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(1) A traveling comedian and musician of the early Middle Ages in France. The jongleur’s work derived from popular agricultural rites and folk games. The jongleurs were storytellers, singers, and musicians; they performed tricks and acted in improvised scenes, expressing the people’s freedom-loving spirit. In the llth century, the jongleurs became professional performers and concentrated in cities; in the 13th century they began to form “brotherhoods” (a type of professional organization) in some countries.
For a long time the jongleurs were the only bearers of secular musical culture and also the only professionals in the area of instrumental music. Jongleurs were also called histrios. They were similar to the German Spielmanne and the Russian skomorokhi. The jongleurs who accompanied the trouveres and troubadours were called minstrels.
(2) The Russian wordzhongler is also used for juggler, the circus performer who tosses up and catches several objects at the same time.