Fools, buffoons, jesters or court jesters were entertainers especially well-known during the Medieval period, but what we didn’t know was that they had their beginning in several ancient civilizations. One ancient civilization where they got their start was Ancient Rome. We have been loving our art lessons using Atelier Art video based lessons and learning about the jester fit into our ancient civilization hands-on series.
Easy Hands-on Homeschool History
Our hands-on lesson today started with understanding how the word buffoon developed. We use the word somewhat differently today. The book, The Unexpected Evolution of Language:Discover the Surprising Etymology of Everyday Words states that buffoon derives from a word that means to “puff out the cheeks.”
The word “Buffo” was used in the Roman theatre by those who appeared on the stage with their cheeks blown up. When they received a blow, they would make a great noise causing the audience to laugh.
It was fascinating to learn that Ancient Greeks, Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome all had various forms of entertainers or the modern day clown. Too, entertainers of earlier times went well beyond just costumes and masks. There were storytellers, joketellers, jugglers and acrobats.
True, some of the forerunners of modern day clowns and jesters are grim looking. I don’t know how some things in history can from grin to grim. But history has a way of twisting the beginning of things.
Jesters sometimes reminds me of the nightmares of my childhood. But once we started reading how faces painted early on were because of poor stage lighting, it made more sense to us.
Check out the free video lessons from Atelier Art, I know you’ll love them. I like having everything laid out for us.
I’m doing an Ancient Civilizations hands-on history series and you’ll want to look at these other ideas: Day 2. Ancient Mesopotamia (Hands-on History): Cook Sebetu Rolls and Day 1. Ancient Egypt Civilization (Hands-on History): Narmer Crown.