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I.1A‑11F

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.24B‑34E

(Vol. I) Athenaeus
Deipnosophistae

p51 Excerptsa from Book I
(Part 2 of 3)

(11F) In Homer men feast sitting.1 Certain authorities also think that a separate table is set before each diner. In the case of Mentes,2 at any rate, they assert that a "polished table" was placed before him when he visited Telemachus,3 although the tables had already been set out. But this is not a conclusive settlement of the question; for it is possible that Athena dined from the same table as Telemachus. Throughout the banquet the tables remained before them fully spread, 12as is still the custom to‑day among many foreign peoples, "completely p53covered o'er with divers good things," as Anacreon4 has it. After the guest withdrew, "the maids carried away much food as well as the table and the cups."5 But the banquet in the scene at Menelaus's palace6 is peculiar. For after eating, the guests converse; then they wash their hands and eat once more, and still later, after their lamentation, they bethink7 them of supper. The notion that the tables were removed is seemingly refuted by the verse in the Iliad:8 B"He had been eating and drinking, and the table still stood beside him." Accordingly we must read the line thus: "Eating and drinking still, while the table stood beside him."9 Or else we must explain the contradiction by the special circumstances. For how could it have been decent for Achilles, then in mourning, to have a table set before him just as it is for revellers throughout an entire symposium? Loaves of bread were served in baskets, but at dinner only roast meat was known. "Homer," observes Antiphanes,10 "never made broth when he sacrificed oxen, nor did he boil the flesh or the brains, Cbut he roasted even the entrails. So very old-fashioned was he."

Now of the meat, also, portions were equally divided, whence he calls banquets "equal" because of the equality observed. Dinners were called daites from dateisthai, "to divide," and wine as well as meat was equally apportioned: "By this time we had satisfied our souls with the equal feast."11 p55Again: "Your health, Achilles! Of the equal feast we are in no want."12 Hence Zenodotus was convinced that an "equal" feast meant a "goodly feast." DFor since food is a necessary good for man, Homer, he asserts, calls it "equal," using an extended form of the word;13 for primitive men, who, of course, did not have abundant food, would fall upon it pell-mell as soon as it appeared, and forcibly snatch and wrest it from those who had it, so that in the midst of this disorder bloodshed would actually occur. So it was, probably, that the word atasthalia ("wickedness") came into use, because it was amid festivity (thalia) that men first sinned against one another.14 But when, through Demeter's bounty, they came to have plenty, they would divide it equally to each, and in this way men came to sup in orderly fashion. EThus, also, comes the conception of "loaf"15 as a due portion, and of cake divided up into equal portions, and of "goblets"16 for drinkers challenging in their turn. In fact, these terms arose when men were progressing toward fair dealing. And so the meal is called dais from daiesthai, "divide," that is, to distribute in equal portions; and the roaster of meat is daitros,17 or "divider," because he gave an equal portion to everybody. In fact, it is only of human beings that the poet uses the word dais, but when he comes to beasts, never. But Zenodotus, unaware of the etymology of the word, Fwrites in his edition of Homer,18 "gave their bodies to be a prey to dogs p57and a feast (dais) to birds," dignifying by this name the food of vultures and other birds of prey, although man alone progresses from primitive violence to fair dealing. 13Hence only man's food can be dais, and his "lot" is what is given to everybody. In Homer the feasters were not in the habit of carrying home anything left over, but after satisfying themselves they left it behind where they had dined. The housekeeper would take and keep it, so that if a stranger arrived she might have something to give him.

Now Homer even represents the men of those times as eating fish and birds.19 In Thrinacia, anyway, Odysseus's companions catch "fishes and fowls and whatever came to their hands, with bended hooks."20 For surely the hooks had not been forged in Thrinacia, but must have been brought with them on the voyage, Bwhich proves that they had had practice and skill in catching fish. Moreover, the poet compares21 those companions of Odysseus who had been snatched by Scylla, to fish caught on a long pole and flung out upon the shore. He thus shows a more exact understanding of this art than the authors of systematic poems and treatises on it, I mean Caecalus of Argos, Numenius of Heracleia, Pancrates of Arcadia, Poseidonius of Corinth, and Oppian of Cilicia, who was born a little before us.22 CThese make a considerable number of writers on angling in epic verse that we have found, while in prose there are the works of Seleucus of Tarsus, Leonidas of p59Byzantium, and Agathocles of Atrax.23 Still, Homer never mentions such food in connexion with banquets, evidently because these viands were not considered appropriate to the heroes of high rank, any more than he mentions the eating of young animals. But they also ate oysters as well as fish, though the eating of them affords little benefit or pleasure, especially as they lie deep at the bottom of the sea, and there is no way of getting them except Dby diving to the bottom. "Verily, a nimble man he, who diveth easily;"24 of whom he also says, "Many would he satisfy by diving for oysters."

Before every feaster in Homer a cup is set. In the case of Demodocus,25 at least, there are furnished a basket, a table, and a cup "for drinking whensoe'er his heart bade him." And "the mixing-bowls are crowned with the beverage,"26 that is, they are filled to the brim, so as to be "crowned" with the wine. EThis they did because they regarded it as a good omen. And "the young men distribute it to all, after the drink-offering has been poured into the cups."27 The word "all" refers to the men, not to the cups. At any rate, Alcinoüs says to Pontonoüs,28 "Serve wine to all in the hall," continuing, "So, then, he measured it out to all, after he had poured the drink-offering into the cups."

