How dangerous was it to be a jester? - Deepstash
How dangerous was it to be a jester?

How dangerous was it to be a jester?

Curated from: TED-Ed

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Not Just A European Phenomenon

Not Just A European Phenomenon

Contrary to popular belief jesters weren't a European phenomenon, they flourished in many times and cultures.


278 reads

Relationship To Power

Relationship To Power

They could be viewed as:

  • Objects of Mockery
  • Entertainers
  • Trusted Companions


263 reads

Becoming One

Becoming One

People became jesters do to various reasons:

  • due to physical or neurological differences
  • plucked from a pool of entertainers
  • recruited by a travelling carrier


233 reads

A Recommendation

A Royal Servant wrote to King Henry VIII's Chief minister recommending a young boy to replace Sexton, the King's aging Jester with an assurance that he would be more pleasant than Sexton.


210 reads

Roland, The Farter

Roland ,The Farter was the jester of Henry II's 12 th century court.

Every Christmas, he performed a special routine , for which the finale was a simultaneous jump,whistle and fart.


205 reads

Influence Decisions

If the clowns of Tübatulabal nation thought a Chief was leading poorly,they could influence the elders to elect a new one.


199 reads

Jing Xinmo

A local magistrate once requested the Chinese Emperor to stop trambling the farmlands when he went on a hunting spree.

Infuriated, the Emperor had the magistrate hauled before him.

Jing, the jester suggested that the magistrate be put immediately to death and let the peasants starve instead of harvesting and paying taxes , so the Emperor could gallop about freely.

Presumably, the Emperor realised his own absurdity and pardoned the magistrate.


173 reads


In 1592, a French man was condemned to death.

But Mathurine , a female jester intervened in return for payment.

With her help ,the man's wife successfully pleaded with the King to save her husband's life.


165 reads

Archy Armstrong

Although Rare, jesters were sometimes fired or even killed for taking the Mockery too far.

For example,

  • the banishing of Archy Armstrong from the court for criticising the Archbishop of Canterbury.


156 reads

Karim Shir'er

When 19 th century Persian King Shah asked whether there was a food shortage , the jester Karim Shir'ei joked,

"Yes, I see Your Majesty eating only five times a day".


154 reads

Power Of Jesters

Even when rulers were considered divinely appointed, jesters were able to speak truth directly to power and reveal who the real fool was.


161 reads



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