Thu 8 Jan 2009
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When MSNBC links to your blog, the smartest thing to do is find out why, and then post more on the same.
Quite some time ago I started a series on ancient humour and it’s time to revive it again. See:
- Ancient jokes: Humour now and then
- Regional rivalries and humour in the Greco-Roman world
- A few more ancient jokes, or selling your textbooks is not that impressive (also some haunting humour here).
The Philolegos, or Laughter-Lover is a treasure trove of ancient humour. As I wait anxiously for the strike to end at York University, here are some ancient education-related jokes:
“An egghead elementary school teacher suddenly darted a glance at the corner and shouted, ‘Dionysius is misbehaving in the corner!’ When one of the other boys pointed out that Dionysius had not yet arrived, he rejoined, ‘Well, he will be when he gets here’ (Laughter-lover, no. 61)
“An egghead was writing a letter from Athens to his father. Wanting to show off over how well his studies were going, he added this postscript: ‘I pray that when I come home I shall find you on trial for your life, so that I can show you how great an advocate I am’” (no. 54).
“A professor from [the city of] Sidon (see post here) asked a schoolteacher how much a five-litre flask holds. ‘That all depends on whether you mean oil or wine” (no. 136).
“A gluttonous teacher called up to a loaf of bread he saw on a high shelf, ‘Come down and recite your lesson or I’ll come up there and teach you another one’ (no. 220).
“An egghead gym instructor was told first that his pupil was not feeling well, next that he had a fever, and finally that he was dead. ‘If you keep giving him all these excuses to miss class, he’ll never have a chance to learn’ (no. 258).
Now even I would accept that last excuse for missing classes.