ArchaIc Athens: SemInar 2

A SymposIum on the SymposIum

Gcncra! cnmmcnts by Dr B
sym¡osia vere for lhe eIile, em¡hasised lhe cohesion of lhe grou¡
much evidence in ¡oelry, as assigned
lhere vere ruIes lo be foIIoved, valched over by a sym¡osiarch
various ilems vere needed lo make lhis a success: furnilure, drinking
im¡Iemenls, enlerlainmenl (aII discussed in lhe assigned readings and beIov)
queslions: vere sym¡osia an excuse for arislocrals lo acl in a vay lhey couId nol
in lhe ¡oIis` did lhey reinforce lheir ¡over and lheir unily (as Murray suggesls)`
couId lhe sym¡osium be a ¡Iace for anli-¡oIis ideoIogy`

Grnup 1: E!izabcth Cnbbc, Arabc!!a Pa!mcr

A Symposium on the Symposium

What was a symposium?

Who- the elite

“The aristocracy of war had become an aristocracy of leisure.” ( Murray- The Greek
Symposium in History p263)

Where- the andron




What Kind(s) of Events went on there?
Drinking, eating, poetry, music/ lyre/ singing, games, conversation

How far was the purpose of the symposium for drinking or intellectual
conversation?
“ ‘ the evening of the twelfth (Anthesterion) was a traditional occasion to
invite friends to a party… it was apparently the tradition that each drinker
consumed his own share in silence. This was the complete antithesis of
symposium with its sharing of talk and song’” ( Davidson (1997)
‘Courtesans and Fishcakes’ p. 51)

Etiquette

“Three kraters only do I propose for sensible for sensible men , one for
health, the second for love and pleasure and the third for sleep; when this
has been drunk up, wise guest make for home” (Eubulus F94)

Fresco from tomb of the Diver 475 BCE


How did it Develop?

Through hoplite warfare?
“ ‘ was transformed into a leisure group under the impact of the changed
position of the aristocracy, in a world where their military function
had been taken over by the hoplite army of the polis’” (Bremmer
(1990) ‘ Adolescents, Symposion, and Pedestry’p136)

What Was Needed to Hold a Symposium?


One-handled kantharos, ca. 500 B.C.; Archaic
Attributed to the Class of the One-Handled Kantharoi
Greek, Attic
Terracotta; H. 11 3/8 in. (28.9 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1963 (63.11.4)

From:
www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/symp/hod_63.11.4.htm




What are the sources?

Pottery- both itself and the images on it
“It dies not seem wise to threat treat the images on Attic Vases, however
precise and detailed they may be, simply as photographic documents”
(Lissarrague (1990), ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet imagery’
p196)
Homer
Archaic Fragments
Poetry and Music


Bibliography

Primary Sources

Theognis of Megara
Solon
The Iliad- 17.248-51
The Odyssey- 17.264
Eubulus- fragment 94
Pindar Pyth. 1.97
Aristotle- Politics 7.15.9
Ibycus

Secondary Sources

Berquist, B. (1990) ‘Sympotic space: a functional aspect of Greek
dinning-rooms’ in O. Murray (ed), Sympotica. A Symposium on the
Symposion. Oxford.
Boardman, J. (1990) ‘Sympotic Furniture’ in O. Murray (ed),
Sympotica. A Symposium on the Symposion. Oxford.
Bremmer, J. (1990) ‘Adolescents, Symposion and pederasty’, in O.
Murray (ed), Sympotica. A Symposium on the Symposion. Oxford.
Calame, C. (1999) ‘Eros and the masculine: the polis’ in The
Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece
Davidson, J.(1990) ‘The symposium’ in Courtesans and Fishcakes.
London
Fehr, B. (1990) ‘Entertainers at the Symposion: the alketoi in the
archaic period’ in O. Murray (ed), Sympotica. A Symposium on the
Symposion. Oxford.
Lissarrague, F. (1990) ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet
imagery’, in O. Murray (ed), Sympotica. A Symposium on the
Symposion. Oxford.

Murray, O (1983) ‘The Greek symposion in history’, in E. Gabba
(ed.) Tria Corda. Scritti in onore di Arnaldo Monigliano. Como.
Sparkes, B (1996) The Red and the Black. Studies in Greek
Pottery. London .


Grnup 2: Nick Cnnkc, A!cx Ha!!

Nicholas Cooke
S0561595

Archaic Greek Symposium
Furniture, Layout and Entertainment


Furniture
• Evolution of the ‘Kline’ (FIG. 1)
o Geometric vases portraying death processions, with the
usage of ‘kline’ as death beds (FIG. 2)
o Nineveh inscriptions of 640 BC (FIG. 4) portraying a
reclined King Ashurbanipal holding court. A combination of
the previous ‘oriental’ period and transmission of eastern
sophistication enhances its popularity
o End of 7
th
BC Lydian poet Alcman portraying either a
wedding or a feast in Sardis, from his childhood
o A contemporary vase also shows a similar scene to this,
although a woman was present- challenging its provenance

• Design of ‘kline’
o High legged
o Couch
o With or without a headrest/pillow
o Later development into a ‘chaise-lounge’
o Debate within it being heavy or light- light due to it
originating in the east with the nomadic Persians, or heavy
due to it being a piece of ‘special’ furniture.
o Biblical evidence (Amos 6: 4-7) states the usage of Ivory as
their construct- emphasizing their price, weight and
importance


• Use of ‘kline’

o Sleep vs. Feast vs. Death
o Sleep- a large, specialized piece of furniture requires a
special space, and a large investment into it
o More likely not used for sleep- as Greek beds were much
lower, or on the ground. Elite usage of symposium also
emphasizes the need for space and frivolity, both of which
were not privy to all classes
o Death- most likely to happen in beds- coupled with
geometric pottery and the theory of lying in state provides a
compelling argument for sympotic deathbeds.
o There is also a link between feasting and death- the idea of
the “lonely symposium” of the east, correlated with the
heroic image of receiving gifts whilst lying in state, to create
a court scene, before and whilst in death

Layout
• Introduction to Symposium Layout
o All non-literal evidence of layout; can only be recovered
due to 2-D nature of vases and archaeological floor plans
presenting our visual imagery
o A distinction is required between public and private
symposia; especially in early periods as private symposia
either didn’t exist, or were cult rooms (Kommos Temple A
and B)
o Usual fittings: paved/cemented floor, raised border on walls,
couches/couch mounts, off centre door, drainage, wall
stucco and water access
o Two types of room- Long (more popular in Archaic and less
in Classical), and Broad (non-existent in Archaic, popular in
Classical and Hellenistic), with either 7 or 11 couch space

• What was Necessary?
o The room was mainly of square or rectilinear construct,
with some circular examples
o The most suitable shapes were those that allowed
maximum audio-visual performance; allowing all to see
and hear equally of each other and of performers
o The facilitation of eating, drinking, ritual and
entertainment

• Evolution of Layout
o A basic transferral from long to broad rooms, facilitated
through evidence of room frequency over time

o Archaic long room usage most likely a gathering of seated
(not reclined) elites feasting, then a transfer to reclined,
more private ceremonies

• Bergquists’ theory
o 2 ‘symposia’ per room, facilitating maximum usage of
space, and audio-visual experience (FIG. 3)
o Applies for long and broad rooms that could allow more
couches than walled couches
o Issue with theory lies in the split nature of the theory- two
groups wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other
as efficiently; as that is the basis of all symposia

Entertainment
• Process
o Libation
o Purification
o Prayers
o Consumption of wine and food
o Performances including poetry, mime, dance, music and
various ‘Akletoi’ (performers of various skill and content)

• Drinking
o Led by a ‘King of the Symposium’ (debated by Murray-
due to the equal nature of the Homeric feasts), also
named the ‘baselius’, ‘archon’ or ‘prytais’
o Drinking was heavily regulated by the ‘King’ out of
respect for Dionysus’ gift (wine) and to control the guests
drinking, as it separated the elite from drunkenness
(‘methyesthai’; harmful drinking) and barbarism; as they
were unable to control their drunkenness
o The drinking was a catalyst for limitless expression
within the guests- to facilitate poetic or sexual expression
that might be suppressed in civic society

• Communication
o An elaborate and ritualistic form of statement and
response communication was developed, along with
Archaic ‘monadic’ poetry
o There was a distinction between the public and private
poetry; the sympotic poets (Alcaeus and Sappho) and
the professional poets (Anacreon)

o Murray goes so far to say that “almost all of the
distinctive features of high culture of archaic Greece are
expressions of the sympotic way of life”
1

o The communication ultimately led to a poetic
competition between the guests, that was either prepared
before, or improvised, which promoted the collective
growth and sharing of the elite

