History Jokes: Plato's wit


Funny anecdotes and short stories are a great source of examples in public speeches. This website contains short funny stories, clean jokes and humorous legends of kings and queens, politicians, famous literary figures and artists from many books and sources. The styles of writers from different time periods was preserved - they often enhance the stories in an amusing way. Enjoy and have fun!

Plato's wit 
Plato, living in the Academy at Athens, which
the physicians considered unhealthy, was advised
to remove to the Lyceum. "I would not have
removed even to the top of Mount Athos," he
replied, "for the sake of a longer life."
(Aelian, Var. Hist. ix. 10.)

* * *

When Plato was lecturing on his theory of "Abstracts,"
Diogenes said, "Table-ism and cup-ism
I cannot see, though I can see a table or a cup."
"That," replied Plato, " is because you have eyes
to see the one, but not mind to apprehend the
other." (Diog. LAERT. vi. 2, 53.)

From Greek Wit: A Collection of Smart Sayings and Anecdotes by Frederick Apthorp Paley
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Sir Walter Scott 
Thursday, March 6, 2008, 12:04 AM - British humor, history of England, Jokes and anecdotes of famous people
Posted by Court Jester
Sir Walter Scott, when a boy, gave very slight indications of genius, nor did he shine in his early career as a scholar. In Latin, he did not advance far until his tenth year, when Dr. Pater- son succeeded to the school at Musselburgh, where young Scott then was. Dr. Blair, on a visit to Musselburgh, soon after Dr. Paterson took charge of the school, accompanied by somn friends, examined several of the pupils, and paid particular attention to young Scott. Dr. Pater- son thought it was the youth's stupidity that engaged the doctor's notice, and said, " My predecessor tells me, that boy has the thickest skull in the school.""May be so," replied Dr. Blair, "hut through that thick scull I can discern many bright rays of future genius." How fully the prediction has been verified, need not be told.
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Locke on the Understanding 
Mr. Locke having been introduced by Lord Shaftesbury to the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Halifax, these three noblemen, instead of conversing with that philosopher on literary subjects, as might naturally have been expected, in a very short time sat down to cards. Mr. Locke, after looking on for some time, took out his pocket-book, and began to write with great attention. One of the company observing this, took the liberty of asking him what he was writing1 "My lord," says Locke, " I am endeavoring, as far us possible, to profit by my present situation; for having waited with impatience for the honor of being in company with the greatest geniuses of the age, I thought I could do nothing better than to write down your conversation : and indeed I have set down the substance of what yon have said for this hour or two."This well-timed rebuke had its effect ; and the noblemen, fully sensible of its force, immediately quitted their play. and entered into a conversation more rational, and better suited to their reputation as men of genius.

From The Percy Anecdotes
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Generosity of King Edward III 
Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 12:05 AM - Jokes and anecdotes of famous people, Medieval jokes and anecdotes
Posted by Court Jester
When Calais was besieged by Edward III. in 1347, John de Vienne, the governor, turned out of the town every individual who did not possess a sufficient supply of provisions for several months. Men, women, and children, to the amount of seventeen hundred persons, advanced in mournful procession to the English camp. Edward ordered them to be received, gave them a plentiful repast, and at their departure, distributed to each two pieces of silver. We are sorry to add, that five hundred more, that were turned out, did not experience similar humanity, but perished between the walls and the camp.
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The Oxford Dragon 
Jacob Bobart the younger, and son of a German
horticulturist of the same name, who superintended
the Physic Garden in Oxford, in the
seventeenth century, once played an ingenious
hoax on the learned of that university. He
found a large dead rat in the garden, and transformed
it by art into the shape of a dragon, as
represented in old and curious books of natural
history, particularly in Aldrovandus. This was
shown to various learned men, all of whom believed
it to be a genuine and invaluable specimen
of the dragon. Many fine copies of verses were
written by the literati, in honor of Bobart and
his matchless discovery, and persons flocked
from all parts to see it. Bobart owned the cheat
some years after, but it was for a long time preserved
as a masterpiece of art.

From The Percy Anecdotes
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