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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Deipnosophistae

of
Athenaeus

published in Vol. I
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1927

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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I.12A‑24

(Vol. I) Athenaeus
Deipnosophistae

p3 Excerpts from Book I1

1 Athenaeus is the father of this book, which he addresses to Timocrates. The Sophist at Dinner is its title, and the subject is a banquet given by a wealthy Roman named Larensis, who has summoned as guests the men of his time most learned in their several branches of knowledge. Not one of their excellent sayings has Athenaeus failed to mention. For he has contrived to bring into his book an account of fishes,2 their uses and names with their derivations; also vegetables of all sorts and animals of every description; Bhistorians, poets, philosophers, musical instruments, innumerable kinds of jests; he has also described drinking-cups in all their variety, the wealth of kings, the size of ships, and other matters so numerous that I could not easily mention them all; for the day would fail me if I undertook to enumerate them kind by kind. In short, the plan of the discourse reflects the rich bounty of a feast, and the arrangement of the book the courses of the dinner. p5Such is the delightful feast of reason which this wonderful steward, Athenaeus, introduces, and then, surpassing even himself, like the Athenian orators, he is so carried away by the ardour of his eloquence Cthat he passes on by leaps and bounds to the further portions of his book.

Now the wiseacres assumed to have been present at the banquet are: Masurius, a jurist, who had devoted no slight attention to all kinds of learning; a poet, too, of unique excellence, a man second to none in general culture, who had pursued diligently the complete round of academic studies. For whatever the subject in which he displayed his learning, he made it appear as though that had been his only study, such was the encyclopaedic range in which he had been nurtured from boyhood. He was, as Athenaeus says, a satiric poet not inferior to any of the successors of Archilochus. Present, too, were Plutarch, Leonides of Elis, DAemilianus Maurus, and Zoilus, wittiest of philologians. Of philosophers there were Pontianus and Democritus, both of Nicomedia, excelling all in wide erudition; Philadelphius of Ptolemais, a man not merely bred in philosophic contemplation, but also of tried experience in life generally. Of the Cynics there was one he calls Cynulcus ("dog-catcher");3 for not only "two fleet hounds followed " him, like Telemachus going to the Assembly,4 but many more than were in Actaeon's pack. Of orators there was a company as numerous as that of the Cynics, against whom, as well as all the other speakers, Ulpian of Tyre inveighed. He, through the constant investigation p7which he carries on at all hours in the streets, public walks, Ebookshops, and baths, has won a name that distinguishes him better than his own, Ceituceitus.5 This gentleman observed a law peculiar to himself, of never tasting food until he had asked whether or not a word was to be found in literature: is, for example, the word hora ("season") found signifying part of a day?6 Is methysos ("drunken") found applied to a man?7 Is metra ("womb") found as the name of a viand,8 or the compound syagros said of a boar?9 And among physicians there were Daphnus of Ephesus, pure in character10 as he was sacred in profession, no amateur in his grasp of the doctrines of the Academy; Galen of Pergamum, who has published more works on philosophy and medicine than all his predecessors, Fand in the exposition of his art as capable as any of the ancients; also Rufinus of Nicaea. And a musician was there, Alceides of Alexandria. In fact this list, as Athenaeus says, was more like a muster-roll than a list of guests at a banquet.

Athenaeus dramatizes the dialogue in imitation of Plato.11 At any rate it begins thus: 2 "Were you, Athenaeus, present in person at that noble assembly of men now known as Deipnosophists, which has been so much talked of about the town? Or was the account you gave to your friends derived from someone else?" "I was there myself, Timocrates." p9"Will you not, then, consent to let us also share in that noble talk you had over your cups? For 'to those who thrice wipe the mouth the gods give a better portion,' Bas, I believe, the poet of Cyrene12 says. Or are we to inquire of somebody else?"