• Love (‘eros’)
o Importance of this subject shown through its prevalence
in poetry
o Facilitated by jovial nature of symposia, and wine
drinking, love was given to others in a distinct
controlled, and ritualised manner
o Distinction required between “negative effects of love”
and its “violent aspects” and that of “gratifying and
sublime love”
2

o The atmosphere of the symposium allowed the guests to
exchange in “tendencies and attitudes”
3
that would have
been frowned upon in society, to engage in a “regulated,
controlled and ritualized exercise of the passions”
4
, an
outlet for various “orgiastic erotic homo and
heterosexual practices”
5


• ‘Akletoi’
o Invited or uninvited performers of varying skill,
‘technai’, who roam from symposium to symposium
searching for work, paid in money or food and wine
o The unskilled ‘akletoi’ were featured in pottery and
literature- ‘The Odyssey’ and ‘The Iliad’
o In all cases, they are heavily disfigured (on purpose or
naturally), drunken loons who were laughed at for just
being drunk and disfigured
o Their acts also included dances that are portrayed as
being overweight, yet again on purpose (‘padded
dancers-) or naturally (due to overeating), that included
acts of homosexual encounters

1
Oswyn Murray, ‘The Greek Symposium in History’, pg. 264
2
Ezio Pellizer, ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’, pg. 180
3
Ezio Pellizer, ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’, pg. 182
4
Ezio Pellizer, ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’, pg. 183
5
Ezio Pellizer, ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’, pg. 182

o The usage of the ‘akletoi’ is very simple- cheap
entertainment facilitated by drunkenness and desire not
to displease Dionysus that made the viewers happier
with their ‘situation’


FIG. 1Greek ‘kline’, http://www.linea-antiqua.com/images/kline_mosaikfisch.jpg






FIG 3: Bergquist’s ‘sympotica’ layout
Long Room
Broad Room












FIG 2: Geometric Vase with Death Procession, Necropolis of
Dipylon,, National Archaeological Museum, Athens
FIG 4

Bibliography
• Birgitta Bergquist, ‘Sympotic Space: A Functional Aspect of Greek
Dining-Rooms’
• John Boardman, ‘Symposium Furniture’
• Burkhard Fehr, ‘Entertainers at the Symposium’
• Oswyn Murray, ‘The Greek Symposium in History’
• Ezio Pellizer, ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’


Alex Hall
Poetry and Pottery:
Literary and artistic sources for the symposion

Murray (1983): 257 = For it is a simple if unrecognised fact that of all the Greek
social institutions known to us, more evidence exists for the symposium than for
any other…
Literary Sources
Oxford Classical Dictionary: (735-6)
Three overlapping types of symposium literature =
1) Poetry produced for the symposium; includes most of Archaic solo lyric poetry. Certain
themes and forms like the epigram and the scolion are characteristic. E.g. that of Horace.
2) Plato established the prose genre of the Symposium, imagined dialogue of set speeches or
discussions. Plato wrote on idealised love; Xenophon’s Symposium more realistic and
less serious. Aristotle wrote on drunkeness, Epicurus on physical effects of wine and sex.
3) Antiquarian works e.g. Plutarch’s Symposium.

Murray (1983): 258
Our collections of fragments come from the longest symposion of all:
took place in Rome in the early 3
rd
century, and was recorded by the Greek sophist from Naucratis in
Egypt, Athenaeus. The Deipnosophistae is single largest source of quotations from Greek authors.

Davidson, J. (1997)
Plato’s “The Symposium”
philosophical dialogue written by Plato, c. 385 BC.
discussion on the nature of love: a series of speeches, both satirical and serious, given by a group of
men at a symposium or drinking party at the house of the tragedian Agathon at Athens.
Murray (1983): 258
According to the best authorities the symposium is divided into kraters or mixing bowls:

Three kraters only do I mix for the temperate – one to health, which they empty first, the second to
love and pleasure, the third to sleep. When this is drunk up wise guests go home. The fourth krater is
ours no longer, but belongs to hybris; the fifth to uproar, the sixth to drunken revel, the seventh to

black eyes. The eighth is the policeman’s, the ninth belongs to biliousness, and the tenth to madness
and hurling furniture.” (Eubulus)
Bremner (1990): 138
7
th
cent Alcaeus fragment “wine, beloved boy and truth”

7
th
cent Semonides of Amorgus fragment concerned with relationship between men and gods, directed
at a boy.

In Homer, pouring wine assigned to kouroi.
This confirmed by Archaic and early Classical art which has beardless sometimes nude wine pourers at
symposia all over Greece.

Ref. Hipponax – boy wine pourer who broke a cup
Ref. Anacreon – starts two poems exhorting such a boy
Ref. catalogues for festival of Poseidon in Ephesos eg. Euripides as a schoolboy was a wine pourer.
Artistic Sources
Sparkes, B. (1996) “Watched Pots”: 64 – 89
85 In fashioning drinking cups, potters produced some of their finest
creations. These images designed to instruct, amuse, titillate.

Lissarague, F. (1990)

198 the krater was central point of image and central point of event, being the
source of the wine.

Evidence for kouroi at Symposia – slave boy taking care of older man’s possessions
so he does not lose them.
e.g. Sparkes 86
Ref Theognis frag. 503 – 8

My head is heavy with wine, Onomacritus, it over powers me. I am no longer the manager of my
judgement, and the room is going round and round. But, come, let me stand and find out whether the
wine has hold of my feet as well as the minf within me. I’m afraid that in my fortified state I may do
something foolish and bring great disgrace upon me.


Other Symposium Imagery from Osborne (1990):
Plates 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21.
Johnson & Ryan bottom right image (plates 7 & 8) for something more graphic…
* Akletoi and shameless dancing
Plate 15 (referenced in Fehr (1990): 190)






Bibliography


Bremner, Jan (1990) ‘Adolescents, Symposion and pederasty’ ’ In O. Murray (ed),
Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion. Oxford: 135 – 148

Bury. R.G. (1909) The Symposium of Plato edited with introduction, critical notes
and commentary. Cambridge.

Fehr, Burkhard (1990) ‘Entertainers at the Symposium; the akletoi in the archaic
period.’ In O. Murray (ed), Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion. Oxford: 185
– 195

Davidson, James (1997): “The symposium” in Courtesans and Fishcakes. London: 44
– 53.

Lissarague, F. (1990) ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet imagery.’ In O.
Murray (ed), Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion. Oxford: 196 - 209

Murray, O. (ed.) ), Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion. Oxford

Murray, O. (1983) ‘The Greek symposium in history’, in E. Gabba (ed.) Tria Corda.
Scritti in onore di Arnaldo Momigliano. Como: 257 – 272

Sparkes, Brian. (1996) The Red and the Black: Studies in Greek Pottery. London: 64
– 89.


Grnup 3: Chris Fu!!cr, Mistic Rnskc!!y

A Symposium on the Symposion



What was a Symposium?

Symposium: used in reference to the aristocratic, male feast followed by the ritual
consumption of wine. However, in reality they were much more complex affairs than
just the occasional party thrown by the elite of Athens.

1) “My head is heavy with wine, Onomacritus, it overpowers me, I am no longer the
manager of my own judgement, and the room is going round and round. But come, let
me stand and find out whether the wine has hold of my feet as well as the mind within

me. I’m afraid that in my fortified state I may do something foolish and bring great
disgrace upon me.”
(Theognis - 503-508)

2) “Three kraters only to I propose for sensible men, one for health, the second for
love and pleasure and the third for sleep; when this has been drunk up, wise guests
make for home. The forth krater is mine no longer, but belongs to hybris; the fifth to
shouting, the sixth to revel; the seventh to blackeyes; the eighth to summonses; the
ninth to bile; and the tenth to madness and people tossing the furniture around.”
(Eubulus)

3) “When examined from an institutional point of view, the relations between adults
and adolescents – whether or not eroticized – refer us to educational practices and, as
social anthropology has taught us, any society that has no educational system to
provide for the transition into adulthood of the future members of the community
develops ritualized processes for the purpose.”
(Claude Calame, Eros and the masculine: The polis)

4) “Be sensible and do not, at the cost of shameful or unjust acts, seize for yourself
prestige, success or wealth. Know that this is so, and do not seek the company of base
men, but always cling to the noble. Drink and dine with them, site with them, and be
pleasing to those whose power is great. For from the noble you will learn noble
things, but if you mingle with the base, you will lose even the sense you have.
Knowing this, associate with the noble, and one day you will say that I give good
advice to my friends.” (Theognis, extract from lines 9-38)


5) [20] But the younger ones must not be allowed in the audience at lampoons and at
comedy, before they reach the age at which they will now have the right to recline at
table in company and to drink deeply, and at which their education will render all of
them immune to the harmful effects of such things.
(Aristotle, Politics)

What kinds of events went on there?

