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IV.138B‑148F

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.160D‑170D

(Vol. II) Athenaeus
Deipnosophistae

Book IV
(Part 3 of 5)

p179 (148f) In describing an Arcadian dinner, the Milesian Hecataeus, in the third book of his Genealogies,1 says that it consisted of barley-cakes and swine's flesh. And Harmodius of Lepreum, in his work on the Customs of Phigaleia,2 says: "The one who is appointed victualler among the Phigaleians used to supply daily three pitchers of wine, a bushel and a half of barley-meal, five pounds of cheese, and all other things appropriate for seasoning the meat. 149 The city, on its part, furnished each of the two choruses with three sheep, a cook,3 a rack for water-jars, tables, benches to sit on, and all similar equipment, while the choregus4 supplied the utensils for the cook. Now the meal consisted of cheese and a p181lightly kneaded barley-cake served, in deference to custom (nomos), on bronze trenchers called in some authors mazonomoi ('barley-cake servers'), having received their name from this use.5 Along with the cake and the cheese were an entrail and salt to eat with it. BHaving consecrated this food, each man was permitted to drink a little from an earthenware basin, and the one offering it would say 'Good dinner to you!'6 Thereupon all shared alike a broth and a hash, and to each diner was given besides two slices of meat. At all their meals, but especially in those called mazones ('barley-feeds'), which name the guild of Dionysus retains even to this day, they held to the custom that for the more hearty eaters among the young men a larger quantity of broth should be poured out, and more barley-cakes and wheat bread should be placed before them. For such a young man was held to be manly and a thoroughbred, Csince hearty eating was admired and praised among them. After dinner they offered libations without washing their hands first, but wiping them off with pieces of bread; each man then carried away the crumbs. This practice they observed against the dangers which occur in the streets at night.7 After the libation they sing a paean. But when they sacrifice to the spirits of the departed, there is a great slaughter of cattle, and all are feasted in company p183with their slaves; at these festival banquets the boys dine with their fathers, sitting without cloaks on the stones." DAnd Theopompus, in the forty-sixth book of his History of Philip,8 says that "the Arcadians entertain at their celebrations masters and slaves, setting one table before them all; they freely serve food for all to share, and mix the same bowl for all."

"In Naucratis," as Hermias says in the second book On the Gryneian Apollo,9 "the people dine in the town hall (prytaneion)10 on the natal day of Hestia Prytanitis and at the festival of Dionysus, and again at the great gathering in honour of the Comaean Apollo, all appearing in white robes Ewhich even to this day they call their 'prytanic' clothes. After reclining they rise again, and kneeling, join in pouring a libation, while the herald, acting as priest, recites the traditional prayers. After this they recline, and all receive a pint of wine excepting the priests of Pythian Apollo and of Dionysus; for to each of these latter the wine is given in double quantity, as well as the portions of everything else. FThereupon each diner is served with a loaf of pure wheat bread moulded flat, upon which lies another loaf which they call oven-bread;11 also a piece of swine's flesh, a small bowl of barley gruel or of some vegetable in its season, two eggs, a bit of fresh cheese, some dried figs, a flat-cake, and a wreath. Any manager of the festival who provides more than these viands is fined by the censors, and what is more, neither are those who dine in the town hall permitted to bring in anything to eat, but they eat these foods alone, giving a share of what remains to p185the slaves. 150 But on all other days of the year any diner who wishes may go up to the town-hall and eat, after preparing at home for his own use a green or leguminous vegetable, some salt-fish or fresh fish and a very small piece of pork; sharing these . . . (he receives) a half-pint of wine. No woman may enter the town-hall except the flute-girl. Nor is it allowed to bring a chamber-pot into the town-hall either. If a Naucratite gives a wedding-banquet, it is forbidden, following the prescription of the marriage law, to serve eggs and honey-cakes." BAs for the origin of these practices, Ulpian is the right man to inform us!

Lyceas, in his Egyptian History, esteems the banquets of the Egyptians more highly than the Persian, and says: "The Egyptians undertook a campaign against Ochus, king of Persia, but were defeated. Their king was taken prisoner, but Ochus treated him kindly and even summoned him to dinner. But though the arrangements for the dinner were sumptuous, the Egyptian laughed at them, feeling that the Persian lived very frugally. C'If you would know, O King,' said he, 'how a rich king should eat, permit the cooks who were once mine to prepare for you an Egyptian dinner.' The order was given, and when the dinner had been prepared, Ochus was delighted with it, but said, 'May the god, O Egyptian, bring you, evil man that you are, to an evil end, for you turned your back on such splendid dinners as these and conceived a desire for cheaper food.' "12 What Egyptian dinners were like Protagorides shows in the first book of his Games at p187Daphne,13 when he says: D"A third kind of dinner is the Egyptian, where no tables are placed beside the guests, but platters are carried round among them."

