March 05, 2002
An Ancient Joke

Is ancient humor still funny? Judge for yourself. Here is a typical joke from an ancient Greek joke-book, number 9 in the so-called Philogelos or Laughter-Lover:

Wishing to teach his donkey not to eat, a pedant did not offer him any food. When the donkey died of hunger, he said "I've had a great loss. Just when he had learned not to eat, he died."

The first 102 jokes are all about the scholastikos, the educated or over-educated man with no common sense. The word might be translated 'bookworm', 'egghead', 'pedant', 'professor' (or perhaps 'perfesser'), or even 'poindexter'. None is entirely satisfactory, though the stereotype persists.

If I don't get enough hits in the next 24 hours, I'll quote more ancient jokes. Threat or promise -- you be the judge!

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 05, 2002 10:10 PM