Presently he launches into a eulogy of Larensis and says: "He took pride in gathering about him many men of culture and entertained them with conversation as well as with the things proper to a banquet, now proposing topics worthy of inquiry, now disclosing solutions of his own; for he never put his questions without previous study, or in a haphazard way, but with the utmost critical, even Socratic, acumen, so that all admired the keen observation shown by his questions." CAthenaeus says of him, too, that he had been placed in charge of temples and kings by the most excellent Emperor Marcus,13 and administered the Greek as well as the national rites of Rome. He calls him also a kind of Asteropaeus,14 because he excelled all the rest in both tongues, Greek as well as Latin. He says also that Larensis was well versed in the religious ceremonies established by Romulus, who gave his name to Rome, and by Numa Pompilius, and he was learned in political institutions. DAll this he had acquired unaided, by a study of ancient decrees and ordinances and from a compilation of laws 3 which the jurists no longer teach. They were "already a sealed book" as the comic poet Eupolis15 says of Pindar's poetry, p11"because of the decay of popular taste." In explanation, Athenaeus says that he owned so many ancient Greek books that he surpassed all who have been celebrated for their large libraries, including Polycrates of Samos, Peisistratus the tyrant of Athens, Eucleides, likewise an Athenian, Nicocrates of Cyprus, the kings of Pergamum, Euripides the poet, Aristotle the philosopher, Theophrastus, and Neleus, who preserved the books of the two last named. BFrom Neleus, he says, our King Ptolemy, surnamed Philadelphus, purchased them all and transferred them with those which he had procured at Athens and at Rhodes to his beautiful capital, Alexandria. Therefore one will be inclined to apply to Larensis the words of Antiphanes:16 "Thou art ever ranged on the side of the Muses and sound reason, when a work of art is put to the test." Or, as the lyric poet of Thebes17 sings, "His delight is in the fair flower of the Muses, in wit which makes our unceasing sport about the friendly table." CAgain, by his invitations to hospitality he made all feel that Rome was their native land. "For who can suffer from homesickness when in the company of one who keeps his house wide open to his friends?"18 As the comic poet Apollodorus19 says: "When a man enters a friend's house, he may, Nicophon, discover his friend's welcome as soon as he enters the door. The janitor smiles at him, the dog wags his tail and p13comes to him, a slave rises to meet him and promptly sets a chair for him, deven though not a word be spoken."

The rest of your rich men ought to be like that. For to those who do not practise such hospitality one may say, "Why are you so niggardly? 'Surely thy tents are full of wine; spread a bountiful feast for the elders. It is fitting for thee.' "20 Such was Alexander the Great in his munificence. Conon, too, after he had defeated the Lacedaemonians in the sea-fight off Cnidus21 and surrounded Peiraeus with a wall, offered a hecatomb22 — a real one, and not falsely so called — at which he feasted all Athens. eAnd when Alcibiades won first, second, and fourth places at Olympia in a chariot-race23 — in honour of which even Euripides wrote a hymn24 of victory — he sacrificed to the Olympian Zeus and entertained the entire assemblage. The same was done at Olympia by Leophron, and Simonides of Cos wrote the hymn.25 Empedocles of Agrigentum won a horse race at Olympia. Being a Pythagorean and an abstainer from animal food, he made an ox out of myrrh, frankincense, and the most costly spices, and divided it among the people who came to the festival. FAgain the Chian poet, Ion, when victor with a tragedy at Athens, gave every Athenian a jar of Chian wine.

"For what other reason," wrote Antiphanes,26 "would a man pray the gods to give him wealth and abundance of means, than that he may help his p15friends and sow the harvest of gratitude, that sweet goddess? For in drinking and eating we all take the same pleasure; but it needs not rich feasts to quell hunger."

Xenocrates27 of Chalcedon and Speusippus the Academician and Aristotle wrote on the laws of kings.

4 And again,28 there was Tellias of Agrigentum, a hospitable man who welcomed all comers, and when five hundred horsemen from Gela once stopped at his house in the winter season, he gave each a tunic and a cloak.

"Your dinner-chasing sophist" is a phrase used by Athenaeus.

Clearchus says29 that Charmus the Syracusan had verses and proverbs ready for every dish served at his banquets. Thus, for the fish, "From the salt depths of Aegean am I come."30 For the shell-fish called "heralds" he would say, "Hail, ye heralds, messengers of Zeus."31 For the lambs' and kids' entrails,32 B"Twisted these, in no wise sound."33 For the squid, stuffed with mince-meat, "Wise art thou, wise!"34 For the boiled dressing made of tiny fish, "Rid me of this mob, won't you?"35 For the p17skinned eel, "I draw no veil of clustering curls before me."36

Many such persons, he says, attended the dinner given by Larensis, bringing, as it were, contributions to a picnic, their literary lore tied up in rolls of bedding.37 He says, too, that Charmus, Cby having something ready to quote for each of the dishes served, as has just been explained, enjoyed the reputation among the Messenians of being highly cultivated. So also Calliphanes, he who was called the son of Voracious, had copied out the beginnings of numerous poems and speeches, and could repeat as many as three or four lines, thus seeking to win repute for wide learning.

Many others also had at their tongues' end Sicilian lampreys, eels that float on the water's surface, stomachs of tunnies caught off Pachynum, the young goats of Melos, the fish of Sciathos called "fasters"; and among things of less note, DPeloric shells, Lipara sprats, the Mantinean turnip, rape from Thebes, and beets from Ascra.

Cleanthes of Tarentum, according to Clearchus,38 used to recite in verse everything he said at a symposium. So did Pamphilus the Sicel. For example,

"Pour me out a draught to drink, and leg of partridge give me."

"A chamber-pot or cake with cheese39 let some one bring me quickly."