Among the Celts, says Phylarchus in the sixth book,14 many loaves of bread are broken up and served lavishly on the tables, as well as pieces of meat taken from the cauldrons; no one tastes these without looking first to see whether the king has touched what is set before him. Again, in Book III,15 the same Phylarchus says that Ariamnes, who was a very rich Celt, publicly promised to entertain all Celts for a year, and he fulfilled this promise by the following method. EAt various points in their country he set stations along the most convenient highways, where he erected booths of vine-props and poles of reed and osiers, according to the space demanded in each station for the reception of the crowds which were expected to stream in from towns and villages. Here he set up large cauldrons, containing all kinds of meat, which he had caused to be forged the year before he intended to give the entertainment, sending for metal-workers from other cities. FMany victims were slaughtered daily — bulls, hogs, sheep, and other cattle — casks of wine were made ready, and a large quantity of barley-meal ready mixed. Phylarchus continues: "Not merely the Celts who came from the villages and towns profited by this, but even passing strangers were not allowed to depart by the slaves who served, until they had had a share of the food which had been prepared."

p189 Thracian dinners are mentioned by Xenophon in the seventh book of the Anabasis,16 describing the symposium at the house of Seuthes in these words: 151 "After all had entered to partake of the dinner (where they sat in a circle), three-legged tables were immediately brought in for all. These, to the number of about twenty, were covered with meat piled high, and large loaves of leavened bread were attached by skewers to the meat. Special care was taken always to set the courses opposite the strangers, for that was the custom. Seuthes was the first to do this. He would take the loaves lying in front of him, break them into small pieces, and toss them to whom he liked; the meat likewise, leaving only enough to taste for himself. BThe others also before whom the tables were set followed his example. But an Arcadian named Arystas, a great eater, dispensed with the ceremony of the toss, and seizing in his hands a three-pound loaf and some meat, he placed them on his lap and proceeded to eat. They passed round drinking-horns containing wine, and all took them. But when the cup-bearer came to Arystas with the drinking-horn, he, seeing that Xenophon was no longer eating, said, 'Give it to him; for he is not busy any longer, whereas I haven't got time yet.' Thereupon laughter arose. CAs the drinking proceeded a Thracian entered with a white horse, and grasping a full horn he said, 'Here's to you, Seuthes; accept this horse as a present, for upon it, when you pursue, you will catch whomsoever you desire, and when you retreat, you will never be afraid of the enemy.' Another, in like manner, brought in and presented him with a slave as he p191drank his health, and still another gave him garments for his wife. Timasion, in proposing a toast to him, gave him a silver saucer and a scimitar17 worth ten minae.18 Then an Athenian named Gnesippus arose Dand said that there was an excellent custom of long standing, that the rich should honour the king with presents, but to those who were not rich the king should give presents. But Xenophon got up with a resolute air, and as he took the drinking-horn he said: 'I give myself and my comrades here to you, Seuthes, to be your trusted friends, and not one of us comes unwillingly. And to‑day they appear before you with no other request, but desire that they may labour and risk danger in your behalf.' Then Seuthes arose and drank with Xenophon, and with him also emptied the horn upon the ground. After this there entered persons who played tunes on the horns used for signalling, Eand who sounded off measures, and as it were flageolet notes, on trumpets made of raw ox-hides."

Poseidonius (he of the Porch),19 in the Histories which he compiled, collected many usages and customs of many peoples germane to the philosophic tenets which he held; and he writes:20 "The Celts place hay on the ground when they serve their meals, which they take on wooden tables raised only slightly from the ground. Their food consists of a few loaves of bread, but of large quantities of meat prepared in water or roasted over coals or on spits. FºThis they eat in a cleanly fashion, to be sure, but with a lion-like appetite, grasping whole joints with both hands and biting them off the bone; if, however, any piece proves hard to tear away, p193they slice it off with a small knife, which lies at hand in its sheath in a special box. 152 Those who dwell beside rivers or by the inner and outer sea21 also eat fish baked with salt, vinegar, and cummin. The last they also drop into their wine. They use no olive oil, on account of its rarity, and being unfamiliar, it seems to them unpleasant. BWhen several dine together, they sit in a circle; but the mightiest among them, distinguished above the others for skill in war, or family connexions, or wealth, sits in the middle, like a chorus-leader. Beside him is the host, and next on either side the others according to their respective ranks. Men-at‑arms, carrying oblong shields, stand close behind them, while their bodyguards, seated in a circle directly opposite, share in the feast like their masters. The attendants serve the drink in vessels resembling our spouted cups, either of clay or of silver. CSimilar also are the platters which they have for serving food; but others use bronze platters, others still, baskets of wood or plaited wicker. The liquor drunk in the houses of the rich is wine brought from Italy and the country round Marseilles, and is unmixed; though sometimes a little water is added. But among the needier inhabitants a beer is drunk made from wheat, with honey added; the masses drink it plain. It is called corma. They sip a little, Dnot more than a small cupful, from the same cup, but they do it rather frequently. The slave carries the drink round from left to right and from right to p195left;22 this is the way in which they are served. They make obeisance to the gods, also, turning towards the right."

