From Fart Gods to Farting Out One’s Soul: The Historic Ritualization of Farts
Interestingly, what is considered by many historians to be the oldest joke in the world is a fart joke. An ancient Sumerian proverb dated to about 1900 BC reads “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.” Historian Robert Bartlett in 2000 published England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225, in which he told the story of Roland le Sarcere, also known as Roland the Farter. This court minstrel to King Henry II of England did a famous dance that ended with the execution of “a jump, a whistle, and a fart.” For his anal accomplishments, Roland was gifted a manor house in Suffolk with 100 acres of land. Roland’s fart act was so beloved that subsequent chroniclers repeated his story and expanded his biography, “a process that inadvertently extended his lifespan to 120 years.”
Top image: Hegassen scroll detail. Fart Battle, 1864 ( public domain )
By Ashley Cowie
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