They whose substance is secure, Athenaeus remarks, need not labour with their hands to feed their bellies.

p19 Aristophanes40 uses the expression, "carrying fish-baskets full of decrees."

EArchestratus of Syracuse (or was it Gela?) in a work which Chrysippus entitles "Gastronomia," but which Lynceus and Callimachus call "The Art of High Living," Clearchus, "The Art of Dining," others, "The Art of Fine Cookery" — the poem is in epic verse and begins,41 "Of learning I offer proof to all Hellas" — says: "Let all dine at a single daintily-furnished table. There should be three or four in all, or at most not more than five. Else we should presently have a tentful of freebooters, robbers of victuals."42 He is unaware that in Plato's messroom there were eight and twenty.43

F"For these fellows are always on the lookout for the dinners in town, and shrewdly fly to them without an invitation," says Antiphanes,44 who continues: 5 "Men whom the people ought to support from the public treasury; and just as at Olympia, it is said, a special ox is sacrificed for the benefit of the flies, so ought they on all occasions slaughter one first for the benefit of the uninvited."

But "some flowers bloom in summer, and some in the winter season" as the Syracusan poet45 says. It p21is not, to be sure, feasible to serve all things at the same time, yet it is easy to talk about them.

There have been treatises on banquets by other writers, and in particular by Timachidas of Rhodes, who wrote one in epic verse in eleven, or possibly more, books. BThere are other works by Numenius of Heracleia, the pupil of the physician Dieuches;46 Matreas of Pitane, the parodist; and Hegemon of Thasos — his nick-name was "Lentil" — whom some place among the writers of the Old Comedy.

Artemidorus, falsely called an Aristophanean,47 collected words pertaining to cookery. A book called The Banquet by Philoxenus of Leucas is mentioned by the comic poet Plato:48 A. Here, in this solitary place, I propose to read this book to myself. — B. And what is it, pray? — A. It's a new book on cooking by Philoxenus. — B. Show me what it is like. — A. Listen then: 'I will begin with the bulb, and end with the tale of the tunny.' — B. The tunny? CThen it is much the best to be stationed right there, in the rear rank! — A. 'Smother the bulbs in the ashes, moisten with sauce, and eat as many as you will, for they exalt a man's parts. So much, then, for that. And now I come to the ocean's offspring.' After a little he proceeds: 'For them the casserole is not bad, though I think the p23frying-pan better.' And a little further: 'The sea-perch, the turbot, the fish with even teeth and with jagged teeth must not be sliced, else the vengeance of the gods may breathe upon you. DRather, bake and serve them whole, for it is much better so. The wriggling polyp, if it be rather large, is much better boiled than baked, if you beat it until it is tender. But the devil may take the boiled, say I, if I can get two that are baked. As for the red mullet, that will give no strength to the glands.49 For she is a daughter of the virgin Artemis and loathes the rising passion. Again, the scorpion . . .' — B. May it creep up and take a bite out of your buttocks!"

From this Philoxenus certain flat cakes came to be named "Philoxenei." Concerning him Chrysippus says: E"I remember a certain gourmand, who was so far lost to all feelings of shame before his companions, no matter what happened, that in the public baths he accustomed his hand to heat by plunging it into hot water, and gargled his throat with hot water that he might not shrink from hot food.50 For they used to say that he had actually won the cooks over to serving the dishes very hot, his object being to eat up everything alone, Fsince nobody else was able to follow his example." The same story is told also of Philoxenus of Cythera, of Archytas, and several others, one of whom says, in a comedy by Crobylus:51 "A. I've got fingers that are veritably Idaean52 p25against these viands so excessively hot, and I like to give my throat a vapour bath with hot slices of meat. — B. He must be a chimney, not a human being." And Clearchus53 says that Philoxenus, having first taken a bath, would go round among the houses in his own city and others as well, 6 followed by slaves carrying oil, wine, fish-paste, vinegar, and other relishes, then he would enter a house, albeit a stranger's, and season whatever was cooking for the rest of the company, put in what was lacking. When all was ready, he would bend over and greedily enjoy the feast. He once landed at Ephesus, and finding the victualler's shop empty inquired the cause. When he learned that everything had been sold out for a wedding, he bathed and went uninvited to the bridegroom's house. And after the dinner he sang the wedding song beginning "Marriage, most radiant deity,"54 and delighted the whole company. BFor he was a dithyrambic poet. And the groom said, "Philoxenus, shall you dine in this way to-morrow also?" "Yes," said Philoxenus, "if there be no victuals for sale."

