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II.35A‑47E

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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II.60B‑71F

(Vol. I) Athenaeus
Deipnosophistae

Excerptsa from Book II
(Part 2 of 3)

p207 (47E) After these words we arose and took new places on the couches according to each man's desire, without waiting for the generalissimo of the dinner-forces to act as usher.

Besides the triclinia-dining-rooms with three couches, there were in ancient times rooms with four, seven, Fnine, and even higher numbers. Antiphanes:1 "Gathering you, when you numbered only three, in a three-couch dining-room." Phrynichus:2 "There was a beautiful room with seven couches, and another still with nine." Eubulus:3 p209"A. Set the heptaclinium ('room with seven couches'). — B. Here you have it. — A. Then bring five Sicilian couches. — B. Any other orders? — A. Yes, five Sicilian cushions." Amphis:4 "Are you never going to spread the couches in the triclinium?" 48Anaxandrides:5 "A triclinium was quickly made ready and the concert of old men began." —

"Open, then, the guest-chambers and sweep6 the rooms, strew couches and set a mighty fire ablaze, take down the mixing-bowl and mix our best vintage."7

"But nowadays," says the philosopher Plato,8 "people make a distinction regarding the manufacture of bedding, according to whether it is intended to put over us or under us." So the like-named comic poet says:9 b B"Then they lie down, luxuriously decked, on beds with ivory feet, with coverings dyed in purple, and blankets of Sardis red." Now the weaving of many-coloured textures reached its height when the Cyprians Acesas and Helicon became the chief artists in the profession; they were celebrated weavers. Helicon was the son of Acesas, according to Hieronymus.10 In Delphi, at any rate, there is an inscription upon a certain work of art which reads: "Made by Helicon of Salamis,11 son of Acesas, upon whose handiwork the queenly Pallas breathed ineffable charm." An artist comparable to him was the Egyptian Pathymias. —

p211 C"For I have long been frisking where the bed-clothes smell of rose leaves, bathing in dripping unguents," says Ephippus.12 Aristophanes:13 "You, that revel all night long in perfumed bedding, fondling the mistress!" And Sophron14 has "high-priced wraps, figured with birds." The most admirable Homer says15 that the bed-clothes under the body were "smooth," that is, white, not dyed or embroidered whereas the upper coverings were "fair robes of purple colour."16

DThe Persians were the first, according to Heracleides,17 to institute the so‑called "bed-makers," in order to secure beauty and softness in the coverings.

Now Timagoras (or Entimus from Gortyn in Crete), as Phaenias the Peripatetic tells18 us, once went up to visit the Great King, emulating Themistocles. In his honour Artaxerxes bestowed upon him a tent of extraordinary beauty and size, and a silver-footed bedstead; Ehe also sent rich coverings and a slave to spread them, alleging that the Greeks did not know how to make a bed. This Cretan was even bidden to a breakfast of the king's relatives, since he had caught the king's fancy; this was an honour never accorded to any Greek before or since, being exclusively reserved for kinsmen. Certainly the Athenian Timagoras never enjoyed the honour, though he had done obeisance to the king and had p213been received by him with special favour; but some of the food served to the king was merely sent to him from the table. To the Spartan Antalcidas he sent his own chaplet after dipping it in perfume. But for Entimus he not only did all this, but also invited him to breakfast en famille. FThe Persians took umbrage at this, because they felt that the honour was being vulgarized, and also because new expedition against Greece was impending. But the king sent Entimus a silver-footed bed with its coverings, a tent with gaily-coloured canopy, a silver throne, a gilded sun-shade, twenty gold saucers set with jewels, one hundred large saucers of silver and silver mixing-bowls, one hundred concubines and one hundred slaves, 49and six thousand pieces of gold, beside all that was given to him for his daily necessities.

Tables occur with ivory feet and tops of maple. Thus Cratinus:19 "With gay plumes and glistening spangles there await us here radiant lasses and three-legged tables made of maple."

When a Cynic20 called the four-legged table a tripod, Ulpian, one of the guests at the savant's dinner, took exception and said: "To‑day 'I am going to have business on my hands after a period of idleness.' For where does he get his word 'tripod'? . . . unless, of course, he counts Diogenes' staff along with his legs and calls him a tripod, Bwhen everybody else call what are here set before us four-legged tables."

p215 Yet Hesiod, in The Marriage of Ceyx21 — for even though it is true that the grammarian tribe would divorce these verses from the poet, I think they are ancient — calls four-legged tables tripods. And even the highly gifted Xenophon writes, in Book Seven of the Anabasis:22 "Tripods were brought in for all, and these, numbering about a score, were laden with meat piled high." And he goes on: "The tables were always placed with particular care opposite the foreign guests." Antiphanes:23 C"When the tripod had been removed and we were washing our hands." Eubulus:24 "A. Here are five tripods for you, and again five. — B. I shall turn into a tax-gatherer25 with all these fives!" Epicharmus:26 "A. What is this? — B. A tripod, of course. — A. Why, then, has it four legs? It isn't a tripos but rather, I think, a tetrapos. B. Well, its name is tripos, though to be sure it has four legs. — A. Then it must have been an Oedipos once — it's his own riddle you're thinking of." Aristophanes:27 "A. Bring us in a table with three legs, Dlet it not have four. — B. Of course; where should I get a three-legged table with four legs?" —

It was a custom at banquets, after the diner had p217taken his place on the couch, to hand him at once a tablet containing a list of what had been prepared, so that he might know what fare the chef intended to provide. —