There are also special honours at dinner for the bravest. For example, Tydeides is honoured "with meat and full cups,"29 Fand Ajax is rewarded "with chines cut the whole length,"30 and the chieftains p61also receive the same: "The chine of an ox, which they set before him,"31 meaning Menelaus. So Agamemnon honours Idomeneus "with full cup,"32 and Sarpedon is honoured among the Lycians in the same way, and also with meat and a special chair.33

Drinking a health was accompanied by a hand-clasp. Thus the gods "at the golden cups clasped one another," that is, gave each other the right hand as they pledged one another; 14and someone "clasped Achilles,"34 instead of "gave him the right hand," i.e. he pledged him while extending the cup in his right hand.35 They used also to present a part of their own portion to anyone they liked, just as Odysseus cuts off for Demodocus some of the chine which they had served to him.36

They were also in the habit, as the suitors show, of employing at symposia singers accompanied by the lyre, and dancers. At Menelaus's palace "the divine minstrel sang,"37 and two tumblers whirled about as leaders in the mirth; this word molpe ("mirth") is for our paidia ("sport"). BYet there was a certain sobriety in the minstrel tribe, who took the place of the philosophers of our time.38 Agamemnon, for example, leaves a minstrel behind to guard and counsel Clytaemnestra.39 His business was first to dilate on the virtues of women and inspire emulation for uprightness, and secondly, to furnish pleasant entertainment to divert her mind from low thoughts. Hence Aegisthus could not corrupt the lady until he had murdered the bard on a desert island. This character is found also p63in the bard who sang under compulsion before the suitors, Cfor he spoke out his detestation of the suitors who beset Penelope. We may say in general that Homer calls all bards "reverend" in men's eyes, "for this is why the Muse hath taught them in the ways of song, and loved the tribe of minstrels."40 Demodocus at the Phaeacian court sings of the amours of Ares and Aphrodite,41 not in approval of such passion, but to deter his hearers from illicit desires, or else because he knew that they had been brought up in a luxurious mode of life and therefore offered for their amusement what was most in keeping with their character. DAnd to the suitors Phemius sings with the same intent the return of the Achaeans.42 The Sirens also sing to Odysseus the things most likely to please him, reciting what would appeal to his ambition and knowledge. "For we know," say they, "all other things and all that shall befall upon the fruitful earth as well."43

The dances in Homer are, in some cases, performed by tumblers, in others, accompanied by ball-playing, the invention of which is ascribed to Nausicaä by Agallis, the Corcyraean savante, who naturally favoured her own countrywoman. But Dicaearchus44 credits to the Sicyonians, Ewhile Hippasus45 makes the Lacedaemonians pioneers in this as in all gymnastic exercises. Nausicaä is the only one of his heroines whom Homer introduces playing ball. Famous ball-players were Demoteles, brother of Theocritus the Chian sophist; also one Chaerephanes. He, when following a licentious young man, p65would not converse with him, and moreover prevented the young fellow from inducing his passion. So the young man said, "Chaerephanes, if you will stop following me you shall have of me everything you desire." "What!" he replied; "I converse with you?" f"Why, then," said the young man, "do you persist in following me?" To this he answered, "I like to look at you, but I do not approve of your morals."

The folliculus, as it was called (it was apparently a kind of ball), was invented by Atticus of Naples, trainer of Pompeius Magnus, as an aid in physical exercise. The ball-game now called harpastum was formerly called phaininda, which is the kind I like best of all.

Great are the exertion and fatigue attendant upon contests of ball-playing, and violent twisting and turning of the neck. Hence Antiphanes:46 "Damn me, what a pain I've got in my neck!" He describes the game of phaininda thus:47 15"He seized the ball and passed it with a laugh to one, while the other player he dodged; from one he pushed it out of the way, while he raised another player to his feet amid resounding shouts of 'out of bounds,' 'too far,' 'right beside him,' 'over his head,' 'on the ground,' 'up in the air,' 'too short,' 'pass it back in the scrimmage.' " The game was called phaininda either from the players shooting48 the ball or because, according to Juba the Mauretanian,49 its inventor was the trainer Phainestius. So Antiphanes:50 "You went to play phaininda in the gymnasium of Phainestius." p67Ball-players also paid attention to graceful movement. BDamoxenus, at any rate, says:51 "A youngster, perhaps sixteen or seventeen years old, was once playing ball. He came from Cos; that island, it is plain, produces gods. Whenever he cast his eye upon us seated there, as he caught or threw the ball, we shouted together, 'What rhythm! what modesty of manner, what skill!' Whatever he said or did, gentlemen, he seemed a miracle of beauty. CNever before have I heard of or seen such grace.b Something would have happened to me if I had stayed longer; as it is, I feel that I am not quite well." Even Ctesibius, the philosopher of Chalcis, liked to play ball, and many of King Antigonus's friends would strip for a game with him. Timocrates the Laconian wrote a treatise on ball-playing.

