Table of contents:
- Joking in Russia
- Osip Nail
- Yakov Turgenev
- Yakim Volkov
- A tale about how Ivan Alekseevich Balakirev got to the court
- Jan Lacoste
- Stalin's chief jester
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear a word jester - this is a harmless, stupid person, but rather funny. However, the true role of the jester in the history of mankind was, perhaps, one of the most important roles at every European court and in Russia, as well. Among them were people who were very smart and sagacious, sharp-tongued, under the guise of fun and tomfoolery, exposing the true court fools. The fate of the famous jesters under the Russian rulers in tsarist and Soviet times is further described in the review.
The first evidence of jesters appeared at the turn of the XIII-XIV centuries, when the fashion arose to keep “fools” with crowned faces and nobles. And the institution of court jesters received special development in the 15th-16th centuries.
Traditionally, jesters dressed in bright clothes and caps with bells, the three long ends of which were the symbolic ears and tail of a donkey. Since this animal was an attribute of the "donkey processions" of the early Middle Ages in Rome. In their hands, jesters wore rattles in the form of sticks, to the end of which bull bubbles were tied, with peas sprinkled. In Russia, moreover, jesters adorned themselves with pea straw, hence the expression “pea jester” arose.
All European royal and aristocratic courts acquired various kinds of jesters, sometimes in large numbers, who knew how to play music, juggle, and show acting skills.
And since there was practically no freedom of speech at that time, the monarchs' close associates could not openly criticize the king, and he, in turn, could not always afford criticism towards particularly influential nobles.
For them, jesters did it, as a rule, veiled and with a subtle hint. If they crossed the boundaries of what was permitted, then it was the chatty jesters who were punished, sometimes very cruelly.
Joking in RussiaRussia did not stay away from the fashion for jesters, only it came here a little later. However, buffoonery itself in Russia already had deep roots and long traditions. For example, the well-known character of folk tales, Ivan the Fool, who is often opposed to the Tsar, as the owner of some secret knowledge.
"Fools" were allowed more than anyone else, under the guise of empty chatter, ridiculing vices and lies, to say what others were strictly forbidden. And this has always been especially appreciated by the Russian people.
At the court of Ivan the Terrible, the role of the jester was played by the prince's son, famous among the people for his special wit and perspicacity - Osip Gvozd. When the tsar and his retinue had to enter the Moscow palace from the country chambers, Osip Nail himself rode in front of everyone on a huge bull in robes embroidered with gold and a cap with donkey ears and silver bells.
Once the tsar and the jester quarreled: Osip allowed himself to doubt the kinship of Tsar Ivan with the Roman emperors. For which he tried to dip the jester face in boiling cabbage soup. However, Osip dodged and wanted to escape, but the autocrat's knife overtook him. The end of this story was sad. The Tsar, having come to his senses, summoned the doctor and he only had to state the death of the Nail:
From childhood, Peter I was accustomed to fools and dwarfs, which were an integral part of court life. And since jesters at the Russian court often became people from the top of Russian society, the tsar often arranged various ritual festivals.
So, in 1700, Peter I, personally wooing the clerk's wife, ordered his jester to play a jester's wedding - Yakov Turgenev, "a noble warrior and a Kiev colonel." This wedding was accompanied by a lot of ridicule of the old customs. The tsar himself, in the form of a naval officer, took a direct part in shaving the beards of the eminent boyars and cutting off the sleeves and hem of boyar caftans.
The tragic end was the end of Yakov Turgenev, who died at the age of 45 during the cruel fun of the All-Drunken Cathedral in the village of Kozhukhov, where the exuberant Peter's entertainments were held. With the members of the "cathedral" the tsar reunited and celebrated all his victories, organized masquerade processions and buffoonery celebrations.
At the royal court of Peter I, there were also several dozen dwarfs and dwarfs, who were dressed in a European manner and could entertain the sovereign at any time.
Among them was a small serf peasant Yakim Volkov, nicknamed Komar, who, according to Peter himself, saved him during a rifle revolt, warning him of the danger. For fun, in 1710, the tsar forcibly married Komar to an elderly dwarf Praskovya Fedorovna. Thus, Peter wanted to "breed" in Russia his special breed of dwarfs.
