SENTENTIA PRIMA

The Universality of Humour

(Originally posted 06/07/2021 on the title page of 'sententia cotidiana)


HUMOUR: Humour can certainly be regarded as culturally and linguistically specific, and frequently Lost in Translation. However, the existence of humour is universal. There must, therefore, be similarities that connect all systems and cultures of wit. What is that? Here is a joke from Cicero, which I think can make the modern reader chuckle:

Once, Cicero had called Publius Cotta as a witness. Publius Cotta fancied himself a skilled and highly knowledgeable lawyer, likely a somewhat inflated self-image, which Cicero was keen to point out. When Cotta responded to one of Cicero's questions that he knew nothing of the matter, Cicero replied: 'oh, did you think I was asking you about a point of law?'




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