2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
Card games were very popular in Europe in the Middle Ages, and a little later they penetrated into Russia. There are also jacks in the deck of cards, one in each of the suits. But it turns out that the jack is not only a picture of a double mirror image of a young man or a knight in armor.
Explanatory dictionaries give such a definition to the word "jack" - "the youngest of the figures in playing cards". Its card designation differs in different countries: if in Russia it is B, and for example, in England - Kn (from knave - knight). Interestingly, several centuries ago in France, the jack of each of the four suits had its own heroic prototype: the peak was Roland, the club was Lancelot, the diamond was Hector, the heart was named after the now little-known French commander during the Hundred Years War La Hire. Its value in different games ranged from 2 to 11 points.
Origin of the word
The most common of the variants of origin - from the French word valet. In translation, it means "servant, footman", and goes back, in turn, to the old French vaslet - vassal. In other words, in the Middle Ages, a jack is a vassalsome powerful feudal lord.
Not just a map
But there are other meanings of the word "jack". In Russia, and Dahl points to this in his Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language, it was a synonym for a serf, lackey. In Europe, this was the name of a male servant who was obliged to provide his master with services of an intimate nature: cut his hair, beard and mustache, shave, cut his nails, deliver him home if he was "slightly overdone", and even open the blood, if necessary. In England, foreigners were most often hired for this position. One of them even left notes about his service called "Jack's Adventures, Written by Himself".
Some literary characters who were jacks, lackeys under their masters are well known to all of us. Suffice it to name Passepartout from Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, or Figaro from The Marriage of Figaro by Beaumarchais. And certainly most of us in childhood read Dumas' Three Musketeers and probably remember the faithful servants of the main characters - Grimaud, Musketon, Bazin and Planchet.
Many people know the expression "go to bed with a jack", which means the two of them are on the same bed, but their heads are at each other's feet. And in thieves' slang, a jack is a fool. There is one more meaning - "a person serving the authorities of the criminal environment".
In 1910, a group of Moscow artists, including Konchalovsky, Lentulov, Burliuk and Malevich, foundedassociation called "Jack of Diamonds", which became one of the trendsetters in the national painting of the pre-revolutionary period. Their bright, colorful works close to popular prints of that time, perhaps, quite corresponded to the catchy figure of the red diamond jack.
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