Asociación Cultural Seshat - Mediterranean Cultural Heritage Center


Ancient Egyptian Humor

Amr Kamel


Humor is everywhere in the ancient world, not only in comedies proper, but in almost every type of art and literary genre as well. Laughter is often considered the response to humor, but can result from many different stimuli, as is demonstrated by the irony caricature and the animal stories.

Ancient Egyptian civilization lasted more than three thousand years, but confrontations with increasingly hostile and powerful foreign powers began taking their toll as the Ramesside period came to an end. Eventually these outside forces eclipsed Egypt in the ancient world, and what was once a great power became a region incorporated into other great civilizations. Despite its demise, ancient Egypt left a rich legacy for the following generations of humankind, and its arts and letters have provided access to and insight into one of the earliest advanced societies in history. From this valuable source, modem humankind has learned many details about the ancient Egyptians, including the inner workings of their society, government, religion, history, art and architecture, and literature. Not immediately apparent in this material, and therefore more difficult to discern, are the feelings and the emotions that the people expressed. What instilled fear in their hearts? What made them feel safe? What induced them to anger and rage? Why did they laugh, and why did they cry?


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