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Title: The Case of the Missing Sense of Humour
Subtitle: The Historian Livy
Author(s): RIDLEY, Ronald T.
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 47    Date: 2017   
Pages: 87-117
DOI: 10.2143/AS.47.0.3242719

Abstract :
Orthodoxy dictates that the historian Livy had no sense of humour himself, never allowed one of his characters to tell a joke or to laugh, and never depicted a situation which might cause a laugh — or even a smile — in his readers. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the surviving quarter of his history, there are more than fifty cases of jokes made by his characters, humorous narrative (especially a sense of the ridiculous), and humorous comment by Livy (especially irony). To point up these revelations, there are a few cases where Livy omitted humour found in his sources. In bringing all this to light, may our understanding of the fully rounded personality of this towering literary figure be further enhanced in his anniversary year.

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