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Ancient Greek jokes: 10 + 1 funny moments of antiquity

Children of Aristophanes

Most of those who love comedy and delve a little deeper into the history of theatre know that Aristophanes was considered the father of this genre in the western tradition. The ancient Greeks had an interesting sense of humour and loved roasting public figures. Here is a list of funny real dialogues that survived throughout the centuries.

* Someone told Aristippos that Laida was faking her affection for him. Aristippos said: “Wine nor fish love me, but I still enjoy them.”

* Someone told Diogenes, “Your fellow countrymen have condemned you to exile.” The great philosopher responded: “And I have condemned them to stay in their land.”

* Didymon, an ancient eye doctor, examined the eyes of a young woman. Diogenes saw him, and knowing him to be a womanizer said, “Careful Didymon while examining the eye you may corrupt the pupil.” (Eye’s pupil in Greece is korin – that translates to virgin).

* Diogenes begged for a statue to give him alms. When asked why he was doing something so futile, he said: “I’m practicing so that I’m not disillusioned by people’s lack of sensitivity.”

* When Philip of Macedon was pushed to send to exile someone who was one of his worst critics, he said: “Of course not! Do you want me to send him off so he can badmouth me in other countries?”

* Aristotle was informed that some people were spreading rumors about him behind his back. “I don’t care,” he said. “When I’m not around they can whip me even.”

* A bald man swore at Diogenes. The great philosopher turned and said, “I won’t respond to your abuse, but I would like to say ‘congratulations’ to your hair of freeing themselves from such a mean head!”

* Antisthenes was asked to describe a woman perfect for marriage. He said: “It’s tough. If you marry someone beautiful you’ll always have to share her, but if she’s ugly it’ll be like you’re being punished!”

* Agis of Ilia heard his countrymen boast of their just manner as critics at the Olympic Games. “And is it so great that the people of Ilia are fair once every four years?” he asked.

* A father asked Aristippos to teach his son. The philosopher said he would for a fee of 500 drachmas. The father considered this amount outrageous. “I could buy an animal with so much money!” he said. Aristippos said: “Go ahead, then you’ll have two!”

* A man told his nymphomaniac woman: “What do you want to do, eat or make love.” She said, “Whatever you want, but we don’t have any bread.”

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