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A Skelding Summary

Jongleurs originate in medieval France - and could juggle, sing, tell stories and leap about more or less simultaneously.

They were very often associated with outdoor fairs on feast days - and in the 1200s gained royal patronage, as well as sponsorship from the clergy. Patrons usually looked for painters but the performing arts started to take their fancy.
Music was ever popluar among the patrons and because jongleurs sang as well as performed skillful antics they were very popular with everyone.  Some are said to have been humourists and performed the role of fool at court if they were lucky enough to be spotted by a passing high ranking officer like a knight or a courtier travelling on a romantic assignation. A good looking jongleur could even end up as a pet of high ranking ladies at court who went talent spotting, safe behind their veil, at many a fair.

If jongleurs landed themselves permanent employment - they became known as minstrels. The word 'Jongleur' is reckoned to have lost popularity, when artistes became specialists such as acrobats, musicians, actors, and poets who got in on the act of patronage. More probably than not, jongleurs who did the lot had died of exhaustion.

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Histories of Things
By Laurence Skelding

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