Thu 30 Nov 2006
Quite some time ago I began a series on ancient jokes (here and here), but I totally forgot about the whole thing. As end-of-term marking and editing a volume presses upon me, I thought I’d at least post a few jokes from the Philolegos, the Laughter-lover.
A little who’s-your-real-father humour:
“An egghead on meeting a friend was congratulated by him on the birth of a son. ‘Yes, thanks to all my friends!’, he replied” (Philogelos 98).
On just how stupid airheads can be:
“There were these two cowardly eggheads. One hid in a well, the other in a bed of rushes. When the soldiers who were after them let down a helmet to get some water, the one in the well thought a soldier had come down to get him, started to beg for mercy and so was detected. The soldiers said that they would leave him alone if he would only shut up. Hearing this, the other egghead hidden in the rushes called out, ‘Hey, leave me alone as well; I’m not saying anything!’” (96).
On what you shouldn’t do with your text-books:
“A witty young egghead sold his books when short of money. He then wrote to his father, ‘Congratulate me, father. I am already making money from my studies” (55).
(Again, all translations are from Baldwin, Philogelos, as cited in no. 1 of this ancient jokes series).