But the Phaeacians in Homer also dance without a ball. And they dance rapidly in turn, I suppose (since this is the meaning of "tossing rapidly to and fro"),52 Dwhile others stand by and beat time by snapping the fingers, which is expressed by the verb "snap."53 The poet also knows of the practice of dancing with song accompaniment. For Demodocus sang while "boys in their first bloom"54 danced, and in the Forging of the Arms55 a boy played the lyre while others opposite him "frisked about to the music and the dance." Here there is an allusion to the style of the hyporcheme,56 which became popular p69in the time of Xenodemus and Pindar. This variety of dance is Ean imitation of acts which can be interpreted by words. Xenophon, with customary elegance, describes it in the Anabasis57 as occurring at the symposium held in the house of the Thracian Seuthes.58 He says: "When they had poured libations and sang the paean, the Thracians rose up to begin the programme, and danced in armour to a flute accompaniment. They leaped high and lightly, and brandished their knives. At the climax one struck the other; and all the audience thought he had received a deadly blow. Down he fell with artful grace, and all the Paphlagonians at the dinner shouted aloud. Then the first dancer despoiled the other of his arms and made his exit with the Sitalcas song, Fwhile other Thracians carried off the victim as though he were dead. But he wasn't hurt at all. Following him the Aenianians and Magnesians arose and danced in armour the karpaia,59 as it is called. The nature of the dance was this: One performer lays aside his arms and begins to sow and plow, often turning around as if in fear; a robber approaches, and when the first dancer sees him he snatches up his arms and fights in front of his oxen, keeping time with the flute music; finally the robber binds the man and drives off the team; 16but sometimes also the ploughman overcomes the robber, ties his hands behind his back, and drives him alongside the oxen." Another performer described by Xenophon danced "The Persian," clashing his wicker shields and alternately squatting and standing up. All this he did in rhythm, with flute accompaniment. He then describes the Arcadians, who rose up in full armour and p71marched in step to the warlike60 measures of the flute, neatly adapting themselves to the rhythm while they danced.

The Homeric heroes used both flutes61 and Pan's pipes. Agamemnon, for example, "hears the sound of flutes and pipes."62 BHomer has not introduced them at symposia, but in the Forging of the Arms63 he mentions the flutes at the celebration of a wedding, and flutes he ascribes to barbarians; it was among Trojans, at least, that "the sound of flutes and pipes" arose.

They poured libations at the conclusion of dinner and offered them to Hermes,64 not, as in later times, to Zeus the Fulfiller. For Hermes is regarded as the patron of sleep. So they pour the libation to him also when the tongues of the animals are cut out65 on leaving a dinner. CTongues are sacred to him because he is the god of eloquence.66

Homer also knows of a variety of meats, for he speaks of "viands of every sort"67 and "dainties such as Zeus-cherished princes eat."68 He is acquainted likewise with all the sumptuousness of our modern world. Of human dwellings, to be sure, the most splendid was the palace of Menelaus, which he conceives of as having virtually the same splendid equipment as Polybius69 ascribes to the house of a certain Iberian prince, of whom he says that he had emulated the luxury of the Phaeacians, except for the gold and silver bowls, filled with barley wine, which stood within the house. DBut in describing p73Calypso's house, Homer causes Hermes to stand in wonder at it.70

A joyous life is that which he ascribes to the Phaeacians, "for dear to us ever is the banquet and the lyre," etc.71 . . . "These verses,"72 says Eratosthenes, are written thus: 'As for me, I assert that there is no more perfect delight than when merriment73 reigns and baseness is absent, and feasters in the halls listen to the bard' — meaning by 'baseness is absent' 'senseless folly.' EFor the Phaeacians could not but be men of good sense, since, as Nausicaä says,74 the gods loved them."

The suitors in Homer amused themselves by playing "draughts before the doors."75 They could not have learned the game from the celebrated Diodorus or Theodorus, or the Mitylenaean Leon, whose ancestry was Athenian, and who, according to Phaenias,76 was never beaten at draughts. FApion of Alexandria says that he actually heard Cteson of Ithaca tell what sort of game the suitors played. "The suitors," he says, "numbered one hundred and eight, and divided the counters between opposing sides, each side equal in number according to the number of players themselves, so that there were fifty-four on a side. A small space was left between them, and in this middle space they set one counter which they called Penelope; 17this they made the mark to be thrown at with another counter. They then drew lots, and the one who drew the first took p75aim. If a player succeeded in pushing Penelope forward, he moved his piece to the position occupied by her before being hit and thrust out, then again setting up Penelope he would try to hit her with his own piece from the second position which he occupied.77 If he hit her without touching any other player's piece, he won the game and had high hopes of marrying her. BEurymachus had won the greatest number of victories in this game, and looked forward to his marriage with confidence." In this way, because of their easy life, the suitors' arms were so flabby that they could not even begin to stretch the bow.78 Even the servants who ministered to them were given over to luxury.

Very potent, in Homer, is the scent of unguents. "If it were but shaken in the bronze-floored mansion of Zeus, yet its fragrance went out to earth and heaven."79

CHomer also knows of couches highly adorned, such as Arete bids spread for Odysseus;80 and Nestor boasts to Telemachus that he is rich in them.81

Now among other poets it has sometimes been the practice to trace the extravagance and ease of their own times back to the time of the Trojan war. Aeschylus, for example, represents the Greeks as so indecently drunk that they break the chamber-pots on one another's heads. At any rate, he says:82 "Here is that knave who poured over me that mirth-provoking missile, the unsavoury pot, and missed not; and on my head it struck and was wrecked and p77dashed to pieces, Dbreathing upon something different from the breath of fragrant oil-jars." Sophocles, also, in The Achaeans' Dinner-Guest,83 says: "But in a burst of anger he threw the unsavoury pot, and missed not: and on my head the vessel was smashed, breathing not of balsam, and the unlovely smell smote me with fright." Eupolis rebukes the one who first introduced the word "pot" in these terms:84 "Alcibiades: I loathe their Spartan simplicity, and I'd like to buy a frying-pan.85 E B. Many the women, I fancy, who have fallen a prey in our time to their lust. — Alc. . . . And he who invented tippling in the early morning.86B. Ay, there you have hit on the cause of much lechery among us. — Alc. Well, then, who first said 'slave, a chamber-pot!' in the midst of his drinking?87B. Yes, that is a wise and Palamedic88 conceit of yours."

