Written by Jimbo Gunn
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Saturday, 12 April 2008

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"If it be possible, let this cup pass from me" - reference to an ancient drinking game

A collection of what are believed to be the world's oldest satirical writings has been uncovered by archaeologists excavating in Jordan.

The numerous works explore a wide range of topics pertinent to the era including contraception, child care, famine and death.

Many of the stories seem to focus on the life of a man born to a "virgin" mother and depict a series of wacky adventures such as the throwing of a large festival for several thousand guests without consideration for lodging or food, and a boat journey across treacherous waters during which the captain fell asleep at the helm.

Archaeologists were astounded to discover references to the contemporary issue of global warming, as the main character's forefathers are portrayed as a band of madcap inventors who built a large floating zoo after rumours of rising sea levels traversed the world.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the social lives of those living 2000 years ago pretty much focussed on the same activities as today, with wine being the drink of choice for the masses. Home brewing seems incredibly popular and is jokingly referred to as "turning water into wine."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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