Henry the Eighth and His Family (1545). The man at the far right is the jester Will Somers, and the woman at the far left has been suggested to be the jester Jane Foole.
I wrote a Blog last week about someone using the word Harlot in reference to me and along the way I discovered something I did not know about that word.
A dancing fool by Hans Sebald Beham
Harlot was a term used during medieval times to refer to a fool, buffoon, jester, and prankster.
The Fool Tarot card.
It came from the French by way of the word herlot meaning vagabond. These vagabonds would often earn food, shelter, and money by performing tricks or songs of entertainment. In most cases the funnier or sillier the better.
The word Jester caught my eye.
A jester in front of a King and Courtiers in a manuscript from the 1400’s
A jester or fool was an entertainer during the medieval and Renaissance eras. They were most often employed by noblemen especially during the long tedious winters. Many would often travel like a vagabond going from estate or castle to castle. Since they did not have permanent homes or income they relied on the generosity of the noble families they served. Often taking in as payment discarded colorful clothes, robes, shirts, pants which they wore with great flourish and often mismatched. They were singers, storytellers, played music, juggled, performed magic and told jokes.
Jesters were popular with the ancient Egyptians as well as the Aztecs of the 14th century. One of the more well-known jesters in history is Will Sommers,
Engraving of Will Sommers by Francis Delaram
jester for King Henry VIII.