Now Theophilus55 says "Unlike Philoxenus the son of Eryxis; for he, seemingly finding fault with nature's provision for the enjoyment of food, prayed that he might have the neck of a crane. But he might have done much better to wish to become a horse or an ox or a camel or an elephant; for in that case desires and pleasures are much greater and more intense, since their enjoyment is in proportion to the animals' strength." And Clearchus, speaking of Melanthius, says56 that he prayed thus: C"Melanthius, p27it appears, has conceived a better plan than Tithonius. For Tithonius longed for immortality, but now hangs in his chamber,57 old age having deprived him of all pleasures; whereas Melanthius, loving the delights of food, prayed that he might have the gullet of that long-necked bird,58 that he might linger long over his pleasures." The same authority59 says that Pithyllus, called the gourmand, wore a covering for the tongue made of membrane, and sheathed his tongue besides for greater enjoyment, Dand, at the end of the feast, he would powder some dried fish skin and purge the tongue. And he is the only gourmand who is said to have eaten food with finger-shields, desiring (the wretch!) to offer it to his tongue as hot as he could. Others call Philoxenus "the fish-lover," but Aristotle60 calls him in general "dinner-lover." He also writes, I believe, as follows: "They deliver claptrap orations wherever crowds collect, wasting the livelong day in jugglers' tricks, and among the adventurers who come from the Phasis or the Borysthenes,61 though they have never read anything but Philoxenus's Banquet, and that not entire."

EPhaenias says62 that Philoxenus, the poet of Cythera, who was devoted to dainty food, was once dining with Dionysius, and when he saw that a large mullet had been set before Dionysius, while a small one had been served to himself, he took it up in his hands and placed it to his ear. When Dionysius asked him why he did that, Philoxenus answered that p29he was writing a poem on Galatea and desired to ask the mullet some questions about Nereus63 and his daughters. And the creature, on being asked, had answered that she had been caught when too young, Fand therefore had not joined Nereus's company; but her sister, the one set before Dionysius, was older, and knew accurately all he wished to learn. So Dionysius, with a laugh, sent him the mullet that had been served to himself. Moreover, Dionysius was fond of drinking deep in company with Philoxenus. But when Philoxenus was detected in the act of seducing the king's mistress Galatea, he was thrown into the quarries. 7 There he wrote his Cyclops, telling the story of what had happened to him, and representing Dionysius as Cyclops, the flute-girl as the nymph Galatea, and himself as Odysseus.64

There lived in the days of Tiberius a man named Apicius, an exceedingly rich voluptuary, from whom many kinds of cakes are called Apician. He had lavished countless sums on his belly in Minturnae, a city of Campania, and lived there eating mostly high-priced prawns, Bwhich grow bigger there than the largest prawns of Smyrna or the lobsters of Alexandria. Now he heard that they also grew to excessive size in Libya, so he sailed forth without a day's delay, encountering very bad weather on the voyage. When he drew near those regions, fishermen sailed to meet him before he left his ship (for the report of his coming had spread far and wide among the Libyans), and brought to him their best prawns. On seeing them he asked if they had any p31that were larger, and on their answering that none grew larger than those they had brought, he bethought himself of the prawns in Minturnae Cand told the pilot to sail back by the same route to Italy without so much as approaching the shore.

Aristoxenus, the Cyrenaic philosopher, practised literally the system of philosophy which arose in his country,65 and from him a kind of ham specially prepared is called Aristoxenus; in his excess of luxury he used to water the lettuce in his garden at evening with wine and honey, and taking them up in the morning used to say that they were blanched cakes produced by the earth for him.

DWhen the Emperor Trajan was in Parthia, many days' journey away from the sea, Apicius caused fresh oysters to be sent to him in packing carefully devised by himself. He was better served than Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, when he desired anchovy, he also living too far away from the sea; for a cook made an imitation of fish and served this to him. At any rate, the cook in Euphron,66 the comic poet, says: "A. I was a pupil of Soterides, who, when Nicomedes was twelve days' journey from the sea Eand desired an anchovy in the middle of winter, served it to him — Zeus be my witness! — so that all cried out in wonder. — B. But how could that be? — A. He took a fresh turnip and cut in slices thin and long, shaping it just like the anchovy. Then he parboiled it, poured oil upon it, sprinkled p33salt to taste, spread on the top exactly forty seeds of black poppy, and satisfied the king's desire in far-away Scythia. FAnd when Nicomedes had tasted the turnip, he sang the praise of anchovy to his friends. The cook and the poet are just alike: the art of each lies in his brain."

Archilochus, the poet of Paros, speaks of Pericles67 as bursting uninvited into a drinking company "like a Myconian." It appears that the people of Myconos68 had a bad name for greed and avarice because they were poverty-stricken 8 and lived on a wretched island; at any rate, the greedy Ischomachus is called Myconian by Cratinus;69 "How could you, of all persons, be generous, being the son of Ischomachus the Myconian?"

