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IV.128A‑138B

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Deipnosophistae

of
Athenaeus

published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1928

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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IV.148F‑160D

(Vol. II) Athenaeus
Deipnosophistae

Book IV
(Part 2 of 5)

p131 (138B) Next we must speak also of Spartan symposia. Now Herodotus, in the ninth book of his Histories,1 speaking of Mardonius's tent and mentioning by the way the Spartan banquets, says: "When Xerxes fled from Greece he left behind the royal pavilion2 for Mardonius. Pausanias, therefore, when he saw the tent of Mardonius Cadorned with gold and silver and embroidered tapestries, commanded the bakers and fancy cooks to prepare a dinner exactly as they would for Mardonius. When they had done his bidding, Pausanias, seeing the gold and silver divans spread with coverings, and silver tables and a magnificent outlay for the dinner, in amazement at what was set before him, ordered in jest his own servants to prepare a Spartan dinner. And when it was ready, Pausanias laughed and sent for the Greek generals. DOn their arrival he pointed to the preparations made for each of the dinners and said: 'Men of Greece, I have gathered you together because I p133wish to show you the folly of the Median commander who, with all his luxury of living, came to attack us who are so poor.' And some say that a Sybarite who had sojourned in Sparta and had been entertained among them at their public mess remarked: 'It is no wonder that Spartans are the bravest men in the world; for anyone in his right mind would prefer to die ten thousand times rather than share in such poor living.' "

EPolemon,3 commenting on the wicker carriage mentioned in Xenophon,4 cites Cratinus as mentioning in The Plutuses5 the feast at Sparta which is called Kopis ("Cleaver"). He says: "Is it then true, as they say, that yonder in Sparta all strangers who arrive are richly feasted at the Cleaver, and that in the public lounges sausages hang nailed to the walls for the old men to bite off with their teeth?' And Eupolis in The Helots:6 F". . . and the Cleaver be celebrated in honour of these men to‑day."

The Cleaver is a dinner of a special sort, as is also that which is called the aiklon. Whenever they celebrate the Cleaver they first cause to be constructed booths beside the temple of the god,7 and in them they place rough couches of wood; upon these they spread rugs, on which they hospitably entertain all who have placed themselves in a reclining posture there — not merely persons who arrive from our8 country, but also any foreigners who have come to town. At the Cleaver they sacrifice goats, but no other victim of any kind; and p135of the meat they give portions to all, also the cake called physikillos,9 139 which is a small cake like the enkris ("honey-cake"), but rounder in shape. They give to all who come together there a green cheese, a slice of paunch and sausage, and dessert consisting of dried figs, dried beans, and green beans. Any one among the Spartiates, besides, who wishes to do so may take part in the Cleaver. They celebrate the Cleaver in town; they also celebrate the Nurse Festival, called Tithenidia, for the children. In this the nurses take the male children at the time of the Cleaver into the country, Band there, before the image of Artemis Korythalia, as she is called, whose temple is beside the fountain of Tiassus, in the region toward Cleta, they celebrate the Cleaver in the same way as for those first mentioned. They also sacrifice sucking-pigs, and at the festival banquet they serve the oven-bread mentioned before.10

By the other Dorians the chief meal is called aiklon. Epicharmus, at any rate, says in his Hope:11 "For someone unwillingly invited you to dinner (aiklon), but you made off to it on the run quite willingly." CHe has the same also in Periallus. "But in Sparta the so‑called aiklon comes after the dinner; they serve it to those who are admitted to the mess, being bread loaves in baskets and a piece of meat for each. The attendant who accompanies the distributer of the meat announces the aiklon, adding the name of the donor."

