An ancient Greek joke book called The Philogelos and published in the fourth century contains many jokes that bear a striking similarity to our own modern humor. Others bring to mind the question: they found this funny?
A few examples:
Having cast a boy’s horoscope, a charlatan prophet predicted that he would be first a lawyer, then a city prefect, and finally a provincial governor. But the boy died. His mother came back and remonstrated, “My son has died, the one you said would be a lawyer and prefect and governor.” “I swear by his memory,” responded the prophet, “he would have been all of those things had he lived!”
A student dunce has his uvula removed. After the operation, his doctor tells him not to try talking. So whenever anyone greets him, he has his slave return the greeting. But then he explains to each one, “Don’t feel insulted that my slave gives the greeting for me. My doctor told me not to talk.”
A couple student dunces are complaining to each other about the fact that their fathers are still alive. One of them says, “Why don’t we each strangle our old man?”
“No way!” objects the other. “You want people to call us parricides? But if you like, you kill mine and I’ll kill yours.”