Damsons. — Many old writers mention the great and famous city of Damascus. Now in the territory of the Damascenes there is a very large quantity of the so‑called cuckoo-apples, cultivated with great skill. EHence this fruit gets the special name of "damson," excelling the same kind grown in other countries. These, then, are plums, mentioned, among others, by Hipponax:28 "They wore a chaplet of plums and mint." Alexis:29 "A. Now look you! I've seen a vision, I think, which portends victory. — B. Tell it. — A. Attention, then. In the stadium methought one of the contestants, stripped for the fray, came up and crowned me with a circling chaplet of plums. — FB. Great Heracles! — A. Ripe, they were." And again:30 "Have you ever seen a sweetbread nicely broiled, or a baked stuffed spleen, or a basket of ripe plums? That is how his face looks."31 Nicander:32 "The apple which they call the cuckoo's." But Clearchus the Peripatetic says33 that the Rhodians and the Sicilian Greeks call plums sloes, as does also the Syracusan Theocritus:34 50"Young trees weighted to p219the ground with sloes. And again:35 "As much as an apple is sweeter than a sloe." But this fruit, though smaller round than a plum, is the same in taste, but slightly more acrid. Seleucus in his Dialect Lexicon says that êla, cuckoo-apples, and madrya are the same kind of plum. Madrya is for malodrya ("apple-fruit"); brabyla are so called because, being laxative, they "eject the food";36 and êla is for mêla ("apples"), Baccording to Demetrius Ixion in his Etymology. But Theophrastus says:37 coccymêlea ('plum-tree') and spodias ('bullace') — the latter is a kind of wild plum-tree;" while Araros38 calls both the plum-tree and its fruit coccymêlon. Diphilus of Siphnos says that these are fairly juicy, perishable, easily excreted, but of little value as food.

Cherries. — Theophrastus on Plants39 "The cherry is a tree of peculiar character and large growth; it even attains a height of twenty-four cubits. Its leaf is similar to that of the medlar, but is tough and broader; its bark is like the linden's, Cthe blossom is white, resembling the pear and the medlar, composed of tiny flowers, and waxy. The fruit is red, shaped like a persimmon, but in size like a bean. But the stone of the persimmon is hard, while that of the cherry is brittle." And again:40 "crataegus ('thorn'), called by others crataegonus; this has an elongated leaf like that of the medlar but is larger, broader, and more oblong; but it has no fissure as the medlar p221leaf has. The tree does not grow to be either very tall or very thick; Dthe wood is vari-coloured, yellowish and hard. The bark is as smooth as medlar. It has a single root, generally descending deep. The fruit is round like that of the wild olive; as it ripens it becomes yellow and then darkens; it has the flavour and the juiciness of a medlar, whence it may rather be regarded as a wild medlar." From this description, Athenaeus remarks, the scholar appears to means what we call to‑day the cherry.41

Asclepiades of Myrlea, mentioning a kind of bush-cherry, spoke of it thus: "In the country of the Bithynians grows the bush-cherry, the root of which is not large, nor, for that matter, is the tree, Ebut equal in size to the rose-bush; its fruit, in all other respects, resembles the cherry, but it causes drowsiness, as of wine, to those who eat too much, and makes the head ache." The author thinks, from this description, that Asclepiades is speaking of the arbutus. For not only does the tree bearing this fruit correspond to this description, but it is also true that whoever eats more than seven berries of it gets a headache. Aristophanes:42 "On the mountains, without cultivation, the arbutus-trees used to grow in plenty for their enjoyment." Theopompus:43 "They eat myrtle-berries and ripe fruit of the arbutus-tree." Crates:44 "The ripe loveliness of her breasts Fis as the apple or the arbutus-berry." Amphis:45 "The mulberry-tree, look you, bears mulberries, the ilex acorns, p223the strawberry-tree arbutus." Theophrastus:46 "The strawberry-tree, which bears the edible arbutus-berry."

Concerning a satyr-play called Agên it is disputed whether the author is Python of Catana (or Byzantium) or King Alexander himself.

Larensis, our author's host, says: "There are many things which you Greeks have appropriated as if you alone had given them names or were the first to discover them; but you are unaware that Lucullus, 51the Roman general who conquered Mithridates and Tigranes, was the first to import into Italy this tree from Cerasus, a city in Pontus. And he is the one who called the fruit cerasus ('cherry') from the name of the city, as our Roman historians record." But a certain Daphnus contradicted him: "Why! Many years before Lucullus a man of note, Diphilus of Siphnos, who flourished in the time of King Lysimachus, one of Alexander's successors, mentioned cherries in these words: 'Cherries are wholesome, juicy, but afford little nourishment; Bthey are especially wholesome when eaten uncooked. The red Milesian varieties are superior, being diuretic.' "

Mulberries. — Although all other peoples without exception call them by this name (sycamina), the Alexandrians call them mora. Now sycamina are not the fruit of the Egyptian fig-tree, called by some sycomora ("fig-mulberries"). In these latter the natives make a slight incision with a knife, and leave them on the tree. Fanned by the breeze, Cthey grow ripe and fragrant in three days, especially when the winds are from the West, and they are then edible; so much so that the mild coolness they contain makes p225them fit to be made into a poultice with oil of roses and applied to the stomachs of fever patients, affording no little comfort to the ailing. But this fruit is produced on the Egyptian mulberry directly from the wood, and not from fruit-stalks.47 Mulberries are called mora also by Aeschylus in The Phrygians,48 where he says of Hector: "That poor devil was softer than a mulberry." And in The Cretan Women,49 of the blackberry: D"It is loaded down at one and the same time with berries white, black, and vermilion." Sophocles:50 First you will see a white, flowering stalk, then a round mulberry that has turned red." And Nicander in the Georgics51 explains that it appears earlier than other fruits, and he always calls the mulberry-tree morea, Eas the Alexandrians do: "Then there is the fruit of the mulberry-tree, which is a delight to little boys, and is the first to proclaim the pleasant fruit season to mortals."