p137 Thus Polemon; but he is contradicted by Didymus the grammarian (whom Demetrius of Troezen calls the "book-forgetter" because of the number of treatises — three thousand five hundred — which he has published). DDidymus says: "Polycrates relates in his History of Sparta12 that the Spartans observe the ritual of the Hyacinthia for a period of three days, and because of the mourning which takes place for the death of Hyacinthus they neither wear crowns at the meals nor introduce wheat bread, nor do they dispense any cakes, with their accompaniments, and they abstain from singing the paean to the god,13 and do not introduce anything else of the sort that they do at other festivals. On the contrary, they eat with great restraint, and then depart. But in the middle of the three-day period there is held a spectacle with many features, and a remarkable concourse gathers which is largely attended. EBoys with tunics girded high play the lyre or sing to flute accompaniment while they run the entire gamut of the strings with the plectrum; they sing the praises of the god in anapestic rhythm and in a high pitch. Others march through the theatre mounted on gaily adorned horses; full choirs of young men enter and sing some of their national songs, and dancers mingling among them go through the figures in the ancient style, accompanied by the flute and the voice of the singers. FAs for the girls, some are carried in wicker carts which are sumptuously ornamented, others parade in chariots yoked to two horses, which they race, and the entire city is p139given over to the bustle and joy of the festival. On that day they sacrifice very many victims, and the citizens entertain at dinner all their acquaintances and their own servants as well. Not one misses the festival; on the contrary, it so happens that the city is emptied to see the spectacle.

140 "The Cleaver festival is mentioned also by Aristophanes or Philyllius in The Island Towns,14 and by Epilycus in Coraliscus,15 who says: 'To the Cleaver methinks I'll go, to Apollo's kirk at Amyclae, where are tall barley-cakes, fu' many, and wheaten loaves, and a broth that is bonny.' Thus he expressly says that barley-cakes are served at the Cleavers. For that is what 'tall barley-cakes' (barakes) means — not 'dumplings' (tolypae), as Lycophron asserts, nor the bits of barley-cakes in the first kneading, as Eratosthenes says;16 further, there were wheat-loaves and a broth of some kind, extraordinarily well seasoned. What the Cleaver really is is plainly set forth by Molpis in his Lacedaemonian State. He writes as follows:17 'They also celebrate the so‑called Cleavers. BThis is a dinner consisting of barley-cake, wheat loaf, meat, uncooked greens, broth, fig, nut, and lupine.' What is more, the sucking-pigs sacrificed are not called orthagorisci, as Polemon maintains, but orthragorisci, because they are offered for sale at dawn (orthros), as Persaeus in his Spartan State18 and Dioscurides in the second book of the State19 assert, to whom may be added also p141Aristocles, who says the same in the first of his two books on the State of the Spartans.20 CFurther, Polemon says that the chief meal is called aiklon by the Spartans, all Dorians alike calling it the same. For Alcman, at any rate, has it thus:21 'Whether he is at the mill or at the company mess (synaikliai), he tears his hair,' calling by this name the meals shared together. And again:22 'Alcmaon hath made ready the meal (aiklon).' Spartans do not say 'aiklon' for the portion following dinner; and what is more, the word as they use it does not signify the doles given to messmates after the dinner; for it means bread and meat. These, on the contrary, are called epaikla, being, as it were, additional viands served to messmates after the regular aiklon, or meal. DIt is from this, I fancy, that the word epaiklon is formed. Moreover, what is prepared for the so‑called epaikla is not uniform, as Polemon assumes, but is of two sorts: that, namely, which they give to the boys is very simple and frugal, being merely barley-meal soaked in oil, which the Spartan Nicocles says23 they greedily gulp down (kapto) after dinner on laurel leaves, whence, he says, the leaves are called kammatides, but the meal-cakes themselves are called kammata.24 EAnd that it was a practice among the men of long ago even to munch laurel leaves as a dessert is shown by Callias (or Diocles), who says, in The Cyclopians:25 'Here comes the dish of leaves, which means an end to our dinners and our dances as well.' But that which they bring in for the men's mess is prepared from certain definite p143animals, which are given as a present to messmates by one, sometimes even several, among the rich members.

"Molpis says that these after-dishes are also called mattye. Concerning them Persaeus, in The Spartan State,26 writes as follows: 'And immediately he assesses the well-to‑do in a sum sufficient to pay for the epaikla; Fthese are desserts following the chief meal. But from the poor he27 requires a contribution of a reed or rush28 or laurel leaves, so that they may be able to gulp down their epaikla after dinner. These consist of barley-cakes mixed with oil. The whole proceeding, trifling to be sure, has become an act of governmental administration. Whoever is appointed to take the first or the second place on the couch, or to sit upon the bed, must in all cases do the same at the epaikla.' A similar account is given by Dioscurides. 141 Concerning the laurel leaves and the food served on them Nicocles29 writes thus: 'The Ephor heard the cases of all and either acquitted or condemned them. The victor levies a light fine consisting of meal cakes (kammata) or laurel leaves (kammatides) to serve them on. These kammata are cakes, while kammatides are the leaves with which they gulp them down.'