A brave man I, among brave men I have come to dine. For common are the goods of friends.70

But the passage from Archilochus is this:71 "Though drinking much wine — and that unmixed with water — thou hast not paid the scot . . . and uninvited, too, thou camest, as an intimate friend might do. BNay, thy belly hath perverted thy heart and soul to shamelessness."

Eubulus,72 the comic poet, says, I believe: "There are, among our guests invited to dinner, two invincibles, Philocrates and — Philocrates! For I count him, though one, as two (and lusty too); yes, even p35as three. Once, they say, he had been asked out to dine by some friend who told him to come when the shadow on the dial measured twenty feet.73 So at dawn he began to measure when the sun was rising, Cand when the shadow was too long by more than a couple of feet he came to dine, and said that he had arrived a little late because of business engagements — though he had come at daybreak!"

Amphis74 the comic poet says that "whosoever is late at a free dinner75 you may guess would desert right soon the ranks in battle"; and Chrysippus says, "The goblet76 which cost nothing thou shalt not neglect." DAgain, "The free goblet must not be neglected; nay, it must be pursued." Antiphanes77 also says: "That is the life the gods lead, when you can dine at others' expense with no thought of the reckoning." And again: "My life is blessed indeed! I must ever discover some new device to get a morsel for my jaws."

These jests78 have I brought from home to the banquet, after careful rehearsal, for I, too, wanted to have my house-rent ready to pay when I came.

E"For we bards ever sacrifice without smoke."79

Yet the notion of eating alone was not unknown p37among the ancients. Antiphanes:80 "You eat alone! That's a wilful injury to me." Ameipsias:81 "To the devil with you, solitary eater and house-breaker!"

The Life of the Heroes in Homer82

Homer saw that moderation is the first and most appropriate virtue of the young, harmoniously joining together and enhancing all that is fair; and since he wished to implant it anew from beginning to end so that his heroes might spend their leisure and their endeavour on noble deeds Fand be helpful to each other and share their goods with one another, he made their way of living frugal and contented. For he considered that passions and pleasures become very strong, and that foremost among them and innate are the desires for eating and drinking, and that they who abide resolutely in frugality are well-disciplined and self-controlled in all the exigencies of life. He has, therefore, ascribed a simple manner of life to all, the same, too, for kings as for subjects, for young as for old, when he says:83 "And to his side she drew a polished table; and the grave housekeeper brought bread and set it before them." "And the carver took platters of meat and set them before them."84 9 Now this meat, too, was roasted, and was for the most part beef. Excepting this he never places before them anything, whether at a festival p39or a wedding or any other gathering. And yet he often makes Agamemnon entertain his chieftains at dinner; no entreés served in fig-leaves, no rare titbit or milk-cakes, or honey-cakes, does Homer serve as choice dainties for his kings, but only viands by which body and soul might enjoy strength. And so after the duel85 Agamemnon especially "rewarded Ajax with the chine of oxen."86 And to Nestor,87 by this time an old man, and to Phoenix,88 he gives roast meat, meaning to restrain us from riotous desires. And it was so with Alcinoüs, whose choice inclined to a luxury life; he feasted the Phaeacians, who lived most luxuriously, and entertained the stranger Odysseus; he shows him the well-appointed house and garden, and then causes the same simple fare to be placed before him. BMenelaus, also, when he celebrated the nuptials of his children,89 at the time when Telemachus came to visit him, "took and set before them the roasted ox-chine, which they had served to him as his own meed of honour." And Nestor also, though a king who had many subjects, sacrificed cattle to Poseidon at the seaside by the hand of the children most near and dear to him, exhorting them in these words:90 "Nay then, let one go to the field for a heifer," and the rest. For that sort of sacrifice, made by men who are devoted and loyal, is holier and more acceptable to the gods. Even the suitors, insolent though they were, Cand p41recklessly given over to pleasure, are not represented as eating fish or birds or honey-cakes, for Homer strenuously excludes the tricks of the culinary art, the viands which Menander calls aphrodisiac, and that mentioned in many authors under the name of lastaurokakabos91 (as Chrysippus says in his work On Pleasure and the Good), the preparation of which is rather elaborate.

The Priam of Homer, too, reproaches92 his sons for consuming what custom prohibits: "Plunderers of lambs and kids belonging to your own countrymen!"

Philochorus93 records that at Athens Dno one was allowed to taste the flesh of an unshorn lamb, because at one time there had occurred a dearth of these animals.

