What made the Chinese laugh? Was laughter in Rome misogynistic? How did love and sexuality negotiate caste and class in India? Why was the love life of Cleopatra a matter of much disquiet? This course explores such issues in order to understand how we might write a history of love and laughter. Humour in the Homeric epics is examined along with the role of laughter in Buddhist literature. Love – from the erotic to the affectionate – is analyzed through imagery and ideas in the Greco-Roman world, in ancient India, in Egypt and in East Asia. Through a comparative study, the course, at a general level, underlines the importance of emotions in the study of history and, in particular, historicizes the many meanings of love and laughter across antiquity.