"Concerning the dinner eaten by the members of the mess, Dicaearchus records the following in the work entitled Tri-Statesman:30 'The dinner is at first served separately to each member, Band there is no sharing of any kind with one's neighbour. Afterwards there is a barley-cake as large as each desires, and for drinking, again, a cup is set beside him to p145use whenever he is thirsty. The same meat dish is given to all on every occasion, a piece of boiled pork; sometimes, however, not even so much as that is served, beyond a small bit of meat weighing not over a quarter of a pound. Besides this there is nothing whatsoever, except, of course the broth made from this meat, enough to go round among the entire company throughout the whole dinner; there may possibly be an olive or a cheese or a fig, or they even get something especially added, a fish or a hare or a ring-dove or something similar. CAfterwards, when they have finished their dinner in haste, there are passed round these so‑called epaikla. Each member contributes to the mess about three half-medimni of barley, Attic measure,31 and perhaps eleven or twelve pitchers32 of wine; besides this, a certain weight of cheese and figs, and further, to procure the meat, about ten Aeginetan obols.' And Sphaerus, in the third book of his Spartan State,33 writes: 'The members of the mess also contribute epaikla to them. Sometimes the common people bring whatever is caught in the chase; Dbut the rich contribute wheat bread and anything from the fields which the season permits, in quantities sufficient for the one meeting alone, because they believe that to provide more than is enough is uncalled for, if the food is not going to be eaten.' And Molpis34 says: 'Following the meal, it is customary always for something to be provided by some person, sometimes even by several persons, a dish (mattye) prepared in their own homes, and called epaiklon. No one is in the habit of contributing p147anything which he has bought by purchase in the market, for they contribute, not to satisfy their pleasure or the greed of the stomach, but to give evidence of their own prowess in the hunt. EMany of them, too, who keep flocks, give a liberal share of the offspring. And so the mattya may consist of ring-doves, geese, turtle-doves, thrushes, blackbirds, hares, lambs, and kids. The cooks announce to the company the names of those who bring in anything for the occasion, in order that all may realize the labour spent upon the chase and the zeal manifested for themselves.'

"Demetrius of Scepsis, in Book I of The Trojan Battle-order,35 says that the festival of the Karneia at Sparta is a representation of their military discipline. FThere are, namely, places numbering nine, which they call 'sunshades' because they bear some likeness to tents; and nine men eat in each, and a herald proclaims everything by order. Each 'shade,' moreover, holds three brotherhoods, and the festival of the Karneia is held for nine days."36

But the Spartans afterwards desisted from the austerity of such a mode of living and degenerated into luxury. Phylarchus, at any rate, in the twenty-fifth book of his Histories,37 writes of them: "The Spartans desisted from going to the common mess in the traditional fashion; 142 when they did go, the booths which were set up for those who resorted thither, in obedience to the law, were small, and the couch-coverings prepared for them were so p149generous in size and so richly adorned with embroidery that some of the strangers who were invited hesitated to press their elbows against the cushions. In the old days, once they had rested their arms upon the couch, which was quite bare, they endured the rigour of it as long as the assembly lasted; now, however, they have relaxed in the luxury just mentioned, Bindulging in the display of many cups, and in the service of food dressed in every variety, and what is more, rare unguents and wines and desserts likewise. And these practices, in imitation of the regal court of Persia, were begun by Areus and Acrotatus, who reigned a little while before Cleomenes;38 yet even they in their turn were so far outdone in their own magnificence by certain private citizens of their generation in Sparta, that Areus and Acrotatus seemed to surpass in frugality all the men of earlier times, no matter how simple these may have been.