Although Homer describes the Hellespont as teeming with fish,94 and pictures the Phaeacians as devoted to the sea, and although he knows that in Ithaca there are several harbours and many islands near the shore abounding in fish and wild fowl, and moreover counts the sea's bounty in supplying fish as an element of prosperity, he nevertheless never represents anyone as eating any of these creatures. What is more, he does not place fruit upon the board either, though it was abundant Eand he mentions it in a delightful passage,95 representing it as never failing throughout the year: "Pear upon pear," he says, and all the rest. What is more, he also does not picture the wearing of chaplets or the use of unguents, any more than the burning of incense. On the contrary, his characters are free of all such conventions, p43and the foremost of them are singled out for freedom and independence. Even to the gods he ascribes a simple regimen of nectar and ambrosia. He pictures human beings as honouring the gods in their diet, Fdenying to them the use of frankincense or myrrh or wreaths or similar luxuries. And even this simple food they do not enjoy greedily, according to him, but like an excellent physician, he forbids satiety, saying, "when they had banished desire for eating and drinking."96 And after his heroes had satisfied their appetite some would be off to athletic practice, "amusing themselves with discus and spear,"97 10 in sport training themselves for serious work; while others would listen to the harpists as they set to melody and rhythm the deeds of heroes. It is no wonder, therefore, that men nourished in this fashion should be free from the excitements of body and soul.98 By way, then, of showing that moderate living is healthful, beneficial, and adapted for all, he has portrayed Nestor,99 wisest of men, as offering wine to the physician Machaon when he was wounded in the right shoulder, although Nestor was a bitter foe of passion; and the wine he gives is Pramneian, too, Bwhich we know was heavy and filling. It was no "cure for thirst,"100 but rather a device for stuffing the belly; at any rate, although Machaon has already drunk, Nestor urges him to continue, saying, "Be seated, and drink."101 He then scrapes some goat's milk cheese over the wine and adds an onion as a relish102 to make him drink more. And yet in another passage103 Homer says that wine relaxes and enervates bodily vigour. As for Hector, p45Hecuba,104 hoping that he will stay in the city the rest of the day, invites him to pour a libation and drink, thinking thereby to excite him to gaiety. CBut he puts it off and goes forth to action. She insistently praises wine, but he rejects it, though panting for breath when he comes before her. She urges him to pour a libation and drink, but he thinks it unholy when he is covered with the blood of battle. Still, Homer recognizes the usefulness of wine in moderation when he says105 that he who quaffs too eagerly injures himself. He also understands various degrees of mixing;106 for Achilles would not have directed that "the purer sort be mixed"107 had not some sort of mixing been a daily custom. It may be that the poet was not aware that wine is too easily carried off through the pores if there be no admixture of solid food, a fact well known to physicians in practice; Dat any rate, for patients suffering from cardiac disorders they mix some cereal food and wine together in order to retain its effect. Nestor, however, gives Machaon his wine mixed with meal and cheese; and the poet makes Odysseus combine the advantages derived from food and wine together in the verse,108 "The man who has had his fill of wine and food." To a hard drinker he gives the "sweet draught," as he calls it:109 "In it stood casks of wine, the old sweet draught."

Homer also represents young girls and women as bathing their guests, Eevidently believing that when men have lived honorable and chaste lives, women do not kindle violent passion in them. This is an p47ancient practice; at any rate, the daughters of Cocalus bathed Minos, as though it were customary, when he came to Sicily.110

By way of denouncing drunkenness the poet portrays Cyclops, for all his great size, as completely overcome, when drunk, by a small person;111 likewise the centaur Eurytion;112 and so he changes the men who visited Circe into lions and wolves because of their self-indulgence, Fwhereas Odysseus is saved because he obeys the admonition of Hermes,113 and therefore comes off unscathed. But he makes Elpenor, who indulges too freely in wine, and is given to luxury, break his neck by a fall.114 And Antinoüs, the very one who says115 to Odysseus "the sweet wine is affecting thee," could not abstain from drinking himself; therefore he too was "affected," and lost his life with the cup still in his hand. Homer also represents the Greeks as drunk when they sailed away,116 and that is why they fell to quarrelling and were destroyed. 11 He also tells how Aeneas,117 though most skilled in counsel among the Trojans, because of his outspoken language inspired by drink and because of the boastful threats he had uttered to the Trojans when in his cups, resisted the onslaught of Achilles, and so nearly lost his life. Agamemnon, too, says somewhere of himself,118 "Since I was undone by yielding to my baleful spirit, or because I was drunken with wine, or because the gods themselves did blast me," thus putting drunkenness in the same scale with madness. (With this interpretation have these same verses been cited by Dioscurides, disciple of Isocrates.) p49BAnd Achilles, when reviling Agamemnon, calls him "Heavy with wine, with the eyes of a dog."119

Thus spoke "the Thessalian wit," that is, the wise man of Thessaly.120 Athenaeus is perhaps alluding to the old saying.

