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The Court Jester by John Watson Nicol.  Source: Public Domain

What Life Was Really Like as a Medieval Jester (Video)

Life as a medieval jester encompassed more than whimsical performances; it was a complex role integral to the fabric of courtly life. Despite common misconceptions, jesters were often well-educated...
Poetry, song, and comedy was a way to deal with reality in medieval times.  Source: Ruslan Batiuk/Adobe Stock

Professor Discovers Oldest Script for Stand-Up Comedy in Scottish Library

A Cambridge academic found a rare 15th-century manuscript in Scotland, revealing the oldest medieval stand-up comedy. Apparently, they had jokes and laughter back then too! Not even Chat GPT knows...
The Greek theatre of Syracuse, Sicily            Source: Marco Brivio / Adobe Stock

3000 Years of Greek Drama at the Theatre in Syracuse

For many centuries Sicily was part of the wider Greek world and this can be seen in the many spectacular monuments and ruins on the island. One of these is the Greek theatre at Syracuse. Syracuse was...
Left: Front angle of the reconstructed Bull Headed Lyre found in the Sumerian Royal Tombs of Ur in Mesopotamia, c. 2500 BC. Source: Penn Museum

Satire in Mesopotamia: Unravelling the Bull Headed Lyre of Ur

Many of us tend to think that the people of early cultures were less sophisticated than us. The wealthiest people may have lived lives of luxury with gold and slaves, but admittedly we cannot really...
Mosaic, shown Gargoyles in form of Theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Roman artwork, 2nd century AD.

Masks, Sex, Laughter, and Tears: The Exciting Evolution of Ancient Greek Theater

The city of theater was Athens. Athens birthed drama, bred drama, and ultimately was responsible for cultivating it into the premiere art of the Classical world—at least according to Greek...
Satyr Playing the Pipe (Jupiter's Childhood) (fragment) Jacob Jordaens 1639

War, Death and the Wrath of Gods: How Satyr Plays Helped Ancient Greeks Cope With Life

Before Shakespeare, there were the Greeks. The infamous "all the world's a stage" quote attributed to the Elizabethan writer in the 16th century far more accurately describes the world of ancient...
A Real Wiseguy! Witty Sage and Ancient Comedian Nasreddin Hodja Has the Last Laugh

A Real Wiseguy! Witty Sage and Ancient Comedian Nasreddin Hodja Has the Last Laugh

One day Hodja and his students were on the way to their lesson. Hodja was sitting backwards on his donkey. "Hodja, they asked him "Why on earth do you sit that way? Isn't it uncomfortable?" "If I sit...
A figurine of Pulcinella with his mask

Physician unravels cause of deformities of famous Punch character

The disease that causes the bodily deformations of the Pulcinella character (Punch in Britain) have been the subject of speculation among doctors since at least the 19 th century. Pulcinella’s humped...
A vase depicting a scene from Aristophanes’ play ‘The Birds.

The Controversial Plays of Aristophanes: How the Ancient Greek Father of Comedy Created a Legacy

In the theater of Ancient Greece, one of the three main dramatic forms was comedy (the other two being tragedy and satyr plays). Greek comedy has been divided by the Alexandrian grammarians into...
Photo of Viking figures before a great fire. Would flames await Pagans in Hell?

The Tale of Thorstein Shiver: Hell Confirmed for Pagans during Iceland Saga Age

Short and succinct, the tale of Thorstein Shiver is one of the more comedic sagas and can be interpreted in at least two different ways: as religious or cultural propaganda. The saga tells the brief...