"Cleomenes, however, who greatly excelled other men in his understanding of affairs, in spite of his youth, also grew to be most simple in his mode of life. CFor though he was by this time at the head of affairs of great importance, he made it plain to all whom he invited to a sacrificial feast that the arrangements which they made in their own houses were in no wise inferior to his. Although many embassies were received in audience before him, he never assembled them for dinner earlier than the customary time, and never caused more than five couches to be spread with coverings; when no embassy was present, he had only three couches prepared. And no directions were given by a seneschal concerning who should sit or recline first; Don the contrary, the p151eldest led the way to the couches, unless Cleomenes himself called out the name of some person. Usually he was found to be reclining with his brother, or with one of the men of his own age. On the tripod lay a bronze cooler, a wine-jar, a silver bowl holding a pint, and a ladle; the pitcher was of bronze. But no drink was offered unless some asked for it. One ladleful was given before the meal, to Cleomenes long before the others, and only when he nodded to them did the others ask for theirs. The courses served on the small table were quite ordinary, Eand for the rest, they were in such quantity as neither to exceed nor fall short of the need — enough for all without having any of the guests call for more. For Cleomenes thought that they ought not to receive merely the frugal entertainment of broth and bits of meat, as they did at the common mess, nor, on the other hand, to go to such excess as to waste money to no good, by exceeding the moderation of their daily life. For the one he regarded as a meanness, the other as pride. The wine was of a little better quality when guests were present. After the meals all remained silent, and the slave, standing by with the wine ready mixed, gave it to anyone who asked for it. FJust as before the meal, so also after it, not more than two ladlesful were offered, and then only when one signified his desire by a nod. No entertainment ever accompanied the meal, but the king himself conversed with each in turn, inviting all either to listen or to speak, so that they were all captivated by him when they departed."

p153 Antiphanes, satirizing Spartan dinners in the play entitled The Magistrate,39 has the following: 143"You have been in Lacedaemon! Then you must conform to their customs: go to the common mess for your dinner; enjoy their broth, give up wearing your ambitious mustachios,40 and seek no more for other refinements. In their customs be yourself old-fashioned."

Recording facts about the Cretan commons in the fourth book of his Cretan History,41 Dosiadas writes as follows: "The Lyttians pool their goods for the common mess in this way: every man contributes a tithe of his crops to his club, Bas well as the income from the state which the magistrates of the city divide among the households of all the citizens.42 But all slaves pay one Aeginetan stater per caput. The citizens are distributed in clubs which are called Andreia ('halls of men'). The mess is in charge of a woman who has assistants, three or four men chosen from the common people. Each of them is attended by two servants who bring in the fire-wood; these are called faggot-bearers. Everywhere throughout Crete there are two houses for the public messes; one of these is called Andreion, Cthe other, in which they entertain strangers, is called koimeterion ('resting-place'). In the house intended for the mess there are set out, first of all, two tables, called 'guest-p155tables,' at which sit in honour any strangers who are in town; next come the tables for the others. An equal portion of the food on hand is served to each person; but only a half-portion of meat is given to the younger men, and they get nothing of the other food. Then on each table is placed a cup filled with wine much diluted; this is shared by all who are at the same table, and a second cup is served after they have finished the meal. DFor the boys a mixing-bowl is prepared which they share in common, but permission is given the older men to drink more if they desire. The woman in charge of the mess takes from the table in the sight of all the best of everything that is served, and sets it before the men who have distinguished themselves in war or in wisdom. After dinner they are in the habit first of deliberating on public affairs; from that subject they proceed to call up deeds of prowess in war and to praise the men of proved bravery, in order to encourage the younger men in the pursuit of virtue."

EPyrgion, in the third book of his Cretan Customs,43 says that Cretans at the public mess eat together in a sitting posture.44 He further says that food without condiments is served to the orphans; that the youngest of the Cretan men stand by to wait at the tables; and that, after a silent libation to the gods, they proceed to the distribution of the food on hand to all present. They also apportion to the sons seated below their fathers' chairs only one half as much as is served to the adult men, but the orphans receive an equal share with the latter, Falthough in p157their case each of the customary foods is served without the admixture of any condiments. There were also chairs reserved for guests, and a third table at the right as one entered the halls, which they called 'the table of Zeus, god of strangers,' or 'the strangers' table.' "

Herodotus,45 comparing the symposia of the Greeks with those of the Persians, says: "Of all the days in the year, the one which the Persians are accustomed to celebrate most is their birthday. On that day they deem it right to have a more abundant feast set before them than on all other days. 144 Then the rich among them cause to be brought to the table an ox or ass or horse or camel roasted whole in the oven;46 the poor set out small animals. Breadstuffs they use but little, but they have many added dishes, though they are not served all at once. And the Persians say that the Greeks are still hungry when they stop eating, because nothing worth mentioning is brought in for them after the chief meal; if more were put before them they would not stop eating. The Persians are greatly addicted to wine; and it is not permissible to vomit or to make water in presence of another. These, then, are the customs observed by them. BThey are in the habit of deliberating on the most important matters when they are drunk, and whatsoever is their pleasure when they deliberate is brought before them for consideration the next day, when they are sober, by the master of the house where they happen to be when they deliberate. And if it still be their pleasure when they are sober, they act on it, otherwise they renounce it. Again, whatever they decide upon when they are sober they reconsider when they are drunk."