But in Homer the nobles dine decently in Agamemnon's tent, and though, in the Odyssey, Achilles and Odysseus quarrel89 and Agamemnon "was secretly glad thereat," still their disputes were useful when they were debating whether Ilium was to be taken by stratagem or battle. FBut even when Homer introduces the suitors as drunk, he does not portray such indecent conduct as Sophocles and Aeschylus have done, but merely mentions the hurling of an ox's foot at Odysseus.90

p79 In their gatherings at dinner the heroes sit instead of reclining, and this sometimes happened at King Alexander's court, according to Duris.91 Once, at any rate, when he entertained nearly six thousand officers, he seated them on silver stools as well as on couches, spreading purple robes on the seats. 18Hegesander, too, says92 that in Macedonia it was not customary for anyone to recline at dinner unless he had speared a wild boar without using a hunting-net. Until then they must eat sitting. Cassander, therefore, at the age of thirty-five continued to sit at meals with his father, being unable to accomplish the feat, though he was brave and a good hunter.93

And so, with an eye to the seemly, Homer introduced his heroes feasting on nothing else but meat. Moreover, they prepared it for themselves. For it means no ridicule or shame to see them getting a meal and cooking. BIn fact, they practised self-service from set purpose, and took pride, as Chrysippus says, in the dexterity they possessed in these matters. Odysseus, anyway, asserts that he is skilled as few are "in carving meat and piling up a fire."94 And in the scene of the Entreaty Patroclus and Achilles prepare everything.95 When Menelaus, also, celebrates his children's nuptials,96 the bridegroom Megapenthes pours the wine. But to‑day we have so far degenerated as to recline when we feast.

Only recently, too, have public baths been introduced, for in the beginning they would not even allow them within the city limits. CTheir evil effect is set forth by Antiphanes:97 "To hell with the bath! what a condition it has put me in! It has actually turned me into boiled meat. Anybody, I care not p81who, might take hold of my skin and scrape it off. Such a cruel thing is hot water." And Hermippus:98 "So help me Zeus, a good man ought not to get drunk or bathe in hot water as you are doing." There has also been an increase in the refinements not only of cooks but also of perfumers, so that a body could not be satisfied "even with diving into a tank full of ointment," Das Alexis puts it.99 All too flourishing, also, are the arts pertaining to the making of sweetmeats and the nice luxuries of sexual commerce, resulting even in the invention of sponge suppositories in the belief that they conduce to more frequent intercourse. Theophrastus says100 that there are certain stimulants so powerful that they can effect as many as seventy connexions, blood being finally excreted. EAnd Phylarchus says101 that among the presents which the Indian king Sandrocottus sent to Seleucus there were aphrodisiacs so potent that when placed under the feet of lovers they caused, in some, ejaculations like those of fowls, but in others they inhibited them altogether. Even the perversion of music has increased to‑day, and extravagances in clothes and foot-wear have reached a climax.

But Homer, though he is aware of the existence of unguents, never represented his heroes as anointed with them, except when he describes Paris as "glistening with beauty,"102 precisely as Aphrodite "cleanses the face with beauty."103 Further, he does not represent them as wearing chaplets either, Fand yet by the figurative use of the word in a metaphor he indicates that he knew the chaplet. For he says:104 p83"the island round which the endless sea stretched like a crown." And again:105 "all about thee the crown (i.e. circle) of war is ablaze." It is also to be observed that whereas in the Odyssey he represents men as washing their hands before eating, in the Iliad one cannot find them doing that. This is because life in the Odyssey is leisurely, such as men lead who enjoy the luxuries of peace; therefore in this poem they took care of their bodies by baths and ablutions. 19For the same reason, in such a society they throw jackstones, dance, and play ball. Herodotus is wrong in saying106 that games were invented in the reign of Atys when there was a famine; for the heroic age antedated his time. But they who lived under the social conditions of the Iliad all but shout, with Pindar,107 "Hearken, thou Cry of Battle, Daughter of war, prelude to the spears."

Aristonicus of Carystus, Alexander's ball-player, was made a citizen by the Athenians because of his skill, and a statue was erected to him. BFor in later times the Greeks came to esteem vulgar skill of hand very highly, more than the ideas of the cultivated intellect. The people of Hestiaea, at any rate, and of Oreus, raised a bronze statue in the theatre of the juggler108 Theodorus, holding a pebble in his hand. Similarly the Milesians erected one of Archelaüs the lyre-player, and although there is no statue of Pindar at Thebes, there is one of the singer Cleon, on which is the inscription: "Behold here the son of Pytheas, Cleon, bard of Thebes, who hath placed upon his brow more laurels than any other mortal, Cand his p85fame hath reached the skies. Farewell, Cleon; thou hast glorified they native land of Thebes." According to Polemon,109 when Alexander razed Thebes110 to the ground, a refugee placed some money in the hollow cloak of this statue, and when the city was rebuilt he returned and found the money thirty years after. Herodotus, the reciter of mimes, as Hegesander tells us,111 and Archelaüs the dancer, were held in greater esteem than any others at the court of King Antiochus, Dwhile his father Antiochus before him had made the sons of Sostratus the flute-players members of his body-guard.

