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Ancient Egypt, Humor in

  • By: Attardo Salvatore & Hilal Ergül
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Contrary to popular belief, quite a bit of ancient Egyptian humor has been preserved. While there is some controversy as to how some texts are exactly to be understood, and some documentary testimonies are ambiguous, by and large, the consensus is that the ancient Egyptians had a sense of humor and some of it is surprisingly modern.

In sculpture, as in other mediums, one common source of humor was animals behaving like humans. Ancient Egyptians depicted humorously their own people as monkeys, baboons, foxes, for example. However, other types of humor appear as well. In the Deir el-Bahri Temple Complex built by Pharaoh Hatshepsut in the 15th century BCE, there is a bas-relief depicting an embassy between the Egyptian ruler and the Queen of Punt, who ...

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