p159 Concerning the luxury of the Persian kings Xenophon writes thus in Agesilaus:47 "For the benefit of the Persian king they go about the entire country in search of something he may like to drink, and countless persons devise dishes which he may like to eat. CNo one could say, either, what trouble they give themselves that he may sleep in comfort. But Agesilaus, being devoted to hard work, was glad to drink anything that was before him, and was glad to eat whatever came first to hand, and any place was satisfactory to him for securing grateful sleep." In the work entitled Hieron,48 speaking of what food is prepared for the delectation of tyrants and of men in private station, he says: " 'I know too, Simonides, that most persons infer that we eat and drink with greater zest than ordinary people from this fact, that they would themselves, as they believe, be more pleased to dine on the meal that is set before us than on what is served to themselves. DFor it is anything that transcends the usual that gives pleasure,49 which is the reason why all men except tyrants look forward with joy to holiday feasts. For since the tables set before tyrants are always heavily laden, they have nothing special to offer on feast-days, so that here is the first particular in which they are at a disadvantage compared with men in private station, namely in the delight of anticipation. Then secondly, he said, I am sure that you have learned that the more abundantly one is supplied with things which go beyond his needs, the more quickly he suffers from satiety as regards eating. EWherefore, again, the one who has too many things set before him is at a disadvantage, compared with those who live moderately, in the duration of his pleasure.' 'Yes, p161but, good heavens,' Simonides replied, 'so long as their appetites are keen, surely those who enjoy a richer array of food must have more pleasure than those before whom poorer dishes are set.' "

Theophrastus, in his treatise On Monarchy50 dedicated to Cassander (if the work is authentic; for many declare that it is by Sosibius, for whom the poet Callimachus wrote a congratulatory poem in elegiac verse), says that Persian kings, to gratify their love of luxury, offer a large sum of money as a reward for all who invent a new pleasure. And Theopompus, in the thirty-fifth book of his Histories,51 says that whenever the Paphlagonian prince Thys dined, he had a hundred do everything prepared for the table, beginning with oxen; and even when he was carried away a captive to the Persian king's court and kept under guard, Fhe again had the same number served to him, and lived on a splendid scale. Wherefore, when Artaxerxes heard of it, he said that it was plain to him that Thys was living as though he had made up his mind to die soon. 145 The same Theopompus, in the fourteenth book of his History of Philip,52 says that "whenever the Great King visits any of his subjects, twenty and sometimes thirty talents are expended on his dinner; others even spend much more. For the dinner, like the tribute, has from ancient times been imposed upon all cities in proportion to their population."

Heracleides of Cumae, author of the Persian History,53 writes, in the second book of the work entitled Equipment: B"All who attend upon the Persian kings when they dine first bathe themselves p163and then serve in white clothes, and spend nearly half the day on preparations for the dinner. Of those who are invited to eat with the king, some dine outdoors, in full sight of anyone who wishes to look on; others dine indoors in the king's company. Yet even these do not eat in his presence, for there are two rooms opposite each other, in one of which the king has his meal, in the other his invited guests. The king can see them through the curtain at the door, but they cannot see him. CSometimes, however, on the occasion of a public holiday, all dine in a single room with the king, in the great hall. And whenever the king commands a symposium54 (which he does often), he has about a dozen companions at the drinking. When they have finished dinner, that is, the king by himself, the guests in the other room, these fellow-drinkers are summoned by one of the eunuchs; and entering they drink with him, though even they do not have the same wine; moreover, they sit on the floor, while he reclines on a couch supported by feet of gold; Dand they depart after having drunk to excess. In most cases the king breakfasts and dines alone, but sometimes his wife and some of his sons dine with him. And throughout the dinner his concubines sing and play the lyre; one of them is the soloist,55 the others sing in chorus. And so, Heracleides continues, the 'king's dinner,' as it is called, will appear prodigal to one who merely hears about it, but when one examines it carefully it will be found to have been got up with economy p165and even with parsimony; Eand the same is true of the dinners among other Persians in high station. For one thousand animals are slaughtered daily for the king; these comprise horses, camels, oxen, asses, deer, and most of the smaller animals; many birds also are consumed, including Arabian ostriches — and the creature is large — geese, and cocks. And of all these only moderate portions are served to each of the king's guests, and each of them may carry home whatever he leaves untouched at the meal. FBut the greater part of these meats and other foods are taken out into the courtyard for the body-guard and light-armed troopers maintained by the king; there they divide all the half-eaten56 remnants of meat and bread and share them in equal portions. Just as hired soldiers in Greece receive their wages in money, so these men receive food from the king in requital for services. Similarly among other Persians of high rank, all the food is served on the table at one and the same time; but when their guests have done eating, whatever is left from the table, consisting chiefly of meat and bread, is given by the officer in charge of the table to each of the slaves; this they take and so obtain their daily food. 146 Hence the most highly honoured of the king's guests go to court only for breakfast; for they beg to be excused in order that they may not be required to go twice, but may be able to entertain their own guests."