Poseidonius again, describing the wealth of Lovernius,23 father of Bituis, who was deposed by the Romans, says that to win the favour of the mob he rode in a chariot through the fields scattering gold and silver among the myriads of Celts who followed him; he also made an enclosure twelve stades24 square, in which he set up vats filled with expensive wine, Eand prepared a quantity of food so great that for several days all who wished might enter and enjoy what was set before them, being served continuously. After he had finally set a limit to the feast, one of the native poets25 arrived too late; and meeting the chief, he sang his praises in a hymn extolling his greatness and lamenting his own lot in having come late. And the chief, delighted with this, called for a bag of gold Fand tossed it to the bard as he ran beside him. He picked it up and again sang in his honour, saying that the wheel-tracks made by the chariot on the ground on which he drove bore golden benefits for men.

All this Poseidonius recorded in the twenty-third book. But in the fifth book,26 in his account of the Parthians, he says: "The subject who enjoys the title of 'king's friend' has no share at his board, 153 but sits on the ground while the king reclines above him on a high couch; he eats dog-fashion what the p197king tosses to him, and often, on some slight pretext, he is dragged away from his lowly meal and flogged with staves or knotted straps until, covered with blood, he prostrates himself prone on the floor and does obeisance to his tormentor as to a benefactor." In the sixteenth book,27 again, he tells the story of King Seleucus; how that he went up into Media and made war on Arsaces, but was taken prisoner by the barbarian and lived a long time at the court of Arsaces, being treated in royal fashion. Poseidonius writes: B"Among the Parthians, the king at their banquets occupied a couch on which he reclined alone; it was separated from the other couches and somewhat higher than they; his table was set before him apart, as to a departed spirit, and was laden with native dishes." Writing also about Heracleon of Beroea, the same who after being promoted by King Antiochus, surnamed Grypus, almost ejected his benefactor from his academy, he says, in the thirty-fourth book of his Histories:28 "When he feasted his soldiers he caused them, in groups of a thousand, to recline on the ground in the open air. The dinner consisted of a huge loaf and meat, the drink being any kind of wine mixed with cold water. CThey were served by men wearing daggers, and in strict silence." In the second book29 he says: "In the Roman capital, whenever they hold a feast in the precinct of Hercules, it is given by the general who for the time being is celebrating a triumph, and the preparation for the banquet is worthy of Hercules30 himself. For p199honeyed wine flowed copiously throughout the entire meal, and the food consisted of large loaves and boiled smoked meat, as well as roast meat from the freshly sacrificed victims, in extravagant plenty. DAnd among the Etruscans sumptuous tables prepared twice a day, and richly coloured rugs are spread, and there are silver cups of every kind, and a host of handsome slaves stands by, dressed in rich garments." Timaeus, moreover, in the first book of his Histories,31 adds that the slave girls among them serve naked until they grow to be adults.

Megasthenes, in the second book of his History of India,32 says that among the Indians a table is set before each one at dinner. It resembles a side-board, Eand on it is placed a golden bowl into which they first pour their rice, boiled as one would boil groats, and they then add many sauces of meat which had been treated with Indian condiments.33 But the Germans, as Poseidonius narrates in the thirtieth book,34 eat for luncheon meat which has been roasted in separate pieces, and they wash it down with milik or wine that is unmixed. Some inhabitants of Campania fight duels during their symposia. FAnd Nicolas of Damascus, a Peripatetic philosopher, in the 110th book of his Histories,35 records that the Romans have gladiatorial fights during a banquet. He writes as follows: "The Romans staged spectacles of fighting gladiators not merely at their festivals and in their theatres, borrowing the custom from the Etruscans, but also at their banquets. At any rate, it often happened that some would invite their friends to dinner, not merely for other p201entertainment, but that they might witness two or three pairs of contestants in gladiatorial combat; on these occasions, when sated with dining and drink, they called in the gladiators. No sooner did one have his throat cut than the masters applauded with delight at this feat. 154And there have even been instances when a man has provided in his will that his most beautiful wives, acquired by purchase, should engage in duels; still another has directed that young boys, his favourites, should do the same. But the provision was in fact disregarded, for the people would not tolerate this outrage, but declared the will void." Eratosthenes, in the first book of his Olympic Victors,36 says that the Etruscans accompany their boxing-matches with the flute.

In the twenty-third book of his Histories,37 Poseidonius says: "The Celts sometimes have gladiatorial contests during dinner. Having assembled under arms, they indulge in sham fights and practise feints with one another; Bsometimes they proceed even to the point of wounding each other, and then, exasperated by this, if the company does not intervene, they go so far as to kill. In ancient times, he continues, we observe that when whole joints of meat were served the best man received the thigh. But if another claimed it, they stood up to fight it out in single combat to the death. Others, again, would collect silver or gold, or a number of jars of wine from the audience in the theatre, Cand having exacted a pledge that their award would be carried out, they would decree that the collection be distributed as presents to their dearest relatives; they then stretched themselves on their backs over their shields, and some one standing near would cut p203their throats with a sword." Euphorion of Chalcis, in his Historical Notes,38 writes as follows: "Among the Romans twenty pounds are offered to any who will brave decapitation with an axe, on condition that their heirs receive the prize. And often, when too many are enrolled, they dispute which of them has the best right in each case to have his head cut off."