In the matter of meals, the heroes of Homer took first the so‑called akratisma,121 or breakfast, which he calls ariston.122 This he mentions once in the Odyssey:123 "Odysseus and the godlike swineherd kindled a fire and prepared breakfast." CAnd once in the Iliad:124 "Quickly they set to work and prepared breakfast." He calls the morning meal embroma; we call it akratismos, because we eat pieces of bread sopped in unmixed (akratos) wine. So Antiphanes125 retains the Homeric usage: "While the cook is getting breakfast," immediately continuing, "Have you time to join me at breakfast?" Cantharus126 also identifies ariston and akratismos: "A. Let us, then, take breakfast here. — B. Not so; we will breakfast at the Isthmus." Aristomenes:127 D"I'll get a little breakfast, a bite or two of bread, and then come back." But Philemon says that the ancients had four meals, akratisma, ariston, hesperisma ("evening meal") and deipnon ("dinner"). Now the akratisma they called breaking the fast, the ariston ("luncheon") they called deipnon, the evening meal dorpestos, the dinner p51epidorpis. In Aeschylus may be found the proper order of these terms, in the verses wherein Palamedes is made to say:128 "I appointed captains of divisions and of hundreds over the host, Eand meals I taught them to distinguish, breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, third." The fourth meal is mentioned by Homer in these words:129 "Go thou when thou hast supped," referring to what some call deilinon, which comes between our ariston ("luncheon") and deipnon ("dinner"). So ariston, in Homer, is the meal eaten in the early morning, whereas deipnon is the noon meal which we to‑day call ariston, and dorpon is the evening meal. Perhaps, also, deipnon in Homer is sometimes synonymous with ariston; for of the morning meal he somewhere said:130 "They then took their deipnon, and after that began to arm for battle;" Fthat is, immediately after sunrise and the deipnon, they go forth to fight.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 See Introduction.

And — to obviate needless e‑mail or careless citation in your paper — note that that introduction will tell you that the excerpting was not done in the 21c by the perpetrator of this website, but by a medieval copyist. The three webpages comprising Book 1 of the Deipnosophistae on this site are the entire extant text of that Book.

2 Of which the Greeks after Homer were extraordinarily fond.

3 Cynic properly = "like a dog," whence the punning quotation.

4 Odyssey II.11.

5 "Found-or‑not," from κεῖται, "is found," explained in the following sentence. He is always after citations.

6 i.e., in the modern sense of "hour."

7 According to Phrynichus 151 this adjective was properly used only of women.

8 "Pig's paunch."

9 Properly "one who shuns wild boars," Lobeck, Phrynichus 381. But see Athenaeus 401F.

10 See IG XIV.1319. The close association of medicine and religion made the epithet ἱερός appropriate; of Hippocrates, Athen. 399B.

11 See Introduction.

12 Eratosthenes, Frag. 37 Hiller's edition. The sense may be "a third repetition of the events will be blessed with success," since ἀπομαξαμένοισι may be used of taking an impression of a seal, and so of repeating in general.

13 Marcus Aurelius, emperor A.D. 161‑180.

14 Ally of the Trojans, taller than any other man among them or the Achaeans (Iliad XXI.140 ff.).

15 Kock I.356.

16 Kock II.124.

17 Pindar, Olympian Odes, I.14.

18 Apparently from some comic poet.

19 Kock III.293.

20 Loosely quoted from Iliad IX.70, VII.475.

21 394 B.C. midsummer.

22 i.e. of a hundred oxen, as the word implies, though it is often used of a smaller sacrifice.

23 420 B.C.

24 P. L. G.4 II.296.

25 P. L. G.4 III.390.

26 Kock II.111.

27 The sentence begins with ὅτι, "that," worn down from the formula σημειωτέον ὄτι, nota bene. Many such short extracts occur, often disconnected from the main theme.

28 Resuming the topic of hospitality, the last example being Ion.

29 F. H. G. II.308.

30 Euripides, Trojan Women, 1.

31 Iliad I.334.

32 Still eaten in Greece as a delicacy.

33 Euripides, Andromache, 448 makes Andromache in anger speak of the Spartans thus: "Thinking crooked thoughts, unsound and tortuous."

34 Ibid. 245.

35 A verse attributed to Bion by Diogenes Laertius II.117.

36 Euripides, Phoenissae, 1485.

37 Referring loosely to the huge bundles of books brought with them. Cf. the title of Clement of Alexandria's learned work, Στρώματα.

38 F. H. G. II.309.

39 See 58E; the πλακοῦς was named from its shape, being flat.

40 Kock I.446. From the Greek proverb "blowing up a fish-basket" we may infer that Aristophanes is deriding the futility of legislation.

41 Frag. 1 Ribbeck.

42 Frag. 61 ibid.

43 Commonly referred to Plato's Symposium, where, however, the exact number is not stated. It is more likely that the συσσίτιον of Laws 762C (cf. 771A) is meant.

44 Kock II.112. The fourth century saw the rise of the parasite in Greek society.

45 Theocritus II.58. The next line in Theocritus shows the bearing of the quotation: "Wherefore I cannot bring all these offerings at once."