Herodotus, in the seventh book, says57 that those p167Greeks who received the king and entertained Xerxes at dinner were reduced to such dire distress that they lost house and home. On one occasion, when the Thasians, to save the towns belonging to them on the mainland, received and entertained the army of Xerxes, Bfour hundred talents in silver were expended in their behalf by Antipater, a prominent citizen; for cups and mixing bowls of silver and gold were furnished at table, and after the dinner (these were carried off as spoil by the Persians). If Xerxes had eaten there twice, taking breakfast as well as dinner, the cities would have been utterly ruined." And in the ninth book, also, of his Histories58 he says: "The Great King gives a royal banquet which is held once a year on his birthday. The name given to the dinner in Persian, is tukta, which in Greek means 'complete.' On that day alone the king smears his head with ointment and gives presents to the Persians." CAlexander the Great, every time he dined with his friends, according to Ephippus of Olynthus, in the book59 which describes the demise of Alexander and Hephaestion, spent one hundred minas,60 there being perhaps sixty or seventy friends at dinner. But the Persian king, as Ctesias61 and Dinon62 (in his Persian History) say, used to dine in company with 15,000 men, and four hundred talents63 were expended on the dinner. DThis amounts, in p169the coinage of Italy, to 2,400,000 denarii, which, divided among 15,000 men, make 160 denarii, Italic currency, for each man. Consequently it comes to the same sum as that spent by Alexander, which was one hundred minas, as Ephippus related. But Menander, in The Carouse,64 reckons the expense of the largest banquet at a talent only when he says: "So then, our prosperity accords not with the way in which we offer sacrifice. For though to the gods I bring an offering of Ea tiny sheep bought for ten drachmas, and glad I am to get it so cheap; but for flute-girls and perfume, harp-girls, Mendean and Thasian wine, eels, cheese, and honey, the cost is almost a talent; and whereas by analogy it is . . ." He evidently mentions a talent as though it were an extravagant expenditure. Again, in The Peevish Man,65 he has the following: "So burglars sacrifice: they bring chests and wine-jars, not for the gods' sake, but for their own. The frankincense is required by religion, and so is the meal-cake; Fthe god gets this, offered entire on the fire. But they, after giving the end of the spine and the gall-bladder to the gods — because unfit to eat — gulp down the rest themselves."

