Ludibrium

From Academic Kids

Ludibrium is a word of Latin origin meaning a plaything or a trivial game. Ludibrium comes from Latin ludus, "game", a plaything. In Latin ludibrium is an object at the same time of fun and of scorn and derision and it is also the capricious game itself: ludibria ventis (Virgil), "the playthings of the winds", ludibrium pelagis (Lucretius), "the plaything of the waves"; Ludibrio me adhuc habuisti (Plautus), "Until now you have been toying with me."

Ludibrium was used by Johann Valentin Andreae (1587 - 1654) to describe the Rosicrucians. Paul Arnold translated the word as farce but this conception has been contested by Frances Yates who suggests that Andreae's use of the term implies more some sort of Divine Comedy, a dramatic allegory played in the political domain during the tumult which preceded the Thirty Years' War in Germany.

Andreae had written the Rosicrucian manifestos and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz. However in his Peregrini in Patria errores 1618 he compares the world to an amphitheatre where no one is seen in their true light. This conception of the Rosicrucian world as theatre was popularised by the French situationist Guy Debord in Society of the Spectacle (1967).

It has been suggested that Situationist International was a ludibrium devised by Asger Jorn. Like the Rosicrucians, the Situationist International was a very small group which nevertheless became notorious, even if only for a while. This can function as a technique whereby mental projections can be cast into the social imagination.

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