Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens (Paperback) - Common

Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens (Paperback) - Common

Language: English

Pages: 372

ISBN: B00FGVSPVO

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


As any reader of the "Symposium" knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was eating too much fish, and imbibed liberally without ever getting drunk. In other words, James Davidson writes, he reflected the culture of ancient Greece in which he lived, a culture of passions and pleasures, of food, drink, and sex before--and in concert with--poli...

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very hard beneath the surface, however, to see foreign policy raising its head. By misusing the wives of the men of Andros, Timarchus was alienating Athens’ allies. He did not actually betray the island for a bribe, but he would have done if an interested buyer had come along. The business in Eretria was even more serious, since it refers to an episode that led to the loss of almost the whole of Euboea, a very large island which lay right along Athens’ east coast, separated from Attica only by

the perceived dangers of wine, the difficult distinctions drawn between commodities and gifts, were features of Greek civilization in general and helped to construct similar environments for pleasure elsewhere. In the city of Athens, however, there was a further element. Athenian appetites acted on subjects who participated in a democracy of a very radical nature. This peculiar political configuration produced peculiar attitudes to wealth and spending and, most importantly, a peculiar atmosphere

significant: ‘there are no gods except for Dionysus and Heracles; instead one finds only women, both male and female blacks, Asians and satyrs … It is as if the anthropology of such moulded vases was meant to define the opposite of the Greek drinker and to hold up to him all the things that he was not.’43 It is no coincidence that the cups most often used for refashioning into the form of these notoriously immoderate drinkers are the cups of immoderate drinking, the kantharos and the horn being

moderate and control them, they are not normally massive forces in our lives. Those who are engaged in a fierce struggle against appetites are the exceptions. They have taken some substance they should not have or have overindulged in some less dangerous substance to an extreme degree, so that they now find it difficult to live without it. Because of long-term habituation or the inheritance of an addictive tendency or brief exposure to some powerfully addictive drug, they are taken over by severe

securing her acquittal; Plato’s description of the utter consternation at the exercise-ground when the youth Charmides appears in full adolescent bloom; Socrates’ advice to Critobulus on kissing Alcibiades’ handsome son: Don’t you realize that this beast they call ‘young and handsome’ is more terrible than a scorpion, inasmuch as it does not even need to touch you as the scorpion must, but pierces anyone who looks at it even from a distance and makes them mad … I advise you, Xenophon, to take to

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