Phaenias of Eresus, disciple of Aristotle, calls the fruit of the wild mulberry moron, and even it is very sweet and pleasant when ripe. He writes:52 "The thorny moron, when its mulberry-like cluster has withered, contains spermatic divisions like . . . salty, and these clefts crumble apart and have a pleasing flavour." FBut habryna is the name given by Parthenius to mulberries, which some call mora, while the Salaminians call these same berries batia.53 p227Demetrius Ixion says that sycamina and mora, which are the same, are derived from sycôn ameina ("better than figs") and haimoroa ("flowing blood"). Diphilus, the physician of Siphnos, writes as follows: "Mulberries, also called mora, are juicy, but give little nourishment; they are wholesome and easily digested. A peculiarity of the unripe ones is that they expel worms." Pythermus, as quoted by Hegesander, 52records that in his time the mulberries bore no fruit for twenty years, and an epidemic of gout broke out so widespread that even boys, girls, eunuchs, and women, to say nothing of men, caught the disease; and a herd of goats also was so affected by the pest that two-thirds of the animals succumbed to the same calamity.

Walnuts. — Attic and other writers agree in calling all hard-shelled fruits carya ("nuts"); but Epicharmus, like us, uses the word in a particular sense:54 B"Munching dried walnuts and almonds." Philyllius:55 "Eggs, walnuts, and almonds." But Heracleon of Ephesus says: "They used to call even almonds and what are now known as chestnuts by the name of carya." And the tree, carýa, occurs in Sophocles:56 "Walnut-trees and ash-trees." Eubulus:57 "Beechnuts and Carystian walnuts." Some varieties also go by the name of mostena.58

Almonds. — The almonds of Naxos were often mentioned in ancient writers, and in fact they are of excellent quality on that island, as I have proved to my own satisfaction, says Athenaeus. CPhrynichus:59 p229"He has knocked out all my molars, so that I couldn't crack a Naxian almond." Excellent almonds also grow on the island of Cyprus; compared with varieties from other countries they are oblong and crooked at the extremity. Seleucus in his Dialect Lexicon says that the Lacedaemonians call the nuts, when the outer skin is still soft, myceri, while the people of Tenos give that name to the nuts when sweet.60 But Amerias says that mycerus is a general name for almond. DAlmonds eaten before the symposium are very provocative of thirst. Eupolis:61 "Let me chew some Naxian almonds and drink wine from Naxian vines." Now there was a variety of vine called Naxia. Plutarch of Chaeronea tells62 how a physician at the house of Drusus, son of Tiberius Caesar, beat all the others in drinking, until he was detected in the act of eating five or six bitter almonds before the symposium began; when prevented from taking them Ehe could not hold out in the drinking contest in the slightest degree. The cause, therefore, was to be found in the bitterness, which produces dryness and consumes moisture. The word amygdalê ("almond"), according to Herodian of Alexandria,63 is derived from the fact that next to the green part it has many scarifications (amychae).

"An ass you are, going to the husks of sweetmeats," Philemon somewhere says.64 "Beech-trees, Pan's delight," says Nicander in Book II of the Georgics.65

The neuter form amygdalon also occurs. Diphilus:66 p231F"A sweet, some myrtle-berries, a cheese-cake, almonds."

With reference to the placing of the accent in the word amygdalê, Pamphilus insists that in speaking of the fruit the grave accent should be used as it is in the neuter amygdalon;67 for the name of the tree, on the other hand, he requires the circumflex, amygdalê, like rhodê.68 So, too, Archilochus:69 "The fair flower of the rose-bush (rhodê)." 53But Aristarchus pronounces both the fruit and the tree in the same way, with the acute accent,70 while Philoxenus puts the circumflex on both.71 So, in Eupolis:72 "You will be the death of me, by the holy almond (amygdalê) you will!" Aristophanes:73 "Come now, take these almonds (amygdalaê) and crack them on your head with a stone." Phrynichus:74 "An almond (amygdalê) is a good cure for your cough." While others accent amygdalé like kalé ("beautiful"), Tryphon, in his Accent of Attic Greek,75 makes the name of the fruit (amygdále) — Bto which we give the neuter form amygdalon — paroxytone,76 but the trees he calls amygdalâs, the form being possessive and derived from the name of the fruit, and therefore circumflexed.

Pamphilus in the Dialect Lexicon says that nut-cracker is called by the Lacedaemonians mucerobagos,77 equivalent to "almond-breaker," since Lacedaemonians call almonds muceri.

The so‑called Pontic nuts, which some call peel-nuts, are mentioned by Nicander. But Hermonax, p233Cand Timachidas in the Dialect Lexicon, say that the Pontic nut is known as Zeus-acorn.78

Heracleides of Tarentum raises the question whether or not dessert should be served first, as in some places of Asia and Hellas, instead of after dinner. If, for example, it is served after dinner, when a good deal of food is in the stomach and intestines, it happens that the nuts then eaten to incite thirst mix with this food and cause winds and fermentation of the food, because they naturally remain on the surface and digest with difficulty; Dhence indigestion and diarrhoea result.

