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For further contemplation...

How much did the jester tradition of European courts influence potential depictions of Loki, or vice versa?

Since I only know of jesters in passing... I have no idea if there's any relevance or not. I'm going to have to start researching and seeing if we can pen down when we have definitve evidence of jesters in court. Most of what I can recall at the moment is firmly in the medieval ages... (1400's upto 1900's) but if there's evidence of the tradition dating back to late Viking Age (800-1300) this may prove an interesting back alley to get lost in.

I love it when my brain goes down odd paths.


Hmmm... possibly. I wanna say that there might be some cross over in the 12th-13th century or so, especially for the Normans in France. Try checking for "motley" and "fools" as opposed to "court jester" which may be a more neo-gothic victorian term. I dunno; wish I had my own copy of the OED. You might have something there, if there's cross-over with some of the folk traditions of England, Scotland, etc... like Morris Dancers, and other stuff - the idea of dressing up to confuse; themes of mistaken identity and twins in Shakespeare's plays, etc.

I want to say the idea of "jesters" as you're thinking of it is maybe more of a modern idea and possibly closer to the role of the Harliquin in Comedia del Arte?
It's food for further rumination, and research. :)

Since that's an area I only have vague passing familiarity with, and haven't studied specifically, there's lots of research involved with this thought, but I'm writing it here so I can look it up later when I have some time.

And the Comedia Del Arte is a later ocurring phenomenon than a jester. That started up in 16th Century italy, and there's definitely evidence of court jesters before then elsewhere in Europe. So i imagine it all came out of a similar tradition.

But jesters specifically had the ability to say what no one else could say. Which sounds alot like our Loki. Yes I'd always seen them as archetypes from a familiar source, but I just now made the connection of what if there was overlap to the time where the lore was written and evidence of jesters in court at that time? Could that not have influenced or altered perceptions, one way or the other?

Oh, yes... and what about the "lord of misrule"? (Gods bless google for late night research...*wink*)


For further contemplation...

It sounds like a lovely subject for research! I look forward to reading what you find out. There's one thing I've always wondered from what I've read about jesters in passing, but I won't say what it is... About Harlequin/Arleccino: it might have deeper roots than you think; isn't an exacting girl like you interested in the etymology of such a word? Get you to a copy of a Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a British work I swear by. I've got a 90s copy, or you could try their website: never as good. Anyway, look up that term, see what it harks back to. Nothing directly Loki-related.. but you'll be surprised..
That's a really interesting question. You must let us know what you discover.