46 On Dieuches and family, several being physicians, and on the duties of Dieuches and Numenius see Dow, Bull. Hist. Med. XII (1942), pp18 ff.

47 Perhaps his claim to be a disciple of Aristophanes of Byzantium was disputed because he lived long after the great philologian. Pauly-Wissowa III.1331. Cf. Athen. 182D, 387D, 662D.

48 Kock I.646.

49 Cf. Lat. nervus in the same sense.

50 With a side-glance at the other meaning of the phrase, "might not squirm in a tight place." Cf. Plato, Rep. 503D.

51 Kock III.381.

52 Cold as the snow on Mount Idea: a punning allusion to the Δάκτυλοι, gigantic beings associated with the Idaean Mother Rhea.

53 F. H. G. II.309.

54 P. L. G.4 III.614.

55 F. H. G. IV.516. Cf. Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1118 A33.

56 F. H. G. II.309.

57 See critical note.

Thayer's Note: the critical note to the Greek, at ἐν θαλάμῳ κρέμαται, reads:

Adam ταλάρῳ, "in a birdcage."

58 The crane.

59 Clearchus.

60 Frag. 83 Rose.

61 The Phasis (cf. pheasant), a river of Armenia, and the Borysthenes (now the Dnieper) in South Russia, flowed through regions from which came many wonder-workers and strange animals.

62 F. H. G. II.297.

63 Sea divinity, among whose fifty daughters were Galatea and Thetis. Galatea was also the name of Dionysius's mistress: see below.

64 P. L. G.4 III.609.

65 The Cyrenaics were hedonists, regarding pleasure as summum bonum.

66 Kock III.323.

67 Of the seventh century B.C., mentioned in the fragments of Archilochus. Cf. P. L. G.4 II.405.

68 One of the Cyclades, not far from Delos and Paros.

69 Kock I.109.

70 An isolated excerpt.

71 P. L. G.4 II.405. Cf. the proverb, "Friends may join friends' revels uninvited."

72 Kock II.206.

73 In Aristophanes' day the usual dinner time was at "ten feet." Cf. Ecclesiazusae, 652. Philocrates, reversing Mark Twain's error on the Rigi, mistook the morning for the evening hour.

74 Kock II.248.

75 By contrast with the ἔρανος, "subscription dinner."

76 κώθων, "drinking-cup," then "drinking-bout."

77 Kock II.117.

78 Perhaps referring to the stock-in‑trade of the parasite.

79 i.e. live at the expense of others.

80 Kock II.128.

81 Kock I.677.

82 Suidas, s.v. Ὅμηρος, wrongly ascribes this extract to Dioscurides, On Homeric Law. It extends to 14D.

83 Od. VII.174 ff.

84 Od. I.141.

85 Between Ajax and Hector, Iliad VII.200 ff.

86 Iliad VII.321.

87 Od. III.33.

88 Iliad IX.215.

89 A son and a daughter, Megapenthes and Hermione. Od. IV.64.

90 Od. III.421.

91 From λάσταυρος, "lecher," and κακάβη, "partridge," a dish supposed to excite lust.

92 Iliad XXIV.262.

93 F. H. G. I.394.

94 Iliad IX.360.

95 Od. VII.120.

96 e.g. Od. I.150.

97 Od. IV.626.

98 Cf. Plato's φλεγμαίνουσα πόλις (Rep. 372E), a society given over to luxury, and below, 60D.

99 Iliad XI.639.

100 Eur. Cyclops 97.

101 Iliad XIV.5.

102 Iliad XI.630.

103 Iliad VI.265.

104 Iliad VI.258.

105 Od. XXI.294. Homer says ἕλῃ, "takes"; Athenaeus uses the slang ἕλκοντα, "pulls."

106 With water.

107 Iliad IX.203.

108 Iliad XIX.167.

109 Od. II.340.

110 In pursuit of Daedalus. Cocalus was king of the Sicani near Agrigentum, Diod. IV.79.º

111 Odysseus, Od. IX.360 ff.

112 Od. XXI.295.

113 Od. X.277 ff.

114 Od. X.552.

115 Od. XXI.293.

116 Od. III.139.

117 Iliad XX.84.

118 Iliad IX.119.

119 Iliad I.225.

120 Myrtilus. Cf. VII.308B. Θεσσαλὸν σόφισμα was a familiar term for trickery. Suid s.v.

121 "Breakfast"; see below, 11C.

122 Lit. "early meal," but in Athens "luncheon."

123 XVI.2.

124 XXIV.124.

125 Kock II.126.

126 Kock I.766.

127 Kock I.693.

128 TGF2 60.

129 Od. XVII.599.

130 Iliad VIII.53‑54. See the Scholiast, who reveals that this confusion about meals in Homer was an ancient puzzle. Athenaeus only adds to the confusion.


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