Those who watched the popular cartoon "Despicable Me" probably remember the little funny and slightly silly assistants of the main character - the villain Gru. In the cartoon, they are called minions, but not everyone knows who was called minions just a few centuries ago.
It turns out that in France in the 16th century they called the favorites of noble people, who at court could perform the functions of advisers, guards, retinues, and in some cases, lovers of high-ranking nobles. Often the fate of a minion (fr. Mignon - baby, cutie) was entirely in the hands of his patron. "Pets" fulfilled any whims of the nobility, so the word "minion" soon became synonymous with sexual promiscuity and venality.
Perhaps most famous were the minions of Henry III of Valois, who excited the royal entourage with their recklessness, daring antics and countless intrigues. Some of the king's subjects claimed that Henry was far from friendly relations with young people, but there is no confirmation of this in historical documents, so it is likely that these are just rumors.
The "effeminate" outfits of the minions, curled hair, wide collars and their exorbitant arrogance were a constant object of ridicule. The king, ready to fulfill any whim of his favorites, presented them with titles and lands, which aroused the anger of both the nobles and the common people.
The famous sixth "duel of minions" with the nobles from the entourage of the Duke de Guise turned into a lot of blood. Here it is appropriate to recall the French Cherchez la femme, since the reason for the quarrel was a woman. Once the king's minion, Jacques de Levy, Comte de Quelus, found his opponent's mistress, Baron d'Antragues, with his mistress, but he bowed with dignity, and the next day he made a joke about this in society, for which he was challenged by the baron to a duel, since the lady's honor was hurt ... Each came to the place of the duel with two seconds, who, trying to reconcile the fighters, pressed against each other.
As a result, two of the king's favorites were killed, and the third was seriously wounded. Henry III was inconsolable; in memory of his deceased favorites, he ordered the erection of a luxurious marble tomb.
At the same time, the duel of minions brought into fashion the battle not only of the direct participants in the duel, but also of their seconds, which had previously been completely excluded.