DHermippus, in Book I of his work On Lawgivers,39 declares that the Mantineans were inventors of gladiatorial combats, having been counselled thereto by Demonax, one of their citizens; and the Cyrenaeans became imitators of them. And Ephorus says, in the sixth book of his Histories:40 "The Mantineans and Arcadians used to practise the arts of war diligently, and, as a consequence, to this very day people call the ancient military uniform and mode of arming 'Mantinean,' since it is believed that the Mantineans are the inventors. In addition, regular courses of instruction in fighting under arms were first instituted at Mantinea, EDemeas being the instructor in the art." And that the custom of single combat was ancient is told by Aristophanes in the Phoenician Women41 in these words: "Warlike fury has swooped upon the sons of Oedipus, brothers twain, and at this moment they stand ready for the match in single combat."42 It is plain that the noun monomáchos ("single fighter") is compounded not from machê ("battle") but from the verb machomai ("fight"). For whenever a word compounded with machê ends in -os, as in sýmmachos ("ally"), protómachos ("champion"), epímachos ("open to attack"), antímachos ("fighting against") or philómachos ("fight-loving") — FPindar43 has "the fight-loving race sprung p205from Perseus" — in such instances it has the acute accent on the third syllable from the last; but when the compound takes the accent on the syllable next before the last, it contains the verb machomai, as in pygmáchos ("fist-fighter"), naumáchos ("Sea-fighter"). "Thyself first, thou Fighter at the gate" (pylamáchos), is found in Stesichorus.44 There are also hoplomáchos ("fighting under arms"), teichomáchos ("fighting at the wall"), and pyrgomáchos ("fighting at the tower").

The comic poet Poseidippus says in  The Pimp:45 "He that has never been to sea has never seen trouble at all; 155 we sailors are more to be pitied than gladiators." We have explained in another passage46 also that prominent men and military leaders used to fight in single combat and that they did this in answer to a challenge.47 And Diyllus of Athens, in the ninth book of his Histories,48 says that when Cassander returned from Boeotia and held the funeral of the king and queen at Aegaeae, as well as of Cynna, the mother of Eurydice, he not only honoured them with all the other fitting rites, but set up also a contest of single fighters which was entered by four of his soldiers.

Demetrius of Skepsis, in Book XV of The Trojan Battle-order,49 says: B"At the court of Antiochus, surnamed the Great, it was the habit not merely of the king's friends but also of the king himself to dance under arms at dinner. But when it became the turn of Hegesianax to dance — the historian from p207Alexandria in the Troad — he arose and said: 'In my case, O King, would you rather see me dance badly, or would you like to hear me recite well my own works?' Commanded, therefore, to recite, he so delighted the king that he was promoted to a pension and became one of the king's favourites." CDuris of Samos, in the seventeenth book of his Histories,50 says of Polysperchon that whenever he was elated by wine he would dance, even though he was rather old and second to none among the Macedonians either in military achievement or in general esteem; he danced continually, clad in a saffron tunic and wearing on his feet Sicyonian slippers. Agatharchides of Cnidus, in the eighth book of his Asiatic History51 records that Dwhenever the friends of Alexander, son of Philip, entertained him at dinner, they encased everything that was to be served as dessert52 in gold; and when they desired to eat the desert, they tore off the gold with the rest of the waste and threw it away, that their friends might be spectators of their extravagance, while their slaves enjoyed the profit. But these gentry had forgotten, what Duris also records,53 that Philip, Alexander's father, possessed a gold cup weighing fifty drachms, and that he always took it to bed with him and placed it at his head. ESeleucus says54 some Thracians make a sport of hanging at their drinking-bouts; they attach a noose at a certain height, directly under which they place a stone which may be easily rolled by any who step upon it. p209They then draw lots, and the one who receives the lot mounts the stone, holding a pruning-knife, and places his neck in the noose; another comes by and pushes the stone; and while it is rolling from under him, the man hanging there, if he does not quickly cut himself loose with the knife before it is too late, is dead, and the others laugh, holding the poor devil's death a great joke." FThis, friends and fellow-drinkers, "easily first among the Greeks,"55 I have been able to tell from my knowledge of ancient symposia.

The wise Plato, in the first book of the Laws,56 accurately describes symposia in these words: "Neither in the country nor in the towns under Spartan jurisdiction would you see symposia, nor would you see the things which accompany them and which excite all manner of licentious pleasures to the full extent of their power. 156 Nor is there one among us who, if he met a man indulging in drunken merriment, would not immediately lay the heaviest punishment upon him; and not even the festival of Dionysus would afford an excuse to protect him, as I have seen it do in your country among the carts,57 and also in Tarentum, among our own colonists, where I have seen the whole town drunk during the festival of Dionysus. In Lacedaemon there is nothing of that sort."