Among Romans as well as Greeks the vagabond juggler Matreas of Alexandria was held in esteem. He used to say that he kept a beast which devoured itself; whereas even to this day it is debated what that beast of Matreas was. He also composed Problems in parody of Aristotle's, and read them in public: "Why does the sun go down but not dive?" "Why can sponges drink together but not tipple?" "Why can four-drachma pieces be converted,112 though they never get angry?" EThe Athenians yielded to Potheinus the marionette-player the very stage on which Euripides and his contemporaries performed their inspired plays. They even set up a statue of Eurycleides113 in the theatre along with those of Aeschylus and his rivals. And Xenophon the juggler was also held in admiration. He left behind him a pupil, Cratisthenes of Phlius, who could make fire burn spontaneously and invented many other magical tricks to confound men's understanding. FLike him also was the juggler Nymphodorus, who, p87taking offence at the people of Rhegium, as Duris tells us,114 was the first to ridicule them for their coward ice. And Eudicus the clown enjoyed a great reputation for his imitation of wrestlers and boxers, according to Aristoxenus.115 The same authority says that Straton of Tarentum was admired for his imitation of dithyrambs, 20and the Italian Greek Oenonas for his parodies of songs to the harp. He it was who introduced Cyclops whistling and the stranded Odysseus talking bad Greek. And Diopeithes the Locrian, according to Phanodemus,116 appearing once in Thebes, tied some bladders full of wine and milk under his belt and then squeezed them, pretending that he drew the liquids from his mouth. For similar feats the impersonator Noemon was also famous. There were celebrated jugglers also at Alexander's court — Scymnus of Tarentum, Philistides of Syracuse, and Heracleitus of Mitylene. There have been, too, famous clowns Bsuch as Cephisodorus and Pantaleon,117 and Xenophon118 mentions the jester Philip.

Boundaries. — Athenaeus speaks of Rome as "the populace of the world," and says that one would not shoot wide of the mark if he called the city of Rome an epitome119 of the civilized world; so true is it that one may see at a glance all the cities of the world settled there. Most of them he details with their individual traits, such as the "golden" city of Alexandria, the "beautiful" city of Antioch, the "very lovely" city of Nicomedia, and beyond and above these, "the most radiant of all the towns that Zeus created,"120 p89meaning Athens. CMore than one day would fail me if I tried to enumerate all the cities he counts within the heavenly city of Rome — nay, all the days numbered in the year would not be enough, so many are the cities there. Even entire nations are settled there en masse, like the Cappadocians, the Scythians, the Pontians, and more besides. All these, then, the entire populace of the world, he tells us, united in naming the philosopher-dancer121 of our time "Memphis," quaintly comparing his bodily motions with the oldest and most royal of cities. Concerning it Bacchylides says,122 D"Memphis, untouched by storms, and reedy Nile." This "Memphis" explains the nature of the Pythagorean system, expounding in silent mimicry all its doctrines to us more clearly than they who profess to teach eloquence.

Now the first to introduce this "tragic dancing," as it was called, in the style of Memphis, was Bathyllus of Alexandria, who, as Seleucus says, danced in pantomime. Aristonicus says that this Bathyllus, together with Pylades, Ewho wrote a treatise on dancing, developed the Italian style of dance out of the comic fling called the cordax, the tragic measures called emmeleia, and the satyr rout called sicinnis (whence the satyrs are also called sicinnistae), the inventor of which was a barbarian named Sicinnus. p91But others say Sicinnus was a Cretan. Now Pylades' dancing was solemn, expressing passion and variety of character, whereas Bathyllus's was more jolly; in fact he composed a kind of hyporcheme.123 Sophocles, besides being handsome in his youth, became proficient in dancing and music, while still a lad, under the instruction of Lamprus. FAfter the battle of Salamis, at any rate, he danced to the accompaniment of his lyre round the trophy, naked and anointed with oil. Others say he danced with his cloak on. And when he brought out the Thamyris he played the lyre himself. He also played ball with great skill when he produced the Nausicaä. Even the wise Socrates was fond of the "Memphis" dance, and was often surprised in the act of dancing it, according to Xenophon.124 He used to say to his acquaintances that dancing was exercise for every limb. 21For people used to employ the word "dancing" for any physical motion or excitation. Thus Anacreon:125 "The fair-haired daughters of Zeus danced with light step." And Ion:126 "So unexpected were these things that his heart danced the more."

Hermippus says that Theophrastus used to appear at the School127 at the regular hour glistening with oil and exquisitely dressed, Band after seating himself he gave free play to every motion and gesture in delivering his discourse. On one occasion, while portraying an epicure, he thrust forth his tongue and licked his lips.

Men of the old time were careful to gather up their garments decently, and ridiculed those who were p93negligent about this. Thus Plato in the Theaetetus128 speaks of men "who could render any service promptly and smartly, but did not know how to throw their cloaks over their shoulders from left to right, as gentlemen should;129 nor had they ever grasped the fitting harmony of words so that they could rightly sing of the lives of gods and happy men." Sappho derides Andromeda thus:130 C"What peasant woman beguiles thy wit — one who know not how to draw her tattered garments over her ankles?" Philetairus:131 "Cover your shins! Let your cloak down, poor fool, and don't gather it round you above the knee like a boor!" Hermippus says132 that Theocritus the Chian criticized Anaximenes' method of dressing as ungentlemanly. And Callistratus, also, disciple of Aristophanes, has abused Aristarchus in a book for his failure to dress himself neatly, since even a detail like this supplies the test of man's culture. Wherefore Alexis, also, says:133 D"This is one trait which I regard as worthy of no gentleman — to walk in the streets with careless gait when one may do it gracefully. For this nobody exacts any toll from us, and one need not bestow any honour in order to receive it again from others. Rather, to them who walk with dignity comes full meed of honour, while they who see it have pleasure, and life has its grace. What man who pretends to have any sense would not win for himself such a reward?"