6) “I delight in drinking well and singing to the piper’s accompaniment, and I delight
in holding in my hands the tuneful lyre.”
(Theognis, extract from 531-34)

7) “There entered now upon the scene a common vagabond who used to beg for his
living in the streets of Ithaca and was notorious for his insatiable greed and his ability
to eat and drink all day.” (Homer, Odyssey)

What about etiquette?
8) [213e] Reclining there, he proceeded: “Now then, gentlemen, you look sober: I
cannot allow this; you must drink, and fulfil our agreement. So I appoint as president
of this bout, till you have had a reasonable drink--myself. Agathon, let the boy bring
me as large a goblet as you have. Ah well, do not trouble,” he said; “boy, bring me

that cooler there,”-- [214a] for he saw it would hold a good half-gallon and more. This
he got filled to the brim, and after quaffing it off himself bade them fill up for
Socrates, saying, “Against Socrates, sirs, my crafty plan is as nought. However large
the bumper you order him, he will quaff it all off and never get tipsy with it.” (Plato,
Symposium)
9) “Now let’s delight in drink and fine talk. What will happen afterwards is up to the
gods.” (Theognis, lines 1047-48)
10) “Men suppose that the gods were brought into being and have the same clothing,
voice and shape as they have. Now if oxen had hands, or horses or lions too had
hands, and could draw with their hands and make things as men do, horses would
paint their gods exactly like – horses, and oxen like oxen, would give them their own
bodies and their own shapes, the kinds of appearance that they themselves had.”
(Xenophanes, fragment 14 and fragment 15)
What are the literary and artistic sources?
Artistic:
Are there any features of these images that helpful in understanding the symposium?










Bibliography:

Almagro-Gorbea M. (2001) ‘Cyprus, Phoenicia and Iberia: from
“precolonization” to colonization in the ‘Far West’, in Italy and Cyprus.

Apollodorus (1998), The Library of Greek Mythology, Oxford University Press,
Oxford.

Aristotle, Politics.

Calame, C. (1999), The Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece.

Davidson, J (1997), Courtesans and Fishcakes, The Consuming Passions of
Classical Greece. Fontana Press, London.

Eubulus

Gabba, E (ed.), (1983), Tria Concord. Scritta in onore di Arnoldo Momigliano.

Graham, J,W (1974), ‘Houses of Classical Athens’, Phoenix, vol. 28, no. 1,
pp. 45 – 54.

Hall, J, M (2007), A History of the Archaic Greek World, Blackwell Publishing,
Oxford.

Homer, Odyssey

Murray, O (ed), (1990), Sympotica. A Symposium on the Symposium. Oxford.

Osborne, R (2005), Greece in the Making, 1200-479BC. Routledge , London.


Plato, Symposium.

Podlecki, A, J (1984), The Early Greek Poets and Their Times. University of
British Columbia Press, Vancouver.

Pomeroy, S. B, Burstein, S. M, Donlan, W, Tolbert Roberts, J (2004), A Brief
History of Ancient Greece. Politics, Society and Culture. Oxford University
Press, Oxford.

Sansone, D (2004), Ancient Greek Civilisation, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Sparkes, B (1996), The Red and the Black. Studies in Greek Pottery. London.

Theognis, Fragments.

Roberts, J (ed) (2007), Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, Oxford
University Press, Oxford.

Xenophanes, Fragments.

Grnup 4: Victnria Harrisnn, Chris 5i!!ick

Whut wus Symposium?

Davidson defines symposium as the most formal context in the Archaic Greek world
for a drinking party. Boardman in his article ‘Symposion Furniture’ mentions how
symposium has been linked with the idea of holding court, as was more associated
with the East.
6
Boardman does not like this idea; however it is not completely without
merit, when looking at Theognis fr19-38 for example, he advices his son Cyrnus not
to seek out the company of base men but to ‘always cling to the noble. Drink and dine
with them, sit with them, and be pleasing to those whose power is great.’ This would
not seem to far away from holding court. Oswyn Murray puts forward an interesting
idea on this topic. Murray views symposium as a classic example of the type of
activity engaged in by the warrior men’s associations. As Murray sees it the warrior
group ‘was transformed into a leisure group under the impact of the changed position
of the aristocracy, in a world where their military function had been taken over by the
hoplite army of the polis.’ In other words Murray seems to believe that the
symposium of the archaic period was rather an evolution of the ‘common’ or ‘mass’
meal of the warrior class,
7
as described in Plutarchs Life of Lykourgus and evident
also in Crete and in extracts of Homer. This idea does not seem without merit when
looking more closely at what went on in symposium, especially with respect to the
involvement of adolescent boys in symposium.

Whut went on?


6
Boardman p124
7
Murray quoted in Bremmer article p136

To answer this question simply, a lot of eating, drinking, playing music, singing,
giving thanks to the Gods (the Good Divinity), dancing, conversation, sleeping and
just to emphasize the fact – a lot of drinking. One of the best Theognis extracts on this
topic would be fr 531-34 ‘My heart is always warmed whenever I hear the pipes
sounding a lovely voice. I delight in drinking well and singing to the piper’s
accompaniment, and I delight in holding in my hands the tuneful lyre.’ In a later
fragment he also talks about delighting in feasting and in the dances of paeans or
‘thanks-giving.’ The group of men involved would feast lying on what is known as a
kline. This was a bed of sorts with high rising legs, quite impractical for sleeping and
before its use in symposium was linked more with carrying the dead. The food was
placed in front of the kline on small side tables. A Corinthian vase for example from
around the seventh century BCE depicts Herakles in the house of Eurytos. He is lying
on a kline on his left side leaving his right hand free to manipulate the meat which is
laid out on the table in front of him. This is the standard representation of a man at
symposium for the next half-century.
8
After the solid section of dinner was concluded
by the removal of the tables, the room was swept, the guests washed there hands and
were sometimes garlanded and anointed. The wine was then mixed in what was
known as a krater, poured into a jug and distributed amongst the guests. Libations and
paeans were then dedicated to the Gods and the guests continued with conversation of
love, pleasure and other such things, music and dancing was of course essential as
was poetry – good examples being the poem by Ibycus and also the extract of the
poem by Solon. Certain vases depict the symposium procession already drunk
accompanied by pipe players, presumably going from one party to another, gate
crashing therefore was not unheard of or unexpected. Bremmer in his interesting
discussion of the role of adolescent boys in symposium questions whether symposium
was used as a means of educating and inducting the boys. If this was indeed the case
it would give strong weight to the idea expressed by Oswyn Murray that the archaic
symposium was indeed an evolution of the warrior mass dinner. He uses the example
of Crete where the boys, scantly clad, would sit on the ground by their father’s feet.
They would serve both themselves and the adults. Each adult had his own drinking
cup whereas the young boys all shared out of a communal krater. At the end of the
feast the men discussed issues amongst themselves and encouraged bravery amongst
the boys. This practice was not dissimilar in Sparta. Was it common in other areas of
Greece? Bremmer points out that much of the poetry associated with symposium is
advice directly addressed to boys – Theognis for example addresses his son – telling
him not to drink too much and to keep the right company. Aleus quote ‘wine and truth
boy’ is another example.
9
Bremmer suggests that looking at ancient sources such as
the comedy Clouds it seems likely that boys were most likely encouraged to sing
songs glorifying historic heroes. This would seem in part to support Murray’s idea.

Bear in mid also Bremmer’s discussion of the idea of right of passage – Macedonia
and in Athens mentioned in Politics 7.15.9 – also the homosexual aspect depicted
on some vases.

Whut ubout etiquette?


8
Boardman p125
9
Bremmer p137

There seem to have been quite a few ideas of etiquette in symposium when it came to
drink and drink consumption. Theognis fr 503-508 basically advices that you leave
when the room starts spinning – which in many cases is still considered good etiquette
today. In fr971-2 excessive drinking comes highly unrecommended. Theognis main
advice on etiquette however would seem to be just go with the flow (467-96).
Etiquette it seems dictated that someone be chosen before the symposium kicked off
to control both the measure and quantity of wine which was to be consumed.
Davidson puts forward that a standard amount of wine to be consumed at one
gathering would have been three kraters – Dionysus in the play Eubulus announces
‘three kraters only do I propose for sensible men, one for health, one for love and
pleasure and a third for sleep. Etiquette it seems also dictated the strength of the wine;
this was also agreed upon before hand. The wine was mixed with water in a large
mixing bowl. The majority of fragments refer to a 50/50 mix but in Sophilus’ The
Dagger this mix seems to be considered greedy and simply ‘unmixed’ therefore too
strong. Even a mixture of one third wine to two parts water could be considered too
strong, whereas one quarter wine was considered too weak – it seems the generally
most accepted mix of water and wine was 2 parts wine and 5 parts water – apparently
giving it the consistency of modern beer – LOVELY.

Whut wus needed to hoId u symposium?