Whereupon Cynulcus said: "I can only wish that you had played that Thracian game and come to your death; for you have been stretching our patience, and we are like persons who keep a fast and wait for that rising star which, Bas those say who p211have founded this noble philosophy, must first appear before it is lawful to taste any food.58 'But I, wretch that I am,' as the comic poet Diphilus says,59 'shall be an empty-bellied mullet through this extreme fasting.' And you also have forgotten the fine words of the Poet, who has said:60 'Surely 'tis better to take our repast in season.' And the noble Aristophanes, in Cocalus, said:61 'But, Daddy, it is high noon already, Cthe time when youngsters should have dinner.' And so, in my opinion, it would be much better to dine in the fashion described by Parmeniscus, in The Cynics' Symposium, than to see as in a fever all these dishes going round here."62 We laughed, and someone said: "Well, my fine fellow, don't begrudge us the account of that symposium of Parmeniscus." So he raised himself up high beside us, and said: " 'I swear to you, gentlemen,' to quote the pleasant Antiphanes. He has said, in Wrongly Wed:63 'I swear to you, gentlemen, by that very god from whose bounty we all get drunk, Dthat verily I should rather choose to live this life than have the superfluity of King Seleucus. It is sweet to sop up lentil soup without fear, it is miserable to sleep on a soft bed in fear.' Well then, Parmeniscus began his recital thus.64 'Parmeniscus p213to Molpis, greeting: Since I have been very frequent in my addresses to you on the subject of the distinguished banquets to which I have been invited, I am in great apprehension lest you may at last be attacked with indigestion65 and lay the blame of your over-indulgence on me. Wherefore I wish to impart to you some of the dinner held at the house of Cebes of Cyzicus; Eso first drink some hyssop and direct your regard toward this entertainment. It was during the festival of Dionysus at Athens that I was invited to it. There I found a half dozen Cynics reclining, and one "master of the hounds,"66 Carneius of Megara. The dinner being slow in coming, a discussion arose concerning water — which was the sweetest? Some praised the water of Lerna, others, again, the water of Peirene; but Carneius, quoting Philoxenus,67 said "The water which is poured over the hands."68 When the table was set beside us we began dinner, and "no sooner did we exhaust one lentil soup than in flowed another after."69 FThen lentils again, soaked in vinegar were brought to us, and Diitrephes clutched a handful and said: "Zeus, let not him who is to blame for these beans escape thy vengeance!"70 And another thereupon cried out: "May a baneful destiny and a baneful fate seize thee."71 (In my eyes,72 to quote the comedian Diphilus, who says, in Daughters of Pelias:73 'The little dinner p215was splendid, and very delicate. Beside each man there stood a large bowl full of lentil soup. — 157 B. In the very first place, that's not so splendid. — A. Next after that there came dancing with a swoop into our midst a large shabar, rather evil smelling. — B. That must be the 'sacred wrasse,' which makes the other wrasses forthwith give him a wide berth.')74 After a burst of laughter at this, there entered the stage-thumper75 Melissa and the dog-fly Nicion; these were notorious courtesans. Glancing with wonder at the viands before them, they began to laugh. BAnd Nicion said: "Does no one of you, beard-gathering sirs,76 eat fish? Or is it like what your ancestor Meleager of Gadara, in the work entitled The Graces, said of Homer: being a Syrian by birth, he has represented the Achaeans as abstaining from fish according to the practice of his own country, although there is great abundance of them in the region of the Hellespont? Or have you read only that work of his which contains the comparison of pease-porridge with lentil soup? For I see that the quantity of lentil-soup prepared at your dinner is great, and as I gaze upon it I should advise you, in the words of the Socratic Antisthenes, to 'deliver yourselves from life,' if you must feed on such stuff." CIn answer to her Carneius said: "Euxitheus the Pythagorean, Nicion, as the Peripatetic Clearchus tells us in the second book of his Lives,77 was wont to say that the souls of all beings are imprisoned in the p217body and in this hither life as a punishment, and that the god has ordained that if they refuse to abide in these until he of his own will releases them, they will then be plunged in more and greater torments. Wherefore all persons, Ddreading the violence of the higher powers, are afraid to depart from this life of their own motion, and gladly welcome only the death which comes in old age, being persuaded that this release of their souls comes with the approval of the higher powers. To these principles we ourselves subscribe."78 "But nobody begrudges your choosing one of the three evils. Indeed, you don't understand, poor fools, that these heavy foods form a barrier to the authoritative part of the soul,79 and inhibit the reason from being itself." —

"Theopompus, therefore, in the fifth book of his History of Philip,80 says: E'Too much eating, as well as meat-eating, destroys the reasoning faculties and makes souls more sluggish, and fills them besides with irascibility, hardness, and awkwardness.' And the admirable Xenophon also says81 that it is pleasant to eat a barley-cake and some cress when one is hungry, and pleasant, too, to draw water from a stream and drink when one is thirsty. And Socrates was many a time found walking up and down in front of his house in the late afternoon, and to those who asked, 'What are you doing at this hour?' he would reply, 'Gathering a relish for my dinner.' —

F"But we shall be satisfied with any piece that p219we may get from you, and not take it ill if we get too little, like the Heracles of Anticleides. For he says, in the second book of his Returns:82 'After the completion of his Labours, Heracles was invited with others to a sacrifice celebrated by Eurystheus; and when the sons of Eurystheus set the chief portions before each one of themselves, but placed an humbler one before Heracles, 158 he, deeming that he had been insulted, slew three of the sons, Perimedes, Eurybius, and Eurypylus.' Well, then, we have no such temper ourselves, though we are emulators of Hercules in all things." '83