Philoxenus of Cythera, in the poem entitled The Banquet (granting that it is he and not the Leucadian Philoxenus, who was mentioned by the comic poet Plato in Phaon),66 describes the arrangements of a p171dinner in these terms:67 "And slaves twain brought unto us a table with well-oiled face, 147 another for others, while other henchmen bore a third, until they filled the chamber. The tables glistened in the rays of the high-swinging lamps, freighted with trenchers and condiments delectable in cruets, full . . . and luxuriant in divers artful inventions to pleasure life, tempting lures of the spirit. Some slaves set beside us snowy-topped barley-cakes in baskets, while others (brought in loaves of wheat). After them first came not an ordinary tureen, my love, but a riveted vessel of huge size; . . . a glistening dish of eels to break our fast, full of conger-faced morsels that would delight a god. After this another pot of the same size came in, and a soused ray of perfect roundness. BThere were small kettles, one containing some meat of a shark, another a sting-ray. Another rich dish there was, made of squid and sepia-polyps with soft tentacles. After this came a grey mullet hot from its contact with fire, the whole as large as the table, exhaling spirals of steam. After it came breaded squid, my friend, and crooked prawns done brown. CFollowing these we had flower-leaved cakes and fresh confections spiced, puff-cakes of wheat p173with frosting, large as the pot. This is called the 'navel of the feast' by you and me, I ween. Last there came — the gods are my witnesses — a monstrous slice of tunny, baked hot, from over the sea where it was carved with knives from the meatiest part of the belly. Were it ours ever to assist at the task, great would be our joy. Yet even where we were wanting, the feast was complete. Where it is possible to tell the full tale, my powers still hold, and yet no one could recount truly to you all the dishes that came before us. I nearly missed a hot entrail, Dafter which came in the intestine of a home-bred pig, a chine, and a rump with hot dumplings. And the slave set before us the head, boiled whole, and split in two, of a milk-fed kid all steaming; then boiled meat-ends, and with them skin-white ribs, snouts, head, feet, and a tenderloin spiced with silphium. And other meats there were, of kid and lamb, boiled and roast, and sweetest morsel of underdone entrails from kids and lambs mixed, Esuch as the gods love, and you, my love, would gladly eat. Afterwards there was jugged hare, and young cockerels, and many hot portions of partridges and ring-doves were now lavishly laid beside us. Loaves p175of bread there were, light and nicely folded; and companioning these there came in also yellow honey and curds, and as for the cheese — every one would avow that it was tender, and I too thought so. And when, by this time, we comrades had reached our fill of food and drink, the thralls removed the viands, and boys poured water over our hands."

Socrates of Rhodes, in the third book of the Civil War,68 describes the banquet given by Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt, Fwho married the Roman general, Antony, in Cilicia. His words are: "Meeting Antony in Cilicia, Cleopatra arranged in his honour a royal symposium, in which the service was entirely of gold and jewelled vessels made with exquisite art; even the walls, says Socrates, were hung with tapestries made of purple and gold threads. And having spread twelve triclinia, Cleopatra invited Antony and his chosen friends. 148 He was overwhelmed with the richness of the display; but she quietly smiled and said that all these things were a present for him; she also invited him to come and dine with her again on the morrow, with his friends and his officers. On this occasion she provided an even more sumptuous symposium by far, so that she caused the vessels which had been used on the first occasion to appear paltry; and once more she presented him with these also. As for the officers, each was allowed to take away the couch on which he had reclined; even the sideboards, as well as the spreads for the couches, were divided among them. And when they departed, she furnished litters for the guests of high rank, with p177bearers, Bwhile for the greater number she provided horses gaily caparisoned with silver-plated harness, and for all she sent along Aethiopian slaves to carry the torches. On the fourth day she distributed fees, amounting to a talent, for the purchase of roses, and the floors of the dining-rooms were strewn with them to the depth of a cubit,69 in net-like festoons spread over all."

He also records that Antony himself, on a later visit to Athens, erected a scaffold in plain sight above the theatre, and roofed with green boughs, like the "caves"70 built for Bacchic revels; Con this he hung tambourines, fawnskins, and other Dionysiac trinkets of all sorts, where he reclined in company with his friends and drank from early morning, being entertained by artists summoned from Italy, while Greeks from all parts assembled to see the spectacle. "And sometimes," Socrates continues, "he even shifted the place of his revels to the top of the Acropolis, while the entire city of Athens was illuminated with torches hung from the roofs. And he gave orders that henceforth he should be proclaimed as Dionysus throughout all the city." DSo, too, the Emperor Gaius, who had the cognomen Caligula71 from the circumstance that he was born in camp, was named "the new Dionysus," and not only that, but he also assumed the entire garb of Dionysus, and made royal progresses and sat in judgement thus arrayed.