"Almonds," Diocles remarks, "are nourishing and good for the bowels, and are, moreover, calorific because they contain some of the properties of millet.79 The green are less unwholesome than the dry, the soaked than the unsoaked, the roasted than the raw. But the Heracleot nuts,80 also called Zeus-acorns, are not so nutritious as almonds, and besides have a drying property and lie on the top of the stomach; if too many are eaten they affect the head. Of these nuts, also, the green are less likely to cause trouble than the dry. The Persian nuts81 are as apt to cause headache as the Zeus-acorns, but are more nourishing; Ethey roughen the throat and mouth, but are less noxious when roasted. They are digested more easily than other nuts when eaten with honey. The broad chestnuts are more windy, but when boiled they give less trouble than when raw or roasted, while the roasted are better than the raw." FPhylotimus p235says in his work on Food: "The broad chestnut and the so‑called Sardis nut are all of them hard to digest and dissolve when raw, since they are held in restraint by the phlegm in the stomach and possess astringency. The Pontic nut, also, is oily and hard to digest, the almond less so. We may, therefore, eat a rather large quantity and still feel no distress; moreover, they seem to be more fatty and produce a sweet, oily juice." And Diphilus of Siphnos says: 54" 'Royal' nuts82 cause headache, and lie at the top of the stomach. Yet when they are still tender and have been blanched, they are better, being more juicy, while those which are roasted in ovens have little nutriment. Almonds are diuretic, attenuating, cathartic, and of little nutrition. Dried almonds, however, are much more windy and apt to lie on the stomach than the green, which, to be sure, have a poor flavour and are less nourishing. But if they are blanched when still tender though full grown, they are milky and of a better flavour. BAmong dried almonds the Thasian and Cyprian varieties, when still tender, are more easily excreted. The Pontic nuts cause headache, but are less apt to lie on the stomach than the 'royal.' "

Mnesitheus of Athens, in his work on Edibles, says: "In the case of the Euboean nuts or chestnuts (for they are known by both names) disintegration in the stomach is difficult, and the digestive process is attended with wind; but they fatten the system if one can tolerate them. Almonds and the Heracleot and Persian nuts, and others of the same kind are less wholesome than chestnuts. CIn fact none of these varieties should be eaten raw excepting green p237almonds: some should be boiled, others roasted. For some of them, like dried almonds and Zeus-acorns, are fatty by nature, while others are tough and astringent, such as beech-nuts and similar sorts. The cooking process, therefore, removes the oil from the fatty varieties, that being the most harmful element, while the tough and astringent kinds are softened when one applies a little slow heat." But Diphilus calls chestnuts "Sardis-acorns" also, and says that they are nourishing and well-flavoured, Dbut hard to assimilate because they remain a long time in the stomach; and though when roasted they are less filling, yet they are more easily digested. But the boiled not only inflate less, but also nourish more than the roasted.

"Lopimon ('peel-nut') and caryon the Euboeans called it, but others called it Zeus-acorn," says Nicander of Colophon in the Georgics.83 But Agelochus calls chestnuts amota: "Wherever the nuts of Sinope grow, there they called the trees amota."

EChick-peas. — Crobylus:84 "They were playing at cottabos, having eaten a yellow chick-pea, entirely empty. B.: That's the dessert you would give to a God-forsaken monkey." Homer:85 "The black-skinned beans or chick-peas hop." Xenophanes of Colophon, in the Parodies:86 "As you lie stretched upon a soft couch by the fire in the winter season, these should be your words when you have had enough p239of food, and are sipping sweet wine and munching chick-peas the while: 'Who art thou among men, whence comest thou, how many are thy years, good sir? How old wert thou when the Mede came upon us?' " FSappho:87 "Golden chick-peas grew upon the shores." Theophrastus, Plants,88 calls some varieties chick-pea "rams."89 So, also, Sophilus:90 "This girl's father is easily the biggest ram chick-pea." And Phaenias in his notes on Plants91 says: "In the category of dessert are pulse, beans, and chick-peas when they are still soft and tender; but when they are dried they are pretty generally served (as vegetables) either boiled or roasted." Alexis:92 "My man is a pauper, and I am 55an old woman with a daughter and a son, this boy, and this nice girl besides, — five we are in all. If three of us get a dinner, the other two must share with them only a tiny barley cake. Sounds of wailing untuneful we utter when we have nothing, and our complexions grow pale with lack of food. The elements and the sum of our livelihood are these — a bean, a lupine, greens, and a turnip. Pulse, vetch, beech-nut, the bulb of an iris, a cicada, chick-pea, wild pear, and that God-given inheritance of our mother-country, darling of my heart, a dried fig, brought to light from a Phrygian fig-tree." BPherecrates:93 "You will make the chick-peas p241tender forthwith." And again:94 "He choked to death eating roasted chick-peas." Diphilus says that "chick-peas are hard to digest, but purgative, diuretic, windy." According to Diocles, they provoke fermentation in the body; but the white varieties, resembling boxwood, are superior to the black, the Milesian better than those called "rams"; the green, moreover, are better than the dried, the soaked better than the unsoaked.

The use of chick-peas was revealed by Poseidon.