A tale about how Ivan Alekseevich Balakirev got to the court
The most famous jester in the history of Russia was the son of a Kostroma nobleman - Ivan Balakirev - associate, chief adviser to the sovereign and chargé d'affaires of Catherine I. He would become a true jester later, under Empress Anna Ioannovna.
From an early age he was assigned to serve in the Preobrazhensky regiment. Once, one day, standing on guard on a sultry day, Ivan decided to swim in the river. However, stripping naked and jumping into the water, he noticed that the king with his retinue was approaching the post. Realizing that for the unauthorized leaving of the post not to take his head off, Ivan jumped ashore with a bullet. And since the king was very close, there was no time to get dressed. Then Ivan quickly put on a wig and a cocked hat, hastily threw the bandolier over his shoulder and, taking the gun, froze, saluting. To the indignant question of Peter I, Balakirev, in spite of the desperate situation, remained wet and naked, without batting an eye, replied that he had "examined the post and studied the situation in the river." Peter laughed heartily and took him to his court.
Balakirev, during his service at the court, for his long tongue more than once had to taste both royal favor and disgrace. He was arrested in connection with the affair of Empress Catherine, sentenced to 60 blows with batogs, poisoned into exile, from which Empress Anna Ioannovna returned him, enrolling "fools" in her staff. By the way, many disgraced nobles were enrolled in this state by the empress.
And years later, after retiring, Balakirev will settle on his estate and among his neighbors will be known as a gloomy, taciturn person. And after death, the personality of the court jester will be overgrown with many legends and tales, and there will not be so many reliable facts of his biography.
Jan Lacoste was a Jew, originally from Portugal. Having met him in Hamburg, Peter I invited Jan to Russia, where he was christened Peter Dorofeich. Lacoste spoke several languages and, communicating with the sovereign, "used church theological casuistry and rhetorical methods, leading his judgments to unexpected ridiculous conclusions." The extraordinary wit of the jester greatly impressed the Russian sovereign, so he presented Lacoste with the wild, uninhabited tiny island of Hochland in the Gulf of Finland and the title of "King of the Samoyed." Later, after the death of Peter, Jan Lacoste became the jester of Anna Ioannovna and the Duke of Biron.
Lacoste's extraordinary mind and sharp tongue brought immense popularity to Lacoste. So, having a legal battle, the jester often dropped in to the office. The judge considering his case finally said: "From your case, I confess, I do not see a good end for you." - "So, sir, good glasses for you," answered the jester, giving the judge a couple of ducats.
In life, Lacoste was tight-fisted and owed many, and already, lying on his deathbed, confessing, the jester said to the priest: He, taking the words at face value, answered:. Lacoste grinned and whispered softly to a nearby friend:
Pietro Mira Pedrillo was from Naples. He ended up in Russia as a singer and musician. At the court of Anna Ioannovna he entertained the guests by playing the violin. He soon became her favorite jester, with whom the empress loved to play cards. By the way, Pedrillo in Russian folklore became the prototype of the image of Petrushka we all know.
Needless to say, the Russian monarchs were dashingly having fun, sometimes even at the cost of human lives. And as we see, in spite of the cheerful and well-fed life at court, the fate of the clowns sometimes did not turn out to be at all cheerful.
Stalin's chief jesterMany artists, musicians, politicians tried on the jester's cap … The jester archetype has always been extremely complex both in structure and in functional purpose, and his role ranged from entertaining the people, sometimes to governing the state.
Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev at one time, who held fairly high positions, played the role of such a "fool" in the immediate Stalinist circle, and for this he got away with a lot. Khrushchev laughed fervently at every joke of Stalin and danced the hopak at the wave of the "father of nations" during the feasts.
Khrushchev did not take off his jester's mask, occupying a high position in the state, although not many people appreciated his "sparkling humor." For example, responding to criticism, Mao Zedong promised to send a coffin with Stalin's body to Beijing, and while talking to high-ranking officials from America, he said directly in the forehead: "We will bury you."
Khrushchev was remembered by the Soviet people for the mass planting of corn, even on those soils that were not at all suitable for growing this crop, and also for the knocking of a shoe on the podium at the UN Assembly and a threatening speech: "We will show you Kuzkin's mother!", And of course huge a lot of jokes about the jester-general secretary.
The fashion for jesters came to Russia from Europe, where an important attribute of every ruling house during the Middle Ages was dwarfs, which served as fun for nobles and monarchs.