Answering this question at first quite simply, food, wine music, poetry and guests
were needed to hold a symposium as well as a kline and side tables. But since the lay
out and mood of the symposium were key it would seem logical that the right kind of
space would be needed to hold a successful symposium. A symposium in the private
sphere i.e. in someone’s house was typically held in the ‘andron’ or man room. This
room would usually hold seven during symposium but in some cases up to fifteen.
The guests were arranged more or less in a squared circle. This circle was broken by a
door which meant there was a first position and a last with conversation going anti-
clockwise. Nothing takes place behind the drinkers; the whole visual space is
constructed to make sightlines converge and ensure reciprocity. The space according
to Davidson was meant to conspire with the alcohol to create a sense of entering a
separate reality, blocking out the outside world and all reminders in much the
sameway that clubs and casinos do not have clocks and windows for the same reason.
If one of the ideas of symposium was to forge bonds of friendship and community this
effect would be key and therefore the space a symposion was held in would be a key
aspect.


Grnup 5: Gavin Hardy, Rnb Jahnda

18/10/07
Robert Jahoda
Gavin Hardy
Symposia Tutorial Handout


www.rdg.ac.uk/Ure/tour/tour_images/sympos2.jpg
Athenian bell krater (ca. 390 BC), Ure Museum inv. no. 45.8.1, depicting four men at a symposium

What was a Symposium?

Battle group feasts as a precursor of Symposia:
“So spoke fleet Achilleus and sprang to his feet and slaughtered
a gleaming sheep, and his friends skinned it and butchered it fairly,
and cut up the meat expertly into small pieces, and spitted them,
and roasted all carefully and took off the pieces.
Automedon took the bread and set it out on the table
In fair baskets, while Achilleus served the meats. And thereon
They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them.
But when they had put aside their desire for eating and drinking…”
Iliad XXIV: 621-628

“This warrior group…was transformed into a leisure group under the impact of a
changed position of the aristocracy, in a world where their military function had been
taken over by the hoplite army of the polis.”
Bremmer p136


Symposia as purely drinking parties:
“We need somebody to take charge of your drinking and decide when you’ve had
enough and I elect- me! Have a big goblet brought in, won’t you, Agathon, if you’ve
got one? Oh no, don’t bother. Hey you, slave, bring over that cooler….
…When the slave had filled it up, and while Socrates was drinking, Eryximachus
said, ‘What’s going on here, Alcibiades? Are we just going to gulp drinks down like
this, as if we had thirsts to quench? We could at least make conversation or sing some
songs as we drink”
Plato’s Symposium 213 e-214 b

“A highly ritualised occasion and an important crucible for the forging of friendships
alliances and community in ancient Greece”
Davidson

What kind of events were there?




Quote on sympotic furniture and abuse of akletoi:
“So he spoke, and caught up a footstool; but Odysseus
crouched against the knees of Doulichian Amphinomos
in fear of Eurymachos, who threw, and hit the cupbearer
in the right hand. The pitcher fell to the ground, clashing
but the cupbearer fell on his back in the dust, groaning.”
Odyssey XVIII:394-398

Quote on Akletoi (preceding fight with Odysseus:
“And now there arrived a public beggar, who used to go begging
through the town of Ithaka, known to fame for his ravenous belly
and appetite for eating and drinking.”
Odyssey XVIII: 1-3



“Driven by a hungry stomach or a feeling of personal threat the akletoi perform
themselves as physically and morally imperfect. This makes the invited guests laugh
and assures them of their superiority.”
Fehr 187

“My heart is always warmed when I hear the pipes sounding a lovely voice. I delight
in drinking well and singing to the pipers accompaniment, and I delight in holding the
tuneful lyre”
Theognis 531-34

“May no other pursuit arise for me in place of excellence and learning, but ever
holding onto this may I enjoy lyre, dance and song, and may I have noble thoughts in
company with the noble, harming with hurtful deeds neither foreigner or citizen, but
living righteously.” Theognis 789

What was needed to hold a symposium?

Attic red-figure bell
krater, symposium
scene, ca. 350-330
B.C., Filotranno
Painter

The female dancers
can be seen
the akletoi being watched by
reclining gentleman
(corinthian bowl)




www.answers.com/topic/symposium


www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Pottery2.htm



Symposia joined by street parties:
“Agathon had stood up to go and lie next to Socrates
when a large number of people from a street party
suddenly arrived at the front door. They found it open,
because someone was just leaving, so they barged straight
in to where the others were and settled themselves down
on couches. Everything went utterly out of control; all
there was left to do was to drink a great deal, and even
that was completely unsystematic.”
Plato’s Symposium 223 b

Symposia as education:
“But the younger ones must not be allowed in the audience at lampoons and at
comedy, before they reach the age at which they will now have the right to recline at
table in company and to drink deeply, and at which their education will render all of
them immune to the harmful effects of such things.” Aristotle Politics 7.1336

Splitting of the andron?
“Increasing preference for broad room shape in later non – square dinding rooms was
the inherent potential of this shape for an informal spatial division of the room in two
functional subgroups, each with a limited number of symposiasts”
Tomb of the Diver
475 BC Paestum
This shows the man reclining with his fellows
in his tomb. “Not resting alone in state as in
the east, but among his companions
remembering the earthly pleasures of the
feast.”
Murray 263
drinking parade
showing the mixing
krater, a reveller and a
kylix as well as a
servant and his
oinochoe (wine jug)
(Attic red figure cup

The mixing of wine
and water, An
Oinochoos - slave
boy? Shown with a
krater mixing the
wine for the
sypmosia

Bridgewater 47

Etiquette
Etiquette:
“A slave washed him so that he could take his place on the couch”
Plato’s Symposium 175 a

Etiquette II:
“How do you feel about coming to a dinner uninvited? Would you be prepared to do
that?’
‘Whatever you say,’ Aristodemus replied.
‘Come with me, then,’ Socrates said, ‘and we’ll distort and alter the proverb, to show
that in fact “Good men go of their own accord to good men’s feasts”,”
Plato’s Symposium 174 b

Quote on etiquette and serving boys:
“Thereafer beginning from the left he poured drinks for the other
gods, dipping up from the mixing bowl the sweet nectar.
But among the blessed immortals uncontrollable laughter
Went up as they saw Hephaistos bustling about the palace.”
Iliad I: 597-600

Quote on Syposium etiquette:
“The hero Moulios, the Doulichian herald, mixed them
wine in the bowl. He was the henchman of Amphinomos.
He passed it around to all in order, and they, pouring
A libation to the blessed gods, drank the honey-sweet wine”
Odyssey XVIII: 423-426

“Now lets delight in Drink and fine talk. What will happen after is up to the gods”
Theognis 1047-48




[Change of etiquette?]
Story of Hippokleides told in– Athenian – “he asked the flute player to dance and he
began to dance to it…Hippocleides sent for a table …Hippocleides climbing onto it
danced first some Laconian dances, next some attic ones and ended by standing on his
head beating time with his legs in the air. Kleisthenes says ‘son of tisander you have
danced away your marriage.’ ‘Hippokleides doesn’t care’ was the answer.

Herodotus book 6. 126

What are the literary and artistic sources?

For the artistic sources please refer to the images supplied earlier in the handout.
Obviously we have depictions on kraters, tombs and oinochoe.
Do these pictures provide an accurate view of the symposia?


“Three types of poetry –
1. Poetry for the symposium including lyric poetry including elegiac and iambic
poetry
2. Plato established the prose of genre from the symposium, an imagined
dialogue /set of speeches or discussions usually appropriate to the behaviour
3. Antiquarian works - literary or learned discussions - they would serve to
display questions of philosophical wisdom.”

Adapted quote from symposium literature Roberts J (ed) (2005), The Oxford
Dictionary of the Classical World


[Eastern Influence?]


