Clowns were first seen in the ancient Egyptian courts around the year 2270 BCE. The comic spirit of clowning exists in just about every known culture. It is as old as civilization and makes us laugh, whatever age we are.
The western tradition of clowning can be traced to ancient Greece where strolling clowns were seen in Sparta as early as the 7th century BCE; they were called deikeliktas or ‘those who put on plays’. These clowns portrayed everyone from soldiers, fools, and witches to slaves and Greek gods.
Throughout the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, jesters or fools maintained the art of clowning in the palaces of kings and great nobles. Jesters played an important role in the social culture of medieval Europe.
They could answer back to kings, bishops and all in authority, by making fun of anyone and satirizing social customs. During this period, jesters adopted a standard uniform of bright green and saffron coats, hose and a hooded cap which was topped by tiny bells designed to tinkle whenever the wearer moved.