Aeschylus, too, besides inventing that comeliness and dignity of dress Ewhich Hierophants and Torch-bearers134 p95emulate when they put on their vestments, also originated many dance-figures and assigned them to the members of his choruses. For Chamaeleon says135 that Aeschylus was the first to give poses to his choruses, employing no dance-masters, but devising for himself the figures of the dance, and in general taking upon himself the entire management of the piece. At any rate, it seems that he acted in his own plays. For Aristophanes, certainly F(and among the comic poets one may find credible information about the tragedians), makes Aeschylus say of himself:136 "It was I who gave new poses to the choruses." And again: "I know about his137 Phrygians, for I was in the audience when they came to help Priam ransom his son who was dead. They made many gestures and poses, this way and that way and the other." Telesis, also (or Telestes), teacher of dancing, invented many figures, and with great art illustrated the sense of what was spoken by motions of his arms. Phillis, the musician of Delos, says138 that the harp-singers of old allowed few movements of the face, but more with the feet, both in marching and in dance steps. 22Aristocles, therefore, says139 that Telestes, Aeschylus's dancer, was so artistic that when he danced the Seven against Thebes he made the action clear simply by dancing. They say, too, that the old poets — Thespis, Pratinas, Cratinus, Phrynichus — were called "dancers" because they not only relied upon the dancing of the p97chorus for the interpretation of their plays, but, quite apart from their own compositions, they taught dancing to all who wanted instruction.

Aeschylus wrote his tragedies when drunk, according to Chamaeleon.140 Sophocles, anyway, reproached Aeschylus with the remark Bthat even if he wrote as he should, he did it unconsciously.

National dances are the following: Laconian, Troezenian, Epizephyrian, Cretan, Ionian, and Mantinean; these last were preferred by Aristoxenus141 because of the motion of the arms. Dancing was held in such esteem and involved such art that Pindar142 calls Apollo "dancer": "Dancer, Lord of beauty, Thou of the broad quiver, Apollo!" And Homer, or one of the Homeridae, in the Hymn to Apollo143 says, "Apollo, with lyre in hand, harped sweetly Cthe while he stepped forth high and gracefully." And Eumelus of Corinth (or was it Arctinus?) introduces Zeus as a dancer with the words:144 "And in their midst danced the father of gods and men." But Theophrastus says145 that Andron, the flute-player of Catana, was the first to add rhythmical motions of the body to the playing of the flute; hence, "to do the Sicel" meant "to dance" among the ancients. After him there was Cleolas of Thebes. Famous dancers also were Bolbus, mentioned by Cratinus146 and Callias, and Zeno of Crete, a great favourite of Artaxerxes, mentioned by Ctesias.147 DAlexander, too, in his letter to Philoxenus, mentions Theodorus and Chrysippus.

p99 Timon of Phlius, the satirist,148 calls the Museum149 a bird-cage, by way of ridiculing the philosophers who got their living there because they are fed like the choicest birds in a coop: "Many there be that batten in populous Egypt, well-propped pedants150 who quarrel without end in the Muses' bird-cage."

E. . . until151 these table-orators get over their diarrhoea of words. For their tongue-sickness, I think, has made them forget even the Pythian oracle recorded by Chamaeleon: "Twenty days before the Dog-star rises and twenty thereafter, make Dionysus your physician within the shadows of your house." Mnesitheus of Athens, also, says that the Pythian priestess directed the Athenians to honour Dionysus as physician. Alcaeus, too, famous poet of Mitylene, says:152 "Moisten your lungs with wine; for the Dog-star is rising, Fthe weather is oppressive, everything is athirst because of heat;" and elsewhere:153 "Let us drink, for the Dog-star rises." And so Eupolis says154 that Callias is compelled by Protagoras to drink in order that "he may carry his lungs relaxed155 before the Dog-star rises." But it is not p101merely our lungs that grow dry; possibly the heart does also. And yet Antiphanes says:156 "As for life, tell me, what is it? Drinking, say I. 23You can see this from the trees on the banks of copious torrents which are wet day and night: how they grow in size and beauty, while those which resist — as though seized with thirst and dryness — are destroyed root and branch."

After they had talked in this manner about the Dog-star, Athenaeus says they had something given them to drink. Now the verb "to wet" is used also of drinking. Antiphanes:157 "They that eat rich food must wet it." Eubulus:158 "I, Sicon by name, have come wet and in my cups. — B B. Have you been drinking? — S. Drunk I have, not wisely but too well, by the Zeus of Mende."

The verb "fall back" is properly used of the heart in the meaning "be discouraged," "be faint-hearted." Thus in Thucydides, Book I:159 "When they are defeated they are the last to lose heart." But Cratinus uses the word of rowers:160 "Make a splash, and lie back to it!" Xenophon, also in the Oeconomicus:161 "Why is it that rowers give no trouble to one another? Is it not because they are seated in a regular place, bend forward regularly, and lie back regularly?" But the verb "be laid up" we use of dedicating a statue. CHence those who used it of recumbent objects were ridiculed. So p103Diphilus,162 "For a while I lay up there." To him his companion, offended at the word, says "Stay up there!"163 Philippides makes a character say:164 "and at dinner always lying back165 beside him." He then adds: "was he entertaining statues?" Both "lie down" and "recline" are used, as in the Symposium of Xenophon and of Plato. Alexis:166 "What a calamity it is to lie down before dinner. For sleep can never overtake one then, of course, Dnor can we understand a word a body says. Our senses are too close to the table." The word "lie back" is to be found, though rarely, in this sense also. A satyr in Sophocles167 uses the word when burning with passion for Heracles: "Would I might leap right on his neck as he lies back there." And Aristotle, in the Customs of the Tyrrhenians168: "The Tyrrhenians dine in company with their women, lying back under the same robe." Theopompus:169 E"After that we began to drink, lying down very comfortably at a dinner with three couches, howling at one another the lays of Telamon." Philonides:170 "I've been lying down, as you can see, a very long time." Euripides in the Cyclops:171 "He fell and lay back, breathing a heavy air from his throat." p105Alexis:172 "After that I bade her throw herself down and lie back beside me."

