The Origin of Jokes

The Origin of Jokes1200 BC

The first semblances of the “Joke” is said to have been originated in ancient Greece by Palamedes, who legendarily outwitted Odysseus before the Trojan War.

350 BC

The first comedy club is formed. It is called the “Group of Sixty” and convenes at the temple of Heracles to swap jokes and witticisms.

10 BC

Roman playwright Plautus suggests the use of “jest books” in some of his works. Other Romans, such as Melissus, begin compiling collections of jokes.

5 AD

The Philogelos, which is the earliest jokebook known to exist today is written.
It containing 264 “jokes”, some of which are duplicated in a different form throughout the book, suggesting that it is a work containing two combined volumes.

500- 999 AD

The Philogelos disappears from existence and so does most humor throughout western Europe.

However, humour is still seen through folktales in Islamic culture, which makes its way to the southern Mediterranean countries.

1300 AD

The “Joke” is reborn during the Renaissance.


In Italy, Italian humanist Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) creates his best known book of jokes, the Liber Facetiarum or Facetia. This collection contains 273 humorous anecdotes,
jokes, jests, puns and bons mots – taken from his travels around Europe.

This is the first time a humorous work of this kind is published in Europe.

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