Monday, June 07, 2004

Ancient Egyptians had a Sense of Humor - ANE BC P12

Ancient Egyptians had a Sense of Humor - ANE BC P12

My father, Arvids Kaulins, had a favorite saying: "Times change, but people do not".

The Ancient Egyptians had a sense of humor and were just like moderns in this regard, according to a Discovery Channel article by Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News entitled Ancient Egyptians Were Jokesters, reporting on a lecture on the topic of Ancient Egyptian humor by Carol Andrews, a lecturer in Egyptology at Birbeck College, University of London.

Studies such as this are important to help us to realize that ancient men and women were like us and that portrayals of ancient man as an ignorant brute are just, well, ignorant. This also applies to our assessment of ancient technology.

For example, mainstream historians of astronomy want to deny the ancients basic astronomical knowledge, and that attitude is simply a sign of modern ignorance. Similarly, the mainstream linguists, in their decipherment of the hieroglyphs, have not paid any attention to the fact that the inventors of human writing had some "linguistic" knowledge - speech not just being merely invented in the last 200 years - and this basic "linguistic knowledge" is clearly incorporated into the symbols they created (see e.g. our next posting).

Scott Noegel, president of the American Research Center in Egypt's (ARCE) Northwest Chapter and associate professor, Department of New Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Washington states that
ancient Egyptian humor could be divided into at least five basic types. See the article to see what they are.

Vincent Jones, president of the ARCE Georgia Chapter - ARCE is the American Research Center in Egypt - is quoted as saying that: "I believe that their sense of humor was very similar to our own".

Along similar lines, Guillemette Andreu, curator of the Louvre's Egyptian collection, pointed out recently in a lecture that Egyptians also had excuses about not coming to work, including illness, getting married, and other matters.

So what is new?

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