CLupines. — "A. Bad cess to him, and all mischief, who has been eating lupines and left the shells in the vestibule, instead of choking as he gulped them down. And more than all . . . . — B. I'm sure it isn't Cleanthus, the tragedian, who ate them; he wouldn't have thrown away the peel of any vegetable. He is such an obliging man!"95 DLycophron of Chalcis, in a satyr-play which he wrote in ridicule of the philosopher Menedemus, from whom the sect of the Eretrians received their name, satirizes philosophers' dinners in these words:96 "And there danced forth the plebeian lupine in lavish abundance, that companion of the paupers' triclinium." Diphilus:97 "There is no trade more execrable than the bawd's. I'd rather tramp the streets peddling roses, radishes, p243lupine-beans, pressed olive cakes, Eanything at all, than keep these strumpets." Note the word "lupine-bean," says Athenaeus, since it is used in this way even to‑day. Polemon says98 that the Lacedaemonians call lupines lysilaidae, and Theophrastus records, in Plant Aetiology,99 that "the lupine, bitter vetch, and chick-pea are the only leguminous plants which do not breed worms, on account of their bitterness and sourness." "The chick-pea," he declares, "grows black as it decays." But the same authority, in the third book of the very same treatise,100 says that caterpillars occur in chick-peas. FDiphilus of Siphnos informs us that lupines are purgative and filling, especially if they have been sweetened for a considerable time. Hence it was that Zeno of Citium, who was very harsh and choleric toward his acquaintances, became gentle and bland after absorbing quantities of wine; and when people asked him to explain this change of manner, he answered that he underwent the same process as the lupine; for they too are very sour before they are soaked, but when steeped they become very sweet and mild.

56Calavances. — Spartans at the feasts called Kopides101 ("Cleavers") serve as dessert dried figs, beans and green calavances. The account of it is in Polemon.102 Epicharmus:103 "Toast some calavances quickly, if Dionysus holds you dear. Demetrius:104 "A fig or a calavance or something like that."

Olives. — Eupolis:105 "squids and over-ripe olives." p245The latter are called druppae by the Romans. Diphilus of Siphnos says Bthat olives afford little nourishment and cause headache; black olives, moreover, are worse for the stomach and oppressive to the head; those called swimmers106 are more wholesome and act as an astringent on the bowels, while black olives are more wholesome if crushed. The crushed olives are mentioned by Aristophanes:107 "Have the olives crushed." Again: "Olives in brine are not the same as olives crushed in the press." And a little further on: C"It's better to use crushed olives than briny." Archestratus in his Gastronomy writes:108 "Let them serve you with wrinkled, over-ripe olives." — "Wherefore, in pious memory of Marathon for all time, they all put marathon ('fennel') in the briny olives," says Hermippus.109 Philemon says: "The coarse variety are called 'bran' olives, while 'pressed olives' is the name given to the black." Callimachus gives a list of the kinds of olives in the Hecale:110 "The over-ripe and the bran, and the late autumn kind, which is preserved swimming in brine when it is still light green." DAccording to Didymus,111 over-ripe olives used to be called ischades112 as well as gergerimoi. Moreover, without adding the word "olives" they were in the habit of using "over-ripes" substantively. Thus Telecleides:113 "Let him entreat me after a while to consort with over-ripes and barley cakes, and feed on sprays of chervil."114 p247The Athenians used to call pressed olives stemphyla, while brytea was their word for what we call stemphyla, being really pressed grapes. The word brytea comes from botrys ("bunch of grapes").

Radishes. — These have their name from the ease (radiôs) with which they are produced. EThe last syllable (-is) is either long or short in Attic. Cratinus has it long:115 "The radishes, but not the other vegetables, have come to a decision." Eupolis makes it short:116 "unwashed radishes and squids." That the word "unwashed" is to be construed with "radishes" and not with "squids" is proved by Antiphanes117 writing the following: "To gobble up ducks, honey-comb, nuts, eggs, honey cakes, unwashed radishes, turnips, gruel, and honey." Properly the term "unwashed" was applied in this way to radishes which were called Thasian. FPherecrates:118 "We have on hand an unwashed radish, hot baths ready, stewed pickle-fish, and nuts." The diminutive form rhaphanidion occurs in Plato, Hyperbolus:119 "A little lettuce leaf or bit of radish." Theophrastus in his Plants120 says that there are five kinds of radish — Corinthian, Leiothasian, Cleonaean, Amorean, and Boeotian; by some, however, the Leiothasian is called Thracian; the sweetest is the Boeotian, and it is round in shape; in general, he adds, the varieties with smooth leaves are sweeter. But 57Callias uses the word rhaphanos of the radish. For, in explaining the antiquity of comedy he says:121 "Pease-porridge, fire, turnips, radishes (rhaphanoi), ripe olives, phallic cakes." That he really means p249radishes is proved by Aristophanes. For he also writes about the antiquity of comedy in the Danaids, and says:122 "The chorus would dance wrapped up in rugs and bundles of bedding, sticking under their arm-pits ribs of beef, sausages, and radishes." BThe radish, moreover, is a very cheap article of food. Amphis:123 "Any man who goes to market to get some delicacy and prefers to buy radishes when he may enjoy real fish must be crazy."

