Dwarf-jesters at the Aztec court

The Aztec king Montezuma II (1466-1520) had jesters and every mention we have of them points to their having been deformed in some way.  Bernal Diaz de Castillo (1492-1591) who visited Montezuma’s court, tells us that:

Sometimes some little humpbacked dwarfs would be present at his meals, whose bodies seemed almost to be broken in the middle.  These were his jesters.


Source: Bernal Diaz de Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain, trans. by J.M. Cohen (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1963), p. 227

Image credit: portrait of Montezuma II, Pierre Duflos (1742-1816), public domain – given this was done a few hundred years after Montezuma lived, it isn’t clear how accurate this portrait could be. 


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