Terracotta revetment from Larissa
From: Boardman J. (1990) ‘sympotic furniture’ in O Murray (ed) Sympotica. A
symposium on the symposion. Oxford 122-131





[Extra Bibliography]

Aristotle, Politics, from Perseus: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-
bin/ptext?lookup=Aristot.+Pol.+1.1252a.
Herodotus, The Histories, tr. Selincourt, Penguin.
Homer, Iliad, tr. Lattimore, University of Chicago Press.
Homer, Odyssey, tr. Lattimore, HarperCollins.
Plato, Symposium, tr. Waterfield, Oxford University Press

Bergquist,B. (1990) ‘ sympotic space: a functional aspect of Greek dining-rooms’ in
Sympotica. A symposium on the symposion. Oxford 37-65
Boardman J. (1990) ‘Sympotic furniture’ in O Murray (ed) Sympotica. A symposium
on the symposion. Oxford 122-131
Bremmer, J (1990) ‘Adolescents, Symposium and Pedestry’, in Murray .O(ed)
Sympotica. A symposium on the symposion. Oxford 135-148
Calame, Claude (1999) ‘Eros and the masculine:the polis’ in Poetics of Eros in
Ancient Greece:91-109

Davidson, James (1997) ‘The Symposium’ in Courtesans and Fishcakes. London 44-
53
Fehr. B (1990)‘Entertainers at the Symposium: the akletoi in the archaic period’ in
Sympotica. A symposium on the symposion. Oxford 185-195
Hall, J.M. (2007), A History of the Archaic Greek World ca. 1200-479BCE. Oxford
Lissarague, F. (1990) ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet imagery’, in Murray
.O(ed) Sympotica. A symposium on the symposion. Oxford 196-209
Murray .O(ed) (1990) Sympotica. A symposium on the symposion Oxford
Murray.O (1983) ‘The Greek Symposium in History’ in E. Gabba (ed). Tria Corda.
Scrittiin onore di Arnaldo Momigliano. Como: 257-272
Pedley, J.G. (2002), Greek Art and Archaeology, London.
Pomeroy, S, Burstein, S. Donlan, W. Tolbert Roberts, J. (1999), Ancient Greece; A
political, Social and Cultural History, Oxford.
Roberts, J. (ed.) (2005), The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. Oxford
Sparkes. B. (1996). The Red and the Black. Studies in Greek Pottery. London




How far was the purpose of the symposium for drinking or intellectual conversation? “ ‘ the evening of the twelfth (Anthesterion) was a traditional occasion to invite friends to a party… it was apparently the tradition that each drinker consumed his own share in silence. This was the complete antithesis of symposium with its sharing of talk and song’” ( Davidson (1997) ‘Courtesans and Fishcakes’ p. 51)

Etiquette
“Three kraters only do I propose for sensible for sensible men , one for health, the second for love and pleasure and the third for sleep; when this has been drunk up, wise guest make for home” (Eubulus F94)

Fresco from tomb of the Diver 475 BCE

How did it Develop?
Through hoplite warfare? “ ‘ was transformed into a leisure group under the impact of the changed position of the aristocracy, in a world where their military function had been taken over by the hoplite army of the polis’” (Bremmer (1990) ‘ Adolescents, Symposion, and Pedestry’p136)

What Was Needed to Hold a Symposium?
One-handled kantharos, ca. 500 B.C.; Archaic Attributed to the Class of the One-Handled Kantharoi Greek, Attic Terracotta; H. 11 3/8 in. (28.9 cm) Rogers Fund, 1963 (63.11.4) From: www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/symp/hod_63.11.4.htm

264 Eubulus. A Symposium on the Symposion. 1. Calame. A Symposium on the Symposion. C. . Murray (ed). Oxford. J. Sympotica. Murray (ed). (1990) ‘Sympotic space: a functional aspect of Greek dinning-rooms’ in O. Oxford. (1990) ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet imagery’. simply as photographic documents” (Lissarrague (1990). Lissarrague. Sympotica. A Symposium on the Symposion. (1999) ‘Eros and the masculine: the polis’ in The Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece Davidson. Boardman. Oxford. Sympotica. A Symposium on the Symposion. in O.(1990) ‘The symposium’ in Courtesans and Fishcakes.9 Ibycus Secondary Sources Berquist. (1990) ‘Adolescents. Symposion and pederasty’. ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet imagery’ p196) Homer Archaic Fragments Poetry and Music Bibliography Primary Sources Theognis of Megara Solon The Iliad. F. B. Murray (ed).What are the sources? Pottery.15. Murray (ed). Sympotica. A Symposium on the Symposion. however precise and detailed they may be. J. Sympotica.248-51 The Odyssey.17. Oxford. in O. Oxford. (1990) ‘Entertainers at the Symposion: the alketoi in the archaic period’ in O. (1990) ‘Sympotic Furniture’ in O.97 Aristotle. B.Politics 7.both itself and the images on it “It dies not seem wise to threat treat the images on Attic Vases. J.fragment 94 Pindar Pyth. London Fehr.17. Murray (ed). Bremmer.

Scritti in onore di Arnaldo Monigliano. Studies in Greek Pottery. B (1996) The Red and the Black.light due to it originating in the east with the nomadic Persians. A combination of the previous ‘oriental’ period and transmission of eastern sophistication enhances its popularity o End of 7th BC Lydian poet Alcman portraying either a wedding or a feast in Sardis.challenging its provenance • Design of ‘kline’ o High legged o Couch o With or without a headrest/pillow o Later development into a ‘chaise-lounge’ o Debate within it being heavy or light. ! Nicholas Cooke S0561595 Archaic Greek Symposium Furniture.Murray.) Tria Corda. London . in E. 1) o Geometric vases portraying death processions. from his childhood o A contemporary vase also shows a similar scene to this. weight and importance • Use of ‘kline’ . Gabba (ed. 2) o Nineveh inscriptions of 640 BC (FIG. although a woman was present. Sparkes. Layout and Entertainment Furniture • Evolution of the ‘Kline’ (FIG. with the usage of ‘kline’ as death beds (FIG. O (1983) ‘The Greek symposion in history’. Como. or heavy due to it being a piece of ‘special’ furniture. o Biblical evidence (Amos 6: 4-7) states the usage of Ivory as their construct.emphasizing their price. 4) portraying a reclined King Ashurbanipal holding court.

coupled with geometric pottery and the theory of lying in state provides a compelling argument for sympotic deathbeds. with either 7 or 11 couch space • What was Necessary? o The room was mainly of square or rectilinear construct.as Greek beds were much lower. drinking.Long (more popular in Archaic and less in Classical). before and whilst in death Layout • Introduction to Symposium Layout o All non-literal evidence of layout. with some circular examples o The most suitable shapes were those that allowed maximum audio-visual performance. and Broad (non-existent in Archaic. facilitated through evidence of room frequency over time . Feast vs. drainage. can only be recovered due to 2-D nature of vases and archaeological floor plans presenting our visual imagery o A distinction is required between public and private symposia. to create a court scene. Elite usage of symposium also emphasizes the need for space and frivolity.most likely to happen in beds. specialized piece of furniture requires a special space.a large. and a large investment into it o More likely not used for sleep. Death o Sleep. correlated with the heroic image of receiving gifts whilst lying in state. couches/couch mounts.the idea of the “lonely symposium” of the east. or on the ground. especially in early periods as private symposia either didn’t exist. both of which were not privy to all classes o Death. ritual and entertainment • Evolution of Layout o A basic transferral from long to broad rooms.o Sleep vs. wall stucco and water access o Two types of room. allowing all to see and hear equally of each other and of performers o The facilitation of eating. o There is also a link between feasting and death. or were cult rooms (Kommos Temple A and B) o Usual fittings: paved/cemented floor. raised border on walls. popular in Classical and Hellenistic). off centre door.

music and various ‘Akletoi’ (performers of various skill and content) • Drinking o Led by a ‘King of the Symposium’ (debated by Murraydue to the equal nature of the Homeric feasts). then a transfer to reclined. also named the ‘baselius’.to facilitate poetic or sexual expression that might be suppressed in civic society • Communication o An elaborate and ritualistic form of statement and response communication was developed. mime. the sympotic poets (Alcaeus and Sappho) and the professional poets (Anacreon) .two groups wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other as efficiently. as it separated the elite from drunkenness (‘methyesthai’. more private ceremonies • Bergquists’ theory o 2 ‘symposia’ per room. 3) o Applies for long and broad rooms that could allow more couches than walled couches o Issue with theory lies in the split nature of the theory. as that is the basis of all symposia Entertainment • Process o o o o o Libation Purification Prayers Consumption of wine and food Performances including poetry. facilitating maximum usage of space.o Archaic long room usage most likely a gathering of seated (not reclined) elites feasting. along with Archaic ‘monadic’ poetry o There was a distinction between the public and private poetry. and audio-visual experience (FIG. as they were unable to control their drunkenness o The drinking was a catalyst for limitless expression within the guests. dance. harmful drinking) and barbarism. ‘archon’ or ‘prytais’ o Drinking was heavily regulated by the ‘King’ out of respect for Dionysus’ gift (wine) and to control the guests drinking.