Pine kernels. — Mnesitheus the Athenian physician, in his work on Edibles, calls the seeds of conifers ostracides124 and again he calls them cones.125 But Diocles of Carystus calls them "pine-nuts," while the Myndian Alexander calls them "pine-cones." Theophrastus gives the name peucê ("pine") to the tree, but calls its fruit "cone." CBut Hippocrates in the work on Tisane,126 half of which is spurious (some even think the whole is), calls them coccali ("kernels"). Most authorities, however, call them pyrenes ("stones"), as does Herodotus also in speaking of the Pontic nut. For he says127 that "this has a kernel when it is ripe." Diphilus of Siphnos says: "These cones are nourishing, they smooth the bronchial tubes and clear the organs of the diaphragm by means of the resinous principle contained in them." DMnesitheus, also, agrees that they fatten the body and produce no ill effects on digestion; they are also diuretic and do not inhibit the action of the bowels.

p251 Eggs. — Anaxagoras, in the Physics,128 explains that the popular expression "bird's milk" means the white of an egg. Concerning eggs, compare Aristophanes:129 "In the beginning Night laid a wind-egg (ōon). Sappho makes130 the word a trisyllable: "They say, you know, that Leda once found an egg (ōion). " And again:131 "much whiter than an egg." But Epicharmus said ōeon:132 "eggs (ōea) of the goose and of winged fowls." So also Simonides in the second book of his Iambic Verses:133 "like the egg of a Maeander goose." EAnaxandrides even extended it to four syllables when he said134 oaria. And Ephippus:135 "Little jars of date-wine, egglets, too, and many other like toys." Alexis, I believe, speaks of slices of egg.136 Wind-eggs they used to call hypenemia as well as anemiaea. "What is known among us to‑day as the upper-story (hyperōon) of a house they used to call an egg (ōon)," says Clearchus in the Amatoria,137 Fexplaining that since Helen was reared in an upper-story she caused the report to spread that she had sprung from an egg. But Neocles of Croton was mistaken in saying that the egg from which Helen sprang fell from the moon; for, though the moon-women lay eggs, their offspring are fifteen times larger than we are, as Herodorus of Heracleia records.138 Ibycus, in the fifth book of his Lyrics, says of the Molionidae:139 58"I likewise slew the white-horsed p253youths, sons of Molionê, equal in age and in height, with their limbs joined in one, both hatched in a silver egg." Ephippus:140 "Sesame-cakes, bonbons, . . . honey-cakes, milk-cake, and a hecatomb of eggs — all these we nibbled at." Sucked eggs are mentioned by Nicomachus:141 "My father left me a tiny bit of property, but in a few months I squeezed it up and pipped it out as dry as one would suck an egg." And goose eggs are mentioned by Eriphus:142 "A. Eggs white, indeed, and large. — BB. Goose eggs, in my opinion. And yet he says that Leda laid them!" Epaenetus and Heracleides of Syracuse in the Art of Cookery say that peacocks' eggs excel all others; after them come the eggs of the fox-goose; they put hens' eggs third.

Appetizers.143 — After the first appetizer was drunk all round, says Athenaeus, the master of ceremonies, who was Ulpian, asked whether the word for "appetizer," propoma, was found in any author in the sense in which we use it. While the others were racking their brains he answered, "I will tell you myself, CPhylarchus of Athens (or Naucratis), in the passage dealing with Zelas, king of Bithynia (the same who invited the leaders of the Gauls to an entertainment with treacherous designs against them, but was killed himself) says,144 if I have the luck to remember it: 'An appetizer (propoma) was handed round before dinner, as had been the custom in the beginning.' " After delivering himself of this wisdom, Ulpian asked for a drink from the cooler, expressing p255great satisfaction in his ready memory. Among the ingredients used in the preparation of these "fore-drinks" Athenaeus mentions particularly the following.

DMallows. — Hesiod:145 "And they knew not how much virtue lies in the mallow or the asphodel." Malachê ("mallow") is the Attic form, but I146 have found it, he says, written with an o in many copies of Antiphanes' Minos:147 "eating the root of the molochê." So Epicharmus:148 "I am more gentle than a molochê." Phaenias in the work on Plants says:149 "In the cultivated mallow the seed mould is called placenta, being similar in appearance; Efor its comb-like structure may be compared to the base of the placenta, and in the middle of the placenta-like mass the central point resembles a navel. When the base is removed this mass looks like a cross-section of the sea-urchin." The Siphnian Diphilus records that the mallow is juicy, softening the bronchial tubes and carrying off the bitter humour at the top of the stomach; it is, accordingly, a specific for irritations of the kidneys and bladder; Fit is also nourishing and quite easily digested, though the wild is better than the garden variety. And Hermippus, the disciple of Callimachus, also says150 that the mallow is an ingredient of the remedy known as alimon, also adipson, being very useful for the purpose.151

p257 Gourds.152 — Euthydemus of Athens, in his work on Green Vegetables, calls the gourd "Indian sikya," because the seed was imported from India. The Megalopolitans call it sikyonia.153 Theophrastus says154 that it is impossible to put all gourds in a single category, some being better, others poorer. 59But Menodorus, disciple of Erasistratus and a friend of Hicesius, says that of the gourds there are the Indian, all called sikya, and the colocynth. Further, the Indian is generally boiled, but the colocynth may also be baked.155 Yet even to this day the colocynth is called "Indian" by the Cnidians. The Hellespontines call the long gourds sikyae,156 but the round gourds they call colocynths. BDiocles says that colocynths grow best in Magnesia, and are, moreover, quite round, very large, sweet, and wholesome; the best cucumber grows in Antiochia, the best lettuce in Smyrna and Galatia, the best rue in Myra.157 Diphilus says: "The colocynth is not filling; it is easily digested, adds moisture to the system, is easily passed, and juicy. It is more wholesome when eaten with water and vinegar, and has more flavour when seasoned; more apt to cause thinness when eaten with mustard, and more digestible and more easily excreted when boiled." And Mnesitheus says: "All vegetables which are easily affected by the action of heat, such as the cucumber, the pumpkin, quinces, sparrow-quinces, and the like, when eaten p259cooked, may afford but little nourishment to the body; but they are innocuous and provide moisture. CYet they are all apt to check the action of the bowels,158 and should preferably be eaten boiled." Attic writers use one word, colocynth, for them all. Hermippus:159 "What a huge head he has! As big as a pumpkin." Phrynichus160 uses a diminutive form: "A little bit of barley cake or pumpkin."161 Epicharmus has162 the regular form: "Surely it is much more healthful than a pumpkin."

