(1,754 words)

1. Term

From the 18th century on, the expression Schauspieler/in in German referred to professional theater performers. Older terms, such as Acteur or Comödiant (Comedian players), were subsequently systematically suppressed. The lexicographer of the day, Johann Christoph Adelung, for instance, denounced both as superfluous loan-words or as pejorative.


2. The first phase: 1450-1700

Performers in medieval plays were …

Cite this page
Marx, Peter W., “Actor”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 24 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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