264 Ezio Pellizer. paid in money or food and wine o The unskilled ‘akletoi’ were featured in pottery and literature. ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’.o Murray goes so far to say that “almost all of the distinctive features of high culture of archaic Greece are expressions of the sympotic way of life”1 o The communication ultimately led to a poetic competition between the guests. or improvised. pg. 182 4 Ezio Pellizer. drunken loons who were laughed at for just being drunk and disfigured o Their acts also included dances that are portrayed as being overweight. ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’. pg. yet again on purpose (‘padded dancers-) or naturally (due to overeating). pg. that was either prepared before. who roam from symposium to symposium searching for work. which promoted the collective growth and sharing of the elite • Love (‘eros’) o Importance of this subject shown through its prevalence in poetry o Facilitated by jovial nature of symposia. that included acts of homosexual encounters 1 2 Oswyn Murray. love was given to others in a distinct controlled. controlled and ritualized exercise of the passions”4. ‘The Greek Symposium in History’. to engage in a “regulated. ‘technai’. they are heavily disfigured (on purpose or naturally). 183 5 Ezio Pellizer. and wine drinking. and ritualised manner o Distinction required between “negative effects of love” and its “violent aspects” and that of “gratifying and sublime love”2 o The atmosphere of the symposium allowed the guests to exchange in “tendencies and attitudes”3 that would have been frowned upon in society. pg. ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’. an outlet for various “orgiastic erotic homo and heterosexual practices”5 • ‘Akletoi’ o Invited or uninvited performers of varying skill. 182 . ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’.‘The Odyssey’ and ‘The Iliad’ o In all cases. pg. 180 3 Ezio Pellizer.

o The usage of the ‘akletoi’ is very simple.linea-antiqua. 1Greek ‘kline’.jpg Broad Room Long Room FIG 3: Bergquist’s ‘sympotica’ layout .cheap entertainment facilitated by drunkenness and desire not to displease Dionysus that made the viewers happier with their ‘situation’ FIG.com/images/kline_mosaikfisch. http://www.

National Archaeological Museum.. Athens .FIG 4 FIG 2: Geometric Vase with Death Procession. Necropolis of Dipylon.

‘Entertainers at the Symposium’ • Oswyn Murray. which they empty first. When this is drunk up wise guests go home. more evidence exists for the symposium than for any other… Literary Sources Oxford Classical Dictionary: (735-6) Three overlapping types of symposium literature = 1) Poetry produced for the symposium. includes most of Archaic solo lyric poetry. Certain themes and forms like the epigram and the scolion are characteristic. the seventh to . the fifth to uproar.Bibliography • Birgitta Bergquist. c. 2) Plato established the prose genre of the Symposium. Xenophon’s Symposium more realistic and less serious. J. both satirical and serious. The Deipnosophistae is single largest source of quotations from Greek authors. Murray (1983): 258 Our collections of fragments come from the longest symposion of all: took place in Rome in the early 3rd century. Plato wrote on idealised love. 3) Antiquarian works e. Plutarch’s Symposium. 385 BC. Athenaeus. Aristotle wrote on drunkeness. E. but belongs to hybris. The fourth krater is ours no longer.g. ‘The Greek Symposium in History’ • Ezio Pellizer.g. discussion on the nature of love: a series of speeches. Murray (1983): 258 According to the best authorities the symposium is divided into kraters or mixing bowls: Three kraters only do I mix for the temperate – one to health. the sixth to drunken revel. the third to sleep. ‘Outlines of Morphology of Sympotic Entertainment’ Alex Hall Poetry and Pottery: Literary and artistic sources for the symposion Murray (1983): 257 = For it is a simple if unrecognised fact that of all the Greek social institutions known to us. imagined dialogue of set speeches or discussions. and was recorded by the Greek sophist from Naucratis in Egypt. ‘Symposium Furniture’ • Burkhard Fehr. ‘Sympotic Space: A Functional Aspect of Greek Dining-Rooms’ • John Boardman. Epicurus on physical effects of wine and sex. (1997) Plato’s “The Symposium” philosophical dialogue written by Plato. Davidson. the second to love and pleasure. that of Horace. given by a group of men at a symposium or drinking party at the house of the tragedian Agathon at Athens.

Anacreon – starts two poems exhorting such a boy Ref.black eyes. the ninth belongs to biliousness. (1996) “Watched Pots”: 64 – 89 85 In fashioning drinking cups. beloved boy and truth” 7th cent Semonides of Amorgus fragment concerned with relationship between men and gods. B. titillate. Sparkes 86 Ref Theognis frag.g. Hipponax – boy wine pourer who broke a cup Ref. potters produced some of their finest creations. Evidence for kouroi at Symposia – slave boy taking care of older man’s possessions so he does not lose them. The eighth is the policeman’s. pouring wine assigned to kouroi. Ref. Artistic Sources Sparkes. amuse. 503 – 8 . directed at a boy. being the source of the wine. This confirmed by Archaic and early Classical art which has beardless sometimes nude wine pourers at symposia all over Greece. These images designed to instruct. (1990) 198 the krater was central point of image and central point of event. Lissarague. e.” (Eubulus) Bremner (1990): 138 7th cent Alcaeus fragment “wine. and the tenth to madness and hurling furniture. Euripides as a schoolboy was a wine pourer. catalogues for festival of Poseidon in Ephesos eg. F. In Homer.

I’m afraid that in my fortified state I may do something foolish and bring great disgrace upon me. it over powers me. 16. let me stand and find out whether the wine has hold of my feet as well as the minf within me. I am no longer the manager of my judgement. 19. come. Johnson & Ryan bottom right image (plates 7 & 8) for something more graphic… * Akletoi and shameless dancing Plate 15 (referenced in Fehr (1990): 190) .My head is heavy with wine. Other Symposium Imagery from Osborne (1990): Plates 13. 14. 21. Onomacritus. But. 15. and the room is going round and round.

Oxford: 135 – 148 Bury. O.209 Murray. Onomacritus. Jan (1990) ‘Adolescents. Murray (ed). However. (ed. let me stand and find out whether the wine has hold of my feet as well as the mind within . (1996) The Red and the Black: Studies in Greek Pottery. Scritti in onore di Arnaldo Momigliano. Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion. London: 44 – 53. it overpowers me. male feast followed by the ritual consumption of wine. I am no longer the manager of my own judgement. Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion.G.) Tria Corda.’ In O. Brian.’ In O. Symposion and pederasty’ ’ In O.) ). But come. O. and the room is going round and round. London: 64 – 89. (1990) ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet imagery. R. (1909) The Symposium of Plato edited with introduction. in reality they were much more complex affairs than just the occasional party thrown by the elite of Athens. Oxford Murray. Murray (ed). Como: 257 – 272 Sparkes. Murray (ed).Bibliography Bremner. Oxford: 185 – 195 Davidson. " # $ % A Symposium on the Symposion What was a Symposium? Symposium: used in reference to the aristocratic. in E. James (1997): “The symposium” in Courtesans and Fishcakes. Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion. Fehr. Oxford: 196 . the akletoi in the archaic period. Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion. Gabba (ed. F. Cambridge. (1983) ‘The Greek symposium in history’. Burkhard (1990) ‘Entertainers at the Symposium. Lissarague. critical notes and commentary. 1) “My head is heavy with wine.

and fulfil our agreement.” (Theognis. bring me . and one day you will say that I give good advice to my friends. the relations between adults and adolescents – whether or not eroticized – refer us to educational practices and. and at which their education will render all of them immune to the harmful effects of such things.503-508) 2) “Three kraters only to I propose for sensible men.” (Theognis . let the boy bring me as large a goblet as you have. the second for love and pleasure and the third for sleep. before they reach the age at which they will now have the right to recline at table in company and to drink deeply. The forth krater is mine no longer. you look sober: I cannot allow this. Know that this is so. Odyssey) What about etiquette? 8) [213e] Reclining there.” (Theognis. “boy. I’m afraid that in my fortified state I may do something foolish and bring great disgrace upon me. So I appoint as president of this bout. gentlemen. but if you mingle with the base. and be pleasing to those whose power is great. you must drink. he proceeded: “Now then. Knowing this. at the cost of shameful or unjust acts. and the tenth to madness and people tossing the furniture around.” he said. Eros and the masculine: The polis) 4) “Be sensible and do not. Politics) What kinds of events went on there? 6) “I delight in drinking well and singing to the piper’s accompaniment. success or wealth. but belongs to hybris. the sixth to revel. the seventh to blackeyes. one for health. extract from 531-34) 7) “There entered now upon the scene a common vagabond who used to beg for his living in the streets of Ithaca and was notorious for his insatiable greed and his ability to eat and drink all day. the ninth to bile.” (Claude Calame. the fifth to shouting. For from the noble you will learn noble things. Agathon. Ah well. the eighth to summonses.” (Homer. when this has been drunk up. as social anthropology has taught us. seize for yourself prestige.” (Eubulus) 3) “When examined from an institutional point of view. and I delight in holding in my hands the tuneful lyre. Drink and dine with them. any society that has no educational system to provide for the transition into adulthood of the future members of the community develops ritualized processes for the purpose. wise guests make for home.me. associate with the noble. extract from lines 9-38) 5) [20] But the younger ones must not be allowed in the audience at lampoons and at comedy. you will lose even the sense you have. and do not seek the company of base men. site with them. do not trouble. till you have had a reasonable drink--myself. but always cling to the noble. (Aristotle.