Epicrates the comic poet has the following:163 D"A. What about Plato and Speusippus and Menedemus? On what subjects are they discoursing to‑day? What weighty idea, what crucial point is now debated in their school? Tell me wisely, if you've come with any knowledge, for the land's sake, tell me. — B. Why, yes, I can tell you about these fellows with certainty. At the Panathenaea I saw a troop of lads . . . at the playground of the Academy I heard words unutterable, extraordinary. For they were making definitions about nature, Eand separating into categories the ways of beasts, the nature of trees, the kinds of vegetables; and in the course of it they were seeking to determine what species the pumpkin p261belonged to. — A. And what conclusion, then, did they reach, and of what species is the plant? Tell me, if you really know. B. Well, then; in the first place, they all in silence took their station and with heads bowed low they reflected a long time. Then suddenly, while the lads were still bending low in study, one said it was a round vegetable, Fanother said it was grass, a third a tree. On hearing that, a physician from Sicily could contain himself no longer, and snapped his fingers at them for a pack of lunatics. — A. They must have got awfully angry at that, I suppose, and cried out that it was a shameful insult? For to do that kind of thing in the club lounge is indecent. — B. No, the lads didn't mind it at all. And Plato, who was standing by, very mildly, and without irritation, told them to try again to define the species to which the pumpkin belongs. So they set to inquiring."

The witty Alexis serves a complete appetizer for the discriminating:164 60"I arrived uninvited at the moment when the affair was hurrying to a climax.165 Water was poured over my hands. A slave came with the table; on it lay no cheese, no assortment of olives, no dainty entrées or fol-de‑rol to offer us their generous smell; on the contrary, there was set before us a platter with a marvellous smell of the Seasons, shaped like the hemisphere of Heaven's p263vault. For all the beauties of the constellations were on it — fish, kids, the scorpion166 running between them, while slices of egg represented the stars. We laid hands upon it. BThe man next me was busy talking to me and nodding his head, and so the whole labour devolved upon me. I never reached the end until I had dug into that platter and made it look like a sieve."


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Kock II.129.

2 Kock I.387.

3 Kock II.208; cf. 49C.

4 Kock II.249.

5 Kock II.162.

6 Lit., "sprinkle," to lay the dust.

7 Kock III.608, T. G. F.2 857.

8 Politicus, 280B.

9 Kock I.658.

10 Frag. 32 Hiller.

11 In Cyprus.

12 Kock II.263.

13 Kock I.561.

14 Kaibel 170.

15 Od. I.130.

16 Od. X.352.

17 F. H. G. II.97.

18 F. H. G. II.296.

19 Kock I.100.

20 Cynulcus. Ulpian, a purist, insists that the tripod, properly a table with three legs, should not be called a trapeza, which has four, though trapeza is the generic word for table. If you call a table trapeza, you may as well call Diogenes a tripod, with his two legs and a staff to support him. I have marked a lacuna.

21 Frag. 177 Rzach.

22 VII.3.21.

23 Kock II.127.

24 Kock II.208; cf. 47F.

25 Lit., "collector of one-fiftieth," or two per cent, the regular customs rate on exports and imports. The speaker means that the mention of tables in groups of five will make him an expert in calculating the custom-duties.

Thayer's Note: This is still not as clear as it could be to the general reader! The fives have nothing to do with the tax itself, but rather with the use of the abacus, which had a "fives" space in each of its columns — so that anyone, like a tax-calculator for example, who used the abacus a lot would constantly be saying to themselves, ". . . and put five . . .", ". . . and carry five . . .". For full details and diagrams, see this section of J. Hilton Turner's "Roman Elementary Mathematics" (Classical Journal, Vol. 47, 1951).

26 Kaibel 118. A capital jest, worthy of Epicharmus. The word tripos (= tripod) suggests the form Oedipos, "Swell-foot," so called because his legs were pinned together when his parents exposed him as an infant on Mt. Cithaeron. The mention of Oedipus further reminds the speaker of the riddle of the Sphinx, which Oedipus solved: "What creature walks on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three at eventide?" The answer is man; for he creeps in infancy, walks erect in his prime, and carries a staff in his old age.

27 Kock I.526.

28 P. L. G.4 frag. 81.

29 Kock II.397.

30 Ibid. 398.

31 Probably referring to a pugilist.

32 Frag. 87 Schneider.

33 F. H. G. II.327.

34 VII.146.

35 XII.3.

36 As though βορὰν ἐκβάλλοντα ("ejecting food") were telescoped into βράβυλα.

37 Hist. Plant. III.6.4.

38 Kock II.219. But see Pollux I.232, where it appears that there is a difference in gender. The tree is masculine, the fruit is neuter.

