The jester has a long and rich history that spans the globe, dating back as far as ancient Egypt. However, the role of the jester while being a part of important historical times and places, has often been dismissed or even forgotten.
Synonyms for the word jester include clown, fool, and buffoon, yet they didn’t always play the dunce as expected. Many jesters of history were figures whose wise words influenced kings as well as being entertainers.
While most people may recognise the figure in medieval courts dressed in motley clothing, they may not know the jester’s whole story. Whether as a jester to Queen Elizabeth, working modern clowns or the disguise of the fool in a Shakespeare play, the jester is a notable figure of history.
In medieval Europe the need for entertainment was a common demand for court life and as such, royals would often hire jesters to help them gain favour or show off their wealth. As a noble lord or duke, having a jester of your own would help your social standing. To become a court jester was often a desired position and allowed them to gain access to the reigning monarch. To become the jester of kings often ensured a level of fame and an opportunity to influence high ranking members of the community.ition and allowed them to gain access to the reigning monarch. To become the jester of kings often ensured a level of fame and an opportunity to influence high ranking members of the community.
More than just a buffoon that played a part for high-ranking courtiers, the jester also carries symbology in modern literature. Known as characters with a sharp sense of wit whose words are often cloaked in riddles, the jester has been portrayed in varying descriptions. From the job of the court jester to the modern professional clown, employed fools have long been entertaining masses with jokes, acting, playing music, storytelling, or singing songs to amuse people.
Curious about the role of the Scottish jester? Want to know how jesters have influenced modern entertainment? This is a resource for all things jester related. We wanted to create an extensive resource that contained everything you would need to know about the role of our beloved fools. From the history of the jester, to recent examples of fools, and jesters around the globe, Jester Planet is an online guide that dives into the world of the jester.
Frans Verbeeck | Portrait of a Jester (Circa 1550)
Dating back to ancient Egypt, the role of the Jester has had its stamp on countless historical periods. With talents spanning from magic tricks, to jokes or storytelling, the role of the jester is a common figure throughout history.
The image of a jester is often tied with the royal courts of medieval Europe, however these figures were not just simple buffoons. The court jester was often a highly sought-after entertainer who became a member of royal life and often influenced key decisions.
Jean Fouquet | Portrait of Jester Gonella
Marx Reichlich | A Jester (circa 1519-20)
How crazy were Jesters in reality?
The Modern Jester
The role of a jester is not just confined to the Middle Ages. After the Restoration period when the jesters were eased out of court life, they still managed to bring their influence into the twenty-first century.
Image by Momentmal from Pixabay
Jesters around the world
The etymology of the jester is not just tied to the medieval court. From ancient China to the Middle East, there are records and examples of jesters found in nearly every country around the world.
Image by Lai Chan See