What’s So Funny?
Discovering and Interpreting Humor in the Ancient World
• Jack M. Sasson (Emeritus Professor, Vanderbilt University)
• Ian Ruffell (Classics, University of Glasgow)
• Amy Richlin (Classics, University of California at Los Angeles)
• Christine Hayes (Religious Studies, Yale University)
Humor is a ubiquitous human phenomenon with a wide range of applications. Yet, what is deemed
humorous is often culturally determined. This poses a significant challenge for scholars of ancient
cultures. How do we identify what an ancient culture found funny? How did they use humor, and
what drove their usage?
The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for scholars across disciplines to discuss and
debate humor and its functions in both textual and material sources across the ancient
Mediterranean, from the early Near East through late antiquity. We invite papers that address the
above questions, or any others, on the topic of humor in an ancient Mediterranean context.
*A call for additonal (non-keynote) papers is currently open. Please see here if interested.