Don’t See ‘Joker’ – Just Read Some Jokes

Hungry Hungry Hippos – Philogelos 9b:

A scholar, wishing to teach his horse not to eat so much, stopped giving it food. Later, when the horse died of hunger, the scholar said, “Ah, I’ve suffered a great loss! Just when he learned not to eat, he died!”

β: Σχολαστικὸς θέλων τὸν ἵππον αὐτοῦ διδάξαι μὴ τρώγειν πολλὰ οὐ παρέβαλλεν αὐτῷ τροφάς. ἀποθανόντος δὲ τοῦ ἵππου τῷ λιμῷ ἔλεγε· Μεγάλως ἐζημιώθην· ὅτε γὰρ καλῶς ἔμαθε μὴ τρώγειν, τότε ἀπέθανεν.

“You Motherfucker!” – Philogelos 45.1:

“One night a student slept with his grandmother. He consequently received a beating from his father, and complained, ‘You’ve been having sex with my mother all these years without suffering anything at my hands, but now you’re angry at me because you found me having sex with your mother once?’”

aβ: Σχολαστικὸς νυκτὸς ἐπανέστη τῇ μάμμῃ αὐτοῦ. πληγὰς δὲ διὰ τοῦτο ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς λαβών· Σύ, εἶπεν, τοσοῦτος χρόνος ἐστὶν ἐξ οὗ τὴν μητέρα μου ὀχεύεις, μηδὲν ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ παθών, καὶ νῦν ὀργίζῃ ἐπὶ τῇ μητρί σου ἅπαξ με εὑρών;

A version of this joke is also found in Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Vol. 4 Chp. 29):

“—But this, Triptolemus, cried Didius, proves too much—for from this authority cited it would follow, not only what indeed is granted on all sides, that the mother is not of kin to her child—but the father likewise.—It is held, said Triptolemus, the better opinion; because the father, the mother, and the child, though they be three persons, yet are they but (una caro (Vide Brook Abridg. tit. Administr. N.47.)) one flesh; and consequently no degree of kindred—or any method of acquiring one in nature.—There you push the argument again too far, cried Didius—for there is no prohibition in nature, though there is in the Levitical law—but that a man may beget a child upon his grandmother—in which case, supposing the issue a daughter, she would stand in relation both of—But who ever thought, cried Kysarcius, of laying with his grandmother?—The young gentleman, replied Yorick, whom Selden speaks of—who not only thought of it, but justified his intention to his father by the argument drawn from the law of retaliation.—’You laid, Sir, with my mother,’ said the lad—’why may not I lay with yours?’—’Tis the Argumentum commune, added Yorick.—’Tis as good, replied Eugenius, taking down his hat, as they deserve.”


A Dad Joke – Historia Augusta: Hadrian (20)

“In his conversation with the lower orders, he was most civil, and detested those who would take this pleasure away from him under the pretext of guarding the imperial dignity. In Alexandria, he proposed many questions to the professors, and resolved them himself. Marius Maximus says that he was cruel by nature and on that account acted in many cases very piously, fearing that what had happened to Domitian might happen to him.

Although he was not fond of placing inscriptions on his works, he named many cities Hadrianopolis, as for example Carthage and even a part of Athens. He also named a countless number of aqueducts this way. Hadrian was also the first to institute a lawyer in charge of advocating for the treasury.

Hadrian had an enormous memory and was possessed of boundless ability – he himself dictated his orations and responded to everything. Many of his jokes survive, too, for he was a fairly witty man. That one line became well known, in which he responded to an old man to whom he had already refused something yet who had put on a hairpiece and asked again, ‘I already denied that to your father.’”

In conloquiis etiam humillimorum civilissimus fuit, detestans eos qui sibi hanc voluptatem humanitatis quasi servantes fastigium principis inviderent. apud Alexandriam in Museo multas quaestiones professoribus proposuit et propositas ipse dissolvit. Marius Maximus dicit eum natura crudelem fuisse et idcirco multa pie fecisse quod timeret, ne sibi idem quod Domitiano accidit eveniret.

Et cum titulos in operibus non amaret, multas civitates Hadrianopolis appellavit, ut ipsam Carthaginem et Athenarum partem. aquarum ductus etiam infinitos hoc nomine nuncupavit. fisci advocatum primus instituit.

Fuit memoriae ingentis, facultatis immensae; nam ipse et orationes dictavit et ad omnia respondit. ioca eius plurima exstant; nam fuit etiam dicaculus. unde illud quoque innotuit quod, cum cuidam canescenti quiddam negasset, eidem iterum petenti sed infecto capite respondit: “Iam hoc patri tuo negavi”.

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