Viewing all this, which surpasses what we have, we may well admire Greek poverty, having also before our eyes the dinners of the Thebans, an p179account of which is given by Cleitarchus in the first book of his History of Alexander.72 He says that "after the demolition of their city by Alexander, Etheir entire wealth was found to be under 440 talents; he further says that they were mean-spirited and stingy where food was concerned, preparing for their meals mincemeat in leaves, and boiled vegetables, anchovies, and other small fish, sausages, beef-ribs, and pease-porridge. With these, Attaginus, the son of Phrynon, entertained Mardonius together with fifty other Persians, and Herodotus says in the ninth book73 that Attaginus was well supplied with riches. FI believe that they could not have won the battle, and that the Greeks need not have met them in battle-array at Plataeae, seeing that they already had been done to death by such food."


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Chap. 82; cf. Athen. 150C.

2 In imitation of which the Athenians built the Odeon, Paus. I.20.3.

3 Frag. 86 Preller.

4 Agesilaus 8.7.

5 Kock I.63.

6 Kock I.294. The verb is in a dependent clause, perhaps beginning with "if."

7 Possibly Apollo of Amyclae.

8 The pronoun shows that Polemon, who came from the Troad, is no longer the authority; but the quotation is resumed immediately.

9 Since the spectator has just referred to Rome in τῆς ἡμεδαπῆς, it is probable that φυσίκιλλος is Latin, not Laconian, quasi fissiculus, a small roll cleft in the middle; cf. φούλλικλον, folliculus14F.

10 See 109C, 115E.

11 Kaibel 97, 111, Diels 223.

12 F. H. G. IV.480.

13 Apollo.

14 Kock I.786.

15 Kock I.803.

16 Frag. 26 Streck.

17 F. H. G. IV.453.

18 Ibid. II.623. The last part of the word is here connected with ἀγοράζεται, "is marketed."

19 Ibid. II.192.

20 F. H. G. IV.464.

21 P. L. G.4 frag. 70.

22 Ibid. 71.

23 F. H. G. IV.464.

24 Cf. Eng. "snack," of a small luncheon hastily eaten.

25 Kock I.694.

26 F. H. G. II.623.

27 The Ephor.

28 For cakes strung on poles, as in Greece to‑day, cf. Plato, Rep. 372B.

29 F. H. G. IV.464.

30 Ibid. II.242; the title apparently refers to a theory of the state which sought to combine the best features of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.

31 The Attic medimnus equals about 1½ bushels.

32 Each pitcher contained nearly six pints.

33 F. H. G. III.20.

34 Ibid. IV.453.

35 Frag. 1 Gaede.

36 Here ends, apparently, the quotation from Didymus, begun at 139D.

37 F. H. G. I.346; by "Spartans" are meant the Spartan kings, cf. Plutarch, Cleom. 13.

38 Cleomenes III (272‑220) became king ca. 235 B.C.

39 Kock II.28.

40 The Ephors forbade the wearing of a moustache. See critical note.

41 F. H. G. IV.399.

42 See crit. note.

43 F. H. G. IV.486.

44 Instead of reclining.

45 I.133.

46 Cf. the incredulity of Dicaeopolis about this (Aristoph. Acharn. 85) quoted above, 131A.

47 9.3.

48 1.17.

49 Cf. Aristot. Nic. Eth. X.4, 1175A.

50 Frag. 125 Wimmer.

51 F. H. G. I.311.

52 Ibid. 298.

53 Ibid. II.96.

54 Drinking-bout following the dinner.

55 The significance of this for the history of the drama should be noted. In Aristot. Poet. IV, where tragedy is said to be derived ἀπὸ τῶν ἐξαρχόντων τὸν διθύραμβον, τῶν ἐξαρχόντων certainly does not mean, as Bywater renders it, "authors."

56 See cr. n.

57 Chap. 118 (Book η′ as numbered to‑day).

58 Chap. 110 (Book ι′).

59 p125 Müller.

60 1⅔ talents.

61 Frag. 50 Müller.

62 F. H. G. II.93.

63 Over $600,000 or $40 (£8) a cover.

64 Kock III.91, Allinson 402. Cf. Athen. 364D, where the quotation is extended.

65 Kock III.38, Allinson 346.

66 Kock I.646.

67 P. L. G.5 III.601; assigned to Philoxenus of Leucas by Diehl, Anthol. Lyrica, III.314.

68 F. H. G. III.326.

69 1½ feet.

70 Probably the terrace where the choregic monument of Thrasyllus stood, now a Christian shrine.

71 Lat. caliga, a military boot.

72 Page 76 Müller.

73 Chap. 16.


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