Wit and Humour in Ancient Egypt

Front Cover
Rubicon, 2001 - 170 pages
The ancient Egyptians: they had pyramids, they had temples, they had tombs, they also had a sense of humour! Just like humans the world over, people in ancient Egypt delighted in a good laugh. This lighter side of pharaonic life has, in the past, been frequently overlooked. It is not widely known among the educated public, for example, that Egyptian artisans occasionally introduced touches of comic relief into tomb chapel decoration of the elite, in both picture and word. A glimpse into their humorous side is also readily apparent from drawings on numerous limestone ostraca and several papyri, many featuring the amusing antics of various birds and beasts, who were often engaged in human activities. In surveying the subject of wit and humour, this work examines what was considered funny in ancient Egypt.

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Humorous Drawings on Papyri and Ostraca
Some Humorous Sexual Situations

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About the author (2001)

Patrick J. Houlihan is Assistant Director of Student Preparation in the Career Advancement Office at the University of Chicago, where he also has taught in the History Department. He received his PhD in History from the University of Chicago in 2011 with a dissertation entitled, 'Clergy in the Trenches: Catholic Military Chaplains of Germany and Austria-Hungary during the First World War'. His research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of Chicago, the Fulbright Program, and the American Philosophical Society. Houlihan's other publications include peer-reviewed journal articles in Central European History and First World War Studies. He has presented papers at the American Historical Association, German Studies Association, and the American Catholic Historical Association. His invited lectures include the NYU Remarque Institute in Kandersteg, Switzerland and the Institute for Cultural Studies in Vienna. Among other venues, he has given papers at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City as well as the UK Chaplaincy Centre. He maintains scholarly interests in the classical and contemporary issues of religion and war, especially as seen through global and transnational history.

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