Philogelos: The First Joke Book

The Philogelos, typically translated as “the joker” or “the one who loves laughter”, is an ancient Greek collection of approximately 265 jokes. Dating to the 4th or 5th century CE, it typically bears the title of the world’s oldest surviving collection of jokes.

NML Associate and Latin teacher Linda Thompson created these cartoons from the collection. Click on the images below to read about each joke.

Philogelos Cartoons

The Lamp

Joke 1


Joke 4

Doctor Shame

Joke 6

New Math

Joke 12

Sleeping Barefoot

Joke 15


Joke 22

A Black Hen

Joke 39

Back Way

Joke 43

Sleep Eating

Joke 44

The Well

Joke 51

Books Support Scholar

Joke 55


Joke 64


Joke 94

A Cloak

Joke 99

The Dead Guy

Joke 154


Joke 160

Dive Under

Joke 164

A Pot of Honey

Joke 173


Joke 197

A Five-Cup Jug

Joke 265