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An ancient recipe of Laughter the best medicine

During our wandering through the Cyberia and the world of the printed word, we often come across content which we find interesting and believe it would be so for others, too. And we feel compelled to share it with others. This interesting content may be an article in a newspaper, an obituary, a book review or simply an excerpt from a book, as we at Newsandviews24.com are Mr Read-It-all. Here is the latest nugget of knowledge from Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations by Mary Beard, which we which we came across during our book-worming... 

"Laughter was always a favorite device of ancient monarchs and tyrants, as well as being a weapon used against them. The good king, of course, knew how to take a joke. The tolerance of the Emperor Augustus in the face of quips and banter of all sorts was still being celebrated four centuries after his death. One of the most famous one-liners of the ancient world, with an afterlife that stretches into
the twentieth century ... was a joking insinuation about Augustus' paternity. Spotting, so the story goes, a man from the provinces who looked much like himself, the emperor asked if the man's mother had ever worked in the palace. 'No', came the reply, 'but my father did.' Augustus wisely did no more than grin and bear it. "Tyrants, by contrast, did not take kindly to jokes at their own expense, even if they enjoyed laughing at their subjects. Sulla, the murderous dictator of the first century BC, was a well-known philogelos ('laughter-lover'), while schoolboy practical jokes were among the techniques of humiliation employed by the despot Elagabalus.

He is said to have had fun, for example, seating his dinner guests on inflatable  cushions, and then seeing them disappear under the table as the air was gradually let out. But the defining mark of ancient autocrats (and a sign of power gone --  hilariously -- mad) was their attempt to control laughter. Some tried to ban it  (as Caligula did, as part of the public mourning on the death of his sister). Others imposed it on their unfortunate subordinates at the most inappropriate moments.
 

Caligula, again, had a knack for turning this into exquisite torture: he is said to have forced an old man to watch the execution of his son one morning and, that evening, to have invited the man to dinner and insisted that he laugh and joke.
Why, asks the philosopher Seneca, did the victim go along with all this? Answer: he had another son.  ...
"The only joke book to have survived from the ancient world, known as the Philogelos, is a composite collection of 260 or so gags in Greek probably put together in the fourth century AD ... [H]ere we find jokes about doctors, men with bad breath, eunuchs, barbers, men with hernias, bald men, shady fortune-tellers, and more of the colourful (mostly male) characters of ancient life.

Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations
Author: Mary Beard
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Date: Copyright 2013 by Mary Beard Publications Ltd
Pages: 55

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During our wandering through the Cyberia and the world of the printed word, we often come across content which we find interesting and believe it would be so for others, too. And we feel compelled to share it with others. This interesting content may be an article in a newspaper, an obituary, a book review or simply an excerpt from a book, as we at Newsandviews24.com are Mr Read-It-all. The latest excerpt is from Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World authored by Dan Koeppel...

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During our wandering through the Cyberia and the world of the printed word, we often come across content which we find interesting and believe it would be so for others, too. And we feel compelled to share it with others. This interesting content may be an article in a newspaper, an obituary, a book review or simply an excerpt from a book, as we at Newsandviews24.com are Mr Read-It-all. Here is the latest nugget of knowledge from My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind authored by Scott Stossel , which we which we came across during our book-worming... 

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During our wandering through the Cyberia and the world of the printed word, we often come across content which we find interesting and believe it would be so for others, too. And we feel compelled to share it with others. This interesting content may be an article in a newspaper, an obituary, a book review or simply an excerpt from a book, as we at Newsandviews24.com are Mr Read-It-all. Here is the latest nugget of knowledge from Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations by Mary Beard, which we which we came across during our book-worming... 

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During our wandering through the Cyberia and the world of the printed word, we often come across content which we believe is interesting. And which we feel compelled to share with others. This interesting content may be an article in a newspaper, an obituary, a book review or simply an excerpt from a book, as we at Newsandviews24.com are Mr Read-It-all. Here is the latest nuggest of knowledge, we stumbled upon during our book-worming....

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