Saturday, March 14, 2009
those loveable, wacky romans!
Celebrated classics professor Mary Beard has brought to light a volume more than 1,600 years old, which she says shows the Romans not to be the "pompous, bridge-building toga wearers" they're often seen as, but rather a race ready to laugh at themselves.
Written in Greek, Philogelos, or The Laughter Lover, dates to the third or fourth century AD, and contains some 260 jokes which Beard said are "very similar" to the jokes we have today
An ancient version of Monty Python's dead parrot sketch sees a man buy a slave, who dies shortly afterwards. When he complains to the seller, he is told: "He didn't die when I owned him."
Beard's favourite joke is a version of the Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman variety, with a barber, a bald man and an absent-minded professor taking a journey together. They have to camp overnight, so decide to take turns watching the luggage. When it's the barber's turn, he gets bored, so amuses himself by shaving the head of the professor. When the professor is woken up for his shift, he feels his head, and says "How stupid is that barber? He's woken up the bald man instead of me."
Posted by theo at 6:41 AM