Indeed, "Lentil soup is known to the tragic stage; they say that Agatharchus once painted a picture of Orestes guzzling it when he had recovered from his disease." So speaks the comic poet Sophilus.84 It is a Stoic belief, too, that the wise man will do all things rightly, even to the wise seasoning of lentil soup. Wherefore Timon of Phlius speaks of one85 B"who had never learned wisely to make a Zenonian lentil soup," as if a lentil soup could not be made otherwise than according to the Zenonian prescription. For he said: "Into the lentil soup put the twelfth part of a coriander seed." And Crates86 of Thebes said: "Exalt not the dish of stew above a plate of lentil soup and so set us to quarrelling.' In like manner Chrysippus,87 in his essay On the Good, introduces to us certain maxims in these p221words: 'Never eat an olive when you have a nettle. In the winter season, a bulb-and‑lentil soup, oh me, oh my! For bulb-and‑lentil soup is like ambrosia in the chilly cold.' CAnd the witty Aristophanes, in Gerytades,88 has said: 'Are you teaching him to make barley gruel or lentil soup?' And in Amphiaraus:89 'You, who dare insult lentil soup, sweetest of delicacies!' Epicharmus, in The Dionysi:90 'A kettle of lentil soup was simmering.' Antiphanes in Just Alike:91 'It proved to be a piece of good luck, that one of the natives was teaching me how to make lentil soup.' I know also that the sister of Odysseus, most prudent and sagacious, was called Lentil, though others name her Callisto, Das recorded by Mnaseas of Patrae in the third book of his European History; my authority is Lysimachus, in the third book of his Returns."92

At this Plutarch laughed very boisterously, and the Cynic, unable to bear the slighting of his erudition concerning lentils, cried, "Yet, you men of fair Alexandria, Plutarch, have been brought up on lentil food, and your entire city is full of lentil dishes. Even the 'lentil'-parodist,93 Sopater, mentions them in a play, Bacchis,94 in these words: E'I could not, p223living within sight of the huge bronze Colossus, eat a loaf of lentil bread.' 'For what need have mortals (as your own Euripides says,95a most learned grammarian) of aught save two things only, Demeter's bounty and a water-gushing draught? These we have at hand, and nature gave them to nurture us. Yet we are not satisfied with abundance of these, and so in mere wantonness we hunt for devices to get other foods.' And in another place this philosopher of the stage says:95b 'Sufficient unto me is the modest food of a sober table; Fbut all that is unseasonable and goes beyond due measure I hope I may not admit.' And Socrates used to say that he differed from all other men in that they live to eat whereas he ate to live. Diogenes, too, answered those who chided him for rubbing himself down: 'Would that I were able, by rubbing my belly as well, to quell its hunger and want!' Euripides in The Suppliants96 says of Capaneus: 'Here is Capaneus; his fortune was great, 159 yet was he by no means proud in his felicity; and he carried a spirit no more presumptuous than any poor man, chiding any who was swollen overmuch with a rich table, and praising what sufficed; for he said that excellence consisted not in stuffing the belly, but that things in moderation were enough.'

"Capaneus was, in fact, not like the man whom the noble Chrysippus describes in the tract on Things not to be Chosen for their own Sake. He says: 'Some men p225are so degraded, Bwhen it comes to money, that the story is told of a man who, when near his end, swallowed a large number of gold pieces and died; still another caused some to be sewn in a shirt, and after putting it on he charged the members of his household to bury him just as he was, without burning his body or caring for it in any way.' Such persons as these, in fact, all but shout as they die: 'O Gold, fairest gift welcomed by mortals! For neither a mother, nor children in the house, nor loved father can bring such delights as thou and they that own thee in their halls. CIf the glance which shines from Kypris's eyes is like thine, no wonder that countless loves attend her.'97 Such was the character of the greed which people of those days possessed; concerning it Anacharsis, when someone asked him what the Greeks used money for, replied, 'To count!' Diogenes ordains that in his ideal state the currency shall be dice. Well said are the following words of Euripides:98 'Speak not of wealth;99 for I reverence not the god whom even the basest man may easily win to his side.' DChrysippus, in the introduction to his treatise on Good and Evil, says that once a very rich young man came to Athens from Ionia, dressed in a purple cloak with gold fringe. When someone asked him where he p227was he replied, 'From Richmond.' Perhaps this is the same young man as that mentioned by Alexis in The Thebans100 thus: 'Whence does this man trace his birth?' B. From the Richmonds. All agree that these are most highly born, but not a soul sees a poor man of noble origin.' "

EWhen Cynulcus failed to get applause after these words, in a burst of temper he said, "Mr. Toastmaster, these gentlemen have no hunger, being troubled with word-diarrhoea, or they ridicule what has been said about lentil soup, having in mind what Pherecrates has said in Corianno:101 'A. Come, give me a place on the couch; slave, bring forth a table, and a cup, and something to eat, to make the drinking sweeter. B. Here's a cup for you, a table, and some lentils. A. No lentils for me, by Zeus; I don't like them. FIf one eats them, his breath smells bad.' I say, then, since for this reason these wise men are wary of lentils, at least let some bread be given to me and with it anything that is not too expensive; on the contrary, if so be that you have but the far-famed lentil soup, or the so‑called 'conch.' "102 They all laughed, especially at the mention of "conch," but he continued: 160 "Fellow-diners, you are illiterate; you never read books which alone can educate those who are eager for the good; I mean the books of Satire by Timon, disciple of Pyrrhon. For he it is who also mentions 'conch' in the second book of his Satires,103 in these p229words: 'I like not the barley-cake of Teos, nor the spiced gravy of the Lydians; but in the vulgar and squalid conch my Greek poverty finds all its overflowing luxury.' For though the barley-cakes of Teos are excellent, like those of Eretria (to judge from Sopater, in The Suitors of Bacchis;104 he says: B'We sped to Eretria, city of white barley-meal'), Timon prefers the conch to them and to the Lydian spiced gravy as well."

