Tag: cuneiform

3,500-Year-Old Jokes Have Something to Say About Yo Mama

By Veronique Greenwood | January 27, 2012 2:14 pm

sargon“That’s what SHE said!”

The study of jokes and riddles written in ancient languages we barely understand is, well, a little tricky. But in a recent paper in the journal Iraq, Middle East scholars Michael Streck and Nathan Wasserman describe and interpret some thigh-slappers scrawled on a badly damaged tablet from Babylon, circa 1500 BC. The scribe’s cuneiform is on the sloppy side. The translations are uncertain, too—but no doubt the humor will still shine through. Here’s one riddle for your pleasure:

The deflowered (girl) did not become pregnant
The undeflowered (girl) became pregnant (-What is it?)

The answer is, of course, is “auxiliary forces.” That was your guess too, right? No? If it makes you feel better, Wasserman and Streck didn’t really get it, either.

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