39 III.13.1.

40 III.15.6.

41 Rather, the hawthorn-berry.

42 Kock I.559.

43 Kock I.751.

44 Kock I.142.

45 Kock II.247.

46 Hist. Plant. III.16.4.

47 Cf. Theophr. Hist. Plant. IV.2.1.

48 T. G. F.2 85.

49 Ibid. 38.

50 Ibid. 217.

51 Frag. 75 Schneider.

52 F. H. G. II.301.

53 In modern Greek this word means "blackberries."

54 Kaibel 119, where κάρυα = "walnuts."

55 Kock I.788.

56 T. G. F.2 295.

57 Kock II.212.

58 Perhaps corrupt; cf. 54D.

59 Kock I.387.

60 Cf. 28A, note, and 54C.

61 Kock I.327. This quotation might more aptly be placed next the one from Phrynichus above. But the excerptor excerpts arbitrarily.

62 Qu. Symp. 624C.

63 I.321.21.

64 Kock II.530.

65 Frag. 69 Schneider.

66 Kock II.567.

67 i.e. with no accent on the ultima, ἀμυγδάλη and ἀμύγδαλον.

68 "Rose-bush," distinguished from ῥόδον, "rose."

69 P. L. G.4 frag 29.

70 ἀμυγδάλη.

71 ἀμυγδαλῆ.

72 Kock I.274.

73 Kock I.542.

74 Kock I.386.

75 Frag. 13 Velsen.

76 ἀμυγδάλη.

77 i.e. μυκηροφάγος, "almond-eater."

78 Cf. 57C. It would appear that Pontic was the name sometimes given to the hazel-nut, sometimes to the small chestnut.

79 Drying the throat; see below.

80 Filberts?

81 Walnuts.

82 Apparently walnuts are meant, Juglans nigra.

83 Frag. 76 Schneider, meaning the chestnut.

84 Kock III.381. The meaning of the fragment is not clear. For the game of cottabos cf. 28A and note.

85 Iliad XIII.589.

86 Frag. 18 Diehl.

87 P. L. G.5 frag. 30.

88 Hist. Plant. VIII.5.1.

89 Whence the obscene sense in comedy.

90 Kock II.447.

91 F. H. G. II.300.

92 Kock II.356.

93 Kock I.169.

94 Kock I.195.

95 Kock II.395; the author is Alexis.

96 T. G. F.2 817; cf. 420B.

97 Kock II.570.

98 Frag. 91 Preller; λυσιλαίδας ("folk-looseners") is a Laconic jest.

99 Caus. Plant. IV.2.2.

100 Ibid. III.22.3.

101 Given at certain festivals to strangers.

102 Frag. 86 Preller.

103 Kaibel 119.

104 Kock I.796.

105 Kock I.342.

106 In brine.

107 Kock I.493.

108 Frag. 6 Ribbeck.

109 Kock I.249.

110 Frag. 50 Schneider.

111 p75 Schmidt.

112 A term usually given to dried figs; cf. Eustath. 1963.55.

113 Kock I.218.

114 Alluding to the comic jibes at Euripides' mother, Aristoph. Eq. 19. But the text of the entire quotation is uncertain.

115 Kock I.104.

116 Kock I.342.

117 Kock II.124.

118 Kock I.198.

119 Kock I.645.

120 Hist. Plant. VII.4.2.

121 Kock I.698. On rhaphanos = "cabbage" see 34D‑E.

122 Kock I.456.

123 Kock II.243. From Athen. 277C it appears that the play was Leucas.

124 Lit. "sherds," like ὄστρακα; also the shell of testacea.

125 These are indubitably the pine-nuts (pignolas) well known in Greece and America.

126 II.456 Littré.

127 IV.23; he means the hazel-nut or filbert. Liddell & Scott, s.v. πυρήν, are quite wrong. Nor does the translation "wild cherry" (edd. of Herodotus) seem correct in the light of Athen. 53 ff.

128 Cf. p183 Schaubach.

129 Aves 695.

130 P. L. G.5 frag. 56.

131 Ibid. frag. 112.

132 Kaibel 119.

133 P. L. G.4 frag. 11.

134 Kock II.163.

135 Kock II.263; cf. 29D.

136 Kock II.392.

137 F. H. G. II.316.

138 F. H. G. II.35.

139 P. L. G.4 frag. 16.

140 Kock II.255; cf. Athen. 642C.

141 Kock III.389.

142 Kock II.430.

143 Lit. "preliminary drink."

144 F. H. G. I.341.

145 Op. 41.

146 Athenaeus.

147 Kock II.75.

148 Kaibel 119.

149 F. H. G. II.300.

150 F. H. G. III.40.

151 A joke-remedy for malnutrition and thirst.

152 Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, and melons, Confusion reigns here. The σικύα, since it could not be eaten until fully ripe, is supposed to be the melon, Modern Greek πεπόνι (cf. τοὺς πέπονας, 68C). But πέπων is the word from which "pumpkin" is derived, and the melon is not boiled (see below). That the several species were not carefully distinguished seems to appear from Theophrastus.

153 As though from Sikyon.

154 Hist. Plant. VII.4.6.

155 American usage would lead us to identify the first with the pumpkin, the second with the squash.

156 Cf. "Italian" squash, or the long cucumber.

157 In Lycia.

158 Cf. the use of colocynth to‑day in the materia medica.

159 Kock I.248.

160 Kock I.386.

161 Hence modern Greek κολοκυνθάκι, of "Italian" squash; the forms were colloquial, not diminutive in sense.

162 Kaibel 119.

163 Kock II.287.

164 Kock II.392.

165 I have adopted Casaubon's explanation of ἠβούλετοἠπείγετο.

166 In obvious allusion to Pisces, Capricornus, and Scorpio.


Thayer's Note:

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 2 of the Deipnosophistae on this site are the entire extant text of that Book.


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