The word meaning "to eat," "partake of," is used of taking a taste. FFor example, Phoenix says to Achilles:173 "I refused to taste food with others in the halls." And in another place:174 "when they had tasted the entrails." For since the entrails are not many, a large crowd can take only a taste. And Priam, also, says to Achilles:175 "Now, at last, I have tasted food." 24For it was proper that the man who had but that moment met with misfortune should take only a taste; his grief would not allow him to sate himself. Hence anyone who had not tasted food at all "lay fasting, tasting no food."176 Of those who satisfy hunger entirely Homer never uses this word "partake," but in what plainly denotes complete satisfaction he says177 "when they had delighted them with food" or "had banished desire for eating."178 But later writers use "partake of" even when they refer to fullness. Callimachus:179 B"I should rather sate myself with the story." Eratosthenes:180 "The meat which they had taken in the chase they roasted on the ashes and ate up."

"Like a piece of wood glued to another," is a phrase used by the Theban lyric poet.181


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Not reclining on couches, as in Ionia and Attica later. Cf. 17F.

2 Athena in disguise.

3 Od. I.138.

4 P. L. G.4 frag. 121.

5 Od. XIX.61.

6 Od. IV.60.

7 Od. IV.216.

8 XXIV.476.

9 The punctuation proposed by Athenaeus is impossible, and the entire observation is a quibble.

10 Kock II.124.

11 Od. VIII.98.

12 Iliad IX.225.

13 ἐίση for ἴση.

14 This naive etymology from ἄτη and θαλία (ἀτάσθαλος = "kill-joy") is accepted by some.

15 ἄρτος, "loaf," as from ἀραρίσκω, "fit."

16 ἄλεισον as from ἴσον, "equal."

17 He was also that carver.

18 Iliad I.4, substituting δαῖτα for πᾶσι. On this famous reading, suppressed by Aristarchus, see Cauer, Grundfragen der Homerkritik3, 57.

19 Contrary to common belief, cf. 9D.

20 Od. XII.331.

21 Od. XII.251.

22 Oppian's work, On Fishing, is the only one of these which survives.

23 In Thessaly.

24 The taunt of Patroclus to Cebriones, charioteer of Hector, Iliad XVI.745.

25 Od. VIII.69.

26 Iliad I.470.

27 Iliad I.471 νώμησαν δ᾽ ἄρα πᾶσιν ἐπαρξάμενοι δεπάεσσιν.

28 Od. VII.179‑183.

29 Iliad VIII.162.

30 Iliad VII.321.

31 Od. IV.65.

32 Iliad IV.262.

33 Iliad XII.310.

34 Iliad IX.224, of Odysseus.

35 Two inconsistent interpretations of the use of the right hand.

36 Od. VIII.475.

37 Od. IV.17.

38 i.e. as moral teachers.

39 Od. III.267 and Schol.

40 Od. VIII.480.

41 Od. VIII.266.

42 Od. I.326.

43 Od. XII.189.

44 F. H. G. II.249.

45 F. H. G. IV.430.

46 Kock II.125.

47 Kock II.114. See Sid. Apoll. V.17.

48 An impossible etymology, due to the later likeness in sound between φαι- and φε-.

49 F. H. G. III.482.

50 Kock II.126.

51 Kock III.353.

52 Od. VIII.379; but a ball is used here, and the word quoted to justify "rapidly" refers to tossing the ball.

53 λιχανοὶ δάκτυλοι, "forefingers," is absurdly connected with ληκεῖν, "make a sound."

54 Od. VIII.262.

55 Iliad XVIII.572.

56 A lively dance with pantomime. Cf. 20E, note.

57 VI.1.5.

58 An error; the occasion was an entertainment given by the Greeks and their allies.

59 Possibly, "dance of the cattle-lifter." Hesychius s.v.

60 Referring to the "enoplic" measure.

61 Unlike the flute used to‑day, it was really a pipe played from a mouthpiece at the end, like a clarinet or oboe.

62 Iliad X.13.

63 Iliad XVIII.495.

64 Od. VII.137.

65 Od. III.341.

66 From Ἐρμῆς comes ἐρμηνεύω, "interpret with skilful speech".

67 Od. VI.76.

68 Od. III.480.

69 XXXIV.9.15.

70 Od. V.75.

71 Od. VIII.248.

72 Od. IX.5. There is a gap in the text.

73 εὐφροσύνη has two meanings, "joy" and "right thinking."

74 Od. VI.203.

75 Od. I.107.

76 F. H. G. II.294; cf. F. H. G. II.300, where he refutes a certain Diodorus.

77 Or, retaining στάντα but expunging τὴν Πηνελόπην, "again, standing in the second position which he had won, he would throw his own piece."

