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Dry jokes in Latin from the 16th Century

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Did peo­ple “back in the day” have a sense of humour? Or, are jokes some­thing new to mankind?

Of course peo­ple have laughed through­out his­to­ry, telling each oth­er jokes and sto­ries meant for laugh­ter! How­ev­er, what you’ve laughed at and con­sid­ered fun­ny has wide­ly dif­fered from timepe­ri­od to timepe­ri­od as well as from coun­try to country.

In the fol­low­ing video, we will treat three very dry jokes (my favourite kind of jokes) which the Ger­man human­ist teacher Jacobus Pon­tanus – or Jakob Span­n­müller – trans­lat­ed from a Greek man­u­script into Latin in the 16th cen­tu­ry. Enjoy!

You will find the jokes tran­scribed below the video.

Video in Latin

Latin Jokes

1. Scholas­ti­cus volens videre an decore dormiret, clau­sis oculis specu­lum intuebatur.

2. Scholas­ti­cus vas vinar­i­um, quod habebat obsig­naver­at. Quod cum famu­lus sub­tus per­foraret, vinumque demeret, mirabatur ille salvis sig­nis vinum imminui. Cui alter quidam “Vide” inquit ”ne sub­tus sit abla­tum. Tum ille ”Stul­tissime,” inquit “non infra, sed supra deficit.”

3. Scholas­ti­cus som­num capere cupi­ens, cum pul­v­inum non haberet, ser­vo man­davit ut amphoram capi­ti sup­poneret. Quo dicente nimis duram esse, ius­sit eam plumis impleri.

Daniel Pettersson

Daniel Pettersson

Teacher and author Daniel Pettersson, M.A., is co-founder of Latinitium and is currently teaching Latin at Stockholm University, where he is also working on his Ph.D. dissertation on Humanist Colloquia. Daniel believes in the importance of Latin literature in the modern world and that you can teach yourself Latin with the right motivation, method, and material.
Written by Daniel Pettersson

Written by Daniel Pettersson

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