However large the bumper you order him.” (Plato. he will quaff it all off and never get tipsy with it. What will happen afterwards is up to the gods.”-. lines 1047-48) 10) “Men suppose that the gods were brought into being and have the same clothing. the kinds of appearance that they themselves had.” (Theognis.” (Xenophanes. and oxen like oxen. would give them their own bodies and their own shapes. horses would paint their gods exactly like – horses. “Against Socrates. my crafty plan is as nought. and after quaffing it off himself bade them fill up for Socrates. sirs.[214a] for he saw it would hold a good half-gallon and more. voice and shape as they have.that cooler there. This he got filled to the brim. fragment 14 and fragment 15) What are the literary and artistic sources? Artistic: Are there any features of these images that helpful in understanding the symposium? . or horses or lions too had hands. saying. Now if oxen had hands. and could draw with their hands and make things as men do. Symposium) 9) “Now let’s delight in drink and fine talk.

.

Osborne. Blackwell Publishing.W (1974). London. (1999). (1983).Bibliography: Almagro-Gorbea M. M (2007). Greece in the Making. Oxford University Press. Phoenix. 1200-479BC. Oxford. Davidson. 1. 45 – 54. C. Odyssey Murray. in Italy and Cyprus. Phoenicia and Iberia: from “precolonization” to colonization in the ‘Far West’. vol. Courtesans and Fishcakes. E (ed. Eubulus Gabba. Scritta in onore di Arnoldo Momigliano. Tria Concord. A History of the Archaic Greek World. 28. Sympotica. Aristotle. A Symposium on the Symposium. Homer. Hall. J. (1990). Oxford. J. Routledge . O (ed). (2001) ‘Cyprus. J (1997). Oxford. no. Fontana Press. Apollodorus (1998). London. The Library of Greek Mythology. ‘Houses of Classical Athens’. R (2005). Calame. . pp.). The Consuming Passions of Classical Greece. The Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece. Graham. Politics.

This idea does not seem without merit when looking more closely at what went on in symposium. W. J (2004).7 as described in Plutarchs Life of Lykourgus and evident also in Crete and in extracts of Homer. Ancient Greek Civilisation. Oswyn Murray puts forward an interesting idea on this topic. S. Blackwell Publishing. Burstein. Tolbert Roberts. M. University of British Columbia Press. Studies in Greek Pottery. J (1984). Society and Culture.’ In other words Murray seems to believe that the symposium of the archaic period was rather an evolution of the ‘common’ or ‘mass’ meal of the warrior class. Fragments.Plato. J (ed) (2007). Fragments. Theognis. Donlan. B. Drink and dine with them. in a world where their military function had been taken over by the hoplite army of the polis. Roberts. S. Vancouver. Sansone. Murray views symposium as a classic example of the type of activity engaged in by the warrior men’s associations. he advices his son Cyrnus not to seek out the company of base men but to ‘always cling to the noble. Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. when looking at Theognis fr19-38 for example. Oxford. A Brief History of Ancient Greece.’ This would not seem to far away from holding court. B (1996). Oxford University Press. and be pleasing to those whose power is great. D (2004). Oxford University Press. as was more associated with the East. 6 7 Boardman p124 Murray quoted in Bremmer article p136 . however it is not completely without merit. Podlecki. especially with respect to the involvement of adolescent boys in symposium. Oxford. As Murray sees it the warrior group ‘was transformed into a leisure group under the impact of the changed position of the aristocracy. The Red and the Black. The Early Greek Poets and Their Times. Boardman in his article ‘Symposion Furniture’ mentions how symposium has been linked with the idea of holding court. sit with them. Politics.6 Boardman does not like this idea. & ' ! ( Davidson defines symposium as the most formal context in the Archaic Greek world for a drinking party. Sparkes. Oxford. London. Symposium. Xenophanes. A. Pomeroy.

At the end of the feast the men discussed issues amongst themselves and encouraged bravery amongst the boys. This was a bed of sorts with high rising legs.9 Bremmer suggests that looking at ancient sources such as the comedy Clouds it seems likely that boys were most likely encouraged to sing songs glorifying historic heroes. This practice was not dissimilar in Sparta. singing. Bear in mid also Bremmer’s discussion of the idea of right of passage – Macedonia and in Athens mentioned in Politics 7. and I delight in holding in my hands the tuneful lyre.’ In a later fragment he also talks about delighting in feasting and in the dances of paeans or ‘thanks-giving. One of the best Theognis extracts on this topic would be fr 531-34 ‘My heart is always warmed whenever I hear the pipes sounding a lovely voice. This would seem in part to support Murray’s idea. The wine was then mixed in what was known as a krater. Aleus quote ‘wine and truth boy’ is another example. the guests washed there hands and were sometimes garlanded and anointed. poured into a jug and distributed amongst the guests. music and dancing was of course essential as was poetry – good examples being the poem by Ibycus and also the extract of the poem by Solon. Was it common in other areas of Greece? Bremmer points out that much of the poetry associated with symposium is advice directly addressed to boys – Theognis for example addresses his son – telling him not to drink too much and to keep the right company. quite impractical for sleeping and before its use in symposium was linked more with carrying the dead.To answer this question simply. He uses the example of Crete where the boys. 8 9 Boardman p125 Bremmer p137 . playing music. This is the standard representation of a man at symposium for the next half-century.8 After the solid section of dinner was concluded by the removal of the tables.’ The group of men involved would feast lying on what is known as a kline.15. dancing. Libations and paeans were then dedicated to the Gods and the guests continued with conversation of love. Each adult had his own drinking cup whereas the young boys all shared out of a communal krater. conversation. giving thanks to the Gods (the Good Divinity). Certain vases depict the symposium procession already drunk accompanied by pipe players. drinking. the room was swept. scantly clad.9 – also the homosexual aspect depicted on some vases. Bremmer in his interesting discussion of the role of adolescent boys in symposium questions whether symposium was used as a means of educating and inducting the boys. I delight in drinking well and singing to the piper’s accompaniment. They would serve both themselves and the adults. The food was placed in front of the kline on small side tables. A Corinthian vase for example from around the seventh century BCE depicts Herakles in the house of Eurytos. gate crashing therefore was not unheard of or unexpected. If this was indeed the case it would give strong weight to the idea expressed by Oswyn Murray that the archaic symposium was indeed an evolution of the warrior mass dinner. would sit on the ground by their father’s feet. sleeping and just to emphasize the fact – a lot of drinking. presumably going from one party to another. a lot of eating. pleasure and other such things. He is lying on a kline on his left side leaving his right hand free to manipulate the meat which is laid out on the table in front of him.

one for love and pleasure and a third for sleep. food. Even a mixture of one third wine to two parts water could be considered too strong. This room would usually hold seven during symposium but in some cases up to fifteen. The majority of fragments refer to a 50/50 mix but in Sophilus’ The Dagger this mix seems to be considered greedy and simply ‘unmixed’ therefore too strong. one for health. Etiquette it seems also dictated the strength of the wine. The space according to Davidson was meant to conspire with the alcohol to create a sense of entering a separate reality. wine music. + 18/10/07 Robert Jahoda Gavin Hardy Symposia Tutorial Handout . poetry and guests were needed to hold a symposium as well as a kline and side tables. ) * ! + % . If one of the ideas of symposium was to forge bonds of friendship and community this effect would be key and therefore the space a symposion was held in would be a key aspect. This circle was broken by a door which meant there was a first position and a last with conversation going anticlockwise. A symposium in the private sphere i.There seem to have been quite a few ideas of etiquette in symposium when it came to drink and drink consumption. Etiquette it seems dictated that someone be chosen before the symposium kicked off to control both the measure and quantity of wine which was to be consumed. Nothing takes place behind the drinkers. whereas one quarter wine was considered too weak – it seems the generally most accepted mix of water and wine was 2 parts wine and 5 parts water – apparently giving it the consistency of modern beer – LOVELY. blocking out the outside world and all reminders in much the sameway that clubs and casinos do not have clocks and windows for the same reason. Answering this question at first quite simply. the whole visual space is constructed to make sightlines converge and ensure reciprocity. The wine was mixed with water in a large mixing bowl. Theognis fr 503-508 basically advices that you leave when the room starts spinning – which in many cases is still considered good etiquette today.e. In fr971-2 excessive drinking comes highly unrecommended. Theognis main advice on etiquette however would seem to be just go with the flow (467-96). But since the lay out and mood of the symposium were key it would seem logical that the right kind of space would be needed to hold a successful symposium. Davidson puts forward that a standard amount of wine to be consumed at one gathering would have been three kraters – Dionysus in the play Eubulus announces ‘three kraters only do I propose for sensible men. this was also agreed upon before hand. in someone’s house was typically held in the ‘andron’ or man room. The guests were arranged more or less in a squared circle.