In reply to this our noble host Larensis himself spoke: "Fellow Dogs,105 who . . . in the words of the Iocasta of the comic poet Strattis; she says, in the play entitled Phoenician Women:106 'I wish to give you two some wise advice; when you make lentil-soup don't pour in perfume.' And Sopater also, whom you have just quoted, recalls the proverb Cin Spirit-Raising107 thus: 'Odysseus of Ithaca is here; as the saying goes, the perfume is in the soup. Have courage, my soul!' Clearchus, of the Peripatetic School, in his work on Proverbs,108 includes the phrase 'perfume in the lentil-soup' as a proverb, which is mentioned also by my ancestor, Varro, surnamed the Menippean.109 And most of the Roman grammarians, not having been conversant with many Greek poets and historians, do not know where Varro took the verse from. DYou, Cynulcus (since p231you delight in this name,110 never mentioning the one by which your mother called you at birth), in my opinion are 'mighty fine and tall,'111 in the words of your friend Timon,112 but are not aware that 'conch' has found mention in Epicharmus long before in his Holiday and Islands,113 and also in the comic poet Antiphanes, who used a diminutive form for the word in Marriage:114 'a little bit of conch (conchion for conchos) and a slice of sausage cut off besides.' "


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 F. H. G. I.28.

2 Ibid. IV.411.

3 Who was also butcher.

4 A citizen designated to pay for the training and equipment of a chorus.

5 Two etymologies are here confused. μαζονόμοι is from νέμω "dispense," not νόμος, "custom."

6 Equivalent to "prosit" or "bon appétit."

7 Eustathius, 728.18, adds an explanation of "night terrors," "the cause of which was attributed to Hecate." Eustathius evidently believed that these morsels were intended to placate the goddess whose dread powers availed most at night. The adage canis vivens e magdalis, "a dog living on crumbs," was suggested by the ordinary practice which Athenaeus expressly says was not followed here, of wiping the fingers on bits of bread and tossing these bits to the dogs. Nor is Schweighäuser right in explaining that the morsels carried away were intended to divert the ferocity of dogs met on the way home, except in so far as dogs, which were sacred to Hecate, might incarnate her mysterious nocturnal power. Capps conjectures φορβῶν for φόβων, "to have food at night while on patrol-duty." But φορβή is a poetic word, τροφή, as in modern Greek, being the generic word in later writers.

8 F. H. G. I.319.

9 Ibid. II.80.

10 Cf. 185C, note a.

11 Cf. 109F.

12 The same story is told of the Spartan Pausanias, 138C, from Herodotus, IX.82.

13 F. H. G. IV.484.

14 Ibid. I.336.

15 Ibid. 334.

16 Chap. 3.21.

17 See crit. note.

18 About £50, silver.

19 i.e. the Stoic philosopher.

20 F. H. G. III.260.

21 The Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

22 The Greeks, however, drank toasts only from left to right, and since καί or τε is wanting with ἐπὶ τὰ δεξιά, it is almost certain that καὶ οὐ τὰ λαιά, "and not from right to left," should be read in the text. The use of καί before τοὺς θεοὺς, instead of a contrasting conjunction, confirms this.

23 Or Loverius; see crit. note.

24 About 1½ miles.

25 See crit. note.

26 F. H. G. III.254.

27 F. H. G. III.258.

28 Ibid. 265.

29 Ibid. 252.

30 With a punning reference to the town of Heracleia, of which Poseidonius was a native.

31 F. H. G. I.196.

32 Ibid. II.423.

33 Making a "pilaf."

34 F. H. G. III.264.

35 Ibid. 417.

36 Frag. 22 Müller.

37 F. H. G. III.259.

38 Frag. 23 Müller.

39 F. H. G. III.36.

40 Ibid. I.261.

41 Kock I.533.

42 πάλη, lit. "wrestling."

43 P. L. G.6 frag. 164.

44 P. L. G.5 frag. 48. The word here cited is an epithet of Ares.

45 Kock III.341.

46 Possibly in the lost parts of Book I.

47 As in the Iliad.

48 F. H. G. II.361; the occasion was the state funeral of Arridaeus and Eurydice, murdered by order of Olympias, 317 B.C. Cynna had been assassinated by Alcetas. All three were buried in the royal tombs at Aegae.

49 Frag. 7 Gaede.

50 F. H. G. II.476.

51 Ibid. III.196.

52 Such as nuts, figs, raisins, of which the shells and stones were thrown on the floor.

53 F. H. G. II.470; cf. Athen. 231B. Macedonia possessed little gold in Philip's time.

54 F. H. G. III.500.

55 Cf. Aristoph. Plut. 254, Lysist. 1110.

56 637A. A Spartan is addressing an Athenian.

