A to Z blogging challenge.

I was wondering where people got the idea of juggling.  Was some Egyptian sitting in line to talk to the King and King Tut said he was bored so the dude jumped up and started juggling some earthenware?  Turns out I wasn’t too far off.  The earliest know depiction of ball juggling is from the 15th Beni Hassan tomb of an unknown prince in Egypt(1994-1781 BCE).  I bet that guy was the  Egyptian Adam Sandler.

It shows up through the years in various countries:  China(swords and balls), Greece, Rome (glass balls – Ow!  That would be quite the learning curve), Ireland (apples), India(wooden rings), etc.

Cinquevalli trick. From ”The Playgoer” October 1901

A few facts I learned in my digging:

Tulchinne, the royal buffoon of king Conaire of Ireland, is described as juggling nine swords, nine silver shields, and nine balls of gold.  Now, I don’t want to call anyone a liar but I am Irish and I fully admit exaggeration is in our DNA.  Perhaps we got it from this buffoon.  I can’t imagine anyone being able to juggle all that with two hands.

Taillefer, the warrior-bard of William of Normandy, juggles before the enemy lines and makes the first kill at the Battle of Hastings.  How did that work?  Who wants to go first?  Ian?  William?  Why don’t we send out the clown first?  Yea!  Send Taillefer first.  He will do anything.  Tell him we double dog dare him.

In 1793, John Bill Ricketts present America’s first circus.  George Washington was in attendance and Ricketts introduced the idea of politic juggling to him.  Ok.  Ricketts just juggled but I bet the politicians were like “Hey, I just thought of what to call what we do in government.  We take citizen’s balls and juggle them.”  <- I made that part up, too.

Paul Cinquevalli (1859-1918) was the first juggling super-star.  He made his circus debut in 1885 in Covent Garden, London.  However, Enrico Rastelli was considered the greatest juggler to ever live.  He is recorded as juggling 10 balls (though never 9 for some reason – I could not find out why), 8 sticks (small clubs) and 8 plates.   Rastelli could juggle 6 plates, while spinning a hoop around one foot and skipping a rope which was spun by an assistant.  I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.  I feel so inferior.  Perhaps I misjudged poor Tulchinne and he could do all that juggling.

4 thoughts on “Juggling”

  1. I love to watch juggling, mostly because I’m terrible at doing it myself.

    I heard an interview recently with Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame) where he claimed to have taught Michael Moschen to juggle. Michael Moschen is considered one of the top jugglers in the world – when David Bowie juggled the glass balls in Labyrinth, it was actually Moschen’s hands doing the work.

    (Sorry, just adding my interesting little juggling tidbit :-)
    CD Gallant-King recently posted..Why I’m Afraid of LycanthropyMy Profile

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