and while Socrates was drinking. Alcibiades? Are we just going to gulp drinks down like this. 390 BC). and his friends skinned it and butchered it fairly.me! Have a big goblet brought in.1.ac. Hey you. Eryximachus said. and roasted all carefully and took off the pieces. …When the slave had filled it up.8. Automedon took the bread and set it out on the table In fair baskets. don’t bother. bring over that cooler…. in a world where their military function had been taken over by the hoplite army of the polis.” Bremmer p136 Symposia as purely drinking parties: “We need somebody to take charge of your drinking and decide when you’ve had enough and I elect. ‘What’s going on here.www. Ure Museum inv. and spitted them. But when they had put aside their desire for eating and drinking…” Iliad XXIV: 621-628 “This warrior group…was transformed into a leisure group under the impact of a changed position of the aristocracy. depicting four men at a symposium What was a Symposium? Battle group feasts as a precursor of Symposia: “So spoke fleet Achilleus and sprang to his feet and slaughtered a gleaming sheep. and cut up the meat expertly into small pieces. slave. no. Agathon. And thereon They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them.uk/Ure/tour/tour_images/sympos2. while Achilleus served the meats. won’t you. if you’ve got one? Oh no.rdg.jpg Athenian bell krater (ca. 45. as if we had thirsts to quench? We could at least make conversation or sing some songs as we drink” Plato’s Symposium 213 e-214 b “A highly ritualised occasion and an important crucible for the forging of friendships alliances and community in ancient Greece” Davidson What kind of events were there? .

.” Odyssey XVIII: 1-3 the akletoi being watched by reclining gentleman (corinthian bowl) “Driven by a hungry stomach or a feeling of personal threat the akletoi perform themselves as physically and morally imperfect. clashing but the cupbearer fell on his back in the dust. The pitcher fell to the ground. but living righteously. harming with hurtful deeds neither foreigner or citizen. and I delight in holding the tuneful lyre” Theognis 531-34 “May no other pursuit arise for me in place of excellence and learning.Attic red-figure bell krater. and hit the cupbearer in the right hand. and may I have noble thoughts in company with the noble. who threw. ca. Filotranno Painter The female dancers can be seen Quote on sympotic furniture and abuse of akletoi: “So he spoke. groaning. but Odysseus crouched against the knees of Doulichian Amphinomos in fear of Eurymachos. who used to go begging through the town of Ithaka.C. known to fame for his ravenous belly and appetite for eating and drinking.” Theognis 789 What was needed to hold a symposium? . 350-330 B. but ever holding onto this may I enjoy lyre. and caught up a footstool. This makes the invited guests laugh and assures them of their superiority.” Fehr 187 “My heart is always warmed when I hear the pipes sounding a lovely voice.” Odyssey XVIII:394-398 Quote on Akletoi (preceding fight with Odysseus: “And now there arrived a public beggar. symposium scene. I delight in drinking well and singing to the pipers accompaniment. dance and song.

de/Greeks/Pottery2.slave boy? Shown with a krater mixing the wine for the sypmosia www. They found it open.answers. a reveller and a kylix as well as a servant and his oinochoe (wine jug) (Attic red figure cup Symposia joined by street parties: “Agathon had stood up to go and lie next to Socrates when a large number of people from a street party suddenly arrived at the front door. because someone was just leaving. before they reach the age at which they will now have the right to recline at table in company and to drink deeply.” Aristotle Politics 7. so they barged straight in to where the others were and settled themselves down on couches.mlahanas.htm drinking parade showing the mixing krater.” Murray 263 www.” Plato’s Symposium 223 b Symposia as education: “But the younger ones must not be allowed in the audience at lampoons and at comedy. but among his companions remembering the earthly pleasures of the feast. Everything went utterly out of control. and even that was completely unsystematic. An Oinochoos .com/topic/symposium The mixing of wine and water. “Not resting alone in state as in the east.1336 Splitting of the andron? “Increasing preference for broad room shape in later non – square dinding rooms was the inherent potential of this shape for an informal spatial division of the room in two functional subgroups. each with a limited number of symposiasts” .Tomb of the Diver 475 BC Paestum This shows the man reclining with his fellows in his tomb. and at which their education will render all of them immune to the harmful effects of such things. all there was left to do was to drink a great deal.

126 What are the literary and artistic sources? For the artistic sources please refer to the images supplied earlier in the handout. Kleisthenes says ‘son of tisander you have danced away your marriage.Bridgewater 47 Etiquette Etiquette: “A slave washed him so that he could take his place on the couch” Plato’s Symposium 175 a Etiquette II: “How do you feel about coming to a dinner uninvited? Would you be prepared to do that?’ ‘Whatever you say. He was the henchman of Amphinomos.’ ‘Hippokleides doesn’t care’ was the answer. Do these pictures provide an accurate view of the symposia? . Herodotus book 6. and they. the Doulichian herald.” Iliad I: 597-600 Quote on Syposium etiquette: “The hero Moulios. pouring A libation to the blessed gods. then. to show that in fact “Good men go of their own accord to good men’s feasts”. What will happen after is up to the gods” Theognis 1047-48 [Change of etiquette?] Story of Hippokleides told in– Athenian – “he asked the flute player to dance and he began to dance to it…Hippocleides sent for a table …Hippocleides climbing onto it danced first some Laconian dances. ‘Come with me.’ Socrates said. ‘and we’ll distort and alter the proverb. dipping up from the mixing bowl the sweet nectar. Obviously we have depictions on kraters. tombs and oinochoe. next some attic ones and ended by standing on his head beating time with his legs in the air.’ Aristodemus replied. drank the honey-sweet wine” Odyssey XVIII: 423-426 “Now lets delight in Drink and fine talk. He passed it around to all in order.” Plato’s Symposium 174 b Quote on etiquette and serving boys: “Thereafer beginning from the left he poured drinks for the other gods. mixed them wine in the bowl. But among the blessed immortals uncontrollable laughter Went up as they saw Hephaistos bustling about the palace.

Oxford 122-131 [Extra Bibliography] Aristotle. tr. an imagined dialogue /set of speeches or discussions usually appropriate to the behaviour 3. Homer.+1.they would serve to display questions of philosophical wisdom. Lattimore. (1990) ‘ sympotic space: a functional aspect of Greek dining-rooms’ in Sympotica. tr. Oxford 122-131 Bremmer. from Perseus: http://www. Herodotus. Oxford 37-65 Boardman J. Symposium. HarperCollins.O(ed) Sympotica. tr. Antiquarian works . The Histories. Plato established the prose of genre from the symposium. Claude (1999) ‘Eros and the masculine:the polis’ in Poetics of Eros in Ancient Greece:91-109 . Oxford University Press Bergquist. in Murray . Poetry for the symposium including lyric poetry including elegiac and iambic poetry 2. Odyssey.edu/cgibin/ptext?lookup=Aristot.“Three types of poetry – 1.literary or learned discussions . Homer. (1990) ‘sympotic furniture’ in O Murray (ed) Sympotica. Politics.1252a.” Adapted quote from symposium literature Roberts J (ed) (2005). Selincourt.perseus. (1990) ‘Sympotic furniture’ in O Murray (ed) Sympotica.+Pol. Oxford 135-148 Calame. tr. Iliad. University of Chicago Press. Penguin. J (1990) ‘Adolescents. The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World [Eastern Influence?] Terracotta revetment from Larissa From: Boardman J. Lattimore. A symposium on the symposion. A symposium on the symposion. A symposium on the symposion. Plato. Waterfield. Symposium and Pedestry’. A symposium on the symposion.B.tufts.

James (1997) ‘The Symposium’ in Courtesans and Fishcakes. The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. A symposium on the symposion. Social and Cultural History. (1996). J. Pomeroy.Davidson. London 4453 Fehr. in Murray . (1999). (2007). A political. S. Tolbert Roberts. F. Oxford 196-209 Murray . J. J. J. Oxford. B (1990)‘Entertainers at the Symposium: the akletoi in the archaic period’ in Sympotica.O(ed) Sympotica. Greek Art and Archaeology.) (2005). Gabba (ed). Roberts. Oxford Sparkes.O(ed) (1990) Sympotica. Donlan. Studies in Greek Pottery. The Red and the Black. 1200-479BCE. A History of the Archaic Greek World ca. Oxford 185-195 Hall. B. (1990) ‘Around the krater: an aspect of banquet imagery’. Tria Corda. (2002). S.G. W. Como: 257-272 Pedley.O (1983) ‘The Greek Symposium in History’ in E.M. (ed. A symposium on the symposion. London. Scrittiin onore di Arnaldo Momigliano. Ancient Greece. A symposium on the symposion Oxford Murray. London . Burstein. Oxford Lissarague.

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