57 Referring to the "jokes from the cart" in the processions of Dionysus and Demeter.

58 It is commonly thought that Athenaeus has confused Jewish with Christian rites here, and χρηστὴν is regarded as an allusion to χριστιανήν. But such a confusion was impossible in the third century, and other sects, e.g. the Neo-Pythagoreans, may have observed a fast until the evening-star appeared.

59 Kock II.558; cf. 307F. The reference is to the kind of mullet called the "faster."

60 Od. XVII.176.

61 Kock I.484.

62 Without being eaten; "going round" has a double meaning, referring both to vertigo and to the circulation of the dishes at dinner.

63 Kock II.88; cf. T. G. F.2 900.

64 That Parmeniscus used stilted language to the verge of nonsense is all that we know of him.

65 πληθώραν, "fulness," a medical word; hence the injunction in the next line.

66 κύνουλκον, "dog-leader," the Cynics being "dogs." Athen. 1D.

67 P. L. G.4 III.605, Athen. 147C (?).

68 After a good dinner!

69 T. G. F.2 856; a proverb (omitting φακῆν) of the Danaids, condemned to fill a leaky cask (φιδάκνην).

70 A parody of Euripides, Medea 332, where κακῶν, "banes," stands in place of φακῶν, "beans."

71 T. G. F.2 857, where again κακός for φακός.

72 Cynulcus here interrupts his own narrative.

73 Kock II.562.

74 The wrasse (Labrus anthias), as was noticed by sponge fishers, frightened away even larger fish, and was called "sacred" by them; ταὶς κίχλαις also means "the thrushes," as in 136C. Cf. Aristot. H. A. IX.25.3.

75 Found only here, probably referring to her clumsy dancing. For "dog-fly" see 126A, note.

76 Cf. στωμυλιοσυλλεκτάδαι, "gossip-gatherers," Aristoph. Ran. 841.

77 F. H. G. II.303.

78 Nicion answers. There were three ways of committing suicide: by the sword, the noose, and jumping from a high cliff. Their method, by stuffing themselves with lentils, was not canonical. Cf. Schol. Pind. Ol. I.97.

79 τὸ ἡγεμονικόν, "leading part," an expression first used by Plato, became Stoic cant.

80 F. H. G. I.286. In this paragraph Cynulcus interrupts the account of Parmeniscus. His Cynics reply to Nicion in the next.

81 Cyrop. I.2.11.

82 P148 Müller; the title, Nostoi, is the same as that of the epic which describes the return of the Achaeans from Troy.

83 Here the narrative of Parmeniscus, begun 156D, ends.

84 Kock II.447.

85 Frag. 21 and 22 Wachsmuth, 187 Diels.

86 P. L. G.4 frag. 10.

87 Birt, Antikes Buchwesen, p30, thinks the number of the book has been lost. See Kock III.477.

88 Kock I.431.

89 Kock I.398.

90 Kaibel 96.

91 Kock II.82. For the title cf. Aristot. Eth. Nic. IV.1127 A10.

92 F. H. G. III.339, 152. For the title Nostoi, see 157F, note. Here ends the discourse of Cynulcus begun at 156A, to be resumed in the next paragraph.

93 Φάκιος, jocosely for Πάφιος, "Paphian." So in American slang, Bean-town for Boston.

94 Kaibel 192. The sense is: "I, an Alexandrian, could not bring myself to eat lentil bread even when living in Rhodes, where it is a favourite dish."

95a 95b T. G. F.2 646.

96 861 ff., cf. Athen. 250F.

97 From the lost Danaë of Euripides, T. G. F.2.456. Cf. Seneca's rendering, Epist. 115.14:

pecunia ingens generis humani bonum,

cui non voluptas matris aut blandae potest

par esse prolis, non sacer meritis parens.

tam dulce siquid Veneris in vultu micat,

merito illa amores caelitum atque hominum movet.

98 T. G. F.2 368.

99 Or, the god Plutus.

100 Kock II.326; cf. Plautus, Capt. II.2.27.

101 Kock I.163; the title is the name of a courtesan.

102 Lat. conchis, in which lentils were cooked with the pods; Juvenal III.293, XIV.131, Martial VII.77. Originally, a sea-shell or its contents; here a dish eaten by the poor. Cynulcus, probably to provoke Ulpian, uses it masculine, whereas Timon has it feminine.

103 Frag. 44 Wachsmuth, 185 Diels.

104 Kaibel 192.

105 i.e. Cynics. See crit. note.

106 Kock I.724; cf. Euripides, Phoen. 460.

107 Kaibel 195. Cf. Eurip. Cyclops 101.

108 F. H. G. II.320; of any useless luxury.

109 P219 Buecheler; on the Menippean satire see Introduction, vol. I p. xiii.

110 See 1D.

111 See critical note; cf. Il. XXI.108, Od. XVIII.5.

112 Frag. 31 Wachsmuth, 187 Diels.

113 Kaibel 108: the titles should perhaps read "both in the Orya ("Sausage") and the Islands"; see crit. note.

114 Kock II.40.


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