The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

SYMPOSIUM.

generally determined by the throwing of Astragali or Tali; but we find in Plato (Symp. p. 213, e.) Alcibiades constituting himself Symposiarch. The proportion in which the wine and water were mixed was fixed by him, and also how much each of the company was to drink. The servants (olvox6oi and olvrjpol 3-e/>a7iwres), usually young slaves, who had to mix the wine arid present it to the company, were also under his orders ; but if there was no Symposiarch, the company called for the wine just as they pleased. (Xen. Symp. ii. 27.)

Beft.re the drinking commenced, it was agreed upon in what way they should drink (Plat. Symp. p. 176, a. b.), for it was not usually left to the option of each of the company to drink as much or as little as he pleased, but he was compelled to take whatever the Symposiarch might order. At Athens they usually began drinking out of small cups (juerptaTTOT^pio, Athen. x. p. 431, e.), but as the entertainment went on, larger ones were intro­duced. (Diog. Lae'rt. i. 104.) In the Symposium of Plato (pp. 213, 214) Alcibiades and Socrates each empty an immense cup, containing eight co-tylae, or nearly four English pints ; and frequently such cups were emptied at one draught (airvsvo"r\ or ctyivo-ri iriveLv, a/xucrri^eiv, Athen. x. p. 431, b.; Lucian, Lexiph. 8 ; Suidas, s. v. 'A^ucrrt).

The cups were always carried round from right to left (eVi 5e£ta), and the same order was ob­served in the conversation and in everything that took place in the entertainment (errl §e£ta Plat. Rep. iv. p. 420, e., err! Se£ia \6yov Symp. p. 214, b. ; Athen. xi. p. 463, e.). The com­pany frequently drank to the health of one another (jcpoTriveiv tyiXorya'ias, Lucian, Gall. 12 ; Athen. xi. p. 498, d.), and each did it especially to the one to whom he handed the same cup. This seems to have been the custom, which Cicero alludes to, when he speaks of " drinking after the Greek fashion." (Graeco more libere, Verr. i. 26 ; com­pare Tusc. i. 40, Graeci in conviviis solent nomi-nare, cui poculum tradituri sunt.}

Music and dancing were usually introduced, as already stated, at Symposia, and we find few re­presentations of such scenes in ancient vases with­out the presence of female players on the flute and the cithara. Plato, indeed, decidedly objects to their presence, and maintains that it is only men incapable of amusing themselves by rational con­versation, that have recourse to such means of en­joyment (Protag. p. 347, c. d., Symp. p. 176, e.) ;

1083

SYMPOSIUM.

but this says nothing against the general practice, and Xenophon in his Symposium represents So­crates mightily pleased with the mimetic dancing and other feats performed on that occasion. The female dancers and the players on the flute and the cithara were frequently introduced at the Symposia of young men for another purpose, and were oftentimes actually evaipai [hetaerae], as we see clearly represented on many ancient vases. (See for example Mus. Borbon. vol. v. t. 51.) Re­specting the different kinds of dances performed at Symposia, see saltatio.

Representations of Symposia are very common on ancient vases. Two guests usually reclined on each couch (/cAipyj), as is explained on p. 305, and illustrated by the following cut from one of Sir W. Hamilton's vases, where the couch on the right hand contains two persons, and that on the left is represented with only one, which does not appear to have been the usual practice. The guests wear garlands of flowers, and the two who are reclining on the same couch hold a <pLd\i} each in the right hand.

Sometimes there were four or five persons on one couch, as in the following woodcut, taken from Millin (Peintures de Vases Antiques, vol. ii. pi. 58). Three young and two older men are re­clining on a couch (/cAi*/??), with their left arms resting on striped pillows (irpoovce^aAa/a or viray-icdoj/ia). Before the couch are two tables. Three of the men are holding a calix or kv\lj- suspended by one of the handles to the fore-finger, the fourth holds a </>idA?7, and the fifth a </>idAi7 in one hand and a pvrov in the other. [calix ; phiala ; rhyton.] In the middle Comos is beating the tjinpaimm.

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

1082

1083

1084
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.