Hegassen scroll detail. Fart Battle, 1864

From Fart Gods to Farting Out One’s Soul: The Historic Ritualization of Farts

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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


Nitassinan: The Innu Struggle to Reclaim Their Homeland, Douglas & McIntyre, December 1991, 240pp, by Marie Wadden, ISBN 978-1-55365-731-6.

Peter Armitage  "Religious Ideology Among the Innu of Eastern Quebec and Labrador”

B. C. Goddard, " Rangifer and Man: An ancient relationship",  in Proc. Ninth Workshop North American Caribou, edd. S. Coutourier and Q. van Ginhoven, Kuujjuac, Quebec, 2003.  Rangifer special volume  14, pp.15-28

On Farting (The New Middle Ages) Paperback– 15 Apr 2010 by Valerie Allen. Palgrave Macmillan; 2007 edition (15 April 2010)

Bartlett, Robert (2000). England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225. Oxford University Press. p. 236. ISBN 0-19-925101-0


No Roman soldier ever farted at the Pharoah Apries who reigned from 589 BC to 570 BC. Apries was battling the Babylonians trying to save Jerusalem, unsuccessfully. I think that you have incorrectly synopsized two different citations in a Daily Beast story on this topic. Herodotus writes about the Pharoah Apries. Flavius Josephus writes about a Roman soldier farting and starting a riot at the Temple in Jerusalem in 50 A.D. some 620 years later.

Don't forget the Mark Twain story, 1601, which is about a fart.

Farts heh heh heh farts heh heh farts!!!

That Fart God could've just been a smelly Sasquatch

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