78 Od. XXI.150.

79 Iliad XIV.173.

80 Od. VII.336.

81 Od. III.351.

82 T. G. F.2 59 (from a satyr-play). Cf. Athen. 428F, 667C.

83 T. G. F.2 162.

84 Kock I.350.

85 To get a change from Spartan broth.

86 Cf. Athen. 103C; Aristoph. Av. 132, Lys. 1065.

87 Cf. Aristoph. Ran. 544.

88 Palamedes of Nauplia, mythical inventor.

89 Od. VIII.75.

90 Od. XX.299.

91 F. H. G. II.474.

92 F. H. G. IV.419.

93 Aristot. Pol. 1324 B17.

94 Od. XV.322.

95 Iliad IX.202, 209.

96 Od. XV.141.

97 Kock II.118.

98 Kock I.248.

99 Kock II.403.

100 Historia plantarum IX.18.9.

101 F. H. G. I.344.

102 Iliad III.392.

103 Od. XVIII.192.

104 Od. X.195.

105 Iliad XIII.736.

106 I.94.

107 P. L. G.5 I.415.

108 Lit. "pebble-thief," answering to the modern card-juggler.

109 Frag. 25 Preller.

110 336 B.C.

111 F. H. G. IV.416.

112 The verb καταλλάττεται also means "to be reconciled."

113 Probably a sleight-of‑hand artist.

114 F. H. G. II.480.

115 F. H. G. II.284.

116 F. H. G. I.369.

117 Who lends his name to the "Pantaloon" of mediaeval and modern times.

118 Symposium 1 et passim.

119 A phrase first used by the sophist Polemon, Galen V.585 Basle edition.

120 Kock III.407.

121 Agrippa, slave of Verus. Jul Capitol. Vita Veri Imp. 8. Text and meaning are uncertain. The sense seems to be: Agrippa was so versatile that he acquired the nickname Memphis (referring to the cosmopolitan character of the city). He was also learned, and could demonstrate in the dance Pythagorean doctrines concerning transmigration of the soul and the theory of numbers. The quotation from Bacchylides is irrelevant.

122 P. L. G.4 frag. 39.

123 A lively dance sometimes introduced in tragedy just before the catastrophe. Cf. 15D, note.

124 Symposium 2.19; but Memphis is not mentioned.

125 P. L. G.4 frag. 69. Cf. 134B.

126 T. G. F.2 742.

127 Lit. "walk," "path," whence the name Peripatetic given to Aristotle's school.

128 175E.

129 Cf. the admirable Poseidon's scorn of the Triballian god in Aristoph. Av. 1567 ff.

130 P. L. G.4 frag. 70.

131 Kock II.235.

132 F. H. G. III.51.

133 Kock II.393.

134 At the Eleusinian Mysteries.

135 Frag. 21 Koepke.

136 Kock I.558.

137 Aeschylus's. The speaker is unknown.

138 F. H. G. IV.476.

139 F. H. G. IV.332.

140 Frag. 22 Koepke; a facetious and preposterous interpretation of the next lines.

141 F. H. G. II.284.

142 P. L. G.5 frag. 148.

143 Verses 514 ff.

144 Frag. Ep. p8.

145 Frag. 92 Wimmer.

146 Kock I.121, 698.

147 Frag. 47 Müller.

148 Σίλλοι seem to have been the nearest approach to Satire, which Quintilian claims for the Romans alone. In them Timon attacked the philosophers. Frag. 60 Wachsmuth.

149 The great building in Alexandria of which the famous Library was a part.

150 An excellent jest difficult to render. χαρακῖται refers to the poling of vines (χάρακες), βιβλιακοί means both "bookish" and "made of papyrus"; hence, "well-propped (well-fed) papyrus stalks." The metaphor changes in the next line.

151 A gap; Kaibel thinks Cynulcus is the speaker. He evidently wishes to change the subject to wine.

152 P. L. G.4 frag. 39.

153 Frag. 40. Cf. Athen. 430B‑D.

154 Kock I.297.

155 See critical note.

Thayer's Note: the critical note to the Greek, at τὸν πνεύμον᾽ ἔκλυτον, reads:

Reiske ἔκκλυστον, "well-rinsed."

156 Kock II.112. Parody on Soph. Antigone, 712.

157 Kock II.126.

158 Kock II.209. See critical note.

Thayer's Note: the critical note to the Greek, at Σ. . . . . πέπωκ᾽ ἐγώ, μὰ Δία τὸν Μενδαῖον., reads:

In the lacuna a negative has been lost, as μά shows.

159 Ch. 70. He might better have cited Demosth. 411.3.

160 Kock I.113.

161 8.8.

162 Kock II.577.

163 i.e. "be a statue, for all I care." Cf. Sam Weller's "old image."

164 Kock III.310.

165 As though a permanent dedication.

166 Kock II.399.

167 T. G. F.2 295.

168 Frag. 607 Rose.

169 Kock I.750.

170 Kock I.256.

171 Verse 410.

172 Kock II.402.

173 Iliad IX.486.

174 Od. III.9.

175 Il. XXIV.641.

176 Od. IV.788, of Penelope.

177 Od. VI.99.

178 Od. IV.68.

179 Frag. 261 Schneider.

180 Frag. 35 Hiller.

181 Pindar, P. L. G.5 241.


Thayer's Notes:

a To obviate needless e‑mail or careless citation in your paper: the editor's Introduction will tell you (pp. xvii‑xviii) 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.

b When I first read this passage, I thought no sport commentator would ever say such a thing today; in 2010, I became accustomed to hearing Hawk Harrelson praise the grace, in those words, of White Sox centerfielder Alex Rios in retrieving long drives hit barely within his reach.


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